The dawn of a new season usually induces a very particular reaction in me: the need to embark on a major clear-out. It seems I am not alone; my husband mentioned, just yesterday, that he feels we are beginning to hoard things. Say no more! In the manner of a domestic super-hero, such triggers make me want to instantly reach for the rubber gloves and the black bag. Just call me Spring-clean Queen! The danger in having such a spontaneous reaction, combined with a tendency to want things done here-and-now, is that most of what I do not need ends up in the bin. Well, not this time.
This year I plan to have a clear-out with a difference. The opportunities for reusing, recycling and blessing others are endless. Already I can think of some lovely clothes in my wardrobe that someone else might like but these items simply do not suit me. These could be taken to a charity shop or I could encourage others to recycle too by having a ‘swishing‘ party (many thanks to Grace from Start for this valuable tip!). The same goes for the excess bedding we keep ‘just in case’ we get ten visitors at once. Never going to happen. It has got to go. Again, bedding can be donated to a charity shop, a homeless shelter or even an animal shelter to be used for dog beds.
I have also recently got into the habit of selling books on Amazon. Such is my enthusiasm for my new-found entrepreneurship that I sold one of my husband’s books yesterday without his consent. Needless to say I was not entirely popular when he found out. Other than forcing my husband to de-clutter against his will, the idea is that I will eventually make enough to provide a loan to a fellow entrepreneur in the developing world. Microfinance is becoming one the most effect ways for people to lift themselves out of poverty so just by clearing out my bookshelf I can literally change someone’s life. And perhaps I will use some of my earnings to compensate my husband for his loss!
My aim is to only throw something out as a last resort. There are so many ways to avoid contributing to landfills unnecessarily. As well as the environmental impact, throwing perfectly functional goods away always leaves me feeling somewhat guilty. I am aware that there are people who would value having a fraction of the items I possess and I need to learn to appreciate things rather than being caught up in the habits of a consumerist society. Whether it is giving things to friends, offering items on freecycle or using something for a while longer rather than replacing it, I am determined to have a clear-out that leaves me – and those who benefit – with a real ‘spring’ in the step.