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How to make your January clear-out more eco-friendly

How to make your January clear-out more eco-friendly

It's the New Year, our houses are fit to burst, we own more candles than we can count and there's no more space to fit even the smallest ornament on the mantelpiece. The Christmas decorations are down but the house is full of clutter. It's time for a post-Christmas clear-out.

While January is the perfect time to start sorting through your belongings – starting in the garden and ending in the depths of your wardrobe – it's easy to forget the detrimental impact that home detoxes can have on our fragile environment (a staggering 10 million household items are sent to landfill every year). How can we tidy our homes without adding to unnecessary waste? David Mantle, co-founder of Stashbee, shares some tips on how we can start preparing for a greener 2020.

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Recycling is an easy way to reduce waste, but it isn't just limited to cans and plastics.

'Textiles and clothing items found around the house that aren’t suitable to be passed on to someone else or resold can be recycled too. For example, padding from old chairs or car seats, cleaning cloths and old blankets are perfectly suitable for recycling and in doing so, we limit the amount of unnecessary waste tossed into landfill,' explains David.

A new lease of life

Will your jumper with the tag still on (that's been gathering dust all year), spark joy for someone else?

'Reselling your pre-loved possessions is a great alternative to aimlessly throwing them away, not only resulting in less landfill waste but also giving items a new lease of life and providing a welcome financial boost during a long January,' says David. 'Sites such as eBay, Gumtree and Depop are all great options when it comes to rehoming these unwanted odds and ends.'

Storage

Small spaces often mean a lack of storage, so it's no surprise that we can be quite ruthless when having a big clear-out. But, do this with caution – you don't want to contribute to the growing plastic pollution problem, and you don't want to regret parting with your belongings either.

An alternative, greener storage solution? Rather than spend a small fortune on a huge locker, Stashbee matches people who are looking for storage with those who have a spare space to rent out in the local area. Whether it be a loft or attic, garage, spare bedroom or lockup, Stashbee simplifies the process of finding storage in spaces that would otherwise be un-utilised.

Give to those in need

Giving to local charity shops is a more sustainable way of parting with your belongings, whilst also giving to a good cause.

'It is important to be conscientious and logical when giving away to charity shops, will the item realistically be of use to someone? Will the shop have space for what you would like to donate? Think long and hard about the items you are donating and perhaps call the shop before dropping in large items such as furniture,' advises David. 'If your local charity shop cannot accept your furniture, you can also contact organisations such as the Furniture Reuse Network, which builds connections with commercial partners and members of the public to divert usable household items from landfill and into low-income households.

'Alternatively, you could use The Freecycle Network, which allows users to simply advertise items that they want to get rid of and offer them to someone else for free in their community.'

Package items sustainably

Protecting delicate items sustainably when packing up possessions can be challenging, as neither bubble wrap nor styrofoam is recyclable. A way around this, however, is to try and use containers that's already lying around the house, such as suitcases, handbags and plastic boxes when preparing items for storage. 'If you do have to use cardboard boxes, remember to take them to your local recycling point after use,' says David. You could also wrap delicate items in towels, blankets and clothing or even biodegradable bubble wrap or newspapers.

 

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