Monday, January 20, 2020

How to Declutter Responsibly

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One issue that sometimes stops people from decluttering is that they just don't know what to do with everything they want to get rid of.  I completely understand that.  No one wants to just put bags and bags of perfectly decent items into the trash.  It's a waste of money and resources.  So obviously I just cannot advocate for chucking everything in the trash - not when there's so many better viable options that you can put to use when you declutter.  Here's a few of the top ones:

Gifting.  I am not advocating for gifting junk!  But you may have something around your house that you want to get rid of but that you know someone close to you would love or has been eyeing (like when my mom finally gifts her crystal vase to Ida!)  Something that I gift often?  Planners and planner related supplies.  I get more than I could realistically use in exchange for review on this blog or on my Instagram.  I'm talking brand new planners, pens, notepads, binders, paperclips, stickers, etc.  In addition, when people use my referral links, I get store credit at these various planner retailers.  When I don't need anything, which is most of the time, I use that credit to gift things instead of create more clutter for myself.

Try to reuse the item.  If it can't be used for it's intended purpose, it's still good to start by seeing how you can reuse an item in your own home before looking to discard it.  Fabrics are particularly good for this, since you can make many things into cleaning rags for your home.  You can also repurpose tons of containers into planters or pen and makeup brush storage.  I'm not particularly crafty or handy when it comes to DIYs but if you are, Pinterest is an endless resource of ideas for reusing items.

Rehome the item.  Certain things just can't be sold or donated, but that doesn't mean they're trash.  Family and friends are a particularly good resource for getting rid of personal care items that can't be donated or taken to a shelter.  Mine are always happy to take barely used makeup and skincare off my hands.  I would also try rehoming clothes and accessories to people you know before donating things.  It's much more likely that they'll get used and loved.  Try hosting a clothing and accessory swap with a group of friends.

Sell items.  If your things are still in great shape, there are a ton of ways you can try to sell them.  Poshmark, Thredup, Ebay, Facebook Marketplace, you know the drill.  You can also sell books to a half priced bookstore and clothing to consignment shops, if you prefer to go the third party route and get cash on the spot.  Or, obviously, host your own yard/garage sale!

Donate.  Donating is low on the list because it's not the best way to get rid of an item.  You can't ensure that it will get a second life - if it's not up to the donation center's standards, it might get thrown in the trash when it could have been at least recycled.  Start by donating the right items to the right places.  Old sheets and towels that won't be accepted at a Goodwill, but will be more than happily accepted at an animal shelter.  Likewise, Goodwill won't accept unopened minis of toiletries or unused makeup, but your local women's shelter will.  If you do donate to a larger Goodwill-type donation center, don't drop off junk.  Be honest about whether someone else will find, pay for, and love that item.

Recycle.  Like donating, recycling isn't always the best option.  Even if something is marked as recyclable, like water bottles, most things don't make it through the process because they were made with too cheap materials to begin with.  Recycling isn't a green or environmentally friendly process itself either, it uses a lot of resources to run those machines.  It's a better option that landfill, but it's worth considering next time you buy an object - what's the lifespan, especially if it's plastic, and what will you do with it later?

Compost.  I always advocate for composting food scraps of course, but there's a ton of other things you can compost too.  Bamboo toothbrushes, kleenex, yard waste, paper towels, newspaper, printer paper, cardboard, latex balloons - if in doubt, just google it.  It's a long list!

So don't let irresponsible trashing of items stop you from cleaning out your home this year.  How do you get rid of your decluttered items responsibly?

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