A home that is overflowing with too many items can create a sense of living in a chaos. A study from UCLA in the US found that the average home there contained 300,000 items! To order, tidy, dust, maintain and sort through all that stuff takes time and energy. Researchers found as people interacted with all these countless things, their cortisol, or stress hormone levels spiked (especially women’s).
To bring calm to the parts of your home that may normally feel overwhelming, try decluttering wardrobes, desks, garages and other areas where things accumulate. If you’re working from home, having a clearer workspace can enable greater focus and streamlined productivity. For many, clothing can be a particular weak-spot – it’s estimated that around £30 billion worth of unused clothing is sitting in the nation’s wardrobes (WRAP, 2018) and only 60% of the contents of most wardrobes are ever worn.
If you’re frustrated by too much clutter, consider selling or donating your unloved items to people that will actually use them or donate to charities to do good with. Passing on items to other people locally for free can be a real help in the cost of living crisis
To read about the myriad of decluttering benefits, try ‘The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying’ by Marie Kondo. It’s encouraged readers all over the world to part with items that no longer ‘spark joy’.
Loveyourclothes.co.uk provides excellent tips and info on decluttering, planning your wardrobe, clothing donations and textile recycling.
Donating unwanted items couldn’t be easier in Cambridge. Cambridge Carbon Footprint’s Circular Directory lists over 30 stores, detailing any specialisms like wedding gear, vintage or books they might have. Filling the bags for charity that come through the letterbox are an option, as are clothing banks. In Cambridge these are managed by SOEX who do a great job breaking down their collections into an incredible 500 categories for recycling. The finest items are resold at one end of the scale and at the other, bricks are pressed from clothing dust! Cambridge Freecycle and Life is a Gift Facebook pages are good for bulkier items as are Emmaus, Cambridge Reuse and The British Heart Foundation, both charities operating locally that will come and collect.
If you’d like to make some money, try Ebay, Gumtree and Facebook Marketplace for good exposure to buyers across the country. Car-boot sales, vintage shops and auction houses are listed in the Circular Directory. If you’re looking to rehome electronic items and would rather avoid the process of selling online, try local CeX and GAME stores
Think about renting the things you want and need, rather owning them. The Nuw Wardrobe is a local clothes sharing/hire platform, maybe there’s a Library of Things near you? Remember to use good, old fashioned hire shops and libraries!
Pass on good quality items that are no longer needed.
- Use local Terracycle drop off points or set one up
- Cambridge Online wipe and recondition laptops (<10 years old) & tablets (<5 years old) and pass them on to digitally excluded people in Cambridge
- Local Facebook Groups such as Life is a Gift to pass things on for free, or list items on Gumtree Cambridge
- Pink bins in Gwydir Street car park, Lammas Land car park, Abbey Pool car park and by Chesterton Road public toilets can be used to recycle small household electrical items
- Borrow the Cambridge Carbon Footprint Swish Kit and set up a clothes swap in your workplace, school or community group
- Recycling and rubbish A-Z: a comprehensive list of what goes in which bin in Cambridge
- Donate to toy libraries: Jumbo Toy Library (Brown’s Field Community Centre), Merry Go Round Toy Library (Ross Street Community Centre), A Toy’s Life and beyond