Britain's nation of hoarders are being encouraged to sell, swap, upcycle, recycle or donate their unwanted items with the arrival of national Clear Your Clutter Day on Saturday, March 11th.
This is the second outing for the annual event, following a successful launch in 2016. I met founder and 'Queen of Cash' Jasmine Birtles to discuss her clutter-free quest.
Jasmine what gave you the idea for a national decluttering day?
A few years ago I emptied-out a storeroom and ended up just giving away most of the stuff I was storing. I worked out that I'd paid over £2,000 to store junk!
I knew I wasn't the only one doing this and that UK households are groaning under the weight of things we neither need nor want. It's holding us back, costing us money and, in some cases, actually making us unhappy.
How have we become a nation of hoarders?
Over the last fifty years marketers have got cleverer at persuading us to part with our cash and in our society life has increasingly become all about consumption. We are assaulted every day by advertising, marketing, PR and now social media effectively telling us that we're not living unless we are consuming.
This hoarding impulse is a modern creation and a serious problem. Around 20 per cent of households admit to having enough clutter to fill a whole room. That's a lot of unwanted goods just gathering dust when they could be converted into cash or passed to those who could benefit from them.
Tell us about Clear Your Clutter Day
I decided to set up an actual day each year, around spring when we often think about clearing up and throwing things out, to get the word out there and motivate people to look at their stuff - and their lives - to make some much-needed changes!
This year, as well as encouraging people to sell their stuff and make enough money for a really good family holiday (because it really is possible), we are promoting the benefits of giving as much as possible to charity.
We are also offering a free set of daily emails for 14 days that anyone can sign up to through our website. This way they will get one tip a day to help them get a bit more sorted.
We have industry experts sharing insights into selling, swapping, donating, upcycling and recycling unwanted items online and offline, plus a Facebook Live and Twitter Q&A sessions on the day itself.
You have some great partners involved in this year's event...
Yes, many organisations sympathetic to decluttering are supporting us. There's Oxfam, which does a wonderful job of recycling items for the benefit of others. Another charity partner is Action for Children. I'm a fundraiser for them and they help vulnerable families declutter and organize while supporting them. We also have Gone For Good, a marvellous service that picks up unwanted items and takes them to local charity shops.
On the business side we have support from Relish Broadband, Banker's Box from Fellowes and MoneyAware, the publishing arm of the debt charity StepChange. Also, APDO (the Association of Professional De-Clutterers and Organisers).
What are the biggest benefits in decluttering your life?
The popularity of books such as Marie Kondo's 'The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up' show that we in the West have realised our possessions have got out of control and started to rule us.
Decluttering brings a sense of freedom, control and even happiness. The cycle of consumption is not healthy for our minds or our bank accounts. We're helping people live with less and get on top of the clutter that can distract, confuse and stress them out on a daily basis.
What advice would you give anyone who wants to decluttering?
The first thing to do is to visit our website for loads of tips!
Decluttering is as much a state of mind as series of actions. We need to change our thinking to change our lives. Look on decluttering as gaining space and freedom rather than having to get rid of things. If you see it as gaining something you're much more likely to throw out stuff you know you don't love or need.
Also, don't try and do your home in one go as that will overwhelm you. Do it drawer by drawer; cupboard by cupboard. Start with the easiest room in the house, or even just a drawer, and once it's decluttered, have a quick break and start on the next easiest and so on.
For more information about national Clear Your Clutter Day 2017 visit www.clearyourclutterday.co.uk