How To Reduce Waste and Declutter Your Life

by Megan Kioulafofski

The 21st century has marked a new era of economic evolution and abundance, but also a huge rise in consumerism. Now, as we’re reaping the benefits of this development by living in the most advanced times in human history, we are also faced with our over-consumption’s harmful side effects. 

The conclusion is clear and undebatable…

….we are in an urgent need of figuring out how to reduce the hazardous waste of our overconsumption, and declutter our lives. 

Just think about the sheer amount of information you are constantly processing. Even picking up the phone is no longer a simple process (considering the fact that our phones are also a computer now). We live more prosperous than ever before but we are also spending more money on so much more stuff than ever before. 

The average person has tons of stuff everywhere. We have an excess of things at home, at work, inside our cars and sometimes even in rental places where we keep all the staff that we cannot fit in our houses. 

The world has become stufftacular!

Why Overabundance Can Be A Bad Thing

Being abundant and owning lots of things is great if we completely ignore the fact that we don’t actually need all this stuff. 

In addition, where will all these items go when we will no longer need them?

Well, in some countries they get recycled (about 44% of everything, anyway). The rest ends up in a landfill somewhere. 

Because of all this abundance, we’re also producing more trash than ever before, and this is starting to show. 

The whole world is facing a serious waste management problem which seems to be getting more and more serious. That’s especially because some backwards regions are catching up in terms of industrialization, but not on recycling technologies.

How To Reduce Waste Starting Right Now

man in front of garbage truck how to reduce waste

With all this in mind, we need to make a decision to look at the things we can do in order to reduce our waste footprints, and declutter our lives at the same time. Taking immediate action in the zero-waste movement will help reduce your waste collection expenses too because there will be fewer items to throw away eventually..

Keep following our post to find out some efficient measures we can all do, starting right now.

How To Declutter Your Life By Purchasing Recycled Goods

If you’re determined to learn more about how to reduce waste, an easy way to start would be by making sure to purchase recycled items whenever you can. This is one of the best ways to support the recycling industry.

If more of us would follow this simple guideline, perhaps soon we would all be a lot closer to the countries which have the highest rate of recycling. As an example, Sweden is closest to the zero-waste way of life as the country recycles 99% of its waste, with only about 1% ending up in landfills. 

How To Declutter Your Life By Buying Foods In Bulk

Aim to entirely avoid single-use plastic containers, straws or servings.

Having too many bottles, cans or excess packaging clutters your home and causes industrial quantities of litter which just adds up to the global plastic waste. Even when they get recycled, these recipients can still cause lots of waste so avoid them as much as possible. 

Choose to buy in bulk quantities instead. It’s healthier for our planet and also cheaper for you in the long run.

Think Before You Buy

Wondering how to maximize your efforts of reducing waste?

A great way would be to stop buying new things impulsively. Before making any new purchase just stop and think for a minute.

Do you really need this thing?

How long are you going to use it?

Can you borrow it? 

We often purchase items we don’t really need that either end up somewhere in the house, the garage, a storage, or even worse – are thrown away almost immediately. 

This is often a waste of money, it creates a mess and it is also bad for the environment. With all these in mind, think well before you make a purchase.

Have A Good Look Around Your Home

Your home, especially in the kitchen, is the first place to start with when wondering how to reduce waste and declutter your life.

Write a to-do list to organize your efforts better and ask all your family members to help you look through all the places in the house.

From kitchen cabinets to the laundry room, and from home office drawers to the wardrobes in the bedroom there will surely be lots of things you no longer need.

Don’t be the kind of person that gets too attached to things and keeps them around even if they have no more earthly business being in the house. 

If you can find something that can be of use to someone else why not donate it and make a person happy. If the item is in too bad condition to be sold or given away, just make sure it goes to recycling. 

A good practice you should follow is organizing  a yearly spring-cleaning for the cluttered areas around your house. As you do this, follow the “three basket rule” – place three baskets in the room, with labels “Keep”, “Throw away” and “Donate”. 

