House Clearance

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Moving house? How house clearance can help

According to the latest statistics, the average Brit moves home every 23 years; while this rate is nearly three times less often than we moved thirty years ago, it does mean that we will accumulate more items in our homes over that time. In fact, our homes are taken up by over five times as much storage space as the European average. With all of that clutter taking up our homes and our minds, it’s no wonder that Brits regularly vote moving house as the most stressful life experience.

Hiring professional house clearance specialists can help you reduce those levels of anxiety and stress, and our years of experience put Clearance Solutions at the head of the industry when it comes to service and professional advice. A full house clearance will save on much-needed space in your moving van, as well as turning your new home into a blank canvas for your new items, whether that’s furniture, bulk items or simply bric-a-brac.

Here is our expert advice on how house clearance can help you in advance of a house move.

Three questions to help you declutter during a house clearance

When did I last use it?

Hoarding disorder—the pathologically excessive accumulation of stuff in a home—affects over 1.2 million Brits, but our inability to let go of belongings can extend to a more benign level. For example, according to a Weight Watchers study, 51% of the clothes in Britain’s wardrobes are unworn—that accounts for £10.5 billion worth of garments. Set yourself a cut-off point of when you last used the things in your home, from clothes you rarely wear to books you’ll never read, and put anything that doesn’t meet that cut-off into a separate pile to throw away or donate to charity.

Can it still be used?

One recent survey showed that 63% of people keep unused items in their house “in case [they] need them in future”. However, you shouldn’t think of the contents of your home like a Swiss army knife, where there could be something for every occasion; if you discard something you might later need, you can always replace it at a later date.

These items can range from obsolete or broken electronics to old paperwork, all of which can be safely disposed of after they have truly run their course. A house clearance service can get rid of any waste electronics or broken items safely, making sure that any recyclable component parts aren’t sent to landfill. In the case of bills, tax documents or bank statements, these can be thrown away around two years after they have been received. Shredding them is the safest way to ensure your personal details don’t get into the wrong hands after being binned.

Does this need to be in my house?

There are a number of tricks which people use when trying to determine what to get rid of when clearing out their house, with the KonMarie method—”Ask yourself of each object: does it spark joy in my heart?”—particularly popular, if not hugely practical. While you shouldn’t feel obliged to get rid of everything, you should be rational about what you want to keep; the survey mentioned above also noted that over half of people keep things in their homes for sentimental reasons. This is completely understandable, and can be the motivation behind keeping shoeboxes of photographs, barely-used gifts, or half-full notebooks. It’s situations like this where a house clearance service can actually be of the most use, offering you advice and support on what will be most needed in your new home.

What are the benefits of a house clearance service before moving house?

By decluttering your property before moving, you are really freeing up space in two houses—your current home and your new one. A house clearance service can help make the rooms of your home seem bigger, which looks more appealing to any potential buyers by allowing them to imagine how their belongings will look in the space. Hiring house clearance specialists also ensures that you don’t continue to put off one of the aspects of moving house many homeowners dread the most.

When it comes to items of value which you wish to dispose of, we take their resale value into consideration, and deduct this from the cost of the clearance job. Unlike other house clearance companies, Clearance Solutions also makes the process as eco-friendly as possible, avoiding landfill at all costs, donating or upcycling anything which still has use, and recycling hundreds of tonnes of recyclable goods.

Causes to keep in mind when clearing your home

Clearance Solutions understand that a house clearance can turn your world upside-down. Inheriting a property, tackling a hoarding issue or even clearing out a new office building, just thinking about it can be stressful. However, we are committed to making this process as easy for you as possible, taking care of everything from packaging to deep cleaning. Keeping your world in check, but also doing our bit for the world we share. As part of the London Community Resource Network, we are constantly looking for ways to contribute to charities and organisations which protect the environment and those most at need.

Anybody undertaking a clearance project, from teenage bedrooms to the garden shed, should do the same. There are always worthy causes in need of donations.

