“Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or do not believe to be beautiful” William Morris (1834-1896)
I’m sure we’re all looking forward to putting 2020 behind us and starting the new year afresh. One of the first things to think about doing whilst creating new year goals, is to also think about how the environment you live in affects your mood and behaviour. Does your living space make you happy? Can you relax in it, and now that most of us have to work and exercise at home, are you calm, focused and productive?
If the answer is no to all or some of these questions, then there will definitely be a need to make a few changes to your living space. By getting rid of objects that you don’t need or don’t serve a purpose and using products that are ethical and environmentally friendly can help to make you feel better, both mentally and physically. Here we interview our “Feel Good At Home” coach, Tash Fanshawe, Declutterer and Eco Warrior, about her passion for decluttering and being green.
TheLodge.space: Hi Tash. What made you become a declutterer?
In January 2015, I knew I was fed up with my home and all the stuff I wasn’t using. I wanted to sell a few things, so I took a bottle of wine (to drink) and a pair of shoes (to sell), to a friend’s place, so she could teach me how to sell on ebay. From that day on I was hooked. I’m also very interested in knowing where the stuff goes and that's why I didn’t want to just chuck those shoes away, but rather have someone else make use of them. When I work with my clients, I offer to take stuff away and although I can’t promise I’ll make them lots of money, I do promise not to use landfill where possible.
TheLodge.space:: How can we avoid landfills
In the Feel Good At Home programme, I will talk in more detail about how to avoid landfills. Yes, things can be recycled, so make sure you are recycling, but there are a few myths we can bust. Basically the recycling system in the UK is fairly broken. If you put plastics in the recycling bin there’s less than a 30% chance it will get recycled and if it’s a certain type of plastic it goes down to about 1%! Your recycled things will then go into landfill, so my tip would be trying to avoid plastic altogether.
TheLodge.space: Why should a person declutter their home?
Decluttering is not a one off process. It’s about letting go of surplus stuff that you’re not using, that you don’t like and that doesn’t work, and only sticking with the things in your home that you love and that actually work and serve a purpose. Tidying up is not decluttering.. However, once you clear the clutter, there should be a lot less to tidy up! One example is gadgets in the kitchen; there are many gadgets in the kitchen that could be replaced by one simple knife (i.e apple corers, egg slicers, avocado cutters, garlic press..). So get yourself a good set of knives instead. Everything in your home should either be useful or spark joy and now more than ever, be green!
TheLodge.space: What green actions can we all take now?
And The Future, the sustainability network I co-run, is always positive about climate change. With so much doom and gloom about the climate crisis, we need to inspire and influence people to make positive changes. One of the worst ways to get people to change is to make a person feel bad. So I say, just start small. For example, have a proper look in your bathroom? If you join the programme, one of the things I’ll ask you to do is to complete a plastic audit in the bathroom and then we'll discuss the changes that can be made i.e. soap instead of liquids, using up your shampoo bottles before buying more, and where to buy good refills. Another thing you can do is be specific about what you want for Christmas. It can eliminate receiving a lot of useless stuff. Last year, I asked my mum for good quality olive oil in a glass bottle. Be that specific lol. If you’re upset about taking the surprise element out of Christmas, then maybe ask for an experience, rather than a product. In terms of clothing, the greenest thing you can wear is the outfit you already have. After that, it’s second hand and if that feels a step too far then buy sustainably, and stay away from supermarkets when there's an alternative.
Can we be green with our money, tech and household utilities?
One of the biggest one off things you can do to be greener is to move your pension. Moving to an ethical bank or environmental pension scheme is going to be much more impactful than spending £20 at Planet Organic! Triodos and Starling online banks are great green banks. Also in the programme we will discuss green banking, green energy providers and even green mobile phone companies. We will also talk about digital decluttering.
TheLodge.space: And finally, what is the weirdest thing you have ever decluttered?
Tash: Chocolate wrappers! Not only the weirdest but one of the most valuable things I’ve ever decluttered was a collection of vintage chocolate wrappers from the 1960s. I helped to clear a home and came across a large collection. They were worth a small fortune.
Tash is co-founder of “And the future”, a sustainability network and owner of “Light Style Space”, a decluttering company. Tash will be one of the coaches on the four week programme “Feel Good At Home”, run by Ucci Wellness and theLodge.space starting on 17 January 2021. If you would like to join, find out more by visiting www.ucciwellness.com