|Lent declutter challenge, days 1 - 4|
Lent declutter challenge
Today marks the halfway point in the forty days of Lent and going by the comments I received following my Lent declutter challenge post, I seem to have touched a chord with many of you. My main reason for sharing the challenge on the blog was to give myself some accountability by getting it out there. The fact so many of you have told me you have now been encouraged to have a clear out too, has been a bonus. You have no idea how happy you have made me, so thank you, and keep going.
We are doing our best to donate or recycle as much as possible, rather than just throw things in landfill and one email I received asked about charity shops in France and where to find them. I guess we are lucky here with a Secours Catholique in Chef-Boutonne, plus ARK and HOPE both within a half an hour drive away. We have put aside bags of clothing to donate to the Secours Catholique boutique as I know that local families in dire need can go to the Mairie and be given vouchers to spend in the shop.
|Donations made by ARK 79|
ARK and HOPE both take and sell books, furniture, bric-a-brac and clothing, with all funds raised going to help animal charities both locally and abroad and I have bags of bits waiting to go to them, plus some old towels and bedding that will go directly to the animal shelter near Angouleme.
|Le Relais textile bank in the village|
We have also been making good use of the clothes and textile bank in the village run by Le Relais, because we can fill a bag, strap it onto the bike and drop it off without having to use the car – another environmental tick. The email I received, encouraged me to look Le Relais up online, to find out who they are and what will happen to the bagged-up donations we have posted into the container.
|Le Relais infographic|
Le Relais are linked to the Emmaus network and have around 22,000 textile banks all over France, allowing them to collect almost 90,000 tonnes a year of items that might have ended up in landfill. They state that on average each person gets rid of 12kg of textiles, every year, and I feel I may have exceeded this figure somewhat in the last twenty days, but it has been a good few years since some areas were sorted and cleared out.
In the last thirty years, Le Relais have created a job a week, mostly in their sorting centres, generally employing people who have struggled to find jobs elsewhere, and almost all the textiles go on to have a new purpose:
55% are exported to Africa
26% (cottons and wools) become thermal and acoustic insulation
10% become cleaning rags
6% are sold in their boutiques in France
3% are incinerated in biomass furnaces
|Lent declutter challenge, days 5 - 8|
We have filled our local bin with clothes, towels, bedding, shoes and handbags, so this clear out really has been a win-win situation for so many people and associations all over the world - and we are pretty confident it will only be Adrian’s undies that end up in the 3% heading to the biomass furnace.
|Lent declutter challenge, days 9 - 12|
All our other items have been carefully sorted at our local déchetterie, so all old batteries, electronic items, cardboard boxes, ink cartridges etc have all ended up where they can be recycled. All the paperwork I’ve shredded has gone in our compost heap and all magazines and other paper have been taken to our village recycling point.
|Lent declutter challenge, days 13 - 16|
This week it will be the kitchen that comes under scrutiny, including the storage boxes under the stairs that at the moment cause Adrian to mutter and curse every time he is looking for something. I might only be halfway through the challenge, but I already feel like a winner. I’m more in control of the house and its contents than I’ve ever been, and the added bonus has been we are now using and enjoying some really pretty cups and glasses that have sat in cupboards for decades. In fact, the cups were weddings gifts, so it’s quite appropriate they are finally being used as we approach our twenty-fifth wedding anniversary.
|Lent declutter, days 17 - 20|