Living a greener life and gaining peace of mind can be achieved in many ways. As a professional declutterer, I often see homes which are generating a lot of waste and a key part of the process is addressing the way we consume goods, and our relationship with possessions.
Here are 7 simple steps to"go greener" and adopt a mindset change, which might benefit the whole planet as well as you and your home.
1) Be a conscious consumer
Many of us have a habit of acquiring things we don’t really need. Whether they seem like a bargain or promise to be the ‘perfect’ solution to make our lives easier, we sometimes buy things without too much consideration. But everything we buy needs to be stored and/or maintained. If it is a mistake, we’re then left with clutter which impacts on the comfort of our homes.
Being a smart shopper is easy - buy only what you need, as you need it. If you're unsure about something, exercise a "purchase pause", wait a few days and then decide. Buying less automatically reduces the amount of waste you produce, and can lead to a simpler, calmer lifestyle (not to mention make your money go further).
2) Become a minimalist
You don’t have to go overboard with minimalism but you could go on a decluttering spree and let go of things which aren’t useful or beautiful. There’s often little point in storing items that can easily be used by others. Donating your items can be a easy way to free up space in your home, while producing no waste whatsoever. Plus, you'll be funding charitable causes and taking on a new mindset to acquire less in future. You'll also benefit from more space and less clutter to clean and think about on a daily basis.
3) Recycle electronics
Given the particular nature of electronics disposal, which cannot be treated as ordinary rubbish, simply sell them online or give them away to charity. If you have an old TV or lamp, rather than storing or throwing them away, recycle or donate your unwanted electricals.
4) Shop second hand
When it does come to furnishing or acquiring new items, consider shopping second hand. Second hand doesn’t have to mean second rate. There are some true bargains to be had, not only in BHF clothing shops and BHF furniture and electrical stores but in online marketplaces like the BHF eBay shop. Buying preloved items also means you are not adding to the number of items being manufactured in the world. In addition, you may be helping to fund charitable causes.
Left: Natalie Bunyan (@Charity_Nat) / Twitter. Right: Charley & Liam (@homeat177) / Instagram
5) Buy reusable products
Investing in these is a great way to avoid empty packaging going into landfill. The added bonus is that you'll save money in the long term and be using a higher quality product. You can buy a metal bottle to fill with water from your tap, and take reusable cups into coffee shops. There are paper straws as alternatives to plastic ones – or avoid using one at all. Moreover, packing your lunch in a sturdy container with a sealable lid means you can avoid buying convenience food in packaging.
Consider upcycling something you already own. By doing so, you’re extending the life of the item. You might simply update the look of something, such as painting an old piece of furniture, or you could create something new entirely, for example an old piano becoming a bookshelf. Breathing a new lease of life into well used items, can be extremely satisfying as well as useful.
Hannah B (@hannahbthinks) /Instagram
7) Choose experiences over things
Choosing to spend time living in the moment and enjoying experiences often leads to greater connection to other people. Experiences lead to shared stories which improve relationships and ultimately happiness levels. Additionally, spending money on experiences is a great way to continue to support the economy while avoiding acquiring physical possessions you don't need.
Feeling inspired? Discover more of Kate's decluttering tips on her blog A Tidy Mind.
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