Dejunk your house in a weekend

Had enough of all the clutter clogging up your hallway and cupboards? Time Out shows you how to get rid of it all in one weekend. Roll up your sleeves…

  • Where do I begin?

    You, me and half of London are squirrelling away objects, clothes and junk we just don't need; from unworn sale purchases collecting dust and moth holes in the wardrobe to granny's gaudy china set. The truth is, we could all live with a lot less stuff. Furthermore, your junk could go to other people who might make good use of it.

    'The most important thing is to decide why you want to declutter and write it down so it keeps you focused,' says Julie Riley of Homestraight, a company that specialises in staging your house for sale or rent. It could be that you are embarrassed by your mess, your mother-in-law is coming to stay in a couple of weeks or you have someone new moving in. Put an entire weekend to one side, including the Friday night. Set aside some old clothes for you and your partner/friend/kidnapee – it's vital to do it with someone else – to wear. Get a stock of big plastic bags: the Homestraight team recommends heavy-duty garden sacks in different colours, plastic storage boxes and files for stationery.

    If you have lots of books, get a few cardboard boxes from the supermarket and if you have clothes/towels/sheets, a few of those large zip-up checked plastic bags from your local bric-a-brac shop or market will come in handy. 'Set a time limit each day – 10am-4pm is long enough,' says Riley who, along with her partners Kate Hunter and Sim Hughes, says it's vital to 'have a goal/treat at the end of each day, like a beer and the football, so you have something to look forward to.'

    All prepared. Now what?

    Write a list of all the rooms you want to tackle in order of priority, ie most urgent first. Don't try and do it all at once. 'Always do one room completely before you go on to the next; otherwise you are just making more clutter,' says Hunter. Organise rubbish into recyclable and non-recyclable (straight into the plastic bags). Around 60 per cent of your household waste can now be recycled (including paper, cardboard, wood, plastics, old computers, batteries, textiles, glass, cans and other electrical appliances), so make sure you keep this separate from charity shop/car boot sale/eBay stuff and genuine rubbish.The Homestraight team suggests five key points to bear in mind:
    Start with big objects in each room first, then move on to the small trinkets.2. If you haven't worn or used something for a year, ditch it.3. Organise as you go along, group like with like. 4. Store all off-season clothes away in suitcases, quality vacuum packs or bags.5. Once you've completed the dejunk task set aside half an hour every day to keep it up. You need to be disciplined.

    Where do I take all the junk?

    If you've got a car, take anything you can recycle to your nearest Reuse & Recycle Centre. Take all wearable clean clothes, footwear and other functional household goods to the charity shop during opening hours and put anything you want to sell on eBay or give away on Freecycle immediately so that they don't lurk in your house. Also check what your local council will and won't collect – many will pick up old fridges and bulky items such as sofas and beds (a limited amount per year) free of charge but charge up to £40 for other objects. Alternatively, get the experts in.

    Any Junk will remove anything non-hazardous, from sofas to old washing-machines and electrical items, as will junk2clear, which (like Any Junk) sends a driver and a large truck (the size of two domestic skips) round to your house. Just point to the rubbish and the team will load up the truck, charging by space – £99 (including VAT) for a quarter load to £255 for a full load. In both cases you just give them one or two days' notice.

    Useful contacts

    Any Junk UK (07766 027549/ Cost £60 an hour or £300 a day (six hours).Junk2clear


    Ealing Acton Reuse & Recycling Centre, Stirling Rd, W3 (
    Islington (and Hackney) 1 Cottage Rd (off Holloway Rd), N7 (
    Southwark Manor Place Depot, Manor Place (off Walworth Rd), SE17 (

    Websites To sell all unwanted objects with value.www.freecycle.orgTo give away household objects you no longer want to people in your area who may need them. www.londonfreelist.comTo check times and addresses of local car boot sales. We recommend Battersea, Wimbledon and Holloway Road.www.recycleforlondon.comFor a list of places to recycle in London.

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