Ditch unwanted possessions and make more space for you 

If lobsters can erupt out of their armour and move on, shouldn't we? Here's how to get rid of excess 'stuff' 
Ditch unwanted possessions and make more space for you 
The more items you get out the door, the more room for you to re-align your dream interior and add spiritual room to "breathe". Picture: iStock

I couldn't suck my limpet stare from that superior stitching. Every caress of your handsome hide was soul shivering pleasure. You were so lush, plump, accommodating. Even after the cat disgraced himself, pop-eyed between your base cushions, we deployed litres of Febreze (hopeless) and recommitted to you.

Yes, the lingering stench was torture for the next eight years. Still, you only cost €600 lightly used, plus the €200 for the hire of a cow trailer and a vehicular near-miss scored by spousal screaming. 

Well, I’m sorry, you leery old American made, plum-ugly purple sofa, but don’t let the door hit you where the Jack Russell split you. Free to a good/any home. 

We all live, grow, develop and change. If lobsters erupt out of their armour and move on, shouldn’t we? 

If you find that worthy old lemon you bought in a hail of enthusiasm is visually annoying, failing in its practical purpose or throwing off the aesthetic or ergonomic balance of your room it could well be time for the heave-ho. 

Something comes in, something goes out, is a healthy approach to keeping our homes lean of disparate, spontaneously bought "stuff" including antique and vintage "stuff". To paraphrase Disney, "let it go, let it — go".

We’re not talking about valuable antiques or fine furniture here.

Try a dedicated dealer already selling similar items or apply to a reputable auction house for valuables. Many firms will now consider lightly-used designer furniture and contemporary artwork to layer up the landscaping of their lots for a mixed sale.

Check out what the commission on the sale will be, generally a bracketed percentage of the hammer price, and don’t wave off a protective reserve unless you’re willing to risk a rock bottom number.

If you’re not sure what you have research the item online and if your nose twitches, get expert help from a member of the Irish Antique Dealers Association, iada.ie. If they don’t want the object themselves, they may have someone in their quiver of collectors who does.

With space at a premium, it’s tempting once the decision is made, to just abandon those dull, middling things at the landfill. It’s a quick, anonymous and final end if you keep your environmental principles well stuffed down.

For items you know to be of little worth (or worth more to you gone) and in good or repairable condition, make an attempt to donate. This could be gifting to a suitable charity shop or it could be an ad for freebies in DoneDeal or your local classifieds.

Every, individual shop, even within one charity, will have a protocol and a list of more desirable objects. Electrical goods are rarely welcome and most are overwhelmed with toys and books.

Call ahead and describe what you have. Do they offer a collection service? You might even want to donate something valuable to charity: Ensure they know it’s not tat and offer as much detail and provenance as you have.

For local transactions, online classifieds like DoneDeal straddle the complexity of online auction selling and traditional classifieds perfectly.

Still, giving things away or selling something privately entails meeting the person taking the item, and you’d be surprised what picky connoisseurs they can be even faced with a gift horse (or your rocking horse).

Some people love to “kick tyres” on Sunday jaunts and will derive palpable joy in coming all the way to your house to tell you what revolting object d’art you have, and then make a truly insulting offer.

Try your friends first. Don’t start with a social media posting emblazoned with: “I hate this hideous old yoke. Do you want it?”

Talk it up — be creative and take a picture that speaks to its strengths.

Show your actual disdain— and you’re critiquing the potential taker’s taste for being attracted to your cast-offs. Items Free to Take (Cork) has 7,000 members on Facebook: Perfect.

Following up on any online or telephone exchange; avoid lone encounters in your home where someone you don’t know, can slyly look around. Invite an able-bodied neighbour or friend to the meeting. Could you put that chair/dresser/bouncy castle out in the garage to show, or let your younger family members handle it?

Boot sales are a fantastic, one-day money maker if you have a few boxes of smalls and even a couple of hefty larger furnishings to draw attention on the horizon of a muddy field.

Being outdoors, I’m confident these events will creak back to life in the coming months. The boot of most cars with the back seats folded down can take a lot of ballast, but if you have a tow-bar and a small trailer — even better. Some €10-€25 for the day is all you have to divvy up in fees, and you could leave with your biscuit tin crammed with profit. Spend some time coming up with a selling price for each piece well before the dawn of the great day. Don’t weld stickers onto good glass, but price up.

Collect Ireland is the go-to for places and dates for boot sales, auctions and antique fairs. The sellers' entry time for a boot, may precede the gate time for the public by several valuable hours. Grab a good spot, set up, and get ahead of the box diggers.

If you are dreading facing the sale alone or find you don’t have quite enough stuff to make the day out viable — team up. Company can transform a boot sale into a hilarious day out, and you won’t have to worry about tea and toilet breaks or having a quiet fume behind the chip van.

Get ready to talk. You know each piece, so remember the qualities that drew you to it, be it a 1980s leather jacket or knock-off Staffordshire flat-back.

Buyers should leave with their tales wagging and for God’s sake don’t lie. Finally, be ready to drop the price to the floor to get rid, especially as you reach the final half-hour of the afternoon.

A word of warning: Avoid coming home with more cubic metres than you left with riding in the car — how hopeless are you? Put it down.

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