Monthly challenge for November

Filed in Blog by on November 15, 2008 11 Comments
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zero waste declutter before ChristmasBetter late than never. Welcome to the November monthly challenge. There is half of this month left to get your teeth stuck into our challenge for this month.

If you’ve been following the challenges so far, you’ll remember that we began in June by asking you to find out what recycling facilities there are in your area.
In July we challenged you to set up a recycling system in your own home.
August we asked you to fit some recycling errands into your regular schedule.
In September we reminded you to say no to plastic bags.
Last month we asked you to choose paperless billing if possible.

For November we think a good declutter might be in order. It’s coming up to Christmas and rather than being snowed under with more stuff, why not spend the rest of November releasing some of your possessions to make some room?

There are many zero waste ways to get rid of your ‘rubbish’. One of our favourites is Freecycle. On Freecycle you can give away your things for free within your local area. This week I talked about Ooffoo, who are providing another venue for you to swap, barter and recycle your stuff for free. So why not try on there too?

If you have some items that might make you some well earned money before Christmas then sell them! Try your local paper, notice boards, eBay, Amazon or Green metropolis. If you have books to get rid of then we have plenty of ideas on our post “How to recycle books the zero waste way“. A good time to sell on eBay is at the end of the month as lots of people get their pay cheques then πŸ˜‰

Clothes will be welcome in your local charity shop or textiles bank. Failing that, why not gather together some friends and have a swapping party? What a great way to have a no-spend Christmas! You could organise clothes and make up for the ladies, toys and books for kids and tools for the men. You’ll all get some fabulous new things without spending money and without excessive packaging.

Many schools, charities, organisations and local institutions are having sales at this time of year to raise funds – they will be happy to take bric a brac, old toys, ornaments and kitchen wares. Find out what is happening through your local press or websites.

When you’ve done your decluttering come along and tell us how much stuff ended up in the landfill. Did you have broken toys, odd bits and pieces from a scary drawer, broken remnants from spontaneous purchases or defunct electronics from cheap buys? Let us know how you get on; it’s often easier to find the motivation to have a clear out when you know other people are joining in too and watching your progress.

About the Author ()

I am a long time supporter of the Green and Sustainable lifestyle. After being caught in the Boscastle floods in 2004, our family begun a journey to respect and promote the importance of Earth's fragile ecosystem, that focussed on reducing waste. Inspired by the beauty and resourcefulness of this wonderful planet, I have published numerous magazine articles on green issues and the author of four books.

Comments (11)

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  1. I love decluttering! I do it on a regular basis, and freecycle is my most bestest decluttering friend. lol I love being able to get rid of something without having to throw it away.

    However, now that I’m working hard on buying less stuff, I find that I have less and less stuff to declutter.

    Is that your living room in the picture? I love the black entertainment center(I have a thing for black furniture!).

  2. esther says:

    Yes, me too, love decluttering! and ever since I started to reduce my waste, I’ve come up with lots of decluttered stuff that I used to throw in the bin, but now I bring to emmaus, or get recycled somewhere. But, we do still have some stuff that’s beyond repair, or games, where half is missing, so yes, some of it, still ends up in a landfill, even if, from the boardgames, all that vcan be recycled will be recycled!

  3. **ahem** “Tools for the men”??? Do allow me to glare pointedly at that.

    I have a set or power tools and I know how to use them. Same goes for car tools and gardening tools. Tools ain’t just for the blokes…..

  4. Great challenge Mrs G, just in time to get more lovely things at Christmas. For anyone getting rid of broken battery operated toys, just a note to say that these should be disposed of in the same way as other electronic gadgets under the WEEE regulations and taken to the local recycling centre. More info can be found at

    LOL at Sarah’s “ahem”…would you believe that a few years ago I saw a range of power tools that had been specifically made in pink, just to tempt the ladies. All I can say is “aarrrgh”, if a lady wants power tools surely standard colours will do. πŸ˜€

  5. Christine says:

    Bookmooch is another good way to get rid of books.

  6. Kris says:

    I’m having a snail-pace general declutter and tidy, it’s sort of tidal, but I feel like I am getting somewhere.

    A major step forward today as a huge bag of toiletries and assorted bits has flown off towards my sister in law to be ebayed or used up. As the ‘actually leaving the premises’ bit is the bit I do least well I’m hugely relieved to see the back of it!

  7. Mrs Green says:

    Hi Kristen,
    No, it’s not our room. I couldn’t find the pics of our lounge as it is the one decluttered and tidy room in the house, so I don’t mind showing it off now! DH took some lovely photos in the summer with the afternoon sun streaming through the windows.
    I like what you say that buying less = less clutter. I’ve put a rule in place with my wardrobe which works really well. If I acquire something new, I have to let the same amount of items go to the charity shop. I wish I could do that around the rest of the house!

    Esther, I find that decluttering now takes longer because of being aware of it’s ultimate end. Still, you’re recycling all that you can and so are we, so that’s progress πŸ™‚

    I consider myself told, Sarah. And please excuse my sexist remark. How about shoes for the men (DH has more pairs than me) and power tools for the girls πŸ˜‰ **scuttles away into the corner to hide from the glare**

    Well Mrs A, you probably know that is anyone is going to buy pink power tools, it would likely be me LOL! Thanks for the reminder about broken battery toys; it’s an important thing to bear in mind.

    Hi Christine, thanks for the tip on Bookmooch. There are so many great sites out there that there is no excuse to landfill a book any more πŸ™‚

    Well done Kris. I do remember you saying in a previous comment that actually getting your sorted stuff out of the house was a challenge, so you’ve done really well. Feels good, doesn’t it?

  8. Just don’t do it again….

    Slice of chocolate cake?

  9. Mrs Green says:

    Aye, go on then, as long as I get the piece with the extra icing on πŸ˜‰

  10. Joy Edwards says:

    I try to recycle as much as possible, swapping with friends, Freecycling, giving to charity shops, etc. But for some items I am limited as to what I can do. Ever since there was an accident at the recycling centre in Wolverhampton, the council has forbidden pedestrians to enter the site to recycle; you can’t even hand it to the the people that work at the site. The council will not collect everything from your home not even under the fee-paying scheme. So , if like me you have no transport of your own, you have to rely on someone you know who has a vehicle, which isn’t always possible.

  11. Mrs Green says:

    Hi Joy – welcome to the challenge! And what a fascinating story about Wolverhampton recycling. It sounds like you are doing really well despite the challenges caused by not being able to visit the recycling centre. I hope they revise this ruling. Keep us posted on your progress πŸ™‚

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