Tuesday, September 27, 2022

How to Declutter Your Home Sustainably: the 5-Step Checklist

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Turns out how to declutter your home responsibly is a lesson in how to be more sustainable all around. And this checklist will help.

Let’s be real. The easiest way to deal with your clutter is to chuck it in the trash and move on with your junk-free life. However, this only makes more clutter for the planet. It is not the most sustainable decision, even if it brings peace of mind at home. When it comes to sorting through unwanted possessions in your home, there are a few different measures you can take that are more eco-friendly. Most important: declutter the declutter process with a simple checklist. Every item should fall into a category: keep, repurpose, donate, sell, or recycle.

How to declutter your home checklist

First and foremost, do you need to learn how to declutter or how to organize? It’s easy to see items that don’t have a home within your home as clutter or junk when the reality may be that you just haven’t spent the time to designate a space for these things. This is a very Konmari method of organization—find a home for everything in your home. But it works!

moving sustainably
Courtesy Ketut Subiyanto | Pexels

1. Keep it for later

If you’re in a rush to clear a space, it can be tempting to just throw it all out in a skip. But if your clutter is still in good condition and of use to someone—including yourself—you shouldn’t be throwing it away. Putting items into self-storage allows you to sort through them at a later date or save them for a bigger home if you’re in transition. Companies like SMARTBOX Solutions, Inc. offer moving and storage services, which could be useful if you need to store items in a hurry.

are plants sustainable
Courtesy Brina Blum | Unsplash

2. Find ways to repurpose items

Some items may no longer be fit for their original intended use, but there may be ways to still repurpose them. Old t-shirts and plastic bottles could be turned into DIY dog toys or cleaning rags while old wooden tables and cupboards may be possible to break down and turn into shelves. (This post at DIY & Crafts offers a few more examples of items that can be repurposed.) You may even be able to create new products to sell with your repurposed clutter if you’re handy enough. But be judicious in this process. Don’t keep a broken old television just because you can use it to prop open a door or window. Repurpose items where you can create real value and decrease the need to buy new items.

how to wash clothes
Courtesy Dan Gold | Unsplash

3. Consider donating items

Donating should be on every declutter checklist. Certain items may not be valuable enough to make selling them worthwhile. But that doesn’t mean they should go to the landfill, either. In fact, they could still be in good enough condition to donate. When you’re looking for easy ways to declutter, a donation site should be at the top of the list. Donating items extends their life and reduces waste. You could donate items to friends or family that need them, or you could donate to charities or even strangers on local selling sites. 

a person shopping
Courtesy Arturo Rey | Unsplash

4. Sell items locally

Selling items to people that want them could be a way of extending their life, instead of letting them end up in a landfill site prematurely. It’s also a great way of making some money. When it comes to choosing eco-friendly places to sell your clutter, try to stick to local places such as local secondhand shops, local flea markets, or local selling sites. Delivering items over long distances creates lots of emissions and is not the best way to deal with your clutter. But there are some resellers that offset shipping emissions if that’s the best option for your declutter plan.

Trash and recycle bins
Trash and recycle bins, courtesy Pawel Czerwinski | Unsplash

5. Use recycling services

You may be able to take items cluttering up your space to local recycling centers. This increases the chance that they will go to recycling plants and be turned into new products rather than being sent to a landfill site. There may also be services you can pay to provide skips for items that you want to recycle. These services can then take away the items and recycle them for you. In some cases, you may even be able to get paid for recycling items. There are many people out there willing to buy electronics so that they can strip them for parts. Explore your options by looking into local services online. Platforms like Declutter will take your old smart phones and other devices, and your municipality services may have links to battery or appliance recycling as well.

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