I’ve learned – it’s freeing to get rid of stuff…the more stuff you own the more stuff owns you. The more you can move these pieces on, the better you’ll feel mentally and spiritually. If you’re looking to lighten the clutter in your home or garage but feel hesitant about it because you’re a waste-not-want-not person like me or have other reasons, here are some tips to lessen your concerns.
It makes sense to me to get rid of stuff and free up space because I like space and openness (don’t cage me in). It fits within the concept of freedom in movement of energy.
I also think the less material stuff I own the less stuff owns me in terms of maintaining it, that’s one of my self wilding principles I live out. But I can still get anxious and have difficulty getting rid of stuff.
Not long ago, we renovated our kitchen to open up the space and let energy flow between areas. It was a good time to declutter, to get rid of stuff.
How to declutter your life and live with less
I listed 25 simple ways to declutter your life in a key article I wrote about finding balance in your life.
The following provides valuable solutions, but not everywhere will have the same collection or exchange programs. I recommend you read the following and use it as a guide for what may be available in your area.
25 tips for getting rid of items when decluttering your home:
Start with one room at a time
We all know how to throw out stuff — It’s just that it can be hard to let go of stuff and starting can feel overwhelming. Breaking it down into one room at a time will help.
Break the process down into manageable tasks
Likewise, break the room tasks down into smaller manageable tasks. For example, one drawer, closet or storage area at a time.
Sort items into categories (keep, donate, sell, toss)
The usual how-to-part-with-them advice is all logic. Like, create three piles: Yes, Maybe, and No Way. The ‘Yes’ get thrown, the ‘Maybe’ get second thoughts, and the ‘NO WAY’ get kept. This works to different degrees depending on your mindset.
You can expand this to make 5 piles: Maybe keep, KEEP, DONATE, SELL, and TOSS
Be honest with yourself about what you actually use and need
I have to psyche myself, or else I have this niggling in the back of my head, that I could use this item one day. I dwell on what has gone into that item, its use, and the cost to the environment. How can I just throw it away?
But be honest…will you use it or will you ever need it?
Consider the sentimental value of items before deciding to keep them
My article on decluttering and dealing with sentimental items covers how to deal with the memories and items that you have a strong emotional bond with.
Get rid of duplicates or items that serve the same purpose
Anyway, anything duplicate has to be given a new home. If you’re going through this process consider the others on this list to find the duplicate items a new home.
If you haven’t used an item in a year, consider getting rid of it
I had to get past the “I might need that [special thing] someday” or “I might regret throwing it [the special thing] out. (Some say this is to do with perfectionism.4)
Set a goal for how many items you want to get rid of
If it’s all too overwhelming, set yourself a number limit, an achievable one. That’ll give you something to work towards and once you’ve achieved that give yourself a reward. You may also feel like continuing now that you’ve started.
Use the “one in, one out” rule to maintain clutter-free spaces
This rule means as you buy something new, you discard one other thing.
Don’t hold onto items just because they were expensive
We can all get stuck with this one. But if you’re not using it, you might be better putting it on the marketplace and with the money you earn from it, getting something more practical.
Sell items that are in good condition and can make you some money
Similar to the above, this makes sense. It also aligns with keeping the energy flowing.
Use social media platforms to sell items locally
This is popular today and can get quick results. It makes another person happy.
Donate items to local charities or organizations
Allow someone else to get value out of the item.
Ask family and friends if they want any of the items you’re getting rid of
Who else but to ask your closest and dearest if they’re interested in what you’ve got to offer?!
Recycle items that can be recycled
The best way to throw it out is to give it a new life, which helps the flow of energy.
Dispose of hazardous materials properly
This is a no-brainer.
Use storage solutions to keep items organized and out of sight
There are many options for storage available from small to large-sized containers and solutions that are nontoxic to ones made of plastic.
Set aside a designated area for items that need to be sorted through
Have a large box where you can put items for sorting for discard handy to make it simpler.
Take advantage of free community disposal events for large items
Sometimes these might happen in your locality. It’s a good way to get yourself motivated to declutter.
Consider renting a dumpster for larger-scale decluttering projects
If you’re doing a big cleanout, often one that comes with moving, you might consider renting a skip for convenience.
Take breaks throughout the process to avoid burnout
Set yourself blocks of time, e.g. 1/2 hour or 1 hour and then have a little spell. Probably keep your breaks short or you may lose momentum.
Get rid of items that are broken or damaged beyond repair
Damaged goods can go in the trash bin unless they are useful when broken. For example, broken clay pots make excellent drainage bits to put in the bottom of garden pots.
Donate or sell items that are still in good condition but no longer serve their purpose for you
This point re-emphasizes early items. Options are friends, family, charities, organisations, markets, online social media market places, and eBay.
