Decluttering was one of the most important things I did in my first year of a reduced waste more environmentally friendly lifestyle.
Decluttering helps you examine yourself and your values. What possessions do you truly love? What items inspire you to be the best version of yourself? What dress makes you feel like a million dollars? In decluttering you discover these things all over again. It helped me really solidify who I am, who I want to become, and how I can stay ‘on message’. I’ve surrounded myself with all the lovely things in my life and by decluttering the bad I felt like it was a fresh start.
Having to go through your clutter and possessions one by one, even if you aren’t a major hoarder, is also a way to examine your consumer habits. What are your impulse purchase weaknesses? What do you buy too much of? What do you always end up giving or throwing away. Are you, like I was, a sucker for always accepting freebie lotions and hotel shampoos? Do you have one too many fashion fad items you only loved for a day? How much stuff do you own that is plastic and will eventually end up in landfills or polluting our beautiful planet? Yes there was lots of guilt I experienced decluttering and throwing away, but I learned from this experience.
By giving away, recycling or throwing out so much stuff I was able to clearly reassess what I should take into my home. It clarified the importance of the five ‘Rs’ of Zerowaste according to the zerowaste hero Bea Johnson – REFUSE to buy or accept things that I do not truly need. By getting rid of so many cheap items I am very conscious to REDUCE the number of things that I buy in general and no longer buy items I cannot REUSE (with some obvious exceptions like food). I also try to purchase only good quality things that will serve me for a long time and I can fully RECYCLE or ROT when I am done.
So there you have it, because decluttering made me go through everything in my house item by item, I became so much more conscious of what waste comes into and out of my home. The reality of the 5 Rs of zerowaste life became much more immediate.
REFUSE – what you do not need
REDUCE – that amount of waste you create
REUSE – anything that can be reused and avoid disposable once-off products where possible
RECYCLE – Recycle anything left over but reduce should mean reducing the amount that will end up in recycling too.
ROT- Compost food waste and anything that can be. Landfill should barely register if you follow the 5 R’s.
Here are some other posts I’ve written about decluttering: