Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Why organising is good for the environment

Last week I had the unexpected pleasure of being invited to speak at the SUSTAIN Show, as another speaker had to pull out at the last minute. The title of my presentation was "Decluttering your way to a healthier home, life, and mind". I believe living an organised life has a direct benefit on our internal environment (body and mind) and external environment (home, work place, and global environment), and today I want to share with you some of what I spoke about at the show – how the old "reduce, reuse, recycle" is the central core to my role as a Professional Organiser, and how you can implement this in your home and life.

reduce reuse recycle, recycle, eco organising, organising for the planet, organising for the environment


  • Declutter – put items back where they belong, and get rid of stuff that has no current purpose or adds no value
  • Reduce what comes in – say "no" to junk mail, don't accept freebies for the sake of it, and opt for online bank statements and bills
  • Reduce what’s in your schedule and on your "to do" list, which should also reduce your stress
  • Reduce wasted time by establishing morning and evening routines, and have a designated home for the car keys and school bags, which should also reduce your stress
  • Reduce what you buy, and therefore what you spend, by using a meal plan and shopping plan – this will also reduce the food that you waste by only buying what you need when you need it and avoiding food expiring
  • Reduce the number of things you own by streamlining and using multi-functional products (I go through this with my clients when I help them get set up for their baby – rather invest in one item which can multitask and fulfill various functions for a longer period of time, than getting 4 different things). A good example is household cleaning products – you don’t need 15 different bottles of stuff in your cupboard; there are great natural multipurpose cleaners on the market these days, or you can easily make them yourself (again, Pinterest has a wealth of info on this) 


  • Repurpose what you can at home – storage boxes, nappy boxes, clothing, etc. Pinterest has zillions of clever ideas on how to repurpose items around the home. Don't assume you need to go buy more stuff
  • Get involved in collaborative consumption. Check out this fantastic TED talk by Rachel Botsman explaining this rising phenomenon. My favourite quote is “you need the hole, not the drill”. Some of the local collaborative consumption sites here are Open ShedRentiod, and Freecycle.
  • Donate – pass things you no longer need on to family and friends, or donate to charities like St Kilda Mums, Fitted for Work, Men’s Shed, Footpath Library
  • Sell items you no longer need on Ebay, Fishpond, or Gumtree, so that someone else can get use out of it


  • Very little should land in your bin after a decluttering exercise – you should be able to find a way to recycle just about everything (and if you cant – call me and I’ll find it for you!) 
  • There are loads of private companies out there these days who recycle mattresses, e-waste, ink cartridges, mobile phones, CDs and DVDs, XRAY films, you name it! Plus stores like Bunnings, Officeworks, and Ikea have recycling bins for things like batteries, lightbulbs, and mobile phones. Check with your local stores what they can accept
  • At the very least, find out how to dispose of items responsibly, don’t just chuck it in the bin or leave it on the nature strip. Check what programs your local council has, as some have specific e-waste and chemical waste collection days

Coming from an environmental science background, this is obviously all very close to my heart and I can go on about this all day, but I'll restrain myself! As always I would love to hear from you if you have anything to add, or questions to ask. Just comment below!

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