When people choose to start living with less, this usually means they start working on decluttering their belongings. Decluttering can end up meaning that we hurt the environment, though, because we end up adding so many items to the landfill.
It can be easy to simply want to throw everything in the dumpster and never look back. I know when I started decluttering there were a lot of items I threw away without thinking about the value they might be able to add to other people’s lives. And I know I’ve thrown away a lot in general that I could’ve potentially recycled, repurposed, or somehow kept out of the landfill (at least for now.)
So if you’ve only recently started decluttering, I hope these tips help you out.
If you can repurpose something (or find someone else who is willing to repurpose that item) you can give it a second life. Instead of going into the landfill, it will continue to be used or admired for a different reason than it originally was.
I’ve seen old records used as decor in a variety of ways. I’ve also seen people create beautiful art out of old kitchenware. If you’re not creative in this aspect, find someone else who is or consider the next tip.
Rehome as much as you can yourself. If you can actually place the item you’re getting rid of in a new home, that’s great. Instead of choosing to drop it off at the local thrift shop, ask friends or family members if they could use whatever you’re considering getting rid of.
Giving items away doesn’t mean you’re encouraging the people around you to accumulate too many possessions. Instead, it might help them save money and will show them there are good second-hand items out there.
Lastly, recycle whatever is left over that can be recycled. Now, not everything is recyclable, but you might not be aware of how much you really can recycle. Paper, plastic bags, glass, and soda cans tend to be some of the obvious ones. You can also recycle a variety of electronics, such as DVDs, batteries, cell phones, and computers. Clothing can also be recycled, depending on the fabric that was used. So can mattresses and furniture.
While the typical recycling bin might not accept the less-common recyclables, there are a variety of places that will. Some stores will take electronics or clothing back, and there are even cases where they will provide a discount if you bring something to recycle.
This changes from region to region so do some research about what is closest to you and you’ll likely find somewhere to drop off some of those items that would otherwise end up in the landfill.