Self Storage – How to decide what to throw away?

What better way to start this month’s article than with a definition of the word “hoard”?  The Concise Oxford Dictionary states “to accumulate more than one’s current requirements”, which seems to fit our general view of the word.  But it goes on to provide another, and more interesting, definition: “an ancient store of treasure”.  So is it clutter, or treasure?  Read on.

A nation of hoarders?

There’s a convincing body of evidence to argue that we are.  Just to take a few of the statistics:

  • 1 in 5 households admit to having enough clutter to fill a whole room
  • The average Brit owns 58 items of clothing, but only wears a third of them regularly
  • Two thirds of Brits keep clothes they admit they will never wear again
  • 1 in 10 over 65’s are “overwhelmed” by the number of items in their home
  • 1 in 20 over 65’s admit to having tripped over their clutter

But why?

Is it the age-old “It may come in useful one day”?  Or could it be “I don’t know what it is/does, so I better not throw it away”?  Then again it might have some sentimental value (even if it never gets looked at!).  It could also  be something only used at special occasions.  Or might you think it’s valuable?  After all, who hasn’t dreamt of finding an old Picasso in the loft?  After all, it does happen …

  • a figurine which had languished in a box in an attic in New York for over 70 years turned out to be one of only 50 Faberge figures that were commissioned by Tzar Nicholas II for his wife Empress Alexander in 1912.  Research indicated that it was bought for $2,250 in 1934 (a tidy sum of money in those days).  It sold at auction for $5.2 million! Source: Daily Mail
Faberge Figurine

Image source: WNYT

  • An original Van Gogh – The Sunset At Montmajour – was discovered in the attic of a Norwegian man in 2013.  It’s probably worth quite a lot, given that one painting by Van Gogh has sold for $152million!  At the time of writing, we don’t know if he’s sold the painting …
The Sunset At Montmajour, Van Gogh Museum

Image source: Van Gogh Museum

  • And how about this?  Found as insulation – that’s right, insulation – in a loft of a newly acquired home in Minnesota not that long ago was a copy of Action Comics #1 containing the first ever appearance of Superman!  It sold for $175,000 (which was more than the cost of the home!).
Action Comics No. 1

Image source: CGC

We can all live in hope, can’t we?

Quite often, however, it’s simply too much hassle, and it’s not really in the way, so why not leave it there?  42% of us apparently have this view!

Let’s also not forget that there is a difference (apparently!) between hoarding and collecting!  Here’s what the experts say on this:

“Many people collect items such as books or stamps and this isn’t considered a problem. The difference between a “hoard” and a “collection” is how these items are organised.  A collection is usually well-ordered and the items are easily accessible. A hoard is usually very disorganised, takes up a lot of room and the items are largely inaccessible”

And before we leave the subject of hoarding altogether, here’s how the American Psychiatric Association defines it:

“… a persistent difficulty in discarding possessions, regardless of their actual value, to the point where the person’s accumulated goods congest living areas and impede their intended use.”

The big decisions …

But let’s make an imaginative leap and assume that we’ve made the bold decision to de-clutter and throw some stuff away, for any number of good practical reasons (which we’ve covered extensively in previous articles) and/or that it might simply feel good to clear out some stuff and therefore free up some space.  How do we decide what to dispose of?

  1. Organise it.  Start by going through it all (which can in itself be a really enjoyable experience as you rediscover old things you haven’t seen in ages!) and sorting it into categories, perhaps along the lines of:
    1. collectibles (as above, ok to keep)
    2. things with sentimental or emotional value (ok to keep)
    3. other things.  With these, try and be ruthless.  If you don’t know what it is or does, is there really any point in keeping it?  Would a charity shop be able to sell it?  Would you be able to sell it, maybe on EBay?
  2. You’ll now have a pile of things notionally to get rid of.  To make sure you get it right, and don’t make any mistakes, why not leave this pile for a month just to be on the safe side?  Then, when you revisit the pile, if you’re satisfied that you no longer need it, well, you know what to do!
  3. Make some rules to try and stay de-cluttered:
    1. if you haven’t worn/used/played with, or whatever, something in the last year (set your own timescale that you’re happy with) then do you still need it?  Would someone else get more use out of it?
    2. when you get something new, discard something old (not books!)
    3. set an expiry date on everything you notice that you haven’t used in a while.  If you come across it again and the date has passed, let it go!
    4. don’t buy anything new (excluding books) unless you’ve considered whether you really need it for, say, 48 hours

De-cluttering can be hard when it means getting rid of things you’ve come to love over the years, but chances are you’ll come to love the extra space even more!

Self storage Fulham

So where do we come in?

Well, as we’ve covered in previous articles we provide a safe, secure, convenient and cost-effective solution to your off-site personal storage requirements – whatever they might be.  And here’s an idea – if you really are unsure whether you can dispose of your clutter or not, why not put it into storage for a few months and see how much you miss it!  If you manage to survive without undue heartache, perhaps you have your answer!

We are conveniently located a short walk from the Kings Road, and have satisfied clients right across London who can testify to our capability and customer service.

If you’re interested in how we can help you, please call us anytime on

0808 168 1310 (Freephone) or 020 7351 6800

Alternatively, click on the following link to go straight to our page on personal storage: Self Storage Fulham or here for our home page, or here if you want to contact us on-line. We’ll be absolutely delighted to help you, whatever your requirements are.