A spring bank holiday weekend clear-out… Why not? You’ll gain space, peace of mind and perhaps end up with a sizeable donation to give to charity. Sure, it can be an effort (been there just a couple of weeks ago), but the more prepared you are, the easier and more rewarding it will be. Read these 5 things to get you ready for operation loft clearance.

  1. Prepare for dust
    Dress for battle if you aren’t calling in professionals like www.klutterking.co.uk. Seriously. Shifting long-forgotten pieces of furniture, boxes and old loft insulation will dredge up industrial levels of dust, fluff, mould and Lord knows what. We suggest wearing an FFP3 grade dust mask, CE marked, available at any hardware store. You may feel slightly overdressed, but your lungs will thank you for it. (Ours were black after a couple of hours’ work.) And put on goggles and gloves while you’re at it. And, of course, take a good torch.
  2. Beware of dead stuff
    Look out for fauna. Dead more often than not. Wasps, bees, moths, mice, spiders, bats, birds – the animal kingdom loves a life between the eaves. Careful with active wasps’ nests – they don’t need much provocation, but that’s what pest control is for. Also, when we say dead stuff, we don’t mean vintage taxidermy – that’s bonus cash in the attic; if you find that, flog it!
    3. Don’t mention the C word* – hoarder, moi?
    Beer mat collections, tacky holiday souvenirs, broken vacuum cleaners you’ve been meaning to repair (we found three… don’t ask), videos, trampolines and other well-intentioned NY resolutions/regimes that we didn’t follow through… Hey, we’ve all accumulated stuff/clutter*.

The trick is to know what to hang on to and what to let go. Of course, it’s not for anyone to tell you what to keep or not. Based on personal experience, we’d say be honest with yourself. Yes, you may protest, ‘Oh, but I need that!’ But if you really need it, what’s it doing in the loft you visit once in a blue moon?

  1. Think like a Buddhist – no attachments
    An attic clearance can be a sentimental journey, full of nostalgia and wistful reminiscing (‘So that‘s where my favourite doodah went’). And while it’s easy to clear stuff you don’t want (ie things you’ve no emotional connection with), it can be difficult to part with the things you’re attached to. We’re talking furniture from previous homes that doesn’t quite work in the new place, stuff the kids made, letters, photos, heirlooms.

To clarify your judgment, try asking yourself: Do I use it? Would I save it in a fire? Would I buy it now? Have on hand boxes/black bags marked Chuck, Charity and Keep. Why not pass on the stuff you don’t like to someone who might actually use or enjoy it? Try Freecycle or eBay. Be grateful for the things that served you, then move on. If you are keeping it, organise it. Use transparent boxes and label.