Hertfordshire based company Blissfully Organised helps people declutter their homes and businesses. The founder, busy Mum of two, Tracy Ross has been helping people to declutter for years. It may not be your whole home but just one room or paperwork that needs sorting, clutter that has built up. Reducing and sorting clutter has proven to improve mental health, wellbeing and is better for the environment. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.
You might find that you are keeping things longer than you need to as you want to avoid disposing of items in landfill or you just feel completely overwhelmed and don’t know where to start. Tracy supports her clients to declutter in a sustainable way. This involves identifying new homes for the things that are no longer needed and giving other people the opportunity to use it rather than buying new, so saving them money too.
Tracy says” My clients feel much happier decluttering sustainably 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 in 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).
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 www.againstbreastcancer.org.uk offers a recycling scheme for bras, clothing, printer cartridges, mobile phones and stamps.
· On Vision Aid Overseas www.visionaidoverseas.org 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 Suited and Booted and Dress to Impress which collect good quality work clothing to empower men and women to feel confident when returning to the workplace www.suitedandbootedcentre.org.uk
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.
www.hm.com – £5 voucher for bag of unwanted clothing (minimum £25 spend).
www.marksandspencer.com – 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 www.musicmagpie.co.uk or Discogs www.discogs.com
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 Tracy’s 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, reduce waste and save you money.
This can be done in two ways. Firstly, buying less and reducing your purchasing. Secondly purchasing from sustainable sources.
1. Zero waste packaging shops are opening up in nationally mainly due to the global problem of plastic waste polluting our oceans and destroying wildlife. To find your nearest check out this article by Pebble Magazine. Zero Waste Shops UK
2. Cleaning Products: Norwex www.norwex.co.uk
Norwex is committed to reducing chemicals in our home. They sell a range of cleaning products which are natural and chemical free.
3. Skincare: Tropic www.tropic.com
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.
If you would like any help or advice on decluttering your life sustainably then contact Tracy firstname.lastname@example.org