The past six months has seen a huge rise in the phenomenon that is The Cleaning Guru. Chances are you’re already following one on Instagram. These millennial Kim and Aggys are keeping us inspired with modern day tips and tricks on how to keep your home tidy. Some are even calling them the new beauty bloggers. Marie Kondo is one of them, with a new Netflix series Tidying Up that has seen the Japanese organising consultant take our homes by storm. Search #konmarimethod and it seems the whole world is tackling their neglected kitchen drawers and closet of old coats.
But although it can be tempting to chuck everything into a bin bag and leave it for the bin men to dispose of, it’s really important to think about the impact that chucking things to landfill has on the environment. We’ve rounded up our top zero-waste tips for decluttering your kitchen.
5 zero waste tips for decluttering your kitchen:
1. Sort your larder
Sorting, planning and stocking up your pantry is one of the best things you can do to ultimately waste less. Channel your inner Marie Kondo and collate those pesky half-empty packets of nuts, rice and pasta, store ingredients in clear, labelled jars and keep your cupboards organised. Not only do those tidy shelves bring satisfying calm to your kitchen, but it’s far easier to use your dry store as the starting point to plan your weekly shop, rather than from habit or hungry stomach. But what to do with those stale spices and old flour?
Turmeric that’s passed its best before might not have the flavour or health benefits it once had, but you can still use it to make homemade paint for kids. The same goes for old coffee or paprika (just mind the carpets when the kids are in full Matisse-mode!). Turn flour that’s passed it’s best into a cracking salt dough for kids or salt bake your own vegetables or fish. Old baking powder may not leaven your bakes, but it still has oodles of uses – use it as a cleaning agent for scrubbing stains on sinks and worktops. And turn those leftover red wine dregs into delicious red wine vinegar (it’s really easy).
2. Solve your storage
Don’t add to your pile of clutter by buying plastic storage solutions. Use things you already have lying around the house: turn shoe box lids into kitchen drawer utensil dividers, old cardboard toilet roll holders into stationery or makeup holders or wine bottle holders into drawer dividers for your socks and pants. It doesn’t matter how old and ugly they are – they’ll be hidden inside your cupboards.
Rather than chucking jars of mouldy curry pastes and pestos straight into the bin, take the time to clean them out and reuse the jars for storing dry store ingredients or for transporting your lunch and salad dressings to work. Got empty glass bottles? Here are 10 creative ways to reuse them.
3. Recycle unused kitchen tools
Single-use plastic is terrible for the environment, so if you’ve got one too many ladles or that unused juicer you once bought on a whim, don’t just throw them away. Gumtree and Freecycle are great places to advertise unwanted items to people in your area, who will collect them for free.
Vinegar for cleaning your kitchen? Check out these 7 effortless all-natural spring cleaning hacks.
And if it’s an electrical item that’s long stopped working, you can still recycle it. Recycle Now helps you find the closest recycling centre or bin to your home. They also help you to understand what can and can’t be recycled. Electrics can be recycled if it has a plug, contains batteries, needs charging and has a picture of a crossed out wheelie bin on it.
4. Freezer roulette
Dedicate your week to eating through your freezer, rather than chucking the lot in the bin. You might be surprised what you find (although we don’t recommend risking foods that look well past their best). Reorganise your freezer, making sure anything you freeze is clearly labelled with a freeze date so you can always keep on top of things.
5. Curb your food waste
The revolutionary food-waste fighting app Olio aims to end unnecessary food waste by encouraging everyone to exchange their edible surplus food. It’s like Tinder for food that’s nearing its sell-by date, the leftovers in your fridge or for those tins and jars you once bought and will never use.
For more zero-waste tips, check out these simple food waste hacks as we head into warmer weather.
What’s the difference between a best-before and a use-by date? Tell the difference between these confusing labels, and find out what to do when your staples look a bit past their best.