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Something that a lot of people suck at is decluttering. Yes, the simple act of getting rid of things seems to be difficult for a lot of people because we’re often afraid.

Afraid that we’ll need those takeaway menus cluttering up your drawers – despite the fact you always use Deliveroo to order food.

Yes, throwing away things can be difficult and often overwhelming, but the alternative is tripping over old trainers and struggling to find somewhere to store the things you actually need.

Stop hoarding and start taking control of your space with these tips.

Start small

Decluttering your home is a marathon, not a sprint. Take it slow and do small manageable bits. Overloading yourself with the bottom half of your home in an hour isn’t going to inspire you to keep going.

Instead, create a list of every area you want to declutter and work through it hour by hour, day by day, week by week, whatever suits. Something like this:

  • Bedroom: wardrobe, under-the-bed, bedside table
  • Living room: TV cabinet, bookshelf, coffee table
  • Kitchen: pantry, cupboards, drawers

If you try multi-tasking, you’ll only miss things and stress yourself out with it. Keep it simple and focus on one section at a time and you shouldn’t find it as overwhelming.

Create piles

I’d always suggest creating four piles (use baskets or boxes to keep everything together) whenever you’re tackling an area of your house.

  • Keep
  • Recycle
  • Throw away 
  • Donate

Once you’ve finished, you can then dispose of the boxes as necessary and avoid wasting time running back and forth to the recycling bin or faffing around with bin liners. These boxes will also keep you focused and make the task quicker.

Go paperless

A really quick and easy way to declutter your home is to go paperless as much as you can.

You should find a paperless option for common letter heavy businesses such as banks, utility suppliers and insurance companies. Not only is this good for the environment, but it’s good for your home.

You can finally say goodbye to monthly bank statements, unnecessary takeaway menus and payslips clogging up your precious drawer space.

Leave the past in the past 

It’s time to tackle that memory box (or three) that you’ve been storing away. We’re all guilty of holding onto train tickets, festival wristbands and old love letters from our exes, but at some point, we need to take a step back and declutter.

Get rid of things that have faded, duplicates and anything you’ve forgotten about and then condense your things into one, reasonably sized box.

There’s nothing wrong with keeping some things, but you don’t need every bus ticket you’ve ever bought or something so faded you don’t even know where it’s from.

If you live with someone else who also has a memory, buy matching boxes, preferably stackable ones so you can keep your things organised in a neat and tidy manner.

Be realistic

If you live in a huge home, then you can probably take the burden of the extra clutter. However, if you live in a one-bedroom flat with someone else, you probably can’t.

So, while you may hope to live the #fitspo life and make smoothies every day, if you haven’t used your blender in three years, it might be time to throw it away.

And I know it’s tempting to keep everything ‘just in case’, but you need to be realistic and know when it’s time to say goodbye. Remember, you can always borrow or buy things at a later date.

Donate, donate, donate

An easy way to sort through your books, clothes, CDs and DVDs quickly is to donate them.

Knowing that the time and effort you’re putting into this project is contributing to a good cause might make it easier to part with your Sex And The City box set.

Do you declutter regularly? Leave your tips down below.

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.

Wish-cycling

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?

Sell

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.

If you want to get rid of any old tech, DVDs or CDs quickly, you can visit your local CeX or use trade sites like musicMagpie. Envirophone is another option for old/unused phones.

Donate 

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.

Recycle

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

Paper is recyclable, however, check items like cartons as they often contain materials that aren’t.

Plastic

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.

Glass 

Most household glass is recyclable as it’s one of the easiest materials to recycle.

Metal

Anything made from aluminium or steel can be infinitely recycled thanks to its many uses.

Electronics

Keep your old cables, laptops and mobile phones separate as there’s a specific section at most recycling centres for them.

Regift

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!

How To Declutter Your Home Sustainably