Emily Jackson outlines the ten things you can cut down straight away for more time, money and space…
The minute you buy something online, you’re automatically entered into a raft of promotional emails and updates, which ping with increasing incessancy into your inbox, all day. It’s likely you need hardly any of these things, so get into the habit of clicking ‘Unsubscribe’ instead of just deleting something. The same goes for any promotional post, take a moment to take yourself off their mailing list and you’ve instantly far less recycling to do.
2. Beauty products
Gone are the days of needing several different products to do a similar job. Increasingly beauty is moving to one-tube-fits-all products that can act as cleansers, facemasks and more. Visit the likes of Space NK or other independent beauty boutiques who can suggest ways to decrease the amount of products, and single-use plastic, in your bathroom or on your dressing table.
3. Subscription boxes
Fruit and veg boxes, coffee deliveries, chocolate subscriptions, wine clubs, beauty bargain mailouts and so on. It’s easy to set something up and look forward to it, but how often do things get delivered that you don’t eat or don’t need? Not only is this impacting your finances, but it’s also likely creating more single-use packaging that goes to landfill, and work for you to do to dispose of what you don’t use. Do a two-monthly check on what arrives and what gets used, and either change the regularity, or cancel altogether.
4. Spare stuff
It’s reassuring to know you’ve got spare lampshades, picture frames, vases and so on – but how often do they get used or called on? Do a seasonal sanity check of items that you haven’t needed to reach for. Sort them into Staying, Going or Gone. Staying stays, Going gets another three-month reprieve and Gone is, well, gone. Take it to a charity shop, pass on to a friend. Repeat every season.
5. Cables and IT
Most of us now really only need one cable for a laptop and one for a phone/tablet. Go through and get rid of all the others. All the ones from setting up your wireless for the first time, all the various camera chargers from the past decade, all the old phone chargers, the random power leads and so on. Cut it down to only what you use, and then wrap sticky labels around them and label them, so you can always find what you need.
6. Alerts and notifications
One of the reasons our attention spans have reached an all-time low, is due to the constant alerts we receive on our devices. One recent study found that every time an email or text alert appears, we lose up to 20 minutes of time being distracted from what we were originally doing. Sign into all your apps and wherever possible, turn off notifications. This includes news, maps, games, workouts, social media, image libraries and so on. Leave calendar and message alerts on, but select ‘deliver quietly’.
Different to the promotional missives above, you’ve likely signed up to plenty of newsletters promising inspiring daily or weekly content, popping into your inbox. But how many do you actually read? Set yourself a task: if four editions go past without you ever reading them, click Unsubscribe.
Gym membership, online newspapers, members’ clubs and so on – how often do you use them? It’s easy to have good intentions but it’s also good practice to do a quarterly round-up of direct debits and memberships and consider what you’ve used in the past three months. Some companies offer membership ‘pausing’, while for others you can change the type of membership you have – off-peak, low use etc. But don’t be afraid to cancel. It could save you time and money.
9. Cleaning products
Changing the way you use cleaning products is one quick, simple and cost-effective way to make a different to your bank account and the planet. The single-use plastic impact of having different cleaning products for different rooms in the house (which is mostly just a marketing ploy anyway) is considerable. Research some of the all-natural, bulk buy, refill brands – such as Koh or Tincture – that offer a much more eco, and economical, way to clean your home.
10. