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25 Apr 2016

Zero Waste Decluttering | 5 Ways

When transitioning to a more minimalistic lifestyle it can be daunting to start the process of getting rid of your possessions for good. You've made piles of things to go out (and probably a 'maybe' pile, too, to soften the blow on your nervous system), and now it's time to decide what to do with all of this... stuff.

It's wasteful to just chuck it all in the bin but how else are you going to free yourself of it ASAP mindfully? Here are your options:

Just because you're getting rid of something doesn't mean it's junk. In fact, a lot of the items going out are going to be useful... they're just not things you need in your life. So give them to somebody else who will benefit from them – family, friends, neighbours, or try giving them away online (FreeCycle, Gumtree).

You may be hesitant to throw out items that cost you a fair bit of money or are still in good nick, perhaps even new. Keeping an item should be about it's worth and fit in your lifestyle, not about how much it once cost you. If you feel like you could make some of your money back, try selling it online (eBay, Depop). You want to be careful not to get trapped into trying to sell everything, otherwise you'll end up with the same pile of stuff as before waiting for it to sell. Pick the best pieces you think are worth the time and give yourself a deadline to sell them by. If they're still around within that timeframe, get rid of them.

A benefit of living minimally is that it has less of an impact on our environment, so to gather up our things and chuck them out seems a little counter intuitive. Instead of closing your eyes and chucking everything in one bin, separate what is recyclable and what isn't and dispose of them mindfully. Take your old clothes to a clothes bank, your paperwork in the recycling bin, and your nick-knacks to a charity shop. Living a minimalist lifestyle is not only about surrounding yourself with fewer possessions, it's about being conscious of your decisions and the impact they have. This is a great way to start paying more attention to what you consume (not only into your body, but into your life) and noticing what you value and what you don't.

If you've got pieces that you love but can't seem to make work in your current space, upcycling is a great way to reimagine a piece of furniture of clothing to evolve with you and your aesthetics. BE careful not to fall into the trap of thinking everything can be upcycled and kept... only keep the key pieces that hold value for you in your current lifestyle. 

Once we're consuming more mindfully it can still be difficult to keep all of the clutter at bay. Temptation is often a trigger to invite more stuff into our space so unsubscribe to store newsletters, cancel your magazine subscription, and take your favourite shopping brands off of your top sites list on your web browser. Removing these advertisements will remove the monthly, weekly, and even daily temptations and you'll no longer be prompted to buy something you otherwise wouldn't even know existed. It's also beneficial to let your friends and family know about your decision to live more mindfully and minimally – ask them to choose experiences rather than items as gifts and celebrations. This'll keep them from spending their money on things you don't want and you from feeling the pangs of guilt when getting rid of unwanted gifts.

"Minimalism is not the lack of something. It's simply the perfect amount of something." – Nicholas Burroughs

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