As a family we are at that ‘transitional’ stage where the older generation are in the process of ‘departing’ (either to long term care or something more permanent) while our adult children are thinking seriously about their first home. As a result, we are looking at unwanted possessions (from all generations) and saying – could they be useful elsewhere?
Our home has become a dumping ground for everything that ‘might have a use’.

If you too find yourself in this position then here are some pointers that may help.

Our parents generation experienced ‘post war austerity’ with the mantra ‘hold on to it, it might be useful’. My father-in-law had the complete set of kettles (and now I discover toasters!) covering the period 1945 to his death. What he should have asked is why? Put another way he not only gave these items house-room but kept them warm, dry and fully insured!

Other rationale we heard includes ‘they are perfectly good’ (in which case why are you not using them?!) and ‘they are too good to throw out’ (in that case sell them or give them away).

Those familiar with sorting out an estate will also be aware of the cost of disposal. Save up all those things that should be ‘moved on’ and dispose of them all at once and you will find it necessary to get out your cheque book.

When empting my parents place we lined up a tip permit, charity shop collection, auction house and endless family. Once it had all gone we deducted the cost of disposal against the money raised – and found ourselves £1500 out of pocket.

The ultimate insult was that tax is paid on any money raised but the costs are not an allowable expense! Ho hum….