 

 

Always protect the environment

No matter how tough a clearance task you take on, the environment should never be far from your mind. A seemingly organised room can generate unprecedented amounts of stuff, which is then quickly bundled into black bin bags and thrown straight out the front door. Needless to say, this is far from ideal. Bottles, waste paper and all manner of plastic paraphernalia are some of the more recognisable recyclables that lurk under beds and behind sofas. If items can be recycled then sending them off to landfills to sit and not rot is a pretty lousy option.

Recycling gives raw materials an opportunity to once again go forth into the world’ glass jam jars can be reborn as building bricks and old baked beans tins may become the bell on a bike. Exciting as recycling prospects are, it’s no longer considered the most option environmentally sound option. We can now go one better: reuse.

By reusing we are giving inanimate objects a new lease of life without the fuel guzzling, carbon emitting processes that are required in recycling. Reusing requires less imagination and less energy; use plastic food and drink containers again, keep plastic cutlery and, of course, hold on to plastic bags for dear life.

Reusing goes beyond the contents of bins; items in your house and wardrobe are also likely to end up in recycle skips when they could and should put to use somewhere else. Clearance Solutions salvage as much furniture as possible, in 2013 we saved over 2500 tonnes of CO2 by reusing furniture that would otherwise have been dismantled and recycled.

Your part in the refugees crisis

We are fortunate enough to live in one of world’s most privileged countries, where the vast majority have a good standard of living. There are huge numbers of people across the world that are not so lucky. Donating belongings you no longer want or need to international causes is a small way of providing for these groups and supporting the organisations which care for them.

In 2016, the biggest humanitarian issue we face is the Syrian refugee crisis. Though the scale of the situation is overwhelming, there are still a number of ways you can help.

Organisations such as UNHCR have made several world wide appeals for people to donate everyday items such as winter clothing, blankets, tents etc. To many of us, these are belongings which rarely make it out of the cupboard under the stairs, but to refugees trying to survive without shelter and heat, these supplies could make big difference to their quality of life during this uncertain time.

Help the homeless

Closer to home, there are also people who have next to nothing. Britain’s homeless population has continued to grow over the last few years. As local authorities struggle to cope, new donation schemes have sprung up in order to provide some much needed basic provisions. Annual events such as Wrap Up London encourage people to donate their old winter coats, while many other charities ask for clothing, shoes and sleeping bags for the homeless throughout the year.

This winter there was also a movement which cut out any middleman organisations. All over the world coats were tied to lampposts for people sleeping on the streets to collect, with others handing out coats directly to those in need.

Support UK flood victims

After you’ve cleared your house of extra coats and bedding, bottles and cans, you’re left with the heftier half of clearance: furniture. As we mentioned early, it’s not at all uncommon for chairs and tables to get thrown in skips and dumps because home-owners don’t know what else to do with them.

In South Easterly parts of the UK, we’ve been unaffected by the terrible floods that have devastated areas in the North and South-West. Cumbria, for example, suffered severe flooding over christmas and into the New Year, completely gutting family homes and leaving them with empty, damaged houses.

Donating basic furnishings like a kitchen table could help flood victims find their feet and get on with their everyday lives while they recover.

3 minimalist living lessons to declutter your home & mind

At Clearance Solutions, we’re strong advocates of the belief that living in a cluttered house can cramp your style. That’s one of the reasons why we’re so dedicated to providing a range of services to those in need of a house clearance. But how can we go about maintaining a clutter-free environment on a daily basis?

Minimalist living is a small but growing lifestyle based on the principle that less is more. It’s sometimes seen as a way to get rid of things and start afresh. Helpful to those wishing to live a more peaceful life, the benefits of downsizing also extend to the environment.

 

So, what are some of the practical lessons that we can learn to help us keep both our homes and heads clear?

 

Storage is significant

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As the helpful clutter-combating aphorism goes: “a place for everything and everything in its place”. All household items should have a place to be stored, and those items should be stored away when not in use.

There are some great answers to storage problems that can keep clutter out of your way. Lots of furniture such as beds and tables come with discreet built-in space.  

Alternatively, identifying a suitable place in your house for easily storing items can be equally useful. For example, under the stairs can be a very practical place.