Go through all the items once a year and separate as many as you can in these three categories. If you can make this a regular practice, you will notice how your home clutter will just get smaller with each year. Here are some other tips from sustainability experts on how to reduce, reuse and recycle.

Reduce Food And Paper Waste

A large portion of the overall waste we produce is actually paper and food. 

In order to combat the paper problem, you can do the following things: 

  • First, try to cancel your junk mail 
  • Second, you should cancel all your magazine and newspaper subscriptions and read them online on your phone, tablet, or computer. We know that this is not as convenient as having a paperback copy, but it’s better for the environment and helps reduce your waste footprint.

As for the food problem, here’s what we suggest:

  • Next time you go to the grocery store make sure to bring a list with the foods that you need to buy so that you don’t end up with extra items bought out of impulse.
  • Always bring your own reusable shopping bags and containers to make sure that you don’t use the plastic bags and recipients that shops usually provide.
  • If you live a busy lifestyle the best practice would be to plan your meals beforehand and cook them in moderate amounts, to avoid producing extra food waste. One cooked meal should last you and your family members no more than two days. After that it starts to spoil. 
  • Freezing cooked food is also a great practice if you’re very busy. This way you can achieve cooked meals a lot faster and it stays good for longer. 
  • If you live in a house with a big backyard, you can use the food scraps to create your own compost bin in a remote part of the garden. Place the food you’re about to throw away in the bin along with all the green waste you gather, keep the pile moist, but not soaking wet, and in about 4-6 months you will have your own compost for all your plants!

Recycle Electronics Properly

If you want to learn how to reduce waste and live sustainably, throwing tech and batteries in the bin is definitely not the way to go!

These objects are not biodegradable, but they can and should be recycled. 

For instance, computers contain small amounts of metals like gold and aluminium, which can be re-used without a limit. Therefore, what you should do is bring them to a tech recycling centre. There are such centres in every big city. 

Another thing you could do is donate old computers to local charities, with the condition that they are still working, obviously. 

Sometimes these establishments work with technicians who can fix small bugs and make the tech usable. Some technicians also gather old tech to use viable parts for various projects, you can check that option as well.

In addition, when it comes to recycling your phone, some mobile operators offer a mobile phone recycling service or new phone discounts if you trade your old one in.

One last thing you could do is try to sell your phone, but this means that it needs to actually work and be in a good condition.

How To Create A Functional Spring Cleaning Routine

how to reduce waste during spring cleaning and declutter your life

Every home tends to accumulate clutter around winter and if you want to make sure your home is guest-ready for the summer months, decluttering and spring cleaning once a year is mandatory.

Some of the things we recommend you should focus on when looking for how to declutter your house are:

  • Wash, pack and store all winter coats and shoes. Re-arrange all the wardrobes, so that winter clothes can be covered and stored, and summer ones can be easily accessible. Donating old clothes that you no longer wear could free lots of space in your wardrobe and as the saying goes, can invite new garments in.
  • Wash the bed linen and store it.
  • Clear out paper clutter – old magazines, letters and documents.  
  • Clear out the outdoor area – every backyard is stuffed with all kinds of items you store out during winter. When spring comes, you need to clear everything out, to prepare for the summer evenings in the garden.
  • Spend some time each year decluttering the garage and the attic – we use these spaces for storage, so they are always cluttered. Try to get rid of a few unnecessary items from here each year. It will help you feel better.
  • Deep clean the kitchen each spring – empty the cupboards, wash all the utensils, get rid of old bowls or dishes that you haven’t used for a long time and which just take space. Scrub the floors and all the furniture, as well as the space behind the fridge and other appliances. Deep clean the oven but also the barbecue especially if you host many outdoor parties during summer.

As you could see from the few steps listed above, decluttering our home doesn’t need to be such a painful and scary process. In fact, with time, many of you will realize that living with less things and in a more minimalistic manner, will actually make your life so much easier. 

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