That might seem a simple question. Not so I’m discovering. Developing the products I’m going to be offering through the green decluttering service I’ll be launching soon (watch this space!), has had me examine what I mean by green decluttering.
Some decluttering experts seem to concentrate solely on being organised, or tidy. Others solely on reducing the amount of stuff someone has. Some focus strongly on cleaning. None seem to make a link with living a low impact life.
Here’s what I mean by decluttering:
- Reducing the amount of stuff you acquire, own and consume (including by acquiring less, moving stuff on, repairing damaged things, and finding new uses for things you already own)
- Organising your stuff
- Tidying your space.
Personally, I do it to fulfil three aims:
- To reduce my environmental impact
- To make my home work for me efficiently (so I can lay my hand easily on what I want to use, when I want to use it)
- To have my home look lovely.
For me there is an obvious link between decluttering and living a low impact life. It reduces our own consumption of course. And, by moving stuff we own and no longer need on to people and places where it will get used, it reduces other people’s consumption – people use our unwanted stuff rather than buying new stuff.
Plus, by minimsing the stuff we hold onto, it reduces the amount of space we need to occupy. We need fewer cupboards, shelves, drawers and boxes, and maybe even smaller living spaces.
If you’re green-minded, it’s tempting to hoard stuff. It feels wasteful to move it on if there’s the slightest chance you might use it again. And it can be hard to admit to yourself that a purchase was a mistake. I find myself keeping things for years on the basis that I might use them someday. And sometimes, I do bring something back into use after years of disuse.
More often though I don’t. And there’s nothing green about hoarding unused stuff. It’s a waste.
The fact is, I LOVE green decluttering. I get such satisfaction from moving stuff out of my house. Especially if it goes to someone who’s going to make good use of it. I feel so pleased with myself for using a towel or a T-shirt or a pair of jeans until they’re threadbare and then turning them into a moisture mat for my worm composter.
Recently I’ve come to realise how many people want help to declutter, organise and live lower impact lives. And I’ve noticed how much I do to help people in those areas. Friends often ask me for advice on the lowest impact way to do something, green alternatives and how to dispose of unwanted items in eco-friendly ways.
So I’m launching a green decluttering consultancy, to help green-minded people who feel worn down by their clutter and long to have beautiful homes and workspaces.
If that’s you, help me tailor the products and services I’m developing to address your specific problems. I’d love to hear from you. Tell me what gets you down most about your clutter. How do you feel about decluttering? What’s your guiltiest green secret? Your biggest green challenge/dilemma? What help do you want/need?