So is removing items

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There’s a very good reason why some people find it hard to get rid of clutter.

A report by researchers at Yale suggests that letting go of clutter can actually cause you pain. According to their findings, the two parts of the brain that are generally associated with pain show increased activity when we are deciding which objects should be discarded.

To ease this pain a little, try sorting items you’re not sure about into assorted boxes for items you haven’t used for a month, six months and a year. At the end of that time, if an item hasn’t made its way out of the box, you probably don’t need it.

If you need a large scale house clearance at the end of this process, we can save you money and keep items out of the waste-stream.

You have to ask others

It’s always useful to have someone else’s opinion. Find someone you trust who will answer you honestly when you ask if you simply have too much stuff.

If you need to talk to a professional house clearance service, feel free to give us a call.

The Clearance Solutions team - proud to be an ethical clearance company

You’re probably not likely to become a minimalist overnight, but you can certainly bring some order back into your living space with a bit of help.

How Clearing Your House Can Actually Clear Your Mind

You may see our house clearance service as merely a practical solution to your storage needs, but it is so much more than that. Recent studies suggest a strong link between the welfare of the house and the welfare of the brain, meaning clearing your house can actually help clear your mind.

Mess vs Stress

We all get stressed out when our possessions aren’t in order, but this could actually be more serious than you think. According to experts at Princeton University Neuroscience Institute, too much clutter can affect your ability to concentrate, focus and process information. If you are having trouble with any of these things and your house is a mess, it might be worth having a clearout.

Konmari Method

Anyone who keeps up with lifestyle blogs knows that minimalist living is more fashionable than ever. Thanks to decluttering techniques and advice from Japanese author Marie Kondo, more people than ever are ridding their house of everything but the things they need the most.

Kondo’s techniques include taking a steadfast approach to throwing away old things, based on the theory that clutter creates stress. Her methods also include an innovative folding technique that ensures your belongings take up the least possible space. Kondo, who has been an avid tidying enthusiast since age 5, says she is living proof that de-cluttering relieves stress, and that living only with what you need will make you a happier, more relaxed person.

Hoarding Disorder

Sometimes clutter becomes more than an inconvenience and turns into a serious psychological illness. Clearing a house can be tough for a hoarder. Compulsive hoarding disorder can often result in clutter creating stress and potential physical harm.

Clearance Solutions understands how tough clearing a hoarder’s house can be. That’s why we have a special compulsive hoarding clearance service that deals sensitively with situations like these to help put your mind at ease. If someone you know is a hoarder, or if you think you might be, it’s important to get help and information from a charity like MIND, or from the NHS. When you think it’s time, nothing will clear your mind more than a clear out.

Sensitive Clearances

There are other sensitive situations when house clearance might put you at ease. The death of a loved one, for example, creates all sorts of stressful situations. Planning the funeral, informing relatives and dealing with inheritance all take priority, but clearing the house is something that also needs to be done.

Clearance Solutions will help you at this difficult time. We take care to avoid throwing away anything of potential financial or emotional value, relieving you of the stress of clearing and the guilt of throwing away important things. Clearing the house may not fully clear your mind at this time, but it will at least help.

Do you know where your household trash goes?

At Clearance Solutions, we pride ourselves on reusing and recycling as many of your unwanted household goods as we can through our environmentally motivated house clearance operations. Better still, we donate anything that is still usable to good causes. Sadly, not every removal company is as willing to take this step to make their service eco-friendly. The UK still produces around 26.5 million tonnes of controlled waste per year, and a study conducted in 2011 suggests that by the end of the decade, we will have run out of landfill sites. In terms of illegally dumped waste, there were 900,000 reported fly-tipping incidents over the last twelve months, which is a disappointing 5% annual increase.

Without giving consideration to the likely destinations of our unwanted items, there’s every chance that the piles of urban landfill will make a return to our city streets on a scale not seen since the seventies. So where might your stuff end up in less eco-conscious hands?

Electronic Goods: Into an urban mine

According to the Atlantic, “up to 80% of all the electronic devices and appliances thrown away around the world” may find their way to remote dumps in other parts of the world. The example they give of an “urban mine” in Ghana called Agbogbloshie paints a devastating picture of an often-unexplored aspect of landfill waste.

