E112 – Sustainable Decluttering – Sustainable Homes and Living Season E2

Frances welcomes Sally Flower from Home Sanctuary as her guest in this episode of the podcast to discuss how to declutter in a mindful and sustainable way, and minimise stress in your life!  

How to choose what to discard from your home, but also how to discard items in a sustainable way. 

Learn the simple process to start decluttering and being mindful of the journey, before you set out. The end result will be a calm home that you can relax in, while being surrounded by things you love that have purpose and meaning. 


Podcast Guest: Sally Flower from Home Sanctuary 

Sally Flower is the first Australian trained by Marie Kondo in the famous KonMari Method®. Sally also holds a master of the environment from Melbourne University, is a wellness consultant, mindfulness coach and sustainability advocate. Her biggest motivation is climate change. She is passionate about changing the way we purchase, minimising her environmental footprint and helping others to do the same.   

Home Sanctuary is built on the solid foundation of her love for the environment and passion for reducing consumerism. Through one-on-one consults, workshops and events Sally helps Australians to lead meaningful lives in nurturing homes with less. Sally’s goal is to change the way we purchase, to motivate and help our community to make purposeful choices that inspire us to live as the best version of ourselves. 

What does the Kon Mari method mean? 

You keep things in your home and surround yourself with items and objects that make you feel good that spark joy, and makes you feel good when you wear them, and when you display them. It’s effectively a gallery of your favorite pieces. 

 What is the cost of having a mess in our lives? 

  • There’s a real human cost to being surrounded by mess – Heightened level of stress that are associated with excess stuff around us. 
  • Not being able to sleep very well – people who sleep in messy rooms have trouble falling asleep and often wake up in the middle of the night 
  • Low levels of happiness 

What’s the connection with decluttering and sustainability? 

  • If you think about creating a sustainable home, it’s about changing the way we consume and ultimately consuming less. 
  • Sustainable decluttering means thinking about the end of life of products in your home. Once you’ve done all the decluttering, then you only consume items that you really need and choose products that have minimal impact on the environment.  
  • Only letting go of items that you consciously want to let go of and you’re not just throwing it out because you need a fresh start or need to make more space on a whim.  
  • A considered approach that needs to be planned out, particularly in terms of what you will do with items you no longer want. 

What do people need to be mindful of when ‘getting rid of stuff’ and the impact it creates? 

The first thing to remember is when you’re letting go, to not celebrate throwing it away. Items need to be separated and you need to know where they can be recycled in the best way. 

What are your top tips for decluttering/discarding mindfully?  

Most important thing is before starting, sit down and think why you’re doing it. Sit with your reflection and thoughts. Just doing a declutter for the sake of a declutter is not going to get you anywhere and it will continue to glorify throwing away.  

Allocate time for: 

  • Sustainable recycling/upcycling resources 
  • Finding local op shops, knowing where to drop things 
  • Sorting transfer station 
  • Make sure you are in the right mental space to do it to avoid the “Danger Zone” of just throwing away with no real objective of why you are doing it. 
  • Determine a clear goal of why you are wanting to declutter. 
  • Keep things that mean something to you.  
  • Have a plan on where unwanted items will go with the ultimate goal of nothing going to landfill. 
  • You need to make the time not just to declutter, but to responsibly discard unwanted items. 

How do you declutter for different life stages? Eg. Single, with young family, empty nesters. 

  • What you love can be put away and can come out again when you move to the next life stage. Eg Breakables can be packaged up when young kids come onto the scene and brought out again once they are older and not likely to break them.  
  • We don’t need to dispose of things just because we’re transitioning to a different phase of our lives. 
  • Have decorator items, artwork and clothing on rotation, so you can change things up, without necessarily needing to buy new things.  

What are some of the best ways people can upcycle and recycle? 

  • Textile recycling – excess clothes, excess linen, towels 
  • Share items you don’t want on local community sites to give away for free 
  • Donate to op shops – be sure items are clean and in good condition.  
  • Terra Cycle – personal care recycling 
  • Shoe recycling

Useful Links: 

Home Sanctuary Website: https://www.homesanctuary.com.au/ 

Sustainable Decluttering Resources: https://www.homesanctuary.com.au/decluttering-resources 

10-day Challenge – https://www.homesanctuary.com.au/challenge-sign-up 

 Instagram: @homesanctuary.au

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