We're now well on our way through the packing and clearing stages. The house isn't empty by any means, but it's a lot emptier than it was, and there's room move about and see things, stack things, sort things, and make the K/S/G/T decisions.
After 16 years in this house, and five for my wife, we've accumulated a lot of...things. I'm not entirely sure where they all came from to be honest, or why I thought we needed eight Pyrex mixing bowls, five metal Thermos flasks (assorted sizes), six sets of Chinese Baoding Balls, four guitars, three mandolins, an uncounted number of tin whistles (not all made of tin), shelves of books I will never read again, more shelves of computer games I will never play again, clothes I will never wear again, or all the other accumulated brick-a-brack that collected in the dust-bunny infested corners and drawers.
The good news is that some of this stuff is actually worth money, and through the careful application of eBay and Gumtree we have managed to salvage several hundred pounds for otherwise unused and useless possessions.
The stuff we can't sell we try to give away, the smaller items to the local charity shops, larger or more awkward items via Freecycle to anyone who will come to the house and collect. The beneficiaries may be secretly running their own garage sale, but we're happy to just have space where once we had stuff. Excess books are too heavy and nearly worthless to post, so the local Oxfam Bookshop is receiving a few dozens of volumes.
The last option is to throw stuff away. We have a good local Council recycling service, so anything glass, metal, plastic, cardboard or paper gets collected every Tuesday, and we have filled sack after black plastic sack with the things we couldn't recycle, silently praying that the dustmen will collect all the bags regardless of how many we put out.
The keep option has probably been exercised a bit too often, but we have our limits. My wife told me yesterday of the daughter of a colleague who has just moved house and had a number of boxes marked "loft". They came out of the loft of her old house and went straight into the loft of the new house, unopened.
This life laundry has hopefully taught me to be a more selective shopper in future, and if I seem miserly with my money, it's more that I'm miserly with my space and want to enjoy the newfound acres that beckon.
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