A vast landscape of disused scrap metal and electronics, Agbogbloshie directly impacts the health of the 40,000 local residents. The article even notes that, according to Interpol, “one of every three shipping containers inspected leaving Europe for the developing world is packed with illegal electronic waste.”

Plastics: An ocean of bottle-tops

Not all plastics can actually be recycled, and not all local councils collect those that can, even with our consumption of plastic increasing twentyfold in the last fifty years. The lids of many bottles are made of a different form of plastic from the bottles themselves, which can make it difficult to separate at the recycling stage. And since plastic itself doesn’t bio-degrade, disposing of it correctly is extremely important.

A worst case scenario for poor plastic disposal is the “Great Pacific garbage patch,” discovered by Captain Charles Moore in 1999. Thought by some to be the size of Texas, it is comprised of primarily of discarded plastics – from bottle-tops to children’s toys – and has poisoned local wildlife to a terrifying extent. It is estimated that over a million sea creatures and birds are killed each year from being caught in, or eating, plastic.

Furniture: When is a table not a table?

The fate of your unwanted sofas and tables is a little more positive. As local authorities are becoming more understanding of the need to reuse raw materials (particularly metals and woods), they have begun encouraging people to try and re- or up-cycle their unwanted furniture, rather than have it taken away for a fee.

Rubbish: Try to treasure your trash

According to a 2012 news article, 78% of our rubbish goes unrecycled. Although members of the public, and local authorities, are fined for mismanaged waste, there is no guarantee that it will be handled correctly once it is taken away. One report claims that “at least 4 million tons of UK industrial, commercial and household waste is shipped overseas.”

Clearance Solutions guarantee that any of your waste that can’t be reused will be handled and recycled by licensed professionals, with environmental considerations at the forefront of our process.

Don’t Let It Go To Waste: Toy Story’s Hidden Lesson

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Pixar work wonders into their productions, often standing peerless in their ability to appeal not only to children, but to the child inside everyone.

Their first feature film with Walt Disney Pictures was Toy Story (1995). This movie began an unprecedented era of success for the production company, one that continues up to the present day.

The trilogy (soon to be quadrilogy) has films set either side of the turn of the millennium in the midst of Western civilisation’s consumer culture. As house clearance experts, we couldn’t help but connect with one theme: anxiety over waste, especially waste of reusable items.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Toy Story’s implicit messages on waste fundamentals

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Toy Story echoes a number of the core ideas behind environmentally responsible approaches to dealing with waste. After all, in each of the films the toys must deal with the frightening prospect of disposal.

For those unfamiliar with the first instalment, Toy Story’s plot is built around a 1950s toy cowboy called Woody and his fear of being replaced by the new Buzz Lightyear toy. But despite Buzz being the hottest new toy, kitted out with electronic features (rendering Woody outmoded), his owner, Andy, doesn’t play with Woody any less.

Waste lesson: You don’t need to replace what works.

In the film’s sequel we experience Woody’s panic of being cast out as a broken toy. However, Woody is discovered by a collector who recognises Woody’s value and repairs him.

Waste lesson: Try to repair what is broken.

In the third film Woody and his toy friends become unused and narrowly avoid destruction. By the end of the film, Andy has found a way to get more use out of his toys, though he doesn’t play with them any more, by donating them.

Waste lesson: Donate what you don’t need to someone who does.

The state of waste now

According to urban development specialist Dan Hoorweg and his colleagues, Chris Kennedy and Perinaz Bhada-Tata, global production of solid waste is set to double by 2025 in urban areas.

They suggest that without a move towards stable populations, more resource-efficient cities, less consumption and better use of technology, the rate of solid waste production may continue to increase at an alarming rate into the next century.

A 2012 report by Hoorweg and Bhada-Tata, ‘What a Waste: A Global Review of Solid Waste Management’ (2012) led them to predict that global waste production will exceed 11 million tonnes per day by 2100. However, an increase to this level is based on cities continuing to develop and discard waste at the current rate.

