Are you, like everyone else in my news feed, doing the Marie Kondo? If so, what are you planning to do with all the items you have that no longer spark joy? Hopefully you’re utilising landfill only as an absolute last resort. But where else can you send your unwanted stuff?
Check out the Resources Page on the little miss sorted website for lots of ideas on how to declutter with a conscience. We are adding to it all the time, like today, with this great find:
Each one will vary so check before you attend, however we do love this list taken from a local animal protection society website that demonstrates the wide range of items they are looking for including:
pet food and feeding items
empty egg cartons
outdoor mats (for cats to scratch)
rubber outdoor mats (with holes in them to make snuffle mats)
new fleece fabric off cuts
chicken/beef stock or stock cubes
ice cube trays
I’m wondering what they do with the stock… Do you know? Or do you have another nifty resource that we’ve missed in our library? Please tell us!
Welcome to Day 7 of little miss sorted’s 7 Day Sustainable Declutter Challenge:
The garage is often home for everything but your car. Car parts, boxes that haven’t been unpacked from 2 house moves ago, all the things you’re “definitely” going to repair, craft supplies you will use one day but can’t fit in your house at the moment, baby gear “just in case”, tax papers from fifteen years ago that you’ll sort out one day and all the amazing art your children have brought home since they were 4. And sometimes there’s even some junk that’s actually been earmarked to go but hasn’t quite made it out the door yet… It all makes for a cluttered mess and when the time comes to turf it, a serious health and environmental hazard if not disposed properly.
The World Health Organisation say that stockpiles of waste tyres sent to countries like Vietnam has caused the spread of Dengue Fever and other mosquito borne diseases by providing a perfect breeding ground. But recycled, they are useful for making sporting & playground surfaces, brake pads, insulation and constructing roads and drains among other things.
Another big problem is batteries. Australia has one of the lowest battery recycling rates in the world. Each year, over 300 million household batteries are thrown away with ordinary waste, meaning a staggering 8,000 tonnes of batteries end up in landfill. Batteries leech toxic metals into the ground which contaminates our soil and finds its way into our water systems.
Top Tips to sustainably declutter the garage
Hazardous waste should never go into landfill. Check out this blog post for destinations for most types of rubbish including making use of your council hard rubbish collection service which is often your best friend when it comes to cleaning out a garage
Determine what is of no use to you, and what is of no use to anyone. Donate the former and ensure the latter is sent to its proper destination. The RecycleNearYou website is a great resource
Anything sentimental or of value should never be stored in the garage, where temperatures can vary wildly. If it’s important, it deserves a place in your house
Top Tips to organise the garage
Create zones for the different types of things you keep in your garage, such as tools, gardening equipment, car paraphernalia, sports gear, outdoor living and the like. Store like things together and ensure small items are contained
Keep the floor clear as much as possible by utilising vertical space. Shelving along a wall, hooks, brackets and even rafters are important to make the most of this space whilst still being able to park your car here
Create a dedicated area for items that are ready to be donated or disposed of. Don’t make it too big. That way, when it is full, you are reminded to empty it (regularly) in order to make more space
Environmentally friendly resources when decluttering the garage:
Chemicals, paint, batteries, fluros, etc
Detox your home collects items throughout the year at various locations. Use this link to find a date, time and location near you and to see what they accept
Tyrecycle is one company recycling used car tyres. Check the list of participating retailers on their website to ensure the place you get your tyres changed is committed to recycling them, or if they’re not on the list, ask them before you book in.
1800-got-junk? is a handy resource for your back pocket. They will remove your unwanted item (whatever it is and from wherever it is) and take it away. They divert as much as possible from landfill and you pay based on the amount of truck space you use. Considering it includes two men with lifting power this is often a very good solution when you just don’t know what to do with your unwanted stuff or can’t move something yourself
Today is the last day of National Organising Week and our week-long sustainable decluttering challenge. Congratulations on making it to the end and I hope you’ve learnt something new and got a little closer to finding your Organised Sweet Spot.
