I’m no stranger to decluttering. I live in a tiny studio flat with my partner, so I often throw away things we don’t need to gain valuable storage space.
And thanks to Marie Kondo and her Netflix series, everyone’s running around their home wondering what really sparks joy.
I certainly don’t discourage anyone parting from their unnecessary clutter. However, let’s do it in an eco-friendly way, rather than just black bagging everything.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s easier to throw everything in one bag than being mindful about how to correctly dispose of our belongings. But we can do better, so read on to find out how.
Firstly, here are a few things to avoid.
Have you ever thrown something in the recycling bin you didn’t think belonged there?
Then you’ve engaged in wish-cycling.
It’s the well-intentioned act of recycling things we hope will be recycled even when we know deep down it won’t. It may not seem like a big deal, but non-recyclable items can contaminate the rest of a batch, causing more items to end up in the landfill.
Avoid this by checking your local council’s website to find out what you can and can’t recycle in your bins.
Donating unsellable things
Some items simply can’t be resold in your local charity shop or thrift store. Yet, we’re all guilty of throwing a worn-out pair of shoes in the bag because it’s easier.
Doing this, however, can take up volunteers valuable time and effort wading through your unsellable items.
If you have some unusable clothes/materials you want to get rid of, you can always donate them to shops like H&M who’ll give you a £5 voucher per bag.
Okay, so how do you properly donate your unwanted clutter?
Before you send your donation boxes off to the charity shop, think about how you could make a quick buck. There are so many options to sell your unwanted items without having to pack up your car for a boot sale.
You can sell almost anything on Facebook Marketplace nowadays. It’s great because you can sell to local people and they’ll even come and pick it up from you.
Depop is another good option for clothes. It’s basically Instagram for selling stuff. Take some good pictures and list at a reasonable price, and you’ll have buyers in no time.
eBay is the digital boot sale veteran. You can list pretty much anything on your store, however, you’ll have to give eBay a cut of the sale price.
As long as the items are reusable, donating to your local charity shop is an easy (and charitable) way of getting rid of your unwanted items. If you’re a UK taxpayer, you can also donate items using Gift Aid so charities can claim an extra 25p for every £1 they make from the sale, and it won’t cost you a single penny.
You can also donate items to local shelters. It’s best to either visit or phone up to ask what they need rather than turning up with unusable items. Essential things like unwanted/extra hair care and medical supplies are a good start.
However, you can also donate unwanted bikes, sturdy bags and of course, clothes.
If you have any old towels, blankets or bedding that you’d like to get rid of, consider donating them to an animal shelter. They can be used to dry off animals, provide warmth and be comforting.
Before you set out on a recycling journey, it’s important to get organised. There are so many different categories for your items that bundling everything into a couple of black bags is going to cause a headache down the line.
Split your recycling up as you go along into the following categories:
Paper is recyclable, however, check items like cartons as they often contain materials that aren’t.
All plastic products have a triangle with a number from 1 to 7 inside called a Plastic Identification Code. Most recycling services accept codes 1 or 2.
Most household glass is recyclable as it’s one of the easiest materials to recycle.
Anything made from aluminium or steel can be infinitely recycled thanks to its many uses.
Keep your old cables, laptops and mobile phones separate as there’s a specific section at most recycling centres for them.
We’ve all received an unwanted gift that ends up stashed in a cupboard, never to see daylight again.
When you’re decluttering and come across items, you can consider regifting it to a family member or friend who might like it better than you did.
Just make sure the person who gave you it can’t find out!
What are your decluttering tips? Do you have any other tips to do it in a sustainable way? Let me know in the comments down below!