Having large amounts of stuff to get rid of has left me with a feeling of guilt. What do you do with it all? The thought of throwing everything straight in the bin would be so easy, yet I couldn’t bear to do it. The thought of all my stuff ending up in landfill leaves me with an overwhelming sense of unease. I’ll be honest, previously I was one of those people who rarely gave the environment a second thought. It wasn’t until I was surrounded of piles of things to get rid of that I started to really think about my own impact and what I could do to reduce that.
So, instead of just throwing everything away I spent the extra time sorting my discarded items into various piles in terms of how I could pass these items on.
Some items I have offered directly to my non-minimalist friends which they have received greatly. Most recently I asked a very good friend of mine if she wanted an eye shadow pallet. It wasn’t cheap and I’d never actually used it, just tested out the colours on the back of my hand…what a waste. It wasn’t an item I could donate but my friend was extremely grateful t receive this. Even if people say no, if you think they might like something it never huts to ask! As long as you make it clear you won’t be offended if they turn you down. The same friend also was happy to take on a beach bag (tags still attached). No idea why I ever held onto that as a ‘just in case item’…I don’t even like going to the beach!!
Many of my items ended up in the local church donation bin, most things were still good I just had too much clothing and far too many pairs of shoes. If items are in good condition, always donate before binning. It’s better for the environment and even better for the charities who actually need the items.
In the city where I live there is a charity of sorts that accepts toys that may be in need of a good cleaning and/or repair. I have donated many of my childhood toys to this charity as once cleaned up they are then distributed to charities in great need of children’s toys. Something I might deem as no good, (like a doll with a missing eye) they see as an opportunity for a new lease of life.
Some of my more valuable items I have sold on the likes of Ebay and Gumtree. If you have items you deem worthy of your time for the money, why not turn superfluous stuff back into cash? I’ll be honest though, I found that for some items the time it took wasn’t worth the small financial return. Unless you have a lot of spare time on your hands, be really choosy about the items you decide to list. Taking photos, uploading the ad, managing the ad, fielding questions, thinking people are interested when they actually aren’t is very time consuming. Sometimes all of that isn’t worth my time if I’m only going to be making $10 or less. Remember, time is a valuable commodity, it’s a finite resource.
This one may seem a bit left field, but it’s important! If on your de-cluttering journey you go through your bathroom cabinet and end up with a bag of old prescription pills you no longer need make sure you take these to your local pharmacy (check with them first). But most will accept these back in order to dispose of them properly and safely.
I found I had a lot of old papers, note books and artwork that could actually be recycled, there were several occasions where I filled the recycling bin and had to wait until the following week before I could do any more cleaning out. I tried to recycle anything that I possibly was able to, anything where our precious resources can be re-used is surely a good thing.
This is the absolute last resort, but I’m pleased to say that very few of my items made it into the bin because there are so many other options before getting to this point. Having to throw things in the bin really helps motivate me to stay minimalist. I don’t want to be contributing large amounts of stuff to landfill, so I no longer buy or allow many things into my home.
Do you ave any other ideas to prevent consumer goods ending up in landfill?