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Decluttering LYF

Before Marie Kondo there was Oprah and she declared “Throw stuff out if you haven’t used it in a year” (I might be paraphrasing a bit…). I remember my mum saying this to me ages ago and it stuck with me. Oprah told her and mum told me. Though I’m yet to sincerely practice what Winfrey preached, Spring is here so…new life, randy birds, weird-smelling pollen and an excuse to get rid of stuff.

I mean, to be honest, it’s surprisingly rare to regret getting rid of items that you no longer need or use. I can‘t think of a time that I’ve needed one of those 15 broken pairs of headphones coiled in that matted knot next to my bookcase. And while I can be ruthless with things like birthday cards, (they hardly see any fridge surface), it’s the cables, cords, and clothes that stick to me like a glue-covered bowling ball in a $2 store.

Why is it hard to chuck stuff out? Maybe it’s the guilt of throwing things in the bin when what we’re aspiring to is a zero-waste lifestyle (meaning, don’t buy rubbish to create rubbish). So I’ve created a little run down of achievable alternatives that stretch beyond the landfill. This goes from easiest to hardest but have a read and challenge yourself for Spring.

It's good to do this with someone else too, perhaps over a whole weekend or on separate occasions for the more triggering items…

- outdoor clean-up (empty or unused pots, RIP some plants…),

- the kitchen (gross old spices and anything with that webby stuff),

- bathroom (hotel shampoos and scrubbing down the linings of cupboards),

- a bedroom spruce up (clothing and ANYTHING under your bed).

Also if your partner, or in my case housemate, is a bit of a ball breaker they can really help with the objectivity of the whole ‘does this really spark joy?” thing.

OK, where does this stuff go?

THE BIN- say it with me “…is for rubbish!” Look, those solo earbud headphones need to go. If something’s broken and you don’t have a degree in engineering throw it out. It feels good to throw stuff out! And check out your local kerbside collection here to get rid of larger amounts of acceptable items. With things like computers, mobiles, and other electronic devices there is some drop off points like these to dispose of unwanted e-waste in a more environmentally friendly way.

PASS IT ON - I see this a bit in the office with pregnant people, which is cute. Baby clothes don’t really last for long so donate to friends or friends of friends that are about to pop. Bring old utensils into work if you have an office-kitchen. Facebook groups like My Stuff Your Stuff are good for quickly moving things online (check to see city specificity).

HAVE A GARAGE SALE – this is actually my nightmare. But if you’re into talking to strangers/bartering/haggling/chalk on the pavement and fake lemonade then be my guest. I’m not 21 anymore.

THE OP-SHOP- Especially for clothing, books, utensils, and things that can be passed on. Donate in the bins out the front of your local op shop or drop off directly during opening hours only. Do the staff favour - make sure the items are in good condition and clean, no stains or broken things, some of those toys are scary enough.

CONSIGNMENT STORES - Take items that are a little more expensive/precious to a store that sells on consignment. All you have to do is drop them off and sign up. They deposit money into your account minus their commission or give you store credit. Places like… Sydney is great and also and in Melbourne do the job.

Finally, compartmentalise these spaces.

What you have in draws can be stored in jars, boxes or containers, folded, tied, labeled and made pretty. The secret is containment so everything doesn’t get jumbled together in one chaotic heap. I don’t have those fancy draws that you can‘t slam so I get it, designer storage isn’t an option. But if you can make things a little more organised and streamlined, it’s always more visually and physically relaxing.

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