Involve your family and make decluttering a team effort
Make it a family event and make it fun.
Celebrate your progress and the newfound space in your home!
Put on a feed and drinks and celebrate.
Decluttering your home can be a daunting task, but by following these steps, you can make the process more manageable and less overwhelming. Here are some additional tips to help you declutter your home and maintain a clutter-free space:
- Consider hiring a professional organizer if you feel overwhelmed or don’t know where to start.
- Invest in storage solutions that work for you and your space. This could include shelves, cabinets, or bins.
- Schedule regular decluttering sessions to prevent clutter from accumulating again.
- Keep a donation box or bag in a convenient location so you can easily add items as you come across them.
- If you have sentimental items that you can’t bear to part with, consider taking a photo of them and creating a digital memory book.
- Be mindful of the environmental impact of your decluttering efforts. Consider donating or recycling items instead of throwing them away.
- Don’t forget about digital clutter! Take the time to declutter your computer files, email inbox, and social media accounts.
- Reward yourself for your hard work and progress along the way. Celebrate each small step towards a clutter-free home.
Going to landfill
You could drop your old stuff off with other trash at a landfill near you, but it may come at a cost. Check out the local authority’s rules as these will differ from place to place.
You could easily put them in the curbside garbage collection bin, but it’s better to look at enviro-friendly options, right?
How else can you throw away old stuff?
Providing the gear is not faulty or broken, you could give it to another home. Online places that help with this include Ziilch, Freecycle, and OzRecycle. There are op shops such as the Salvation Army, St Vinnies, or other charity stores to which you can donate them for resale.
Gift Or Sell It
Or hold an online auction on eBay or Trading Post.
For those who are conscious of your environmental footprint, let’s check out the recycling programs.
Some material is recyclable. The following gives a general idea of options available for the different materials, including Pyrex, ceramics, and metals.
You probably CAN’T recycle Pryrex glass in your recycling bin that you put out for collection. Pyrex glass cookware and glass lids are generally not accepted by curbside recycling programs (in most places).
The reason Pyrex isn’t accepted is that it doesn’t melt at the same temperature as other glass. Adding it to your recycling will contaminate the rest. The thing to do with this type is to pass it on to charity or to another home via the above suggestions.
By ceramic, I mean all ceramic cookware, not the nonstick type. You’ll find recycling programs don’t exist for ceramic items because ceramic does not melt.1
Consider passing it on to a new home using the ideas and links given above.
If any are broken or chipped, you could repurpose or upcycle these ceramic pots. Look for ideas on Pinterest.
The Zero Waste Institute advises you can break the ceramic into pieces and then down to particles to return them to the clay from which is what they are derived.1
I’ve used broken pieces of ceramic in the bottom of pot plants as it makes an excellent drainage material. Being 100% ceramic it will be free of problem chemicals.
You can check, but most curbside recycling programs don’t accept scrap metal and this includes metal homeware.
There are exceptions. Some councils, e.g. Darebin in Melbourne, Australia according to OnlyMelbourne, accept “clean pots, pans, and other metal cooking dishes (even with plastic handles)”. But no glass lids are accepted. Check out your local council, they may have a page similar to ‘What goes in your bins‘ by the City of Melbourne.
If you are considering offloading your metal frying pans to recyclers of scrap metals, you’ll probably need to tell them whether your cookware is nonferrous or ferrous.
They’ll contain nonferrous metal if they are made from aluminium, copper or stainless steel.
The ferrous metal is iron, and this will be your cast iron skillet. If you are not sure whether your cookware is ferrous, simply use a magnet. If it sticks it will contain ferrous. Some stainless steel cookware may have a ferrous layer incorporated.
If your nonstick pan has worn away and the aluminium is exposed, it’s time to get rid of it. If it is worn away to only the aluminium base, pretty much the advice above sticks.
Otherwise, metal recyclers may or may not accept Teflon nonstick cookware (with the PTFE coating still intact).
How to dispose of Teflon pans
You can check with the company and see if they have a mail-back program for PTFE-coated or ceramic-coated nonstick cookware.
To repurpose your Teflon pan, a great idea is to upcycle it as a chalkboard.
Repurpose what you can’t recycle
Pinterest is a good place to grab some repurposing ideas for household stuff, including old pots and pans.
There are a lot of repurposing ideas, including this list of 25 ideas from a DIY site for repurposing old kitchenware including old Teflon pans. So you could go wild with your creative ideas.
Or simply plant flowers or herbs in your old pots or pans.
Old pots and pans
What to do with your old pots and pans?
When disposing of your pots and pans and other house stuff, think about recycling or repurposing them for the sake of the environment at least.
For recycling near you, check out Planet Ark. Terracycle also collects certain household items, but not cookware at the time of writing this.