Waste Free: Simplify then Recycle

Clutter at home is a huge source of stress for me. In order for me to truly simplify my mind, I have to first simplify my space. If I look around my apartment and see piles of books or a closet stuffed to the brim with clothes or knick knacks strewn about, I feel suffocated and immediately become panicked. If I feel overwhelmed at work or in life, I frequently make a mad dash to declutter at home as a way to reground myself. It is shocking how much stuff we accumulate despite us rarely buying anything. Whether it be gifts for holidays or just the slow accumulation of things over time, we somehow manage to incorporate unneeded things into our everyday. Every few months, I take one afternoon to pilfer through every drawer and our closet to further minimize the essentials.


One of the most important aspects of shifting towards a minimalist lifestyle is to declutter without just dumping everything into the trash. Take the time to properly sort what can be given a new life such as donated clothes to shelters or reselling clothes to thrift stores, what can be repurposed into gifts such as unique jars made into candles, and what can be recycled such as old papers and boxes. Some items may have too much wear and tear to be given away. Such types of clothing can be repurposed into rags for cleaning by cutting them into small squares.

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REI and Patagonia both have recycling options for clothing and gear. Once you have used your items to the fullest, you can simply return or mail in the items and they will recycle it. That goes for electronics as well. Don’t throw away old electronics to petrify in a landfill where the mercury, lead, lithium and flame retardants are released into the air we breathe and the groundwater we source for drinking. Many cities hold annual electronic recycling days where you can bring whatever electronics you have lying around your home. This is a great resource for items that can’t be recycled through Apple or Best Buy. We have taken computers and old phones back to Apple for recycling, as well as an old Dell computer to Best Buy.

After sorting through our possessions and properly distributing the excess into recycling and give away, there will occasionally be things that are destined only for the landfill. And that’s okay. What’s important is to focus on the road ahead and take a moment to consider the necessity of any item you bring into your home from then on. Make sure to evaluate each object and decide whether it will be both functional and bring you joy. If it doesn’t do both, don’t allow it into your sacred space. Your home deserves the amount of attention necessary to simplify your space and mind.

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