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5 genius ideas on how to stop throwing stuff out

by LaurettaCWright
Stop throwing stuff out

You might be as shocked as I was to learn that a recent Origin survey found that Brits throw away over £41,000 worth of broken or unwanted household items in their lifetime!

And skimping on quality is costing us a small fortune, with the average respondent chucking out almost £700 worth of household items every year.

So how do we stop ourselves from becoming part of this throwaway culture?

Here’s five ideas to give you a helping hand…

1. Don't buy cheap

We’ve all heard the expression ‘Buy cheap, pay twice’, but this really does apply to certain household items – even when you get right down to household basics such as loo roll!

For example, you might buy the cheap 2-ply loo roll which you think is saving you money, but you’ll often find yourself getting through it twice as fast, meaning you’ll have to buy it again sooner than you had hoped.

It’s also increasingly rare to find products that will stand the test of time (ever heard the saying ‘they don't make 'em like they used to'?), plus the expectations of product life spans are dropping.

And that's why it's crucially important to do as much research as you can before you buy: read the reviews, compare prices and make a note of all the functions and what you (and your lifestyle) needs from a new purchase.

2. Learn to upcycle

craft box after_optThere can be something very therapeutic about turning that old trunk you found in the loft into a coffee table or upturn broken flowerpots to display your house number.

You’re only limited by your imagination on what you can ‘repurpose’ your old, unused items into, but if you need some inspiration try scanning Pinterest, Interior magazines and Instagram pictures.

And think of all the bragging rights you'll have when friends and family clock your crafting skills!

3. ‘One man’s trash….'

….Is another man’s treasure’ as the saying goes. So if you really can’t stand that old teapot that you inherited from Aunt Grace all those years ago, at least try and make some money out of it first.

stop throwing out items

There are plenty of sites – eBay and ‘Preloved’ being just a couple of options, along with local community groups on Facebook, apps such as ‘Streetlife’ and ‘Shpoch’ and sites such as Freecycle.

4. Swap it up

Years ago I experimented with hosting a ’swap’ party with several friends. Everyone was invited to bring old clothes, accessories, shoes, handbags, jewellery and make-up that they no longer wanted, and we swapped items with each other for things that, well….took our fancy!

It ended up being a huge success and what was nice was that anything left over went to the charity shop, so we ended up with the ‘feel-good’ factor as well.

So rather than just chuck things out, try giving your friends a call and seeing if they’d be up for a swap party. You’ll find most of them will be thrilled at the prospect at getting something for free and getting rid of what they don’t want in the process – as well as having a good old chinwag and a cuppa!

5. Donate it!

10 year anniversary giftIt’s nice to do your bit for charity, so rather than chuck out that old toaster just because you don’t like the look of it anymore, think about others who are perhaps in a less fortunate position that yourself – and who would appreciate it instead.

Having a clear out is therapeutic, but it’s also a nice feeling being able to give to others.

Be careful though – if it’s electrical items you are looking to get rid of then check that the charity shop accepts them as many don’t.

If not, try offering it as a giveaway on Freecycle or see if your local village hall or school would like it instead.

What tips do you have for cutting down on waste?

How long Brits think items should last (years)

  1. Car – 11.23
  2. Over/Cooker – 10.32
  3. Stereo system – 10.27
  4. Freezer – 9.95
  5. Fridge – 9.76
  6. Garden equipment – 8.8
  7. TV – 8.72
  8. Mattress – 8.68
  9. Tumble dryer – 8.4
  10. Washing machines – 8.2
  11. Microwave – 8.13
  12. Dishwasher – 8.09
  13. Garden mower – 8.09
  14. DVD player – 7.99
  15. Kitchen equipment – 7.95
  16. Hedge trimmer – 7.89
  17. Food processor – 7.86
  18. Vacuum cleaner – 7.89
  19. Coffee maker – 7.13
  20. Iron – 7.04


Fiona jk42 28th April 2018 - 6:02 pm

I’m a bit of a hoarder and hate throwing stuff away. It always seems to come in handy though – I recently made my granddaughter a Princess Elsa dress, and made the train from an offcut of old sheer curtain fabric that was left over when I made curtains for our old house in 2003! The rest of the dress was made from scraps of shiny turquoise fabric left over from a fancy dress outfit I’d made for my daughter at least 10 years ago.

Daniella Keating 14th November 2016 - 7:19 pm

That’s such a crazy amount that we throw away! Definitely agree on paying more for things.

fashion-mommy 13th November 2016 - 9:48 pm

Whatever I sort out I donate to Charity, but totally agree that it is good to buy quality.

Louise 13th November 2016 - 3:19 am

There are some great ideas here! I’m one of those people who hates throwing stuff out, so I tend to either sell on or donate to charity when I’ve finished with things. I even put broken electrical items on eBay as people are always buying for spares and repairs!

