My big project of the year – declutter!

This year has been an immensely productive one for me. I am so proud of myself and I feel amazing – I am not sure if it is because I have finally done something I have been wanting to do for years, or because I have so much free space.

I live in a two bedroom apartment with a walk-in closet (layout below)

Previously there were three of us living here (sometimes four) so everything is set up for four people (desks, tables (I had two six-seater tables!), chairs, crockery, cutlery etc) and as they have moved out, there have been things left behind (old phones, electronics, unwanted clothes, books, DVDs and CDs etc).

So this year, with the help of my friend Tina and our daughter Amanda, I have gotten stuck into everything and managed to remove so much! Some have been disposed of, some recycled, some donated, and some sold.

Disposed of (in the proper receptacles):

  • encyclopaediae (no one wants the paper ones anymore)
  • old computers
  • cables (oh so many, in tangled nests)
  • chargers (ditto)
  • keyboards
  • digital cameras
  • video cameras
  • old phones
  • broken and worn furniture
  • office chairs (there was one plus a desk in each room!)

Recycled (placed in the municipal recycling stations nearby)

  • books
  • magazines
  • useable furniture


  • novels
  • crockery
  • cutlery
  • coffee mugs
  • phones that were still useable
  • system cameras that were still useable
  • clothes – not mine
  • clothes – mine
  • shoes
  • DVDs
  • CDs
  • language textbooks (I used to review books so I had a great number of excellent text and reference books)
  • cat beds and accessories
  • new towels and bedlinen

My charity shop of choice is Stockholms Stadsmission. I do not donate to charities sending clothes to Africa because the clothes get caught in a sticky web of middlemen and are sold for profit, pushing local entrepreneurs out of the market. Read more here

Auctioned, sold, or swapped

  • kitchen appliances
  • handbags
  • jewellery
  • stationery

It has been a huge task and has taken me 4 months so far. But the secret has been doing a little each day. When I was daunted by big tasks as a child, my mother used to say to me ‘The only way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time’. And I have done it that way – one bite at a time.

Each day when I go to work I take one large paper bag full of stuff to the recycling station and one bag full of stuff to the local homeless charity. Once a month or so friends come over and help me with the heavy carrying. You quickly get into the habit of sorting a small area of things every day.

Once a week I try on clothes I have not worn in ages and they go into four piles

  • dispose of
  • donate
  • sell
  • keep

Here am I with one of the many items of furniture that has been disposed of. This is an IKEA Billy bookcase which held books that have all been recycled. Tina and I had to carry it and its matching brother down three flights of stairs.

And this made me smile the other day when I dropped clothes off at the local homeless charity – a mannequin wearing my clothes! Everything on it came from me apart from the bracelets on her wrist!

For the rest of the year I will continue to sell things, including many of my Filofaxes and TNs. So if anyone is interested in anything in particular – contact me using the form in the right hand side bar and you can have first dibs!







Author: Janet Carr

Fashion, beauty and animal loving language consultant from South Africa living in Stockholm, Sweden.

4 thoughts

  1. Our friend Hilary often points out that it is much easier to declutter someone else’s stuff than it is to declutter your own…
    Congratulations on the progress you’ve made!
    I’ve been a member of a closed forum themed around decluttering for several years now. We act like a little support group… in 2016 I was tracking objects in and out – not counting consumables, around 200 ‘permanent’ objects came in and over 2000 were decluttered and went out to donation, recycling or trash. Our house is much bigger than yours, so much so that I feel I’m still dealing with the ‘low hanging fruit’, but progress is happening very slowly. I haven’t quite reached the point of having an entire mannequin ‘furnished’ with discards, though! 🙂

  2. OMG, that’s amazing – well done! Now come and do mine! My house is in a terrible state, but getting the motivation together is quite another thing …

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