Decluttering without sending to landfill

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Although I admire those who have adopted a minimalist lifestyle, I have definitely not reached that level of self control just yet. However, I have been decluttering recently as my parents are moving out of our family home of over ten years. Through sorting through my room, I have uncovered things I have hoarded since around 1995 much to my shame, and so I have been pretty ruthless in getting rid of things I must have once thought were treasure once to have held onto them for 20 years. Here are some tips for getting rid of things without putting them into the bin:

CHARITY SHOPS

I think this is a pretty obvious one, but for good condition clothes, books and household items this is a quick and easy place to go.

EBAY/ DEPOP/ GUMTREE/ CAR BOOT SALE

I have been an eBay gal for absolutely years, and its a great way of making some money back on things which were slightly more on the pricey side (depop is another option for this!). Although you get charged a 10% fee, its still worth it for items over £10. Anything you are selling for 99p- most of the time it is not worth the hassle. The charity shop is a much more deserving home. I recently sold some old letter sets (I had a stash of around 50 hidden in my wardrobe… 7 year old me was a bit of a loser/ hoarder not that there has been much improvement…) and an old cross stitch kit so there is no limit to what you can sell. If you aren’t much of a digital person, you can go back to basics and get a stall at a car boot sale. You will definitely make back the money to rent the space and it’s a great way to spend a Sunday morning!

FREECYCLE/ OLIO

For anything you can’t sell, can’t give to charity but don’t want to send to landfill, free cycle or Olio (available on app, and also you list unwanted food on here!) is a good place to act as the last chance saloon. By listing things on here, you can really see the principle “one mans trash is another mans treasure” in real life. I currently have a huge sack of jiffy bags listed on here waiting for a new home- apparently really useful for people who have online shops!

AMAZON

I use amazon for selling old books I no longer want- again if they are reaching a higher price point. Although, if you have spare time and a lot of books to sell, you can make a fair amount! However, good to note that their selling fees are pretty extortionate so if you can, put them on eBay!

OLD/ UNWANTED COSTUME JEWELLERY AND WATCHES

My teenage years were a time when I bought hideous, cheap costume jewellery in bulk from stores such as H&M, which have sat gathering dust in my wardrobe for years. I found a stash of these recently which I sent off for recycling with friends of the earth. You can recycle old jewellery, watches and old bank notes. Here is the link:

https://www.foe.co.uk/page/recycle-old-jewellery

It’s free to send these off, just pop in an envelope and put the free post address on the front! Really simple and no cost to you at all.

OLD MAKEUP/COSMETICS

Apparently a lot of this packaging is not recyclable within household recycling schemes, so an alternative to landfill is taking them to your local origins counter! They accept cosmetics packaging from any brand, and should accept at all counters.

STAMPS

If by chance you had an old stamp collection you don’t need any more, or have a load of envelopes with stamps on lying around, please donate your old stamps to the Royal National Institute of Blind people:

http://www.rnib.org.uk/donations-and-fundraising-fundraising-your-community-recycle-us/used-stamps-appeal

OLD STATIONERY

This one I have really struggled with- along with my letter set fetish aged 7, I also had a stationery obsession meaning I had hundreds of pens/ pencils/ rulers/ notebooks/ folders languishing in my drawers. I’ve seen some charity shops selling notebooks, folders and calculators, so don’t be afraid to ask them about these. Re. pens/ pencils, I really thought there would be more places to send still usable pens and pencils.
Terracycle have a recycling scheme for broken or finished ones:

https://www.terracycle.co.uk/en-UK/brigades/the-writing-instruments-brigade-r

(worth having a look in general as they also recycle biscuit wrappers, cigarette butts, aerosol cans and more).
As mine were still usable, I wanted them to go to a new home where they would be used, so after some thorough searching i found:

http://penguyart.com/recycle-pens-here/

He is a US based artist who creates art purely with pens, therefore he is in constant need of more. Only go for this option if you are happy to spend a little money on preventing the pens on going to landfill (although if you are based in the US the postage should be really small). As i posted mine from the UK, it cost around £10 on the cheapest option, which I know is expensive but I really wanted them to go to a good home. Another option would be enquiring with your local schools, universities, even local artists to see if they want them.

UNWANTED CUDDLY TOYS

You could either donate to your local charity shop, local women’s shelter or send on to a charity based overseas, such as this one:

http://theteddytrust.wixsite.com/home/how-you-can-help

Again, it costs to post to this specific one but I thought it was money well spent for the end result- they offer a £5.49 service to send to their UK hub which then sends the teddies off to countries such as Syria and South Africa.

I think that covers a lot of bases, so I hope this was useful for you!

Thanks for reading 🙂

Lizzie

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