Learning from Toy Story

So what can we learn from Toy Story’s happy ending? How can we avoid the world ending up resembling a Wall-E type dystopia full of skyscraping rubbish heaps and uninhabitable land? By learning how to deal with unwanted items.

The resolution to Woody and co’s narrative is to escape a landfill wasted fate by finding solace in donation and reusability. At Clearance Solutions we deal with unwanted household items, such as toys and furniture, on a daily basis. Based in London, we began with a mission to decrease the rather shocking volume of reusable items that were being needlessly discarded by households.

We continue to prioritise the practice of reusability and its benefits, such as: saving energy used to manufacture new products, decreasing the demand for raw materials, reducing pollution and preventing items entering the waste stream in the first place.

Such a policy is not only eco-friendly, but it is also one that Woody and his toy pals would definitely endorse.

Clearance Solutions’ Uncovered Relics

Moving house often leads to a trip down memory lane as you uncover pictures and memorabilia you hadn’t thought about in years.

For Clearance Solutions, our thorough approach to house clearance has led to us uncovering all kinds of interesting relics from throughout the ages. This has proven to yield two benefits. Firstly we get to resell the items and keep our clients’ costs down, and secondly, we get to learn the history behind our fascinating finds.

Here we present a handful of our favourite relics from our Instagram account.

Victorian Drawing Compass Set

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Unless you’re an artist, architect or engineer, you might not have used a compass since those maths classes at school when you had to find intersecting lines or draw geometric shapes. Yet, rather than summoning mere memories of school, this Victorian box and its contents can be appreciated in its own right by anybody. This beautiful set of Victorian drawing compasses have the refined but practical aesthetic of a well-loved and used tool.

21st Century Royal Thimbles Marking the 200th Isambard Kingdom Brunel Anniversary

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Did you know that thimbles are tools used in sewing? While they are still used by seamsters and seamstresses today, they are often used as commemorative pieces created to mark a national occasion. These six, sterling silver, royal thimbles are a stunning find.

They mark the 200th anniversary of the birth of Isambard Kingdom Brunel in 2006. Brunel was a pioneering engineer and one of the greatest of the 19th century. He designed many bridges, tunnels and railways still standing in Britain today, such as the Clifton Suspension Bridge in Bristol.

Opium Weights

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Although we could not date these ornate bronze opium weights, they have the markings and wear of frequently used tools from days gone by. Ornately shaped weights, such as these, have been and still are crafted in Burma.

The weights were originally used to measure out opium, but have additionally been used to weigh food, raw materials and metals. Traditionally, Burmese opium weights are shaped as birds but other animal sets have been created over the many years as they are a popular memento for tourists visiting Burma.

17th Century Water Bottle

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At first sight, you might not realise this is a water bottle as it is a far cry from the disposable water bottles that we are so used to in the 21st century. The bold design and sturdy shape allowed these items to last years at a time. Back in the 17th century, water bottles were reusable across one’s lifetime, attached to belts and saddles for long travels by horse or foot.

Centre Beam Balance Scale

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The balance scale is quickly becoming a relic of the past, with digital scales taking over shops and kitchens around the world. Though conceived as a tool, the scale is a recognised symbol of justice and fairness and notable the symbol for Libra in astrology.

One of the greatest things about finds such as this is seeing the simplified, practical version. How many children will even know what this is in five years?

A lesson on reuse

At Clearance Solutions, we clear properties with care and precision. This means we avoid unnecessary damages to items that could have a potential use or resale value. Of course, it also means that we eliminate the risk of damaging surprising antique discoveries.

It’s remarkable that we continue to uncover beautiful artefacts like the ones listed above. It’s also heartening to think that these items, which could have easily entered the waste-stream, have become valuable and intriguing objects through evading it.

Part of our mission is to reduce waste and reuse as much unwanted material as possible.

As much as we enjoy finding curiosities throughout our regular clearance operations and finding keen buyers, we really love seeing ordinary unwanted objects finding a new home. Unlike a 17th Century water bottle, old furniture isn’t particularly beguiling to look at. However, we know it’s much more useful and that many people need it.