Getting organised is not a one-time event. It’s a life long journey that requires your ongoing commitment and prioritisation, much like you health and garden. At the end of the day, its a choice between the stuff or the space. There is no right or wrong choice, but it is important to acknowledge you can only have one or the other and to work out what the right balance is for you.
If you want to maintain momentum on your decluttering journey and would like one-on-one help with sorting your space, please call or email me for an obligation free chat. There is no pressure to take any action right now, but it is always empowering to know your options for when you are ready. I can do in-person consultations in Melbourne, the Mornington Peninsula and West Gippsland. I also have a brilliant & trusted colleague based in the Gold Coast for our Northern Friends in Brisbane, Northern NSW or anywhere in between. So whenever you are ready for more time and space, we are ready & waiting.
Happy Sustainable Decluttering! The planet thanks you.
Welcome to Day 1 of little miss sorted’s 7 Day Sustainable Declutter Challenge
When it comes time to declutter, many people default to sorting items into 3 piles: Keep, Donate or Toss. Whilst it’s a starting point and a good way to conceptualise the task at hand (especially if already feeling overwhelmed by stuff) the majority of the time I personally don’t find 3 categories to be enough if you want to declutter sustainably.
One thing I know for sure is that if you put down a big tub lined with a garbage bag and start putting everything in it that isn’t being kept or donated, the contents will end up in landfill. No-one is going back and sorting that rubbish bag out. No-one. So the key for me when it comes to sustainable decluttering is to sort items properly in the first place.
Depending on the space you are decluttering, think about the following categories for more sustainable sorting (I find large open tubs of different colours or labelled boxes work great for this):
Stay (in this room)
Redistribute (to another family member/room/place)
So hopefully now you are starting to see why the simple “Keep, Donate & Toss” system isn’t that useful for sustainable decluttering.
If you’re interested to know more, go grab yourself a beverage of choice (this isn’t a brief post) and allow me to share a few of my sustainable “Donate & Toss” tips and resources.
Because if we get this right, we can have a really positive impact on our environment.
I personally love this option for unwanted goods that still have life left in them. It helps to ensure items get to the people who really need and want them whilst generating income for charities who support some of our most vulnerable citizens. It also means you don’t end up imposing your unwanted clutter on an often reluctant recipient (who probably doesn’t want it either but is too polite to say and who probably also struggles to find somewhere to stash it).
However, when it comes to donating, we have a responsibility to do so mindfully and respectfully or quite frankly, we don’t deserve the feel-good fuzzies that come from being charitable.
Check the guidelines for what the charity will accept before you donate as the rules differ. Some don’t take electrical items, soft toys or certain baby items, for example.
Only donate what you would be happy to use for your own family
Some clothing, whilst not being suitable to be worn again, may be an acceptable donation for rags. Check out these general guidelines and ensure the charity you take them to accepts this type of donation as many don’t
This seems straight forward but apparently 11% of people think used disposable nappies are recyclable. I mean, really? And don’t imagine there’s some magical fairy fixing your recycling sins at the other end. There isn’t. Contaminated recycling goes to landfill.
The top 3 mistakes people make when recycling are:
Putting plastic bags into recycling. 9 out of 10 councils reported this was the main problem. A good rule of thumb we use in our house is if the plastic changes shape when filled with water, it can’t go into council recycling
Putting recyclable items into the normal bin. Nearly half the councils reported this problem which is a real missed opportunity and sees unnecessary space taken up in landfill
Food contamination. Grease and oil affects the paper pulping process, a problem for a quarter of councils
It doesn’t help that every local council has their own rules on what you can put in your recycling bin but we can’t use that as an excuse. Take 10 minutes to look-up the waste services section on your local council’s website and familiarise yourself with the rules for where you live.
