Like many of you, I recently watched the ABC series called, War on Waste and boy was it confronting!! I was shocked and ashamed that we as a nation are just so wasteful in so many areas. Even areas where I felt I was quite responsible I learnt ways I could reduce my waste. My first recommendation is that you jump onto iView and watch the 3 episode series for yourself because each person will take something slightly different from watching it and your area for change might be different to mine.
I’d also love to share with you waste from the perspective of a professional organiser and what waste I see day to day as I help people declutter.
I’ve also asked a follower on my Facebook page and friend of mine, Kylie, to share her learnings and thoughts about waste as a mum in regional Australia.
Part of the reason I found the War on Waste series so confronting is that I deal with waste not only in our family but in my profession as well. My business is going into people’s homes and helping them declutter and as a result, we tend to create a lot of rubbish and knowing how best to deal with that rubbish is a complicated challenge. The majority of my clients are feeling in a state of overwhelm when I arrive to help them take back control of their homes. Their headspace is in survival mode and not necessarily thinking about reducing their waste and best managing their home recycling.
So instead of coming into your home and insisting we recycle and sort the rubbish, while we work together to get you out of chaos, we don’t worry too much about waste. We create a lot of it that’s for sure – that’s part of the decluttering process. If we can separate paper we do, but for some people, this is too much to think about at this stage. And that’s OK because we’re heading in the right direction.
We always set up a donation bag and lots of things get put in there and taken to an op-shop for a second life. At this stage of the decluttering process having rubbish, recycling and donate is enough for people to think about. Once their home is manageable again then it’s the time to set up great systems for more intentional reduction of waste if they so desire.
The biggest area of waste I want to help people think about is this… with all the rubbish that we’re throwing out or unwanted things we’re donating, how can we avoid this accumulation of ‘stuff’ from happening again? How do we redirect our consumer lifestyle? How do we curb the accumulation of disposable products into our lives? Could we spend our money on experiences in life rather than on the newest and greatest products on the market? How do we stop the stuff and rubbish building up in the first place?
It is my joy as a professional organiser to be invited into people’s homes and to help them align their homes to their values, which is a pretty amazing journey to be part of.
Kylie is married to Adam and they have 3 gorgeous young children. They live in Albury, NSW.
“I considered myself to be a responsible recycler and kind to the environment but the War on Waste series opened my eyes to the immense scale of the waste problem in our country and I realised just how much more I could be doing. I didn’t know that coffee cups weren’t recyclable, I had no idea that soft plastics could be recycled, and I was horrified at how much fresh, edible food is thrown away. Since watching the series I have been challenged to lessen my contribution to landfill.
“I now find myself trawling through Pinterest and the internet reading zero waste blogs and articles. Every time I put something in the bin I ask myself, “Is there a way I can easily avoid this?” As a naturally uncluttered and thrifty person, there is little excess or waste in my home. We don’t waste food and all our scraps are collected by our local council with the garden waste and made into fertiliser (we can even put tissues and paper towel in our green bins).
“After some investigation, I found that there are no free soft plastic recycling services in our area, so if I can’t easily recycle it, I’m trying to avoid using it. I now take my own shopping bags with me everywhere; not just for grocery shopping anymore. I looked through my stash of fabric and sewed some light-weight reusable produce bags. As a strict budgeter, I loved shopping at Aldi but it bothered me that so much of the fruit and veg is pre-packed in plastic. I’m now buying all my fruit and veg at a local green grocer and it’s actually saving me money. When I bring the shopping home, I store most things loose in the crisper drawers of the fridge, and for baby spinach, beans, snow peas I am finally making use of all my Tupperware Fridgesmart containers.
“I have escalated my efforts in trying not to use pre-packaged food at home and in the kid’s lunch boxes. I’m buying things like sultanas, crackers and cheese in bulk and putting them into containers, and rather than pre-packed treats I’m bulk-baking healthier versions of cookies, muffins and slices and freezing the excess for later use. Better for the bin, the budget and the bulge!
“Without a doubt, many waste reducing practices are requiring more effort on my part but the added benefit is that they are often much healthier and more economical. Like you, I love to declutter my own home (and other’s if they’ll let me), but the waste that decluttering can sometimes produce does concern me. I believe the challenge lies in really thinking about what we allow to come into our homes in the first place, and—when we do need to part with something— being responsible and thoughtful about how we do it. I love that you often give suggestions on what to do with your clutter, like your wedding dress blog for example.”
Thanks Kylie for your part in exploring this topic and I look forward to continuing my own journey to a less wasteful existence.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed with the clutter in your home, you don’t need to feel alone – contact Amy to book a personalised in home session and together you can create the beautiful home you dream of.
Enjoy the Freedom!