A-Z of Eco: D is for Decluttering

Welcome to The A to Z of going eco-friendly! I’ve set myself the challenge of coming up with a list of sustainability-related words that might help those of us getting started on the journey.

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We’re at D – this was a tricky one! Do I settle for an object (Deodorant) or a concept? I stuck with what’s working so far and went for the concept so….in the A to Z of Eco: D is for Decluttering!

Minimalism has been a buzz word for a while now. It goes hand in hand sometimes with other concepts like simple or slow living. None of these are new ideas, of course. It’s not surprising that we are resisting our modern lives & wishing for less complicated, slower way of living. Getting rid of our baggage is a part of that.

Of course, sometimes it’s a matter of taste. A cosy room for some with knick-nacks galore might be another’s cluttered nightmare. Regardless of where you sit on the minimalist line, however, living with less is always something we consider. Maybe you just have too many clothes or books or kitchenware. You don’t need to go fully minimalist but you need to cull something. Either way, as we know, getting rid of our stuff has consequences – there’s no such thing as away after all. So can we really declutter and be good to the planet too?

The answer is yes – as long as we’re intentional with it. By that, I mean, taking the time to consider the stuff you have and what you can do with it as well as what you want to do with it. In others words: don’t just chuck it away and pretend it’s fine.

How to declutter

The best way to declutter, honestly, is to prevent the stuff coming into your house in the first place. Prevention is, after all, better than cure. But, I’m a realist and we all have too much stuff (myself included) and we do occasionally need to have a clear out.

Now, I don’t pretend to be an expert but, I find the best way to tackle clutter is to take it a bit at a time. Choose a cupboard, a drawer or a wardrobe. Set a timer for 15 minutes and sort through everything. For a bigger job or an entire room, set your timer for 30 minutes.

Sort everything into piles: one for discarding, one for donating or swapping, one for keeps.

Go through your discard & donate piles once more to see if anything can be salvaged. Can it be fixed or up-cycled? Maybe even sold at a car boot sale or online? Recycle any rubbish before putting in to landfill.

If you are donating, make sure you really think about where you will take your items. Charities are often overwhelmed with donations & it’s extremely likely your stuff will end up in landfill if they can’t sell it. Consider selling or giving things away to someone else first before you opt to donate.

Don’t fall into the trap of clearing out only to make way for more stuff – check out the post B is for Buying for more.

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