Clean and green: Decluttering the sustainable way

We’ve put together some handy tips to make sure your spring clean is also a green clean. Your refreshed home will 'spark joy' for you and the planet.

With spring in the air it's that time of year when people channel their inner Marie Kondo, Martha Stewart or a more historic figure in Mrs Isabella Beeton (kudos if you’re attempting the latter without a full household of staff). 

Once you've decided what you want to dispose of, separate your goods into five categories: Fix, sell, giveaway, recycle or landfill. Read on for a range of options to avoid landfill and de-clutter your life!

Bringing an old belt back to life.

Do you have a broken or torn item? Adelaide Repair Cafe brings together volunteer repairers and people wanting to fix their things. They can assess items and hope to repair them to increase lifespan and reduce landfill. Visit the Adelaide Repair Cafe website to learn more. Check their Facebook page for upcoming dates.

111 Franklin Street, Adelaide
7123 2166


photo-icon Ian Buckland

Plastic lids can be recycled into prosthetic limbs for children. Drop in your donations to OmMade Meet the Maker.

Green waste collected by the City of Adelaide is turned into compost.

If you can’t bear to see your sequined flares or your shag rug go to the window of an opshop, consider selling it on eBay, Gumtree or Facebook Marketplace. 

Another option for selling clothing and accessories is your local consignment shop. Your item is displayed for sale at an agreed price and the shop keeps a portion for managing the process. Have a look through their stock first to find the best place to turnover your items quickly.

  • Marilyn’s Depot Vente
    Consignment store specialising in European designer fashions and accessories.
    24A O'Connell Street, North Adelaide
  • Fabulous Consignment Store
    Consignment store specialising in limited edition sneakers
    Regent Arcade, Rundle Mall, Adelaide
  • The Commons
    Clothing Exchange (like a consignment store except they buy your items directly, you don't need to wait for it to sell) specialising in designer, quality vintage and contemporary pieces.
    17 Young Street, Adelaide

If you don’t want the hassle of selling or you’re feeling altruistic, read on for other options.

A range of charities accept unwanted items such as clothing, household goods, toys, books and furniture that are in good condition. If it’s good enough for a friend, it’s good enough to donate to a charity. If you wouldn't give it to your bestie, find another option. Contact your local charity shop branch before you drop off your items to check they can be used. Electrical items and larger furniture are not accepted by all shops and a quick phone call can save a lot of time.

  • Salvos Stores 
    Clothing, bric-a-brac and homewares, toys, CDs, DVDs and small electrical goods. The city store takes furniture and may even organise collection – call first on 13 72 58 and use their guide as a reference for what they can and can’t accept.
    422 Morphett Street, Adelaide
    8231 9779
    169 O'Connell Street, North Adelaide
    8267 1193
  • Vinnies Adelaide
    Clothing, homewares, manchester, toys and books, CDs, DVDs. Also takes furniture but call 8112 8777 first to discuss.
    108 Waymouth Street, Adelaide
    8231 6151
  • Hutt Street Centre
    Clothing, footwear, blankets and small household items are distributed directly to people in need.
    258 Hutt Street, Adelaide
    8418 2500
  • Treasure Boxes
    Baby items including toys, clothing, safety gates, cots, etc.
    47 Wodonga Street, Beverley
    (outside Adelaide but accepts children's items that others may not)
    0423 825 714
  • List items online to giveaway
    If you can’t find a charity for your item but still think it has life left in it, think about listing as a giveaway on Gumtree or Facebook Marketplace. Some suburbs have a Buy Nothing group set up on Facebook, where you can list your items to giveaway that may be wanted by someone else - what better way to extend an item's lifespan!
  • Too worn or broken to giveaway
    You're sure to have items that have had too much love to donate to a charity shop. Before you add it to your landfill bin, consider giving ragged clothes a second life as dust cloths or donating older manchester items to an animal shelter who are often looking for bedding options. 100 per cent natural fibres (that means everything from the fabric to any threads or labels) can go into your home compost (cut them up small so they compost faster), but not your green waste bin. 
  • Electric blues
    If you have TVs, AV equipment, computer items or kitchen appliances that can't be given away, the best option is ecycling. Valuable parts can be recycled and damaging materials won’t end up in the environment. Check the Electronic Recycling Australia website for locations. Old mobile phones can be taken to a Mobile Muster drop-off point. Batteries can go to any City of Adelaide Community Centre or Library or check out Planet Ark's battery recycling map for other locations.
  • The last resort
    Unlike repairing, composting or recycling, sending waste to landfill doesn't create too many positive outcomes - so it's really a last resort option - but it does have its place in the process. Old clothing in poor condition, broken drinking glasses, old crockery and ovenware can all go in your landfill bin (that’s either your red or blue-lidded bin). It's best to do a quick check on Which Bin if you're unsure what to place where.

