How to Spring Clean… Responsibly


Spring Clean

Woohoo. The sun was out. The sky was blue. Just for second – in between rainstorms – it looked like Spring was making an appearance. Maybe it was – or maybe the weather is just teasing us – and there’s more wind and rain on the way before we can finally say it’s spring. You can notice the evenings are beginning to lengthen though – it’s now getting dark after five o’clock. Before we know it the clocks will be changing to summer time and we will all be thinking about having a bit of a spring tidy up.

Now, at this time of year we normally focus on how to choose what to keep if you’re going to declutter, but we’ve done that before – so for Spring 2016 we thought we’d give some attention to how to throw the stuff you don’t want out safely and responsibly.

It might seem a little odd  – decluttering so you need less storage – for a self storage company to be promoting. But encouraging people to store stuff that they really should be throwing away to is not in our nature…

Spring cleaning is a human tradition. Quite how it came about causes some debate. Religious scholars believe it is related to the Jewish Memorial Feast of Passover (a custom then borrowed and continued by the christian faith). Whilst there are others who suggest it is purely historical and down to the climate in the Northern Hemisphere.


The second idea makes a lot of sense. It’s only when the days begin to lengthen (and the weather hopefully dries up a bit – please!) that it’s warm enough to open windows, air a property, give everything a jolly good clean, sort through the junk and chuck a load out. In the modern age the pace of change and development means that stuff is obsolete awfully quickly. So spring cleans in the “teenies” usually mean throwing old stuff away, because it has been replaced with new. But we’re more environmentally and resource aware than we’ve ever been – plus there a load more rules about how to get rid of a lot of the stuff. The basic mantra – Reduce – Reuse – Recycle is as good as it ever was. So if you can’t reduce, and for whatever reason reusing is not an option – here’s how to get rid (or recycle) – responsibly.

Old Tech & Appliances

Electrical equipment has become super-disposable as the pace of development make it out of date so quickly. But there are rules around recovering and recycling electrical waste. If you’ve bought something to replace an existing appliance – for example a washing machine – then the retailer or supplier have to offer a take back scheme for the old unit. Alternatively, there are a few charity or local authority schemes that might be of interest…

In Camden there’s Camden Recycleforfree. It’s a fabulously simple ‘call and collect’ service that ensures your unwanted electrical are recycled without costing Camden residents a penny. There’s also some on street WEEE recycling banks or you can drop it in to in Regis Road Recycling Centre.

If you’re in Wandsworth and like the sound of the 123 Recycleforfree service coming to get your old gear, the good news is they cover Wandsworth too. Alternatively the Household waste and recycling centre at Smugglers Way is the place to take your items to ensure they are disposed of correctly.

Whist the 123 call and collect service doesn’t operate in Southwark, the borough does have a network of WEEE recycling banks. Much like a clothing bank, you simply take your appliances and pop them through the flap. There is a maximum size though – 25cm (h) x 31cm (l) which is great for a toaster – but if you’ve got something bigger and aren’t getting it collected through a take back scheme (such as an old washing machine) you’ll need to get it to Southwark’s Reuse and Recycling centre.


Those 0% finance deals in furniture stores are awfully tempting. But buying a new 2 or 3 piece suite means you’ll need to find somewhere to get rid of the old one. If you’ve got an old sofa that isn’t worthy of storage space for when you get the man-cave sorted, you’ll want to get rid. There are plenty of charity projects to help you and many councils work in partnership to provide furniture recycling services. Camden for example, work with ReStore – who will collect good quality furniture from your premises. Alternatively you could donate to a charity shop. Find out more on the Southwark, Camden and Wandsworth.


Textile banks are common place in most supermarket car parks, as well as municipal recycling centres. So as long as you don’t forget to put that bag of old clothes or shoes in the boot before you set off, it’s a pretty simple exercise to ditch the old or worn out wardrobe. Of course, if you’ve got an Armani dress that’s just soooooooo last season – which you’ve only worn once – you’ll probably want to donate that to a charity shop, as the money they make from it will be more than worth the warm glow inside.

Whatever or however you’re cleaning this spring, we hope it gives you a feeling of achievement and the contentment that you’ve done your bit to ensure your environmental impact is minimised.


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