With just over five weeks to go until Christmas I wanted to discuss sustainable decluttering this month.
How can you declutter sustainably?
You might find that you are keeping things longer than you need to as you want to avoid disposing of items in landfill.
I like to support my clients to declutter in a sustainable way. This involves identifying new homes for the things that you no longer need and giving other people the opportunity to use it rather than buying new.
My clients feel much happier decluttering sustainably as they know as they know that the items they no longer need will be reused elsewhere.
Sustainable decluttering reduces environmental impact as you keep stuff in circulation, rather than simply storing and not using it in your own home.
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
Sustainable decluttering starts with reuse and recycling of your existing clutter. Once this process is complete it moves onto lifestyle changes that will ensure you reduce what you consume on an ongoing basis.
“One person’s rubbish is another person’s treasure”
Part of the process of decluttering is to identify which items that you need to keep and those that you are holding onto but no longer need. Often these are still usable and should not end up as landfill.
Firstly, you can consider if it can be reused elsewhere. There are many ways to recycle what you don’t need so it can be of value to someone else.
1. Regifting: You could pass things onto family/friends either as a birthday gift or simply because you know they will enjoy using it or find it useful.
2. Donating items: You can use Freecycle, Gumtree or local Facebook Groups to recycle the things that can be used again. There are also some fabulous local initiatives for specific items (see website below). I can also recommend local places for specific items that you may need to recycle to be reused.
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, also known as the 3Rs of recycling, are the three ways in which you can minimize the impact on the environment caused by the materials that we consume.
Different Councils collect different materials for recycling. Find out what your Council collects, and what you can take to local recycling sites by visiting www.recyclenow.com and entering your postcode.
Where can I recycle specific items?
The website www.reducereuserecycle.co.uk offers lots of tips on how to and where to recycle common household items that you no longer need. Here are a few examples:
· The charity Against Breast Cancer offers a recycling scheme for bras, clothing, printer cartridges, mobile phones and stamps. There is a local bra bank at Atlas Translations Ltd, 8 Spicer Street, St Albans, Herts, AL3 4PQ
· On Vision Aid Overseas collects and recycle old glasses (spectacles). You can drop off at branches of Vision Express, Boots, Specsavers and many local independents
· Work clothes: there are two charities which collect good quality work clothing to empower men and women to feel confident when returning to the workplace Suited and Booted and
Dress For Success
Alternatively, you can recycle the items that you no longer need to make money. You can sell items through eBay, Gumtree, local Facebook groups and car boot sales (depending on the season). Here a few examples:
· Clothing: Many shops now have clothing exchange schemes where you can earn a voucher for donating clothes that you no longer need.
H&M – £5 voucher for bag of unwanted clothing (minimum £25 spend).
Marks & Spencer – Marks and Spencer have partnered with Oxfam to offer a £5 voucher to spend at M&S. (minimum £35 spend)
· Music: You could sell through Music Magpie Music Magpie or Discogs
As you can see there are many options to recycle the items that you no longer need to avoid the environmental impact of manufacturing and distributing the same items new.
Changing Purchasing Habits
Most of my clients say that starting their decluttering journey has also had an impact on their purchasing behaviour.
When we think about simplifying our lives and being environmentally friendly, we need to focus on purchasing with intention. This means buying what we need, and not stockpiling items i.e. buy only when empty or in need of replacement. This will help you to cut back on additional clutter and reduce waste.
This can be done in two ways. Firstly, buying less and reducing your purchasing. Secondly purchasing from sustainable sources.
There are some amazing local companies who are passionate about sustainability and protecting our environment
1. Package Free Shopping: The Refill Pantry
The Refill Pantry is a packaging-free natural and organic whole foods shop located at 26 London Road, St Albans, AL1 1NG. Bring your own containers and refill as much as you need.
2. Cleaning Products: Norwex Cleaning
Norwex is committed to reducing chemicals in our home. They sell a range of cleaning products which are natural and chemical free. To find out more contact local represent Joanne Todd www.joannetodd.norwex.co.uk/
3. Clothing: Tommy and Lottie Tommy and Lottie
Tommy and Lottie is a unisex baby, kids and adult clothing and lifestyle brand, specialising in ethically and sustainably made clothing and wall prints.
4. Skincare: Tropic Skincare
Tropic is a natural and cruelty-free range of skincare products. It’s completely natural and vegan. All the Skincare products are made up of oils, fruits, vegetables and minerals. Contact local Tropic Ambassador Eileen Morrison at Beautiful Bea
I hope this post helps to reassure you that it is possible to find valuable homes for the things that you no longer need in your home. I am always happy to offer advice on where to donate items if required.
Let’s keep organising!