Have you ever heard the expression: “Out with the old and in with the new? Or how about; “Old ways won’t open new doors”? If you have, and appreciate their aims, then National Old Stuff Day on March 2nd will be right up your street!
Contrary to how it may sound, National Old Stuff Day isn’t actually about celebrating ‘old stuff’, but rather a day when you get rid of the old stuff and start something new. However, in today’s society, we now have to ask ourselves whether that is a sustainable and responsible attitude to have, or whether there is a better way of doing things?

Sure, no one wants to end up with a house or work place that looks like it should be the subject of a TV hoarder exposé, and we all like it when we acquire bright and shiny new things, so how can we make Old Stuff Day a fun and relevant part of our annual spring clean?

We think that it would be great to tackle this from 2 standpoints: one from the ‘get rid of the old stuff in the most ecological way possible’ standpoint; and one from the ‘let’s start something brand new” viewpoint. So here goes!

PART ONE: Getting rid of old stuff in an ecological way

We are probably all guilty of hanging on to too much stuff; that broken coat hanger we’ve kept just in case we find the missing roll of fabric tape we intend to fix it with; the dilapidated handbag we had when we were a teen; and all the clothes that we’ve grown out of, but are keeping because we know the time will come when we can fit back into them!!! The time has come to get real and follow some rules to help you declutter.

Take action!

  1. Go through your house, your setting and your life, and work out what you no longer use, love or have space for.
  2. Once you have a pile of things you need to get rid of, decide how you are going to get rid of them. In the UK, we currently recycle approximately 45% of our waste, but other countries such as Germany and South Korea recycle between 60% and 70%. To be more ecological with on National Old Stuff Day, there are several options:
  • Donate it to charity – many charities like clean cloths, bric-a-brac, home furnishings and even furniture
  • Sell it at a car boot sale – this takes a bit of effort but they’re usually great fun and you can make some money as well
  • Sell things online – sites such as wish, eBay, Etsy and many others are useful for selling things that are still useable but which you no longer need, like high-chairs or buggies for instance
  • Upcycle – this is a great way to turn something old into something fun and new. You can paint old furniture, repurpose everyday items, or make new tops from old dresses. You are really only limited by your imagination but if you need some inspiration, see the websites listed at the end of this article
  • Make something new – have a go at making a patchwork quilt with some old clothes; or an apron, some napkins, cushion covers or cleaning cloths. You could also get the children in your setting involved in some creative crafts using your old material as resources
  • Create some recycled artwork – everyday junk is great for creating your masterpieces, but make sure you wash out old cartons and ensure everything is safe first. Get some ideas for some models and ideas to use in your settings here: bit.ly/31TVhW2
  • Organise a jumble sale in your setting – another great way to pass on some of your old things and have a bit of fun too
  • Visit your local tip or recycling centre – even things that you think are beyond repair may find a loving home at your local tip

Whatever you do with your ‘old stuff’, on National Old Stuff Day make sure the bin is the last option and use the principles of reduce, reuse and recycle instead. We all need to take action on a small scale to create a more sustainable society, so think carefully before you reach for the bin bag!

PART TWO: Bring in the new

Once you have dealt with the build-up of old stuff and cleared some lovely space in your house or setting, try not to fill it up with more junk straight away! Instead, think about the second part of Old Stuff Day, and bring in some new ideas and practices into your life – but it doesn’t have to be actual, physical things! That’s just more ‘stuff’! Better to look at this more philosophically and start with changing some old or out-dated habits that you have.

Some ideas to try

  1. Sit in a completely different position on the bus, in your house, or your office and see what a different perspective (literally) can do for your mindset.
  2. Take a different route to work and notice at least 5 new things
  3. Listen to a different radio channel
  4. Make yourself a different breakfast – if you usually eat a cooked breakfast, try some fruit, or vice versa and continue experimenting with new food throughout the day
  5. Wear your hair in a different style – practice an ‘up-do’ prior to the day, or try a wash-in, wash-out fun hair colour tint for a change
  6. Make a phone call instead of texting people - phone up 3 friends and wish them a ‘Happy Old Stuff Day’
  7. Switch off your TV for the whole day and read a book instead
  8. Go without your mobile phone or electronic device for the day
  9. Take up a new hobby you’ve always wanted to try
  10. Learn to play a musical instrument

Whatever you do, have fun, and remember to send us your National Old Stuff Day pictures too.

Ideas for arts and crafts from sustainable resources:

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