How to declutter responsibly - a clean home and a cleaner future

How to declutter responsibly - a clean home and a cleaner future

By Emma Lucey  April 20th, 2022

If you're struggling to find things in your home, running out of storage, or feeling a bit crowded, it may be time to declutter and benefit from a healthier living space. We’ve got tips on how to declutter in an environmentally responsible way and clear your space to clear your mind.


Give yourself time

Take your time. Put on an old album you haven’t listened to in a while and make decluttering a cathartic process. Feeling overwhelmed can lead to impulse tossing. Items that are thrown away hastily end up in landfill when they could have a second life by being reused or recycled. Time you put into this project is time invested in your wellbeing and reduces your impact on the environment.

Make a plan

So many of us have a messy corner, or even a lonely chair that tends to accumulate miscellaneous items. That clutter can occupy a space in your mind as well as a physical space in your home. Assign a place for the essentials and consider passing on, recycling or responsibly disposing of the items you don’t use often or no longer need. Start one section at a time by emptying the space and laying out all the items where you can best see everything – putting items on an old white sheet can help.


Now you can clean the empty section. When cleaning, we suggest using old rags or reusable cloths to avoid unnecessary waste. Once the section is clean, consider your empty space – this part can be satisfying. That satisfaction can be extended by utilising this space carefully and only storing the essentials. Take the time to sort through everything mindfully. Identify which items you would like to keep, what needs to be repaired, and what can be reused by passing it onto someone else or recycled. Consider categorising what you’re keeping so everything is easy to find, which will make your life easier. Store all your tools in one section and your repair kits in another. Keep any cleaning products at the front so they can be reached easily at any given moment.


Have you held on to bits and pieces from past projects? We tend to stockpile supplies even after DIY jobs and craft projects are complete, leaving them to gather dust. There's likely to be plenty of items in your space that you didn’t know you could recycle or dispose of responsibly. For example, did you know you could give unwanted paint a second life? Since 2016, Paintback has diverted over 36 million kilograms of paint from landfill, protecting our environment from toxic chemicals that can leach into vital waterways. Paintback invests in research and development to find new and innovative uses for unwanted paint and packaging. Oil-based paint is used as an alternative energy source, while water is separated from water-based paint and used in a variety of industrial applications. It is free to drop off with over 165 Paintback locations within Australia.

Resell and reuse

Selling items you hardly use on online marketplaces or in local online community groups is a great way to declutter while also making a bit of extra coin. Alternatively, it could be a good opportunity to swap items you no longer use for storage solutions to benefit your refreshed space.

Another option is to donate good quality items that can be reused. It’s important to only donate them when they are in a reasonable condition because charities are paying $13 million a year to send unusable donations to landfill, which represents 60,000 tonnes of waste! If you’re unsure whether your items are in good enough condition to donate, follow the golden rule for donations: if you would gift it to a friend or family member, then it’s in good enough condition to donate to a charity shop.

Check Recycling Near You to find reuse and recycling options in your area.

When you’ve finished the job, you might be tempted to buy more things to fill the space you just decluttered. But think of the benefits of decluttering – less to clean and less stress! It’s time to breathe a sigh of relief. Now you have more space to live and the time you’ve saved searching for things in the future can be spent outside enjoying nature.


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Emma Lucey

Emma brings experience in digital media and communications with a background in several industries such as tourism and hospitality. Prior to joining Planet Ark in 2022, Emma spent 5 years living abroad in London & Amsterdam where she developed a greater interest in the environment and sustainability. Outside of work Emma enjoys gardening, camping and crocheting.

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