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What to do with all the things that you don’t know what to do with!

A family member recently asked me “but what about the stuff that it’s not obvious what to do with?” so I thought I’d post some tips here. Once you get the hang of it, decluttering without polluting isn’t as hard as you think it is.

Disclaimer – this will be mostly relevant to those residing within Scotland.

Ask – is it still working?

If yes, ask – might someone feasibly pay some money for it, or are you prepared to give it away for free? There are a multitude of places to sell things, here’s a few..




Freecyle (Sometimes known as Freegle, a place for giving away items for free)

Facebook local user groups

We have several in my local area. Try searching for  ‘Stuff for free and for sale in..X’. Be sure to keep your area fairly wide if you live in a town rather than a city. Likewise, just take a risk and put as your status “does anyone want my…?” You never know if someone wants something until you ask.

If not, can it be fixed?

If you can’t/don’t want to fix it, there is always the chance that someone might well buy ‘it’ for parts..again, try the aforementioned sites to see if someone wants something for spare parts. It’s best to do this with as wide a search field as possible, for example, opening up the sale/ giving of your item to the whole of the UK and/or Europe if you live in Scotland.

If it can’t be fixed, don’t despair!

The next best eco-friendly/green thing to do with an item that you don’t know what to do with and is broken, is to recycle it where possible. It’s ALWAYS better to reuse an item as recycling uses a lot of energy, but recycling should always be chosen over binning.

Here’s a couple of things to know about recycling:

Your local council may well have capacity for recycling a lot more things than you know about. Here is our local council’s list of what we can recycle which might give you an idea of the basic things you should be able to recycle.

The brilliant thing about living in this day and age is that people can share ideas a lot more readily. It’s worth checking out Pinterest and typing in a phrase like “reusing broken things” to see if there’s any inspiring ideas for reusing an item in your home…I believe the modern phrase is ‘upcycling’ (I’m inspired already by a quick browse!).

Enterprising groups teaching fixing skills is gaining in popularity all over the world

One of our local organisations seeking to do just this is Transition Stirling which not 0nly is a friendly group, but has a wealth of knowledge to learn from. They have rented a building right in the town centre so you can pop in for a chat at any time to ask about what to do with things that you don’t know what to do with!

Transition Stirling have a Tool Library of a vast range of items you might need, and you can borrow anything from a toastie maker to a dehydrator! They regularly hold workshops to teach people skills we have forgotten (or never knew) about living life sustainably.

After all this is said and done, there will be some items that you may have to bin at the end of the day 🙁

The ultimate answer?

REFUSE refuse!

I have said this before, but something that has massively changed the way I think about  living sustainably is the idea that we can say NO to rubbish before it enters our home in the first place.

Living ‘green’ is about a changed mindset – buy once and buy well.

You may ask what we mean by this. Here’s a few examples:

Sustainable Shoes

I’ve decided that I want shoes to last a lifetime. Instead of buying several pairs of shoes each year which are predominantly made of plastic and have to be binned because they can’t be repaired or recycled, we now buy leather shoes that can be looked after and used for umpteen years.

My ultimate goal is to buy shoes from Green Shoes, a very ethical, sustainable, UK based company. Ideally, you need to go into the shop to have shoes made that fit you perfectly. They also cater for those who don’t like the idea of leather and make shoes with ‘vegan leather’. I’m not exactly sure what this is though, let me know if you find out!

The second best option that I personally have opted for is Hotter shoes, also a UK based company that is fairly ethical/sustainable but unfortunately does use some plastic derived materials. I have purchased shoes that are almost all leather, but the soles are not. We’re getting there though – the shoes at least can be resoled several times hopefully. And yes, they’re REALLY comfy!

Sustainable Phones

In short, phone companies are out to scam you. They want you to purchase a new phone every 18 months, or even every year. You DO NOT need to do this. You do not need to waste the earth’s precious resources, you CAN say NO to this! Modern phones are built to be unfixable, that’s what keeps the market going.

I’ve decided to do just this and keep going with my Samsung for as long as possible and not accept the upgrade the phone company keep trying to persuade me to take.

It’s cheaper to the tune of £20 per month to not have an upgrade!

I have my sights set on a Fair phone  which is built ethically, built to last and more importantly it’s meant to be repaired when it gets broken. It also competes well in the modern phone market if you’re looking for top notch numbers and letters on the back of the packet 🙂

I hope this has been useful!

Let me know if there’s anything in particular that you’re struggling to know what to do with! A problem shared is a problem halved, and it’s all for the good of the same planet we all live on.




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