Why you should care?

Extending the life of the stuff we buy via recycling, upcycling, and reusing materials is one way we can promote a circular economy to reduce our impact on the planet

by Latha Rao

Like many, I had a lot of time on my hands in pandemic 2020. Spending so much time at home, my nesting instinct kicked in, and I couldn’t stop decluttering and organizing. Little by little, I got rid of anything that no longer “Sparked Joy”. Now, what do I do with it? I “Marie Kondo’d” my stuff, but how do I dispose of it sustainably. Sending everything to Goodwill and throwing it in the trash didn’t seem right. To sustainably and ethically get rid of “good” junk, dig into our Best Sustainable Declutter Hacks.

Your Waste Impact

The Ellen MacArthur Foundation defines a circular economy as one “based on the principles of designing out waste and pollution, keeping product and materials in use, and regenerating natural systems.” Sustainable disposal of things we don’t need or want anymore is just as important as purchasing from sustainable sources.

By taking a little extra time and thought to dispose of our unwanted items and offering them up to places that reuse, resell, and recycle appropriately, we help extend the life of the things we no longer need. In some cases, we can create new things from our plastic waste, such as a skateboard from Bureo.

Let’s support circular commerce and reuse boxes, give to charity and keep harmful chemicals out of water and forests!  

Best Sustainable Declutter Hacks

Give Clothes a Second Life

These days, all we wear are loungewear, sweats and tees. Why do we have those nice outfits again?  If you’ve spent tons on an expensive top or jeans, you probably don’t want to just dump it in a donation pile. We’re hyped about these amazing online resale shops committed to a sustainable and circular economy.  You can resell to someone who’ll pile on the love for it, like you did in the beginning!

The RealReal is a carbon neutral luxury consignment store that partners with several designers to build a circular economy for clothes. They track the positive impact of consignment on the environment. Learn More about their efforts

Thredup is a resale shop on a mission to reduce fashion waste and extend the life of clothing. 

  1. Get a clean out kit from them  
  2. Fill it up with your clothes
  3. Send it back

Old Medicine Hack

You’ve cleaned out your bathroom. What do you do with all those expired medicines?  

The FDA provides this convenient Unused Medicine Guide on how to dispose of expired and unused medicine.  It is especially important to follow their guidelines for prescription medicine, so that these powerful drugs do not end up harming other people if flushed down the toilet or unexpectedly become available.

Recycle Hack

Terracycle is an amazing social enterprise working to collect typically non-recyclable items, and then recycles them from scratch.  Many household brands partner with Terracycle to set up free recycling programs for everything from aerosol cans to those shiny potato chip bags.  Hmmmm, you usually trash those, right.  Yeah, us too, until we discovered how easy it is to recycle them.  Check out other free recycling programs for your favorite brands here

Old Cardboard Box Hack

We’ve really increased our online ordering purchases. Consumer spending with online retailers is up 32.1% in the last quarter of 2020 compared to compared to the same period in 2019. If you’re not recycling the boxes, consider reusing them to donate other items you’ve decluttered.  With Giveback Box, you can print out mailing labels to send clothes and household items to your favorite charity.  

  1. Fill your box with used items
  2. Choose a charity
  3. Print the label and place on box
  4. Ship box

Bath Stuff Hacks

Throwing away expired cosmetics, toothpaste tubes, and face lotion bottles can be painful. Send containers to Terracycle. Brands like Acure and Tom’s of Maine have free recycling programs with Terracycle. Nordstroms and L’Occitane have partnered with Terracycle to accept beauty packaging in store. 

Old Cardboard Box Hack

We’ve really increased our online ordering purchases. Consumer spending with online retailers is up 32.1% in the last quarter of 2020 compared to compared to the same period in 2019. If you’re not recycling the boxes, consider reusing them to donate other items you’ve decluttered.  With GivebackBox, you can print out mailing labels to send clothes and household items to your favorite charity.  

  1. Fill your box with used items
  2. Choose a charity
  3. Print the label and place on box
  4. Ship box

Old Electronics Hack

Broken appliances, laptops, and batteries and lightbulbs probably litter your home.   Did you know many municipalities and waste management companies offer a day to come pick up small appliances and electronics from your home.  

  1. Schedule a pickup or check when the next pickup/dropoff date is your local waste management company. 
  2. Drop it off at your nearest Best Buy. They take computers, TVs, video games and more. Learn what they take here

Old Batteries Hack

Single use and rechargeable batteries shouldn’t go in the trash, as they can leach harmful chemicals into our soil and water. 

  1. Find your local collection center by entering your zip code into  Call2Recycle
  2. Drop off used batteries to

Old Cardboard Box Hack

We’ve really increased our online ordering purchases. Consumer spending with online retailers is up 32.1% in the last quarter of 2020 compared to compared to the same period in 2019. If you’re not recycling the boxes, consider reusing them to donate other items you’ve decluttered.  With GivebackBox, you can print out mailing labels to send clothes and household items to your favorite charity.  

  1. Fill your box with used items
  2. Choose a charity
  3. Print the label and place on box
  4. Ship box

The Real Real @Hey Social Good
The RealReal

Giveback Box

Terracycle @ Hey Social Good
Terracycle
Bronze Giveback Medal

Keywords: Decluttering, Sustainable Decluttering Guide, How to Sustainably Declutter, Decluttering Your House, Circular Economy, Terracycle, Cleanout, Recycle, LifeHacks, Resale, Giveback