Calm Room | Home as a Sanctuary
Tips for De-cluttering Your Home
A Guide to Re-cycling and Re-Selling Second-Hand Goods; from Donation to Selling at Auction.
Home is the place we can wind down, tune out and switch off. Or is it? One of the biggest sources of stress in many homes is clutter and dis-organisation. How can we create a calm room in a busy household? If you have children, pets, older parents to care for, or you are working from home, you may well be having to house a lot of extra clobber.
The images we see in home and interior magazines can seem somewhat unachievable when compared to our own busy and REAL homes. Embrace the Imperfection
Don’t despair. REAL is good. It can be very comforting for our visitors to enter into a REAL home. There is nothing worse than being afraid to sit down, put a cup down, walk on some-one’s pure white, pure wool carpet etc. A room that is too stark feels clinical and un-welcoming. And the same is true in our own homes. So the first thing is to accept that perfection is not what we need to be striving for – it isn’t achievable for most of us, and will only lead to frustration and more stress. Imperfection is beautiful, interesting and comforting.
If you are feeling over-whelmed with mess, dis-organisation and clutter, there is hope! You can create harmonious and calm spaces in real homes with a few small adjustments. Read on to take your first steps towards creating your calm room. Your sancutary
De-Clutter and Re-cycle
Yes, I know we have heard that before! But a good clear out of things we don’t really need is good for the soul. Set aside a day or two to have a good clear out – once you start, you will be on a roll. Put some great music on and get cracking. That calm room awaits!
Donate and Recycle
On-line community noticeboards and re-cycling websites like Freecycle are a great way to pass things on to people for free. You would be very surprised what people can do with things that you would otherwise throw away. Re-cycling is also good for the soul – it saves on landfill and puts a smile on a person’s face when they have got something that they want, for free!
Connecting with your Community
When restoring our own Victorian townhouse, we put local ads on our local ‘Stuff for Free’ noticeboard on Facebook. We found new homes for old slate tiles, old windows, old laminate flooring, an old door, an old washing machine and even the old Rayburn – all of which we thought were useless – but other people love a project! The windows and doors were going to be re-used for an out-building our neighbour was building on a tight budget, the laminate flooring was for an entrance at the back of a farm house, the Rayburn was going to be re-purposed as an outdoor pizza oven, the washing machine was a spare for washing very muddy horse riding gear and the slate tiles were being used as part of an art project. Donating goods this way using a Facebook community noticeboard was also a good way of connecting with our new neighbours!
Just be honest in your description of your goods and there will be some-one out there who will be very grateful!
Charity Shops and Second-Hand Furniture Projects
Of course charity shops are also a great way to give things away. And the added bonus is they get to make some money for a good cause – all good stuff! If you don’t have a car to transport larger items, you can always call your local second hand furniture project or charity shop and ask if they do collections – many do! The British Heart Foundation offer collections and they are a nationwide charity, so you may well find a branch near you that can collect.
Re-cycling Furniture in London
Brightsparks Online is a re-use and recycle project based in London who offer a collection service.
Selling Second Hand Goods
If you would like to make a bit of extra money from your unwanted goods and they are in good enough condition for re-sale, there are many ways to advertise online these days. From eBay and Facebook Marketplace to Gumtree Preloved. and Depop – (an online marketplace for second hand clothing popular with younger people).
Selling Antiques at Auction
Of course, if you uncover something that you think might be classed as an antique piece, you can still sell it yourself on-line, saving you the commission fee at an auction house. However, just ensure you know the true value. Do your research first! If it is an item that you can search for on-line and there are many other examples out there, it is fairly easy to work out roughly what a piece is worth.
Valuation of Antiques
However, if your item is something rare, you might need expert advice. Most auction houses will value your items for free. The best advice here is to get three or four valuations from auction houses. Also, don’t forget to ask what their commission charges are, as they do vary. Some will want to see the item in the flesh and others will be happy to value a piece using photographs. Take photographs from every angle in good lighting and don’t try to hide any imperfections – honesty is key! Find out as much information about the piece as you can – this can help to value it too.
Choosing an Auction House
When choosing an auction house, think about how they advertise – do they take good photographs and present items in the best possible way, providing useful and helpful information about each piece. Some auction houses do this better than others, and the ones that do tend to get more for pieces as a result. Look for auction houses that have their sales on-line as well as in person. These auctions also tend to fetch more for each piece as the buyers can be world-wide, not just limited to those in the room! Popular on-line platforms are the saleroom and easylive – ask your auction house if their sales go live on these sites.
The Current Market at Auction is Bouyant
Currently items are selling for very good money at auction, so don’t necessarily be put off by the auction house fees – it is still an option worth considering. The auction market is really quite bouyant currently as dealers struggle to buy from Europe since Brexit. Many items are also going abroad and can fetch more than they might if selling to a UK market only.
New European Customs Rules since Brexit
You might think you can avoid the auction house fee by selling on Ebay for example and offering international shipping- which if you know what you are doing, and you don’t mind a certain amount of faff, could still be a good option. If you don’t want the hassle of all the customs declaration paperwork etc. then the auction house is a good option as they arrange delivery or collections directly with the buyer.
Contacting Antique Dealers
Another way to sell on antiques is to contact antique dealers directly to see if they might buy from you directly and offer you a good price. Again, contacting several dealers to ensure you are getting the best price is advisable.
Next Steps to a Calm Room
Now that you have de-cluttered, you must be feeling good? Already the space will feel more calm. You have completed the first and hardest task. In Part II, we will be looking at Organsation in the Home as the next step to achieveing your Calm Home and creating your own inner peace.
Further Information – Useful Links
Sworders Auction House – London & Hertford
Halls Auction House – Shrewsbury