Top Tips for Sustainable Recycling:
Know what goes in your bin – it’s different for different councils
If you’re not sure if something can be recycled, try the RecyclingNearYou website where you can search by item type to find an answer
This is a game changer in my opinion. I can’t believe I hadn’t heard about this until recently. RED Group, a Melbourne-based consulting and recycling organisation, has developed and implemented the REDcycle Program; a recovery initiative for post-consumer soft plastic. RED Group has teamed up with Coles & Woolworths to make it easy for you to keep your plastic bags and soft plastic packaging out of landfill. Think plastic food wrapping, shopping bags, bread bags and cereal box liners.
One business doing this well is The Garden. Well worth checking out their system in the reception area if you live local to Frankston, Victoria.
Set-up a permanent box or bag for your REDcycling at home and print off this list so you know what goes in
Set it up at work, your local kinder, childcare centres, schools and universities and spread the word!
This is so easy, we should all be doing it. Even if you live in an apartment you can invest in a composting system that works under the bench. It doesn’t smell… promise!
So why isn’t this more widely practiced? I think people either don’t know how to do it or get complacent about it because they think food and other things you can compost is organic/living matter and therefore it breaks down easily so what does it matter if it goes to landfill? But that is the very issue. When food scraps are sent to landfill, they decompose without oxygen (anaerobically) to produce methane, a greenhouse gas with
over 20 times the global warming capacity of carbon dioxide. Decomposing food scraps are also a potential source of leachates (liquid that drains from landfills) that can contaminate surface and ground water.
If food scraps are composted, the organic matter and nutrients they contain can be reused as fertiliser. Properly composted food scraps are a valuable resource. In some commercial composters, methane and other biogases can also be captured and used to generate electricity. Read more about the impact of methane released into the atmosphere from food scraps here.
Top Tips for Sustainable Composting:
Make sure you have your own compost bin, compost heap, worm farm or Bokashi bucket to do your bit at home
Composting is not just for food scraps. In fact it requires a combination of wet and dry material to really thrive. Take your open mind over to this article and educate yourself!
Even if you don’t have a garden, your local community garden is unlikely to turn your delicious compost away if you do it right. Alternatively you could raise it as an item for your body corporate to consider providing for your block of residents
Anything you wouldn’t want printed on the internet should probably be shredded and not just recycled. However, if you think your life’s too boring for anyone to bother stealing your paperwork, or you like living on the edge, at the very least shred personal and financial information that is tempting to thieves. If you have a large backlog of paper to shred or you seem to generate a lot, it’s worth having a secure document company come and shred it for you. This can be done on site in front of you, at their location with a certificate of destruction issued at the end or a bin (much like your recycling bin) can be delivered to your door for later collection. This can be lockable – just make sure you request it, if that’s what you want.
Top Tips for Sustainable Shredding:
Invest in a shredder. One that cross-cuts is ideal
Ideally shred as you go – don’t make a huge job for yourself by saving it all up to do “one day”
Put your shredded paper into your compost bin or worm farm. The worms will love it and potential identity thieves will give up and go next door
Okay, so hopefully now we have very little left in our “Toss” pile because we’re utilising all the other options first. There’s really not much more you can do to avoid some items going into landfill if you’re utilising the other options mentioned above first, except for being more mindful during the acquiring process and ensuring you aren’t disposing of harmful items in your rubbish. A big culprit here is household batteries. These should never be put into the rubbish bin as they leach dangerous metals into the ground. Battery World Stores accept all types of batteries for safe disposal and ALDI supermarkets accept household batteries.
Top Tips for Rubbish Disposal:
Keep a small child-proof container somewhere safe from little people and store up your used batteries. Then simply take them with you when you know you’ll be nearby to a drop-off point. I find writing a little reminder on my shopping list to be a great way to systemise this when the container is ready to be emptied.
Dispose of harmful items in the appropriate way. See this great website for more information
Wherever possible, avoid buying items with lots of plastic/excess packaging that you can see will end up at the tip
Utilise your council’s resources such as recycling centres and hard rubbish collections. Most offer at least one free collection each year. Some are on set dates, others you need to call and request a pick-up.
