Whether it’s the beginning of a new year or season, you’ve just moved house or your home is in need of a deep clean, decluttering and organizing your space is always deeply satisfying. Here are some handy hints on doing it sustainably.
1 - Declutter mindfully
When decluttering, try to dispose of anything you’re getting rid of thoughtfully and mindfully so you don’t add unnecessarily to landfill. Donate any furniture or clothing that is still in good condition to your local charity store or offer them up online to local ‘pay it forward’ or ‘buy nothing’ groups. Sheets and towels that are past their best can often be donated to vets or animal shelters, and old magazines and books can find a new lease of life at your doctor’s office or street library.
2 - Get creative with storage
Rather than buying storage boxes, see what containers you already have around the house that can be used for storage. Empty shoe boxes are great for craft supplies, tools, beauty products, small toys and much more. Larger boxes can be used to store out-of-season clothing to free up space in your wardrobe. Similarly, pasta and drink jars and glasses are great for storing grains, pens, kitchen utensils or for reusing as flower vases.
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3 - Go paperless
Paper creates unwanted clutter in the home and contributes to deforestation. Ask all your service providers to switch your bills to online rather than receiving printed correspondence. Remove yourself from junk mail lists and unsubscribe from any magazines you no longer wish to receive. Give your email inbox a good declutter while you’re at it. It will help avoid further spending!
4 - Choose sustainable organization products
If you do need to splurge on storage containers, try to buy products created from natural materials such as bamboo, cotton and wood. They’re often higher quality and will last much longer than flimsy plastic boxes.
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5 - Recycle anything that can’t be donated
Batteries, old paint and broken electronics typically get chucked in landfill as they can’t be donated. Check with your local council to see where and when these items can be disposed of properly rather than tossing them out.
6 - Shop intentionally
The temptation to start buying again after decluttering is a strong one, but resist the urge if you can. You’ve worked hard to make your space more minimal, so try to be mindful when shopping and ask yourself ‘do I really need this item’? Wait 24 hours – or longer – before making a decision to avoid impulse purchases.
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7 - Set up systems to make life easier
Set up a cupboard area with leftover wrapping paper, ribbon and card so you can re-use them for birthdays or Christmas. Put a mini recycling bin in each room in your home, and place a small box with clean, folded rags made from old t-shirts and towels to make cleaning a breeze and reduce the need for sponges or paper towel.