Green and Tidy

Helping people all over the world declutter and create homes they love

How am I supposed to know what to DO with it?! (Part 1)


Clients often tell me that not knowing the best ways to dispose of their stuff is a barrier to them decluttering.

They want to declutter but they haven’t got time to research the most eco-friendly ways to move things on. And they can’t bear simply to dump stuff they know other people could use.

So I researched ways to move on some of the most common types of clutter.

Then Next Starfish asked me if I’d like to contribute a guest blog to its site. Next Starfish highlights actions we can take in our everyday lives to make a difference to the challenges ofย  poverty and hunger, conflict and injustice, lack of resources and environmental damage facing our world.

Next Starfish and I agreed that this issue of eco-decluttering was where our sites overlapped.

So mosey on over to my guest blog on Next Starfish to find out how to declutter in an eco-friendly way. This week, the post is about general approaches (reduce, reuse, recycle). Next week, I’ll blog about how to move on specific things (from batteries and bicycles, through broken jewellery and opened cosmetics/toiletries, to safety pins and used stamps).

Is there something you don’t know how to dispose of? Comment below and, if I’m not already planning to cover it, I’ll research it for you and see if I can add it before next week.

  • Sue field

    My local dry cleaner is happy to take back the wire coat hangers for reuse, worth asking if yours is too

    Sue field

    • Yes, that’s a good one. And already on my list. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Good to know others think this way too. Anything that you’re stuck on?

  • Nextstarfish


    Thanks very much for agreeing to write your guest post for Next Starfish.

    I’m a fellow decluttering enthusiast – though with two under tens in the house, you wouldn’t know it ! I do find I’m calmer and more relaxed when I’m surrounded by less stuff . . . not to mention I’d like to spend less time constantly tidying things up ! I’ve been filling my garage with stuff we’ve decided to get rid of for ages, and it’s pretty much full. This summer will be ‘the grand clearing out’ – and I’ve started looking into a number of the various suggestions in your article I hadn’t thought of before !

    I actually think our relationship with ‘stuff’ shapes how we see and interact with the world in many ways, and it goes without saying the more ‘stuff’ we buy, have and own, the greater our environmental impact. I also think though that as a culture we have managed to develop quite a toxic relationship with wanting and shopping for new stuff – always wanting more. We’re all getting stressed and ill working too hard, to buy new stuff to replace our old stuff, in the hope it’ll fullfill us and replace the ‘gaps in our lives’.

    Maybe if we spent less time working, brought less stuff, spent more time interacting with people – especially locally, and maybe even spending some of our money and efforts on improving the lives of others less fortunate in the world, we’d all be a lot happier. I see caring for the stuff we already have and removing clutter from our lives as an important part of that. Just my thoughts ๐Ÿ™‚

    Be sure to check out the second part of Rachel’s article on Next Starfish next week.

    In the meantime I wrote an article a couple of months back on clearing out my wardrobe, that might be of interest.

    at Next Starfish

    • Hi Steve. Thank YOU for inviting me to post on Next Starfish. And thanks for your comment above.

      I agree that we create a false sense of security by acquiring stuff. It makes me think of caddis fly larvae that gather around themselves detritus from the bottom of a river bed to protect and camouflage themselves. We stuff our homes with things because it makes us feel safe and secure. The reality though is that the more stuff we have, the more there is for us to do: managing and maintaining that stuff, not to mention earning the money to keep repairing, replacing and adding to it.

      My main motivations for decluttering and organising on a regular basis are reducing my environmental impact, saving time, saving money, clearing out my mental clutter and simplifying my life. Together those add up to peace of mind. I love having empty space on shelves and in cupboards. It gives me room to breathe and think.

      And, like you, I find that because I don’t buy much stuff, I feel under less pressure to earn money, and freer to interact locally, freecycling stuff, trading skills though a local enterprise trading scheme and participating in community activities.

      At the same time, I aim not to demonise ‘stuff’. I love the things I own and being able to treasure them is part of decluttering too.

      As with everything in life, it’s about balance.