Kirsty McLuckie on eagerly accepting unwanted household items

It’s the time of year whensunshine – although very welcome – tends to show up your grimy windows and dusty corners, meaning that a spring clean is in order. But some of us need to do a spot of decluttering first...
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Image: Adobe

Self-storage firm Space Station estimated this week that the average house contains £4,000 worth of unwanted items, and advised selling on is a good way to free up space.

That is obviously what an organised and thrifty person should be doing before getting out the dusters, but I seem to have developed an inward, rather than outward, habit with furniture.

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I just can’t seem to say no whenever a friend or neighbour is giving away items that may prove useful in the future.

Over the years, I’ve eagerly accepted rowing machines, rugs, armchairs, a midge-eating machine, and bits of sporting equipment –safe in the knowledge that they would come in handy one day.

These items are already taking up room in our attic and shed, most never having been touched since I gleefully took delivery. But in the last month or so, the benevolence bestowed upon me by kindly neighbours has ratcheted up a notch or two.

Friends are downsizing and, having offered to help them flit, I never come home without yet another bulky item.

From one house alone I have been the happy recipient of two small Chesterfields, a full-length mirror in a swivel frame, a Kenwood food processor and a vibrating gaming chair – albeit, sans power lead.

In fact, I fear that I may have ended up with a bigger number of their belongings than made it to their new place.

The sofas are taking up space in our garage as they are going to replace two knackered couches – previously snapped up from another neighbour’s clear-out – which we haven’t got round to taking to the dump yet.

The mirror parts are in my daughter’s bedroom, but we can’t fathom how it all fits together.

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The food processor needs a handle gluing back on before I can use it. And the gaming chair – destined for my son’s bedroom – didn’t want to fit, so is currently impeding everyone’s passage in the hall.

To top it all, my washing machine door jammed at the weekend and mentioning this to another neighbour, she immediately offered us the spare one in her garage.

Finally! I thought, an acquisition that comes from need rather than desire. But, before taking delivery, we managed to fix the original with brute strength, so now we have two.

While I understand that giving away the older items is sensible, they aren’t worth much, so it’s unlikely that a charity would consider them worthwhile. And re-gifting to locals is out, as that is where it all came from in the first place.

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The Space Station report says the three top online searches people look for in secondhand items are furniture, books and golf clubs.

Getting rid of the piles of books lying around and the three – three! –sets of clubs my husband has stashed under the stairs would certainly free up some space.

But what I really must do is stop jerking my hand up in the air whenever anyone asks if there are any takers at a house clearance.

- Kirsty McLuckie is property editor at The Scotsman

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