We take pride in our donations of reusable items to good causes. Not only do we keep our clients’ costs down but we also help those who, in the words of teacher Madame Emilie Lo, “have the human resources but not the material resources”.

 

What a home removal horror story looks like and how to avoid one

Everybody understands that home removals and relocations can be a stressful affair. Unfortunately, some people create even more problems for themselves when they choose the cheapest furniture removal company because of the assumption: ‘all removal companies do the same job right?’

While that may be true on a very basic level, it doesn’t take efficiency into account.

We have listed some common disasters that can occur as a result of choosing the wrong removal service, along with some words of advice from the Clearance Solutions team on how to avoid them.

 

 

 

Make sure the clearance company specialises in house clearance work

House clearance is a specialised service, and it is important to get a company that know what they are doing, and have properly trained and experienced staff to deal with the task at hand.

Many removal companies and wait and load rubbish collection companies are not able to carry out all of the elements necessary because it requires staff to be specifically trained in a wide range of skills. In many cases non-specialists will not allow their staff to do one or more of the services listed below due to insurance or safety considerations.

Make sure the company you choose can:

– Ensure safe and responsible disposal of a wide range of waste streams, including hazardous materials that can’t just be put in a skip, such as fridges, TV’s and paint.

– Collect items from anywhere on the property, which can involve working at heights, or in areas without light and difficult access (attics, basements).

– Identify and be equipped to deal with materials that pose potential health hazards, including asbestos and bio-hazards (Companies that have not trained their staff appropriately may not perform work in the environments that contain these risks).

– Remove heavy and bulky items safely and without damaging the fabric of the property – and can protect the property when doing so.

– Disconnect appliances such as washing machines and gas cookers – and have a clear process for assessing when it is not safe to do so.

– Identify, collect and properly deal with confidential information, such as bank statements, Identification cards and hard drives that may be discovered during the course of the clearance.

If you neglect to assess whether your clearance company can give you the specialised service you require, you could run into a series of risks.

Damage to items

The goods being transported from A to B should obviously be the priority of the service, but unfortunately their safety is not always guaranteed.

If items are poorly packaged or not handled carefully during the move, you could find many of your items damaged or broken beyond repair when you come to unpack them.

Fragile items can smash, larger pieces of furniture can be dented, chipped and scratched simply because of careless handling.

Regardless of the removal company you use, Clearance Solutions recommend unpacking your boxes as soon as possible to check for any potential damage and ensure you are covered under their insurance.

With professionals, you should expect the clearance team to pack and unpack items for you.

Not enough room in the removal vehicle

Removal companies who misjudge the quantity of goods to be removed may bring a vehicle too small for transporting all of your items and thus cause delays to your removal.

At Clearance Solutions, we ensure communication between ourselves and our clients is efficient throughout our service. This means we always bring the correctly sized vehicle with the right team to complete removals and relocations within a prearranged schedule time.

Damage to property

Careless removal techniques can easily lead to property damage when bulky items are being moved around.

Collisions with doorframes and scrapes on walls are too common with unprofessional removal services. You do not want to damage a property being left behind and compensate its new owner, neither do you want to end up having to redecorate your new home to cover the removal company’s mistakes.

Clearance Solutions would advise anyone to take pictures of the damage to support any insurance claims and repair requirements. But such problems can be avoided by choosing a company like ourselves with staff who boast over 10 years of experience in removals and carry out the procedure in a controlled and careful manner.

Not enough packing material

While you can choose to use your own packing materials, our service provides all the packing materials (boxes, paper, bubble wrap, tape) that you require, for a set price per type of packaging.

If a company fails to provide enough packaging material, delays can be caused to what is already a timely process. Taking shortcuts on packaging will usually result in breakages too.

For those who are looking to go it alone, we would recommend making use of any soft materials such as pillows and cushions to secure crockery, along with newspaper for wrapping ornaments.

The potential for something to go wrong during a home or office removal is, perhaps surprisingly, quite high.

