Philanthropy – A Potent Motivator for Decluttering

It seems I have finally found my biggest motivator for decluttering – philanthropy. I guess it’s the most logical too. I have finally concluded that having items sat in my cupboards that I am not using, is preventing them from being used by someone else. Talk about wasteful! That is your most potent motivator, right there – for being Zero Waste and decluttering.

I don’t know if something has changed in me as well, but it’s like a pair of fresh eyes for me. I’ve got 2 pairs of sandals in my wardrobe, both were bought to go with a specific outfit to wear to a wedding. Neither the shoes or the outfits have been worn since! Let that be a lesson to me, never to buy something ‘just for a wedding’ again. Well, I’ve decided to donate them all. I’m sure plenty of people will be thrifty enough to use a charity shop for their one-time wedding purchase. That’s what I should do next time! Far better that someone wears that Bridesmaid dress, perhaps to their prom than it sits in m wardrobe forever. I am never going to be that slim again and besides, I have photos and my memories.

Another great motivator has been recognising that there are some things I am just not going to fix and therefore, it’s either time to throw out those items or Freecycle them on to someone who might like to fix them. There are a great deal of people out there, looking for a project. I had to admit that I was never going to glue those shoes back together, I had moved on. And that fridge magnet, no-one cares enough to glue that back together and it probably wasn’t going to last, even if I did! There are plenty of other fridge magnets on my fridge, but I felt attached to it as my parents had brought it back from holiday for me. Yes, I was ‘attached’ to a fridge magnet. Like I felt they would notice if I threw it out!

I am getting much better at putting unwanted gifts straight into the bag to go to a charity shop. I just don’t want to even have to deal with that kind of guilt anymore. What matters is that the person wanted to give you a gift and that you graciously accepted it. That doesn’t mean that you have to keep it. I often receive gifts that are duplicates of items I already own, so however thoughtful the gift-giver thinks they are being. I am sure they would rather someone use them, than they sit in my cupboard forever and a day. It’s also better for the planet if we use the things that have already been made, rather than storing them.

Over to you, what’s your biggest motivator for decluttering? I think big life events can also be a great initiator – especially if you are boxing everything up for a move (as we have done several times before), or preparing for a life change – like the arrival of a baby or an elderly parents coming to live with you. All these things mean that you need to clear some space and take some time to sort through your belongings with a more critical eye.

Focussing the Mind

We are moving house again, yes- I know I’ve mentioned this before! I have realised how we need that goal, the deadline of moving day, that little bit of pressure in order to focus the mind and really minimise our belongings. Maybe it’s the thought of boxing up all your belongings again? Maybe it’s the thought of the cost of paying someone to move all that stuff that you don’t really need? Maybe you realise that some of this stuff really doesn’t have any value and needs to go? Maybe you realise that you’ve not used this stuff in years, or ever? Maybe it’s time to let it go to someone who will use it? Whatever the motivation, it gives that much needed impetus that gets you further towards your goal.

Once again, I was deluded and genuinely didn’t think there was anything left that could go. But I’ve found myself letting go of all sorts, here’s a short list:

  1. Computer cables
  2. Webcam
  3. Mouse
  4. Craft magazines
  5. Craft supplies
  6. Pen torch
  7. Old wifi router
  8. Wooden storage box
  9. Bookmarks
  10. Set of drawers
  11. Clothing
  12. Garden & household tools
  13. DIY equipment
  14. Computer programmes

Maybe those will give you some starting points? It still sickens me to think how much stuff we still have left and how much we were harbouring. The world would be a very different place if we hadn’t invested in all those wasted resources, in so many ways. I don’t think that we- in the developed world, ever really stop to consider just HOW MUCH we really do have. Maybe you’ll take a moment to stop and ponder this today.