Why I needed to clear this property

I manage some properties and one of them had become vacant. However, in order to make it available for rent again, I needed to empty it. The tenant didn’t want any furniture and to be honest, what was there, wasn’t in the best condition either!

What were my options?

There were a few ways in which I could get the unwanted furniture removed. These included:-

  • take photos of the items and create ads to sell them
  • donate the items to an organisation that fundraises for charity
  • post the details on Gumtree or Freecycle and give them away
  • put them in storage-saving them for another day
  • pay the council to come and remove them

My decision

I contacted Trinity and arranged for them to take whatever they could sell. I have donated items to them before and found them to be careful, thorough, punctual and efficient. They fix a time slot and can call when they’re a certain distance away. This is great because it gives the donor a bit of flexibility in terms of not having to be at the property for the entire time slot.

Trinity was going through a good period and after receiving multiple donations, they didn’t have much room in their warehouse. Thus they could be a bit picky and take the items which were the best of the lot.

Trinity left me a leaflet, sharing some tips for what to do with the items that they didn’t collect. This included phone numbers for the local council and some removals companies.

I decided to put the rest on Gumtree but in the Freebie section and within 24 hours, the flat was empty!

The experience was smooth, effortless and calm

I don’t know if you’ve used Gumtree or Freecycle before, but I’ve found that when I’ve posted ads on them, I’m often inundated with messages within a few hours and it continues until the items are taken and I’ve deleted the ad.

I was very aware of the fact that I didn’t want to be making multiple trips to the flat, so when I was contacted by interested parties, I specified that I would be available between 6:15 p.m. and 6:45 p.m. I also explained that I wouldn’t be able to help them remove the items, so they came with someone who could assist them with the lifting.

I made a list of the items and the names of the people who were supposed to be collecting them. When anyone contacted me after I’d committed the item to someone else, I had a message which I cut and pasted into the app, which explained that I have someone who is due to collect it, but if they don’t I’ll let them know. On the day, something is bound to happen. They may be stuck in traffic, they may suddenly not have access to their vehicle, they may be unwell and so on.

One person realised he couldn’t make it before 7:30 p.m. so I contacted the others and then shared the address with whoever committed first.

What happened between 6:15 pm. and 6:45 p.m.

I didn’t want to be there on my own, so I made sure the slot was based on a time when someone would be free to be by my side. On this occasion, it was my hubby, Suraj.

Suraj got there before 6:15 p.m. so he was there before anyone arrived. My intention was for him to ‘just’ be present, but I got a message on the app, saying that someone had arrived, and they were waiting outside. I didn’t know until I got their message, because we hadn’t realised that the doorbell wasn’t working! For this reason, he ended up standing outside and looking out for those who were on their way to the flat. I was so grateful that he was there.

The plan:-

  • Mohamed was going to collect the fridge-freezer
  • Akos wanted the futon
  • Matthew was going to take the sofas
  • Doina was interested in the cot

As planned, Doina collected the cot. They had a bit of an issue trying to dismantle it because they had cleared their vehicle to make space for it, but forgot to leave the screwdrivers in the car. I’m sharing this because you might want to bring your tools to help ensure items are taken when you planned for it to happen.
Matthew (who was due to collect the sofas), said he was stuck in traffic and would come tomorrow. I explained that I wouldn’t be around then, so he said he would get there by 7 p.m. I agreed to that but was very clear that I would leave if he didn’t come by then. He was a pro! He got the sofas out without removing the legs and it took him less than 5 minutes!
Akos, who wanted the futon, said he couldn’t make it until 7:30 p.m. so I offered it to someone else who had got in touch after Akos. Sarah came and collected the futon. She had moved into an unfurnished flat and needed multiple things. Luckily for her, I had forgotten to create an ad for the other bed, the table and four chairs or the desk! She wanted them and had space in the van, so she ended up getting more than she bargained for!
Mohamed came, took the fridge and left very happy.

Everything worked out really well! Within 45 minutes, the flat was clear and ready to be redecorated.

I didn’t have to lift anything, hire a van of any sort, leave the flat or do anything that involved much effort. All I had to do was:

  • take photos
  • write a short description as most people don’t need lots of details when they’re getting something for free
  • create the ad
  • reply to those who messaged me
  • make a list of who was collecting what
  • make a list of who to contact if the initial person fell through for some reason
  • turn up
  • let them in
  • move out of the way so they can dismantle, move and take their items
  • delete the ads to avoid anyone else contacting me about them
  • lock up and go home

What a ‘rush’!

This evening was such a success! It felt good, exciting and I got a bit of a rush from the fact that it was all done so quickly, so smoothly and I felt rewarded by seeing these people leave with smiles on their faces.

The best part of this evening was that nothing got thrown away and nothing was wasted.

I urge you to consider doing something like this if you’re ever in the position of needing to clear a property or declutter.

Just because we don’t want something, or won’t use it, doesn’t mean that someone else won’t. People have ways to refresh items, to give them a new look, to clean them up and utilise them and so on.

The photos I posted showed that the mattress was stained, that the drawers in the freezer were broken, that the sofa had clearly been used and the material was a bit stretched. I didn’t want anything to be a surprise, and yet there were multiple takers for many of the items.

Related content

Free collections of bulky items: Residents in Harrow can book one free collection of up to four items each calendar year. If you have more items, you can pay a fee for them to be taken away or book an extra collection. If you don’t live in Harrow, it’s worth checking what is offered by the borough that you live in.

Other ways to Reduce Reuse and Recycle
One Question You Can Ask to Declutter Faster

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