Dear charity shop volunteer,
I know that it can be tough working in a charity shop.
That you have to sort through piles and piles of discarded clothes…
That sometimes you can’t get in to open the shop for bin bags stuffed full of rubbish blocking the doorway…
That you may be giving up your time for free…
That customers can be rude and annoying…
Or complain about the prices as though you were pocketing the cash yourself.
And I really respect and admire the fact that you’re giving your time to help a good cause.
BUT. And this is a big but. Read more
You know that bit where the bride vows ‘to have and to hold from this day forward…’? They were talking about the other person. Not the wedding dress.
But it’s amazing how many of us can’t let go of the dress, even when we want to. They sit collecting dust in attics and taking up wardrobe space. Most of us can’t fit into them anymore. Not that you’d wear if if you could. But every time you vow to donate it you remember the fittings. The cost. The day. Getting rid of it can even feel like a bad omen – am I jinxing something?So we bundle it away again. When it comes to decluttering, the dress is one of the hardest things to let go. But what if you knew you could make some cash out of it to spend on something you actually used? Or that it was going to a good cause? It would make it far easier to get rid of wouldn’t it? If you knew you were giving it a new lease of life. Read more
If family life and marriage is disintegrating in front of your morning coffee, so will your bank balance if you don’t keep a firm head and a steady heart when choosing the right legal support for your divorce.
I work with many clients going through divorce, so I have also witnessed the effective, the outrageous and the more conciliatory approaches to the legal side of uncoupling. Here is a look inside my little black book… Read more
It’s been sitting in the hall cupboard for the past 10 years. Or the garden shed. Maybe it even made it into the attic. You haven’t used it for years. You’re not sure you ever will. You don’t even like it. But it was expensive. Or it belonged to your grandmother. Or it might just be useful. One day?
Sound familiar? Well you’re not alone. The UK uses five times more storage space per head than any other country in Europe according to research from comparethemarket.com. And more than half of us know we’re holding on to things for longer than we should. While the British post-war mentality of holding on to stuff ‘just in case’ is often blamed, as a Professional Organiser and Downsizing Specialist, I’ve found that sentimental attachment is usually the cause, with procrastination a close second.
So before you lug your stuff to storage and pay for it to stay there for years, here are some suggestions to help you make sensible decisions about your belongings. They’ll free up your home, your mind, your family and your wallet. Read more
Following on from my anatomy of a downsizing project, here is the children’s view on why my professional organising and decluttering skills are key to the success of any downsizing project:
Charlie, son of Mr and Mrs H:
“I didn’t know people like Sarah existed, my brother found her. We’d been talking about moving for a good couple of years but it was difficult as my parents had strong emotional links to the house and the scale of moving was daunting. But it was apparent mum would not survive in the house or that dad would kill himself trying to maintain it so we knew it was time. Read more
Following on from my anatomy of a downsizing project, here is the removalist firm’s view on why my professional organising and decluttering skills are key to the success of any downsizing project:
Neil Atkinson, D.Durrant Removals: “When I got there Sarah had done the bulk of the work. I didn’t see what it was like before she started the project but from what my boss said about the house, Sarah must have done a huge amount. By moving day she’d done 99% of the decluttering and everything there was what we were taking which is rare.
THE PROJECT: To move an 80-year-old couple from the 5-bedroom family home where they’d lived for the past 40 years into a two-bedroom bungalow.
THE CHALLENGE: They had 10 rooms, 3 cellars, loft, garage, games room, workshop and stables full of nearly 40 years of stuff. Mrs H has Parkinson’s Disease and her husband Mr H was managing everything on his own. We had 2 months. Read more
Home-blocking is a term used to describe the aging population’s seeming determination to stay in the family home rather than downsizing to release urgently needed homes back to the local community.
The UK elderly are at odds with their counterparts in the USA and Australia: just 1% of people over 60 in the UK live in retirement homes, compared with 17% in the States and 13% in Australia. So, what isn’t happening in the UK? Read more
Helping your parents’once-in-a-lifetime downsizing move from their large family home into more suitable accommodation can be daunting. Successful baby boomers living abroad or out of town are struggling to deal with ageing parents while juggling career and young family needs. Laments a recent anxious son from Sydney, “I just can’t be there to sort this out and they are moving in 6 weeks time!”
Once you’ve made a plan for your parents’ downsizing needs, Plan B might be the better option… Read more