How sustainable is decluttering?

In case you didn’t know by now, I love a decluttering TV show – witnessing that transformation from chaos to clear really is magic! But whenever they take the ‘junk’ out to the skip and chuck it in, I wince… is there really nothing else for it? 

There is no ‘away'

When we decide we don’t need something anymore, we talk about throwing it ‘away’, but of course ‘away’ doesn’t really exist – there is no bottomless landfill that can safely house all the things we no longer want in our homes. But trying to sustainably rehome our unwanted items definitely isn’t easy, and it can very often lead to decision paralysis and clutter accumulating as we try and find alternatives to ‘away’. 

But what is the solution? 

It’s all in the mindset

One of the main reasons I want to help people learn to live with less is because in the age of same day delivery and instant gratification it’s really easy to unthinkingly buy and consume more than we need. And every time we buy something new we use up more of the world’s resources, as well as taking up more of our home’s resources, and your mental resources to look after it! 

By going through the declutter process with me as I gently challenge why each item deserves space in their home, my clients always end up using those same questions and challenges when thinking about bringing something new in. In short, professional decluttering changes how you consume. 

And the stuff I already own?

It’s all well and good to resolve to change your future habits, but what about the house that is already full of stuff that you don’t need but don’t want to just chuck into landfill? I won’t pretend this bit is easy. Sustainably and responsibly removing stuff will take time and can be more challenging to maintain momentum and enthusiasm as a result. Try and go category by category (clothing, toiletries, kitchen utensils, craft supplies) rather than room by room as it’s easier to find options for all your toiletries in one go rather than a mixed bag of bits. 

Charity shops, hygiene banks, and platforms like Freegle, Olio and Facebook Marketplace are all fairly standard options for sending item on to a new home to be loved.

But if you have a build-up of one particular category and no idea what to do with it, drop me a line – if I don’t already know of a route to rehome or recycle it, I can usually come up with something!

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