But without wanting to put people off from furniture and item removals entirely, all we can simply recommend to avoid these problems is to choose a trustworthy removal service such as Clearance Solutions.

Household Recycling Is On The Rise In England, But Is It Enough?

A report released by the government this month shows recycling of household waste in England has crept up to 45% in the year leading up to September 2014.

While it’s tempting to say that any improvement to recycling statistics is encouraging, is this figure good enough?

The figures show a 1.1% increase in recycled waste from the previous year’s 43.9%. Although this is an improvement, it is only a modest improvement and there are fears that this is actually a sign of the recycling trend slowing down.

These signs come alongside the news that overall household generated waste has increased in the same 12 month period by 4%.

The widespread fear is that Britain as a whole will fail to reach its EU aim: to have 50% of households recycling waste by 2020. Unfortunately, if the rate of growth from the last 5 years is replicated, then Britain will fail to meet it.

Last year Anne McIntosh, the Chair for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee, called for greater political intervention in order to get households recycling more. She told the Guardian: “We need the government to step in and pick up the pieces if need be… where we seem to have been slow in this country is in recognising waste as a resource; it is an economic commodity.”

Local council’s policies on recycling are making a difference

At a more local level however, councils across the country have taken their own initiative with getting households to recycle – initiatives which are paying dividends.

Denbigshire’s council took their area from one of the worst recycling performers in the UK, to one of the country’s finest, with the simple introduction of blue recycling wheelie bins, an increased recycling range of plastics and food packaging, and orange compositing caddies. Repeat offenders of ‘recycling contamination’ are deterred by offences being followed up with phone calls, personal visits and enforcement.

In Bath and North East Somerset, 75% of waste goes to recycling and MBT (mechanical biological treatment). The MBT involves a mechanical sifting process that separates metals, plastics and food waste, before redirecting it all to recycling and anaerobic digestion plants.

This MBT method for recycling is very similar to our own at Clearance Solutions and we believe it is the most effective. Where we find waste and items that are damaged beyond repair, we sort them into their separate waste-streams while still on-site. We then ensure that we achieve the highest rate of recycling by taking each load of waste to the appropriate recycling plant.

Kingston Upon Thames is one of London’s better performing boroughs, primarily through moving recycling and residual waste collection to fortnightly occasions, and by pushing a kitchen waste compost initiative. Overall this has contributed to the borough’s household recycling rate reaching 46.31%, with 22% of that figure coming from recycled food waste.

Rochford turned their recycling rate from one of the lowest in Essex (29%), to the highest in the country (60%), with the implementation of a very simple and effective scheme. By making the recycling bins outside homes the biggest (240L), the mindset of waste disposal shifted to a greater focus on recycling. Collection of the kitchen and garden bin was scheduled for weekly collection, while all other bins were collected fortnightly – encouraging people to compost the smelly waste.

Recycling is important, but reusing is imperative

The rate of recycling must improve nationwide for us to reach the EU target, but more importantly there should be an emphasis on reusability.

Clearance Solutions treat recycling as a last resort. Where something can be reused, we will try our hardest to make sure it is. Our focus on reusability ensures less items enter the waste stream and that the energy which is normally used to make these products is saved.

In turn, this will also reduce pollution seeing as the manufacturing process will be avoided. For the items which we manage to sell from a house clearance, they will be available to potential buyers at a more affordable price and this will hopefully encourage more people to reuse in general before they even consider recycling.

Tips on how to save money on your house clearance

Whether you are looking to clear some clutter that has built up over the years at home, or dealing with the difficult and sad process of clearing a deceased friend’s or relative’s house, the following tips can help reduce the costs.

With a bit of extra time and effort, there are plenty of ways to save money on a house clearance – you could even make some money from it too.

Before starting the process, find a quote from a clearance company. You will then have a benchmark to see if you can save money by following some of these suggestions yourself.

Sell items of value

Depending on how much time you have, you can sell a whole host of items potentially being cleared. As well as generating revenue, this also reduces the quantity of stuff you need clearing, and can help reduce costs.

