How to Declutter Ethically

Updated: Feb 18, 2020

I hope you’re doing well today! Since graduating from college and moving back home, I have been going through some of my old items and deciding what I really need or want to hold onto. Decluttering has been really helpful in simplifying my space and recognizing what purchases I don’t need to make again. I love sorting through my closet and old clothes to set aside items to donate or sell. Trust me, you definitely have at least a handful of items sitting in your room right now that you don’t like, use, or need. Instead of holding onto these things that do not add any value to your life, give them to someone else who may value them more. Decluttering is so freeing! During this time of pairing down, I've realized that some people may be throwing away items others could benefit from. It can be difficult to know how to declutter ethically, so I'm sharing a few tips to help you be responsible and put your items to good use!

How to Declutter Ethically

1. Start small

Think about what you haven’t used in ages or dive deep into the back corner of your closet where you’re bound to find some random things you totally forgot about! This way you are sure to find things to let go of and you won’t be overwhelmed with taking on a huge project.

2. Set aside items to sell.

I sold some of my old clothes that were name brands or hardly worn pieces on my Instagram stories. I was surprised to see how many people really liked a certain style I wasn't wearing anymore. I am glad that these items can finally get some love!

You can also drop off bags of old clothes to sell at consignment stores like Plato’s Closet. However, be aware that they will probably only take a few of your items and you won’t get much money for them. My rule is that once you pick up the remaining items these stores don’t accept, do not take them back home! You’ve already decided these are items you don’t want to keep, so take your “sell leftovers" and donate them right away!

3. Donate to Retired Veteran‘s Box, Women and Children Box, or Goodwill (and others)

I prefer donating old clothes to the yellow or red donation boxes you’ll see in parking lots nearby first. The receivers of these pieces do not have to pay for the clothes which is amazing for those in need! After donating to these charitable boxes, if you have items such as books or furniture, then Goodwill (and others like it) is the answer!

4. Go through everything!

Keep on decluttering until you have items that you truly value. It is unbelievable how many things we hold on to over the years and how much we consume over time! Start to feel organized and in control once you’ve went through all of your storage. Remember that this process is meant to make you feel good! Release the burden of clutter and start to appreciate your space and your favorite items on display.

5. Be responsible

This post is not meant to encourage anyone to just throw away a bunch of stuff from their closets or basements and dismiss where those items are going next. There are better ways to properly dispose of unwanted items so that their lifecycle continues rather than ending up in a dump. I recommend doing some of your own research about collection sites and businesses in your area that may benefit from something you want to give away. Overall, just be responsible for your possessions and rid of them the right way. :) Here is a related blog post from The Eco Hub on How to Declutter Responsibly for even more information.

6. Don't replace everything you got rid of

Now that you've cleansed your space, leave it that way! Don't use decluttering as an excuse to buy more new items. Find ways to repurpose what you have and shop your own things first. For example, rearrange decor you already own to achieve a fresh look in your space without having to buy anything at all.

I hope these six tips were helpful to you and that you'll revisit this blog post on how to declutter ethically the next time you're cleaning out your closets! If you have any ideas you think I forgot to include, send me a message! I would love to hear from you :)



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