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For those people living outside the UK who may not know, The Royal Mail, our national postal service, is a private company. It has been for a few years now. Unfortunately this means as a commercial entity they’ve opted to begin delivering un-addressed junk mail with the standard letters in our morning post.

Since the number of letters that land on our mats each day has dropped, you mightn’t have noticed. It's important to remember that junk mail is made from paper, and printing in volume creates an enormous amount of waste. If you’re anything like me, you probably bin it all. On principal I won’t read it because I don’t think I should ever be sent marketing in such an environmentally unfriendly way. I also don’t like the idea of having advertising forced into my home without my consent! I should be able to choose if I want it, and thankfully, you can, thanks to a little-known form and five minutes of your time.

For those of you who like me want to stem the tide of paper waste here is how you opt-out:

The Royal Mail service that delivers all this junk is called “Door to Door”. According to their website It reaches over 29 million households. Think of all that wood pulp and the chemicals used to make inks being wasted!

Unfortunately the Royal Mail have made it difficult to opt-out, because they simply don’t want it to happen. There isn’t a simple form, and we need to print out (more paper wastage) a PDF form, fill it in, and send it via Freepost to stop the junk mail. You can download the form by clicking here.

Note: It takes about six weeks before the service begins and the junk mail stops. Opting-out also only last two years, so it might be useful to set a reminder for two years’ time on your phone to renew. All you have to do is print another form.

To further reduce the wastage, you could encourage neighbours on your street to opt-out as well. Mass un-subscription is the best way to tackle the problem. I’m certainly going to encourage our neighbours to do the same!

Naturally this only stops junk mail delivered by the Royal Mail, not all junk mail. If you want to stop hand-delivered junk mail, you’ll need to place a sticker on your letterbox, although they can look a little unsightly and unfriendly. Another method is to use the Mailing Preference Service (MPS), although again that only stops junk mail from providers that read the MPS lists and honour your decision.

Now go for a pleasant walk and post that form!


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#environmentalism #junk #royalmail #wastage #declutter

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If you don’t have the time or dedication to throw everything in your house out in one go, or you’d prefer not to sleep on a bed in the middle of an empty room, I’d suggest my method for ridding yourself of clutter. Select a single item of furniture to clean out each day, or perhaps even per week. It’s a less intense way of thoughtfully (mindfully) disposing of your things. Today it is the turn of my nemesis: the infamous bathroom cabinet.

What a mess!

Is this a familiar sight? Filled with items of unwanted or expired medication, products we tried – then decided we didn’t like, but can’t bear to throw out because that would be wasteful? Well, this is what my bathroom cabinet looks like today. I’m in the same boat as you. But today is the day that changes. It’s time to clean out that medicine cabinet! I will not be hiding things away behind doors any longer. Minimalism isn’t just an aesthetic choice after all, it’s a way of reducing the stuff in our lives to make room for meaningful experiences. It isn’t a pleasant experience to dread opening a cupboard and then rooting around inside to find that one item you were after in a sea of superfluous crap. It’s a waste of time, and the longer we leave it, the more time it takes us to clear up.

Yes, I am aware there are three tubes of toothpaste in my cupboard, and yes, all of them have been opened. I can’t quite remember why. I also can’t for the life of me remember why I have sticky fly traps in there too, but it was possibly to hide them away and make my bathroom appear outwardly tidy.

The easiest thing for us to throw away is the expired medication, so I can say goodbye to the cold and flu medicine from last year, and also my expired asthma inhaler. This has the added bonus of reminding me that I need to order another one, and should I have an asthma attack in the future I’ll be sure to thank past me for cleaning out my cupboard for me!

Other things we might want to finally consider throwing out are those opened items we don’t want anymore but aren’t empty. Consider: The only difference between throwing them out now and in six months’ time is that time will have passed. If there is no difference, and a cleaner cabinet would reduce our stress and make opening that cabinet more of a pleasure than a chore, why not do it now?

It somehow all came out colour coordinated. That’s a total fluke – I assure you.

I counted everything before I threw it out and I originally had 30 items in there. The cabinet will menace me no-more!

So now I have:

  • The facility to brush my teeth (toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, mouthwash)
  • Skincare products (x3)
  • One bottle of cologne
  • Shaving supplies (razor, shaving cream, spare blades)
  • a comb
  • Topical pain relief cream
  • Natural deodorant

Total: 14 items

I moved:

  • My penknife, which shouldn't have been in there in the first place

I rid myself of:

  • A lot of expired meds
  • A type of deodorant I never used
  • Hair products
  • Excess tubes of toothpaste
  • Extra shaving supplies (again superfluous)

I threw away: 15 items

And that's just about all I need day-to-day. You may need more, or you may need less. I have special skincare requirements so you might not need a cleanser, scrub and moisturizer like I do. That truly is a need, since I don't want to end up with eczema and look like I have sunburn, even in winter.

Now would be a good point to mention sustainability. Much of the items in this cupboard are mainstream products and they are not sustainable over the long-term. There is some deodorant in there made from salt, and a natural warming muscle pain reliever made with capsicum pepper, both of which work well for me but that is just about all there is currently. This is an issue I will need to address in a future post as these items are used up. When I have found planet-friendly alternatives and replaced them all I will try this again. It’s also a good way for all of you to check up on me to ensure I’m sticking to my minimalist ethic. If I’ve filled my cupboard again I’ll know I’ve been a naughty boy, and you will too.

#declutter #minimalism #mess #minimising