For anything of significant value, such as antiques, jewellery or works of art, you should take expert advice and sell through reputable independent auctions. If you do sell to a dealer or an individual, make sure you have got a second opinion on the item first. It is easy to email a picture and a brief description to an auction house, and they will give you a trustworthy estimate.

For less valuable stuff, such as ordinary furniture, crockery, records, clothes, books and bric-a-brac, you can list the items on sites such as eBay, Etsy and Gumtree. With a bit of research you can find what similar items have sold for. It is much more useful to know actual sale prices that have been achieved, rather than the asking prices some sellers are seeking.

For the truly enterprising, selling at a car boot sale is a great way to make a profit on bric-a-brac when clearing a house. Every weekend there are hundreds of car boot sales all over the country. Entry fees are typically around £10 per car. Be prepared for an early start to make sure you get in, and brace yourself for some serious haggling!

But do not undersell

But a word of warning when selling your items. Whether through dealers, auctions, online or at a car boot sale, you need to make sure you do not undersell the items.

Any professional house clearance company worth their salt will factor the value of resalable items into their charges. So if the charge to clear the rubbish and non-saleable items is £300, but there’s £100 of resalable value in the clearance, the clearance company may reduce the charge by £50. (NB the clearance company, like any dealer, will need to make a profit on the items ‘bought’, so if they think they will sell the items for £100, they may ‘offer’ £50).

So in order to reduce the overall costs, you need to sell these items for more than the clearance company is offering. In the example above, it would be more than £50.

Donate to charity

Charity shops and furniture donation networks are always in need of good quality stock. And because they have lower running costs than private sector shops (due to volunteers, zero rates, subsidised rent etc) they sometimes accept items that wouldn’t be viable for the private businesses.

But charity shops still have costs and need to make money, so they will select items that they think they can sell well at a decent price – they are not free rubbish tips however!

The sort of items charity shops want are good quality clothes, books, records, ornaments, pictures, crockery and cutlery. Most do not take bulky items such as furniture (due to costs of collection, storage and delivery), or electrical items (due to safety regulations ). Some organisations specialise in these areas, and you can arrange a collection from the property.

Whether donating to charity reduces the overall cost of a house clearance depends on the quantity and value of the items donated. If many relatively low value items are donated, the overall costs to clear the remaining items will be lower. If a small quantity of relatively high value items are donated, the costs are likely to be greater. This is because the prices for clearing the property in terms of labour and disposal are more or less the same, but there is less value to offset against the charges.

Some people want to support charities through the donation of goods, and do not mind the possibility of paying a little more for the remaining clearance.

Others prefer to save money on the clearance, and donate the saving to a charity of their choice which may not have a local shop (or any shop at all). This way the much needed cash goes straight to good causes – saving the charity any fees and the effort of a sale.

If you have received a quote from a professional house clearance company, you can always ask them what effect donations will have on the price.

Give to friends, relatives and neighbours

A great way to clear a property is to give stuff away to your family, friends and neighbours. This way you can save money and win a few popularity contests too!
Take some photos and email them to people asking if they want anything. Mark down who wants want and give them a date to collect.

Use a local household recycling centre

All councils operate recycling centres, these are free of charge for residents disposing of household waste if they take the items there themselves in private vehicles. However, there are restrictions for items that are classed as hazardous waste (such as fridges, TV’s and paint) and DIY waste. Proof of residency may be required. Go to your local council’s website for more details.

The cost effective way to deal with hazardous waste

Hazardous waste, such as paints, solvents, oils, fridges and TV’s can be expensive to get rid off. Businesses such as clearance companies are charged a lot of money by specialist hazardous waste processing companies, and so they pass these costs on to their customers.

If you have a lot of old paint or other hazardous products in the property you are clearing, the best thing to do is to take it yourself to your local household recycling centre. They have restrictions on the quantities that can be got rid of free of charge, and may not take all types, so check before going.

For paint and other hazardous liquids, another option is to arrange a free collection by the council. They do this for residents at their home address. This can take a while – sometimes collections need to be booked weeks in advance – but if you have a lot of paint to get rid of, it can save you a lot of money. The best place to look for information is on your council’s website.

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