With only four weeks to go the countdown is on to the NSW north coast’s biggest garage sale day of the year! Have your registered your garage sale? It’s the perfect chance to declutter the house, not to mention giving people the chance to reuse your pre-loved goods.

But decluttering is about much more than just tidying up the house according to Brooke McAlary from The Slow Home podcast. Over a process of two years, Brooke and her family managed to declutter more than 25,000 items from their home and discovered the joys of minimalism and simple living.

“I never realised how heavy my stuff was until I started letting it go,” says Brooke. What had felt ‘normal’ started to feel excessive as I began to declutter and give away or sell the things I didn’t need (or use or want!).”

“What I discovered, and the reason I’m so passionate about the benefits of simplifying, was clarity. Over time I could see more clearly the things that were important in my life, and gradually I realised that they weren’t really things at all,” says Brooke.

Top tips for decluttering

Brooke suggests that it’s best to break the process of decluttering down into manageable steps.

“Take it slow. You probably didn’t accumulate all your stuff over a month, so it will take you some time to work through it and feel OK about letting go,” says Brooke.

“Small steps taken consistently are more effective than one big spring clean every year. Commit to decluttering 10 things every day, or one small spot in your home and see the impact that makes over a month. You’ll be surprised!”

“Try not to confuse the memory for the thing. When it comes to sentimental items we often equate the item (souvenir, book, baby clothes, art work) with the time it reminds us of. If you can separate the two it will be much easier to judge an item on whether you actually like or use it, rather than muddy the waters by looking at an item and seeing a person or a memory,” says Brooke.

Let’s make second hand normal!

Brooke says that buying second hand and selling your unwanted stuff to others is a great way of reducing your own eco footprint.

“Chances are, everything you need already exists in the world, so why not get out in the community, meet people and see what you can unearth? I love this movement so much. Let’s make second hand normal!”

Second Hand Saturday is coordinated by North East Waste on behalf of its member north coast Councils, funded by the NSW EPA’s Waste Less Recycle More initiative through the waste levy.