Best decluttering tips from the zero waste community

Filed in Blog by on May 26, 2014 1 Comment
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declutter-your-house-5Regular readers of the blog will be aware that I’m a closet minimalist, meanwhile Mr Green is a very definite hoarder.

Decluttering can be challenging at the best of times, without someone who goes through all your charity donations, only to pull 80% of it back out again!

But for those of you who are only battling with your own procrastination, rather than a hoarding partner, I’ve been asking our community for their tips and what great tips they shared!

Are you ready to live a clutter-free life?

The ‘swallow the frog’ declutterer

PicnicInTheWoods shared “The main reason I’ve procrastinated is because it’s such a big, overwhelming job. This weekend my husband took the kids out for a day and I spent the entire day from 9am till 8:30pm just cracking through it. I think I just have to be ‘in the zone’ otherwise I get too sentimental.”

The crisis declutterer

SustainableMum said “I am not a terribly systematic declutterer. Today, for example I opened my airing cupboard and most of the contents spilled out onto the floor as it always does. Rather than stuff it all back in as I usually do I emptied each shelf and examined the contents. I now have four bags of surplus towels, pillowcases and blankets destined for the charity shop.”

The events declutterer

Angie said “We tend to use events to help us – so a few weeks ago we did the kitchen from top to bottom and sorted it all out more logically, because Passover started on the Monday, and we needed to purge the kitchen of wheat, oats, barley, rye and spelt. I had to find baby blankets and bits for my birth box, which precipitated clearing the linen closet, and I finally sorted out the kids room because I needed to make space for the new baby’s stuff. That’s pretty much how it happens in this house”

The ‘No choice’ declutterer

From a Tweeter (sorry I can’t remember your name!) “I am a hoarder so therefore my place is full of “stuff”. I used to throw stuff on my bed so I had to deal with it…”

The ‘baby steps’ declutterer

CSM_Girl said ” I try to declutter something most days, even if just a small amount it’s something. ”

Laurena said “As well as having to deal with my own clutter I’m having to sort through my Dad’s stuff. He died five years ago and left a lot of things which my mum has been too poorly to deal with. Now I have her go-ahead, my rule is that whenever I visit her I always take something out with me, whether to recycle, give away or take to the school where I work. As the others have already said it’s the steady flow which counts, one thing at a time.”

Ray suggested “A little at a time, all the time. Bring something new in – give something away.

Shona tweeted “I started the year with some major decluttering & day to day try to follow the declutter 1 item a day rule to reduce possessions.”

 The ‘Reward myself’ declutterer

Lisa said “I have to do it a whole room at a time or I feel like I’ve only done half a job. I picture exactly how I want the room to look and work from that plan. Once it’s done I reward myself with a mug of tea and large piece of cake usually eaten in the room I’ve just decluttered so I can enjoy the feeling of everything in it’s place.”

The ‘complete room’ declutterer

Debbie said “I tend to do one room at a time and work on a wall by wall basis with everything in several piles by the door so at the end they just need to be put in the right place i.e. different rooms, charity, box of sentimental stuff that I will sort through in the evening.”

The ‘Chuck it all out’ declutterer

Deborah said “I know someone who puts everything into their garage throughout the year and every Easter they have a big clear out and then distribute things around the village.”

The ‘don’t look back’ declutterer

Ayesha suggested “It’s always so good to say I’ve chucked out X amount of items. Throw them in the bag, charity whatever, don’t look at them again!”

The ‘set my timer’ approach

Samantha shared “I am a Flylady follower I tackle things 15mins at a time. I grab 3 boxes or bags – one each for donate, fling and keep. If a whole room needs doing, I have emptied the contents into the garden, or another room, and then just put back what I want to keep.

Feeling inspired to put all these tips to good use?

The Rubbish Diet are running their Big Spring Clean, so sign up to the challenge – decluttering your home without landfill waste.

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.

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  1. although i came to maturity in a bifurcated household, i carry grandmother’s country mouse principles rather than parents’ city rat habits.

    yes, i do hoard glass canning jars, textiles, plumbing or carpentry parts for the ‘just in case’ scenario, ie:(week-end emergency water leak or broken lamp syndrome on a Sunday) basement does become overcrowded with such free treasures..

    so–time comes to clean up and clean out..mind set–all day job, neither lunch nor supper till i see walls and floors in one satisfying glance– feet swollen and lips dry, i sit to marvel at the superbly organized storage site/arts and crafts workshop.

    giving all excess material to local charity shop, or people in need helps me to part gracefully with my boundless good fortune. the town’s yearly yard sale brings financial rewards when i can sell the extra furnishings or major items as well.

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