How to Declutter – Ethically and Sustainably

How to Ethically and Sustainably Declutter

We all have too many material possessions. From old clothes to old devices our consumer goods driven society means we buy and replace without thinking of the potential environmental impact of our existing treasures that will become waste products.

Decluttering has gone from a spring cleaning clear out to an absolute must for us to continue living comfortably in our abodes without too much “stuff” hanging around.

But decluttering cannot simply result in a trip to the dump with our unwanted items. The environment is just too important, and we are beginning to realise this. Policies of mandatory recycling are emerging in many towns, cities, and regions.

So, what to do with the clutter you don’t need? There are a number of options, from some items you can make money or save some money on a replacement, or you can donate to charity, and even upcycle into new items for your home.

Recycling and reusing technology and devices

Manufacturer trade-in options are on the increase and are well worth investigating if you are upgrading a device. Then there are sites that will buy your old phones for cash. Amazon even has a trade-in scheme and websites like Decluttr will buy devices as well as CDs, games, books, and lego. Some charitable organisations will take old computers and give them to others that can benefit from them. There is Computers with Causes and World Computer Exchange, for example. Globetops allows donators to choose the recipient of a refurbished laptop computer.


Over the last decade there has been an emergence of consignment and fashion reselling companies that will act as go-betweens for sellers and buyers, especially for high-end items. Try sites like Tradesy and ThredUp and other local businesses.

Local charities may take workwear for the unemployed or and those getting back to work.  There are also clothing bins but remember these often are operated by companies that make money from the donations, but at least it’s not throwing items in landfill.


It’s possible but complicated to sell secondhand books via Amazon but other resellers will just take the ISBN and a description of the books condition before you mail the books to them. Powell’s and AbeBooks are two such companies. AbeBooks and Bookbyte are possible outlets for old textbooks and there are also always local initiatives to investigate which will take books for hospitals, schools, veterans and more.

Overall, when decluttering, you can look to local buy and sell forums like those that appear on Facebook, head to eBay, or take a trip to a local thrift or charity store and see if they would like your unwanted items. Community Facebook groups are a great way to offer free items to people that might need them.

If there is no other option than to dump it must be done properly. Local waste and recycling services will usually have information published online as to where old computers, electronics, and even furniture can be taken to be disposed of properly. Never consider just “dumping” any where or any how that’s just pooping in your own back yard.

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