So you have decluttered, you are ready to let go but you don’t just want to dump it in the bin. You want to discard responsibly but don’t know where to start.
I want to preface this with a note to remind you that we can’t all be perfect with this. We can all do with doing a little more, we can all pick our battles but sometimes there will be instances where the bin is the place it has to go. When this happens, replace the bad thoughts with the commitment that you will be more mindful with what you buy in the future. If this is important to you then make sure in the future what you do purchase can be recycled, restored etc. A lot of what we can do to help save things from ending up in landfill starts with supply and demand. If we stop purchasing it, they will stop making it.
Saving the planet is one big topic though and not something I profess to be an expert in. My opinions are just that, opinion and what I believe is the best place to start may not be to someone else. There are so many options these days, we have to go with what is best for us.
Ok lets get to it. How can you stop your decluttered things ending up in landfill?
Charity shops – They are always going to be a good option. They take a variety of items, they make you feel great as you know you are raising money for a good cause and let’s face it, they are everywhere so doesn’t take too much effort to get them there (that is unless you leave the bags in the boot for month’s on end forgetting every time you drive past. However, it is worth mentioning now that we really shouldn’t be using them as an easy out for guilt free decluttering. They are over-loaded with fast fashion and donations right now, which means they can’t sell everything as quick as they are receiving more donations. All that means is that you are just passing on the guilt of items ending up in landfill to them, as often, they have no other choice. If you think about it, it defeats the object. The less they have to spend on staff costs dealing with the surplus donations and trying to recycle where possible and then arranging things into landfill the better. Charities by nature are non-profit and so the less expense they have, the more they can put into the causes they run for. To ensure you are not adding to the charity donation problem, ask yourself, would you buy this in this condition? Would you lend to a friend in this condition? If the answer is no, perhaps another method to let go is more appropriate?
Friends and family – One that is often overlooked. Whilst we may not need the item anymore, it doesn’t mean that others close to you won’t. Perhaps it is an item that has never been used that can be re-gifted? Or perhaps your children have outgrown their toys and clothes and you know someone with a child the right age for those things? Or even clothes. Have a wardrobe party with friends and see if there is anything they would like that you used to love but maybe doesn’t fit anymore or simply just not your style. Make it fun. You could even swap items which of course saves the demand for fast fashion too. When letting go of good quality items, I always message a few of my family and friends first before moving on to other exit strategies.
Recycling centres and schemes – It is amazing what you can recycle now. Things that you may have previously thought you had no choice but to put in the bin. The list is far, far too big to list but a quick google search will soon tell you if something can be recycled. Things like glasses can be given back to opticians to recycle or donate, cosmetics that can be recycled in certain stores, electronics can be recycled responsibly in electrical stores, medicines can be given back to pharmacies to dispose of responsibly. Even clothes that are in bad condition can be recycled instead of donated. I could go on but you get the picture. If you are short on time or don’t think the item is in a good enough condition to sell or donate then recycling could be the way to go.
Olio – I am a massive fan of this app. They originated to help reduce food waste where warriors would save food from the supermarkets about to be binned and list them on this app. You could then pick up some food for free. They have now branched out and you can now donate to your neighbours absolutely anything (you can also list things people can borrow and ask for items too!). You just take a picture of the item, write a very short title and description, click save and wait for someone to message you. There is no selling on this site, it is donation only as it is set up to purely save food waste and landfill. However, I know many of you will have sold and given away items on Facebook Marketplace and been let down, subject to scams etc. Don’t worry, these guys let you rate other users based on your experience with them. You can also report no shows. If they are reported on a number occasions, they are suspended from the app. Finally, you get points for everything you do, can earn badges and more. If you like a bit of competition with yourself, this can be very addictive too. I love it and could not recommend enough. You can download from your usual App Store or I have popped their website here.
Schools/ youth clubs etc – Although I cannot tell you which will be grateful for donations and which would not, I do know they are there in abundance. Whether it is toys, books, old school uniform, seating, kitchen bits (perhaps more for youth clubs), gardening equipment, sports equipment, the less they have to spend on these types of things, the more they can spend on new experiences instead. Call around a few local to you and see if they can make use of what you are ready to let go of.
Sell on Ebay/ Facebook/ Car boots – This is one of the most time consuming things to do but it does give you that financial benefit so that you can put the money towards something you need or a family day out etc. There are lots of places that you can sell items but these are just some of the main. I don’t think I need to go into any more detail here about the benefits and why you may want to do this, but I will say, you have to actually do it and have a plan B in case it doesn’t sell. We all have great intentions but in reality if you are the type of person who is short on time and won’t get round to actually selling the items, it really isn’t worth it as you are just moving the clutter to another area to clutter up that space instead.
Re-use/ upcycle – Then there is this. Probably the most time consuming thing to do with your things and you have to be really, really honest if you have the time to do it as there is no point if you don’t. However, if you are someone who loves a bit of craft or DIY, it is amazing what you can create from your old things. I love to do this in my home and Pinterest is my best friend to make it happen. No matter what the item is, search for it with the word up-cycle at the end and I guarantee some clever clogs has thought of an alternative use. This option isn’t for everyone but an option all the same.
Yes all of these things take time, yes they are a pain, but we have to do our bit. It may help you realise how much unnecessary items you bought and stored in your home and make you more mindful as to what you purchase in the future so you don’t have to repeat the process and help the other end of the landfill issue. Demand.
I am always keen to hear new ways to save our decluttered items from landfill. If you have any unique ideas, I would love to know. You can pop them in a comment right here or drop me a message on any of my social media channels.
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