Sustainable Decluttering: 5 Steps to Keep Your Old Stuff Out of the Landfill

Are you staring at your overflowing closet or jam-packed garage and wondering how on earth you accumulated so much stuff? If your answer is a “hell yeah!” then you’re in the right place.

We all love buying new things, but when it comes to clearing out the old, it can feel overwhelming. That’s why getting rid of stuff responsibly should be on everyone’s radar. Not only does it help keep our living spaces organized, but it also ensures that our unwanted belongings don’t end up in a landfill.

So, grab a cup of coffee and get ready to learn how you can donate, recycle, or upcycle your old stuff to a new lease of life without having an environmental impact. 

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What Is Sustainable Decluttering?

It’s about how to dispose of items you don’t need but in an eco-friendly way. Instead of just tossing things in the trash, we’re going to find new homes for your belongings and be mindful of our planet while doing it. It’s spring cleaning and decluttering with a green twist!

Reasons For Why You Should Declutter More Responsibly

Sustainable decluttering isn’t just about tidying up your space – it’s about taking care of our beautiful planet too.

When you repurpose or upcycle, you’re keeping stuff out of municipal dumps, preventing pollution, and reducing waste. High fives to that!

When you focus on finding a new way to use your old items instead of throwing them away or buying new ones you have a positive impact on the environment. You save energy, water, and raw materials.

And lastly, by donating to local charities or selling locally, you’re giving back to the community and local businesses. It’s a win-win!

Second hand comic books in piles to sell

5 Steps You Can Take to Live More Sustainably

Ready to tackle the mission of keeping your stuff out of landfills and oceans? We’ve come up with a handy list of ways you can make it happen. From donating and selling to getting crafty with upcycling, there’s plenty you can do.

So put on your green superhero cape, and together, we’ll find ways for your beloved belongings to find new homes, prevent waste, and keep our beautiful planet a little cleaner. Let’s dive in!

Step 1: Donate, Don’t Dump.

When you’re done with something, don’t just toss it in the trash—donate it! Check out neighborhood charities, thrift stores, or donation centers where your unwanted items can find new, loving homes. One person’s trash is another person’s treasure, right?

Step 2: Sell or Swap.

Want to declutter and make a little extra cash? Host a garage sale or use online marketplaces like Facebook Marketplace or Gumtree to sell your stuff. Let someone else enjoy what you no longer want or need while you put some cash in your pocket.

Alternatively, consider swapping preloved items with friends or participating in community swap meets. It’s like a treasure hunt where everyone wins!

Step 3: Repair and Reuse.

Before you give up on something because it’s broken, think about repairing it. Get handy with some tools, or take it to a local repair shop. You’ll extend the life of your belongings waste less and save money. Remember, reducing the demand for new is the name of the game!

Step 4: Get Crafty with Upcycling:

Time to unleash your inner DIY superstar! Get creative and find new uses for your old stuff through upcycling.

Turn mason jars into funky candle holders, transform old t-shirts into quirky tote bags—the possibilities are endless! You’ll give your belongings a new purpose and keep them out of those pesky landfills.

Step 5: Choose Eco-Friendly Disposal Options.

For items that can’t be reused or repurposed, make sure to dispose of them responsibly. Look for a  recycling center in your area and find out what materials can be recycled. Properly dispose of hazardous waste, like electronics or chemicals, through designated drop-off locations. Let’s keep those oceans clean, shall we?

Remember, every little effort counts when it comes to keeping stuff out of landfills and oceans. So, whether you donate, sell, repair, upcycle, or choose eco-friendly disposal options, you’re making a difference. Together we can save the planet one item at a time!

Key Considerations For A Sustainable Way To Declutter

Mindful Consumption: Start being a mindful consumer. Before buying a new item, stop and ask yourself: Do I really need it? Think about the environmental impact too. By being intentional with your purchases, you can kick clutter to the curb and reduce waste like a boss!