Louise x

Angela 12th November 2016 - 10:00 pm

These are great tips. We upcycle and we swap and donate. 🙂 It’s a great way to save on waste and be frugal!
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MELANIE EDJOURIAN 12th November 2016 - 10:37 am

Interesting post, I try and donate items I o longer need that still work to charity shops and I also take items in to our school for their arts and crafts.

Paula 12th November 2016 - 9:20 am

I’m the kind of person who will accumulate so much stuff that won’t fit in my house! I always think about selling them or donating it, as you advice, or even do some arts and crafts as well, but never find the time or the right moment! What do you advise??

WhatLauraLoves 11th November 2016 - 10:53 pm

I’m so careful to try to get my full use out of everything that I have xxx

Baby Isabella 11th November 2016 - 10:49 pm

My mummy is a fan of carboots and upcycling. She loves going treasure hunting at stalls and likes giving things a new least of life x
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admin 11th November 2016 - 10:55 pm

I really like boot fairs too! Your mummy has got good taste!

Rebecca Smith 11th November 2016 - 9:43 pm

Such good tips and ones I try to live by before throwing anything out!

Melissa major 11th November 2016 - 7:36 pm

Very helpful tips! I like buying things from a charity shops and also donating things too

Charli Bruce 11th November 2016 - 2:28 pm

I apply the don’t buy cheap motto to everything in life – Clothes, make up, household items etc. I always try to explain this to people when they see me buying ‘luxurious’ items, that’s not to say I don’t buy cheap things occasionally but I find when I invest that little extra I definitely have a lot of spare cash over all xx

Rhian Westbury 11th November 2016 - 9:19 am

I would always look at selling, swapping or donating an item before throwing it away because someone might be able to make use out of it x

nicol 11th November 2016 - 12:12 am

ooo great tips! hoarding is another way to stop throwing stuff out haha. i need to start selling and or giving

Sarah Bailey 10th November 2016 - 10:51 pm

I have to admit I only try and buy things we will only definitely use long term these days as we just don’t have the room for clutter.

Natasha Mairs 10th November 2016 - 7:58 pm

I hate throwing things away and I am a bit of a hoarder. My husband is always moaning at me. But if I do get rid of things I either sell them on ebay or donate them to a charity shop

admin 10th November 2016 - 8:00 pm

My husband is a hoarder and I’m a bit of a minimalist so it’s hard to justify waste…

Kathryn Watson 10th November 2016 - 7:47 pm

I never throw things out if they are still useful and donate to charity xx

admin 10th November 2016 - 7:59 pm

That’s super news!

emma white 10th November 2016 - 7:07 pm

I hate to admit but I hate throwing things away but agree I am one of those who throws away broken items.

Rachel 10th November 2016 - 6:08 pm

My washer dryer lasted 9 years and my hoover is 11 years old, so I think I am doing well!

admin 10th November 2016 - 7:56 pm


Joanna 10th November 2016 - 6:01 pm

I’d like to hope that I’m pretty good at buying good quality and swaping/donating items. I’d love to give upcycling a go but never have got round to giving it ago

Tamsin Hopkins 10th November 2016 - 4:44 pm

I write about green living, so this is a post that interests me. More people should invest in decent items or buy second hand. And always try upcycle/repair/give away unwanted or broken items to others. Saves it going to landfill.
Tamsin Hopkins recently posted…4 Things That I No Longer BuyMy Profile

admin 10th November 2016 - 4:46 pm

Thanks Tamsin – glad you like it!

Jollies and Jaunts 10th November 2016 - 8:23 am

A swap party sounds like a fun idea! I generally give unwanted items to charity but like the idea of swapping with friends too.

Elizabeth 10th November 2016 - 6:23 am

I absolutely love upcycling. I try and reuse as much as I can, but it’s hard with electronics when they break. I’m terrible for just chucking them out!
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admin 10th November 2016 - 8:56 am

Did you know Elizabeth that some people buy the smallest parts from sites like eBay? Might be worth a try?

LaaLaa 10th November 2016 - 6:18 am

Upcycle I noticed has become popular over the year. I always donate things during my regular clear outs!!

admin 10th November 2016 - 8:54 am

That’s great – me too. I feel it’s a crime if what I can’t use I throw away so I always donate to charity shops

John 10th November 2016 - 5:29 am

I certainly subscribe to the not always buying cheap idea. I live in Germany and it’s a key philosophy of German life, even down to clothes. I like the idea of a swap party.

admin 10th November 2016 - 8:53 am

I think us Brits could learn a thing or two from your philosophy!

Leah 10th November 2016 - 1:14 am

This is excellent! I agree you get what you pay for but I do end up throwing stuff out as I am too lazy to upcycle.
The best thing though is the swap idea! I have never thought to do a swap party with friends on home stuff!! I’m so glad you linked this post as I love it 🙂

admin 10th November 2016 - 8:51 am

Thanks Leah! Really pleased to hear it was useful ?


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