This week is 'Pass it on Week' 2019. Originating in Scotland, 'Pass it on Week' is a campaign dedicated to encouraging the nation to swap, recycle or donate old items we no longer use or need. This year's theme is "The Big Declutter", which challenges us to clear out our homes, looking after our environment, our communities and ourselves along the way.

Why is it important to declutter?

Whether it's our fifth pair of jeans, or a knickknack from the local charity shop, at some point, all of us have bought things we don't really need. However, regularly buying or collecting new clothes, gadgets or furniture can leave us with more possessions than we can handle. Without parting with what we no longer need, our homes can become cluttered, causing various hazards to our safety and well-being.

How do I start decluttering?

Although it can seem like a mammoth task at first, decluttering your home doesn't have to be a chore! There are many different ways in which you can make tidying your home into a fun or rewarding activity, such as:

  • Asking your friends, family and neighbours if they'd like what you're decluttering; you could have exactly what they're looking for.
  • Selling your items online through Ebay, Amazon or even Facebook; you could make a small profit from your old gear!
  • Donating your unwanted items to local charities, such as The Mustard Tree or Just Life; items you don't need could make a real difference to those struggling.
  • Looking out for local swapping events for clothes, furniture and some electricals; you can socialise as you swap!
  • Keeping an eye out on the high street - shops such as Monsoon, M&S and H&M regularly collect unwanted clothes in their stores; you can get rid of the old whilst shopping for the new!

What if I'm struggling to declutter?

Sometimes, the prospect of decluttering our homes can seem overwhelming. If you feel like you could use some extra helping hands, consider asking your friends and family if they can declutter with you.

If you find, however, that you are becoming stressed or upset at the thought of parting with some old items - even if they are broken, have little monetary value, or you have no use for them - then you may need some intensive assistance.

When a person finds it emotionally difficult to part with possessions, and also finds themselves compelled to buy more, they may be struggling with Hoarding Disorder.

Hoarding can pose a serious threat to a person's safety, as collecting items over months and years can lead to the entrances to their home becoming blocked and their living space shrinking. Furthermore, Hoarding Disorder can have a seriously negative impact on a person's mental health, leaving them feeling trapped in their own homes. Often, Hoarding itself is a symptom of an existing mental health issue, such as Depression or Anxiety.

How can Southway help?

Our Tenancy Support Team runs the 'Tidy Homes, Tidy Minds' programme, which offers practical support to individuals struggling with Hoarding Disorder. To find out more about 'Tidy Homes, Tidy Minds', click here.

Although it can feel intimidating or embarrassing, there is no shame in seeking help for Hoarding Disorder. Please be assured that, not only can we help, we want to.