Sort and Prioritize: Time to get down and dirty with your stuff. Sort through all those belongings and figure out what’s really important to you. Let go of things that don’t spark joy or serve a purpose anymore.

Make room for the good stuff, the stuff that truly enhances your happiness and living environment. At the risk of sounding a bit woo-woo, doing this brings a sense of calm and order to your environment. You’ll feel less stress and anxiety and more relaxed and lighter.

Organize and Maintain: Sustainable decluttering is like an ongoing superhero mission. It’s not a one-time deal! Get yourself some epic storage solutions, designate specific spaces for items, and develop simple organizing habits.

It’s like putting on your superhero cape to prevent clutter from sneaking back into your life. Keep your beady eyes on that stuff!

Lady sorting through old clothes

Taking it to the Next Level: How to Make Sustainable Decluttering Permanent in Your Life

Create Daily Habits: Start by incorporating small, daily habits. Take a few minutes each day to tidy up, put things back in their designated spots, and reassess if you truly need new items before making purchases. By making these habits a part of your routine, you’ll gradually build a clutter-free lifestyle that lasts.

Embrace Minimalism: Consider embracing minimalism. It’s all about intentionally simplifying your life and surrounding yourself with only the things that truly bring you joy and serve a purpose. Minimalism can help you break free from the cycle of consumerism and cultivate a more sustainable and fulfilling lifestyle.

Share the Knowledge: You’ve embraced sustainable decluttering, and it’s time to spread the love! Share your experiences, tips, and insights with people you know, friends, family, and your community.

Organize a swap meet or encourage others to donate unwanted items to local charities. By inspiring others to join the sustainable decluttering movement, you’re creating a positive ripple effect that extends beyond just your personal space.

Remember, sustainable decluttering is a life journey, and it’s all about living more consciously consistently. By implementing daily habits, embracing minimalism, and sharing your knowledge, you can make sustainable decluttering a permanent part of your life and become the eco-warrior you always wanted to be!

Alternative to Sustainable Decluttering

Upcycling and Repurposing: If you’re not ready to donate or give away your belongings, upcycling and repurposing can be a creative alternative to traditional decluttering. Instead of throwing items away, consider finding new uses for them. Transform an old wooden ladder into a bookshelf, or repurpose glass jars into storage containers.

By giving items a new lease on life, you can reduce waste and add unique elements to your living space.

Our Experience With Sustainable Decluttering

Even though I’d heard all about the magic and joy spreading across the interwebs about The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, I’d never taken the time to familiarise myself with Marie Kondo’s work.

Why would I? It’s not as if Sporty and I need help organizing the seven things we own.

I’ve always fancied myself quite mindful when it comes to disposing of unwanted items. Sporty and I recycle and donate whenever possible, and we don’t shop unnecessarily. We even compost our kitchen waste.

Model citizens, I’m sure you’ll agree.

The first thing I realized while delving into all things KonMari is that we need to think more carefully about what we do with the stuff we no longer need or want.

Our new apartment —yip, we moved recently— required a lot of elbow grease to make it habitable.

Helpfully, the previous tenant left her cleaning equipment (broom, mop, window cleaner, etc.) behind. Unhelpfully, it was just as grubby as the apartment.

Keen to see the back of it, Sporty and I unceremoniously bagged the offending items and put them in the bin downstairs.

In retrospect, those things could easily have been saved by a good scrub. They’d seen better days, sure, but if I’d made the effort they maybe could have gone another round or two.

Nobody tell Sporty, the thought alone will be enough to make her brain itch.

Instead, we made our stuff someone else’s problem by dumping it in the trash. Who knows how long it will take to biodegrade? Probably longer than it takes clothes to decompose.

How you dispose of things is super important, but what I’ve since come to realize is that we’re all very quick to get rid of things because they appear to be past their sell-by date.

This is not an excuse to hoard, mind you. I’m simply suggesting that you think carefully before trashing something. Can it be upcycled or perhaps all it needs is a good clean?