Second hand junk shop with clutter
Life & Career

Want To Declutter? Recycle, Reuse or Donate.

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So, as a new year thing, I started a 30 day declutter challenge! I’ve squealed at my newfound space and shared my excitement with really anyone who will listen. My plan of creating some semblance of organisation going into a new year is as intentional as drinking less wine. And just as tricky to stick to. This year I will recycle, reuse, starting…!

Sort Out Your Life, Anyone? Yes, Please!

There are lots of ways out there to start decluttering. Some expert organisers (aka those better than us and who put us to shame) suggest tackling a different room each day or focus particular items in the home. All are good methods; they get the job done.

I’m tackling my home by donating, reusing, or throwing out items every day for 30 days. Still, the fun part is that the number of items increases every day. Fun and decluttering? Yes, read on.

So day 1 = you get rid of 1 item, day 2 = 2 items, day 3 = 3 items and so on. By the end of the 30 days, you have thrown away over 450 items. Easy peasy, right?

No one wants to, nor has time to go through a room and tidy up stuff. This is precisely why we end up with so much junk. And waiting for annual leave from work to do this is not high up there on the things we want to do on holidays, let’s be honest. This way, stuff gets sorted without really even trying.

The useless days will add up to something.

Cheryl Strayed

A Culture of Wastefulness

Every year the average Australian spends over $1200 on things they buy and will never use. This equates to households collecting roughly over 60 billion unused items (aka clutter). Most people reportedly say they want to declutter, but they don’t know how to start or throw out. Most people assign a high sentimental value to many items they can’t bear to part with. This sounds all too familiar.

The reality is that this clutter is taking up space in our homes and sapping our emotional energy. 89% of Australians have at least one room in the house that is their dedicated junk room.

Keeping stuff that has no value or use simply takes you away from here and now. During my declutter of a box in the garage, I came across all my Lonely Planet travel guidebooks from years ago. I love to travel, and these are like memories for me because they travelled with me on my adventures. These were sentimental books because they were essentially my travelling companions. But I had to decide to part with them. One reason was they were in the garage unappreciated and not on a shelf anywhere. So, out they went.

Throw It. Donate It. Reuse It.

Imagine what we could do with all the stuff we no longer need, use or even want in our lives.

One option, throw it! Let’s be honest; we all have stuff that we hold onto that is simply no good for anything except the bin. Throw away anything if it’s broken, old, unusable, unsellable and not functional. This is the epitome of clutter, and it’s just taking up space. Feel the lightness of throwing away broken or useless items.

The next option is to pass things on. There may be stuff that you may not need or want anymore, but it doesn’t mean that it’s time to bin it either. Buying clothes on a whim is a biggie. If you don’t wear it, a friend might so pass it on. Donate quality items to charity or pass them on to family and friends who will give them a second life.

Another option may be to reuse an item differently. Perhaps old and used things get spruced up and a new life? For example, old jars can be used to store food and tidy your pantry. Pretty bottles can become vases for flowers that will brighten your home. Be creative and see if you can breathe new life into unused items.

Feel The Lightness

The feeling of walking into your junk room is not a relaxing one. That’s why we shut the door and pretend it’s not even a part of the house. Less clutter in the home creates a sense of lightness in the mind.

Be honest with yourself about when you will give your items away or even sell them. There is always a good intention to pop them on eBay and at least get some money from them, right? But when are you likely to find the time to do this if you haven’t done so already? If you have a solid plan to sell stuff, that’s great. But if you don’t think this will ever happen, then keeping it will mean you’ll just have it sitting there for a few more years.

Impulse buying contributes so much to the junk we keep and continue to acquire. Conscious buying and not impulse buying will help decrease the amount of clutter and save thousands of dollars each year on stuff we buy and never use.

Start Small and Declutter Today!

Ask yourself what use your junk has. Can it be reused differently? Do you know someone who wants or needs it? Is it broken and destined for the bin? Small steps go a long way in finding space in your home and life.

If you choose to declutter a room at a time, a draw a day or do a 30-day type challenge, you will be paving the way to less junk. At the end of these 30 days, I know that I will have created more space in my home, have an awareness of my buying habits and become better able to simply just needless.

Photo by Onur Bahçıvancılar on Unsplash

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