Tomorrow we tackle the kitchen so look out for lots of hints, tips and resources and remember you can drop your unwanted items from the list mentioned in my post on Sunday to me any day during National Organising Week. Tomorrow you will find me here:
Pinewood Nursery (Carpark)
478 Blackburn Rd, Glen Waverley
I’d love to know if you’d heard of REDcycling before now and if you participate or if we’ve been living under the same rock! Leave me a comment.
Happy Sustainable Decluttering! The planet thanks you.
Today is Clean Up Australia Day. Tomorrow is the start of National Organising Week.
I think the Universe is trying to tell us something.
And when she talks, we should listen. So here’s what’s happening… Each day for the next 7 days I’ll be popping up at a different location somewhere in the South-Eastern suburbs of Melbourne to take your unwanted clutter* off your hands and sustainably dispose of it on your behalf at absolutely no cost to you. That’s right, totally FREE.
Don’t live in Melbourne or can’t get to me? Don’t worry. I’ll also be providing lots of resources for future reference of organisations locally, nationally and sometimes even globally that will accept your excess clutter and keep it out of landfill.
Not sure where to start? No problem, I’ve got it sorted. Each day I’ll be posting some helpful tips on how to declutter a different zone of your home so we can work through it methodically and without getting overwhelmed. It’s just for 1 week… I know you can do it!
So really, what have you got to lose, except some clutter? I’m making myself available all week to answer your organising questions, help you get sorted and encourage you to find your Organised Sweet Spot and live life there. So please join in the daily challenges and help others you know who might also benefit from some free Professional Organising advice by sharing this post and the upcoming daily blogs with them.
I’d love to hear about your progress, see your before and after photos and meet you (and your clutter) at the various locations listed below. (Click here to see who you’re looking for!) If you do join in, by the end of the week I promise you will have more space and a clean conscience to boot.
*Items I will be accepting are:
Unopened toiletries including hotel-sizes
Clean towels and blankets
Plastic shopping bags
Unused nappies (opened packets & no packets are also acceptable)
Unwanted craft items
Kids’ books in good condition
Non-perishable pantry items (in date)
Old reading glasses
Old mobile phones & their accessories
Women’s corporate clothing & accessories
So have a think about the space invaders in your house and start gathering them in an “OUT” bag near the door. And yes, that includes all the stuff you’ve been meaning to sell for the last 3 years and haven’t.
Take a look at my schedule below and decide where you can meet me and stay tuned throughout this week to find out where your items will be going!
Please note – I can only accept normal household quantities & any sorting you can do to keep categories of items separate & contained would be much appreciated.
I will provide additional resources and information on my website on how you can dispose of items not listed above.
Where to find me – this week only:
Mon 5th March
(Outside) Seaford Kindergym
3/10 Rutherford Rd, Seaford
Tue 6th March
Pinewood Nursery (Carpark)
478 Blackburn Rd, Glen Waverley
Wed 7th March
Doncaster Officeworks (Carpark)
602-630 Doncaster Rd, Doncaster
Thu 8th March
Mums Supporting Families In Need (Warehouse)
2/7 Sir Laurence Drive, Seaford
Fri 9th March
The Garden – Frankston (Reception)
4 Ross Smith Ave W, Frankston
Sat 10th March
IKEA Springvale (Near Entrance)
917 Princes Hwy, Springvale
Sun 11th March
Sandbox Café – Sandhurst Golf Club
75 Sandhurst Blvd, Sandhurst
Please note: Sometimes unexpected things happen. Keep an eye on my website & Facebook page in the unlikely event I need to make a last minute update to times and locations.
In the meantime, if you’re ready to get started N.O.W. why don’t you head on over to the Clean Up Australia Day website and find a site near you where you can pitch in to help clean up. Or if you can’t attend, perhaps you’d consider making a donation here. I was surprised to learn that Clean Up Australia does not receive government funding and relies on private and corporate donations to keep their campaigns running and to provide supplies like gloves, tools and rubbish bags for volunteers. All donations above $2 are tax deductible for Australian taxpayers.
Enjoy your Sunday and I’ll see you tomorrow for our first N.O.W. organising challenge!