Are you ready to Dump your Junk with the My Zero Waste January Challenge?

Filed in Blog by on December 29, 2014 10 Comments
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my zero waste january challenge dump your junkI hope you had a great festive season and it fulfilled your dreams.

If you’re anything like me, you’re raring to go this time of year with plans and goals for the following 12 months.

Personally, I can’t wait to get all those Christmas decorations down and restore some ORDER in my home!

Unfortunately my daughter doesn’t agree, so we’ll have to compromise somewhere along the line of her wanting all the baubles and tinsel up until the sixth and me ready to dismantle the decs from the TWENTY sixth of December!

I’m sure I’m not alone in this, so what better way to ‘start as we mean to go on’ with a good ol’ declutter.

So good for the soul don’t you think?

We’ve filled our houses to the brim with all sorts of stuff over the holiday period and now it’s time to release things we no longer love or need.

You’ve all heard the mantra ‘One man’s trash is another man’s treasure’ so there’s no need to feel guilty with this – have some FUN and enjoy reclaiming space…

The challenge is, you’re zero heroes, so I don’t want to see black bags filling up the landfill. No, this is all about decluttering WITHOUT creating landfill waste. It might take a bit longer and require a bit more thought, but I know you’re ready for this.

And it’s surprisingly easy to find homes for lots of things you no longer want:

Whatever method works for you, here’s how to get rid of stuff – and what you can get rid of – without landfill:

  • Freecycle or Freegle – anything and everything. I’ve rehomed out of date tins of food, neglected houseplants and old kids toys.
  • Streetbank – similar to Freecycle but you can also swap skills and lend things.
  • eBay or local auction house – pretty much anything and everything. I have successfully sold a camera that had been dropped and was in pieces, a car no longer road worthy and half a pack of laminate flooring.
  • Charity shops – clothes, shoes, books, toys, pictures, jewellery, household nick nacks. Some take furniture and small working electrical items too.
  • Re-gift to friends – just don’t give back something they once gave you 😉
  • Women’s refuge / homeless shelters – blankets, toiletries (they’ll accept half used ones), books and magazines, clothes, bedding, furniture, art work.
  • Local recycling centre – check Recycle Now to find out what you can recycle locally – you should find areas for household chemicals, lightbulbs, WEEE (anything that needs a plug or batteries).
  • Garage sale – anything and everything.
  • Carboot sale – anything and everything; if it’s cheap enough you’ll probably sell it! But I’m watching you – don’t come home with more stuff, ok?
  • Animal shelters – blankets, towels, pillows, cat and dog beds, carriers, toys, bowls – it’s the silver lining to losing one of your own fur babies.
  • Preschools or playgroups – toys, art and craft supplies including things like margarine or ice cream tubs, oversized T-shirts for paint smocks, unbreakable kitchenware, musical instruments.
  • Libraries – books, audio books.
  • Furniture recycling – Contact your local Emmaus for details.
  • Community RePaint – Community RePaint schemes collect reusable, leftover paint and re-distribute it to individuals, families, communities and charities in need. Find your nearest place to donate.

And what about the decluttering itself? Some of us are gung ho, roll up our sleeves and don’t stop ’til it’s done. Others of us need a more gentle approach to fit in with energy levels or lifestyle requirements.

There’s no right or wrong here, pick whatever method works for you. Such as:

One item a day

Commit to rehome ONE ITEM a day – you can do that, right?

15 minutes a day

Set the timer for 15 minutes a day and whizz around your home gathering a box of things you no longer want. By the end of the month you’ll have accrued a day’s worth of decluttering


Join in with #MinsGame. The idea with this is you declutter one item on the first day of the month, two on the second day of the month and so on, until you declutter 31 items on the last day of the month. But the end of January, you’ll have released I dunno, over 400 items?


Pick an area that is bothering you, chuck everything on your bed and sort through it. The motivation here is that you can’t get into bed until you’ve finished the job!

What about you – are you ready to Dump the Junk for January? And which approach to decluttering works best for you?

Copy and paste the code in green for the badge below if you want to blog about it and use the hashtags #DumpYourJunk or #zerowaste:

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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 (10)

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  1. just Gai says:

    I’m in. A hoarder by nature my house is bursting with things that I should have parted company with years ago (and some things that I should never have bought in the first place!). We plan to move back to Scotland in a couple of years’ time, to a two bedroom flat from a four bedroom house, so at least half our stuff has to go, and quite frankly the sooner the better. I’ve tried the 15 minute declutter before and found it very helpful, so I’m going to go for it again combined with the MinsGame. I’m looking forward to seeing what my house looks like with 400 items less.

  2. Hugh Counsell-Williams says:

    It’s off-message but has any progress been made with the question of recycling/reusing medication packaging?

    • Mrs Green says:

      Hello Hugh; I’m not aware of any campaigns that are currently running to get pharmaceutical companies to rethink their packaging in order to make it more sustainable.

      • Ruth99 says:

        In my area Wealden District Council in East Sussex, we can put medication packaging in our recycling bins. I do not know if there are any other councils that accept these or not though.

      • Mrs Green says:

        Hi Ruth, that’s fantastic – thanks for letting me know. I’ll check it out!

  3. Nancy says:

    I’m in. I’ll probably use a couple of the methods such as 15 min/day and the hardcore on some days.

  4. Christine says:

    I’ve made a start by looking in the CD collection which is bulging and putting five onto the local freecycle group this morning. I’m playing through the ones I don’t think I want to keep to make sure that they work and that I don’t want them. May take a few days left at one or two a day as there’s another 6 at least in the doubtful pile. If nothing goes then it’s the charity shop for them

    • Mrs Green says:

      Hi Christine, sounds like you’ve made great progress. I got rid of a load of CDs during the summer but it was time consuming because, as you point out, you need to check they are ok to play before passing them on. Good luck with the shed; I really need to do ours as well, but it’s a huge task!

  5. Christine says:

    And my next job when the wind dies down will be to inspect the contents of the garden shed. It’s just to easy to collect bottles of this and packets of that over the years which leave you wondering what on earth they are. Along with all sorts of broken bits and pieces.

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