    If you can’t recycle, reuse or repair it, and your unwanted items won’t fit in your landfill bin, city residents can call 8295 5077 to book a City of Adelaide hard waste collection. Find out how to make an online booking and what items can and can’t be collected. 

    There are lots of sustainability Rs: refuse, reduce, reuse, repurpose, recycle, rethink, recover, repair, rehome, replant, rot, replenish … the list goes on. Commit to your own green growth this year and set up systems to collect smaller items to redirect landfill to recycling or recycling to repurposing. Keep jars or tins in the laundry or under the sink marked 'plastic lids', 'batteries', 'craft items', 'paper for shredding' ... or for anything else you can collect and redirect. 

    Be a thoughtful consumer and set yourself up to keep your home organised and looking fabulous.

    If you're looking for inspiration on how to make the most of spring in the city - be sure to check out our handy spring guide!

    Paperless paperwork

    Most household bills offer paperless options now and some companies even offer a discount for going digital. Look through your paperwork clutter and consider what you can have emailed instead. The best part about emailed bills and notices is you can search for them in your inbox instead of rifling through your 'to file' pile. 

    Shredding is the best way to keep private documents confidential. If you have a shredder at home, add the ‘confetti’ to your mulch in the garden or place it in your green organics bin for collection. 

    Collecting for a cause

    Ever looked at bread bag tags and bottle tops and thought there must be a use for them? OmMade Meet the Maker in the Central Market Arcade is collecting both items.

    Envision Hands recycle the bottle tops to make 3D printed mobility aids, disability aids, STEM training tools and aged care gadgets. The bread tags are collected for Aussie Bread Tags for Wheelchairs who sell the tags to recyclers. The money is used to purchase wheelchairs for disabled people in South Africa. 

    Crafty ideas

    Kindies and schools are often on the hunt for things that can be cut, taped, painted and glued together for creative craft sessions. Paper towel rolls, bottle tops, milk cartons, cardboard boxes, metal tins and other materials that would otherwise be tossed can be collected for some creative time at home with the children or grandchildren, or check with your local childcare, kindy or school to see if they want items for projects.

    Battery blitz

    Batteries can go in landfill but they can lead to fires so, instead - remember these can be taken to any City of Adelaide Community Centre or Library or check out Planet Ark's battery recycling map for other locations. Alternatively, consider rechargeable options.

    Printing problems

    If you're using ink cartridges, consider refiling to save financially and environmentally. If you're using a laser printer, recycle the empty toner cartridges. Officeworks in Gawler Place (and other locations) accepts toner cartridges. 

    Bottle lids

    It’s such a nice time to be outside but a tidy up can quickly turn into a mammoth exercise. 

    • When cleaning up the garden, consider donating excess live plants, fruits, vegetables, jars and seeds to your neighbourhood GrowFree cart, or start your own cart!
    • It can be expensive to buy all the tools and cleaning accessories. If you’re not going to use an item regularly, get to know your neighhbour by asking if they have something you can borrow. Or better yet, check if your neighbourhood has a Buy Nothing group on Facebook - a friendly neighbour may just have the item you need.
    • Lawn clippings, prunings, small branches, leaves and twigs can go in your green organics bin to be converted into compost to grow local produce or be taken to the City of Adelaide's Green Waste Recycling & Mulch Centre. City residents can drop off up to four green waste loads per year at no cost (just have a current rates notice and ID handy).
    Green Waste Centre mulch image

    Not too hard

    Keeping clutter free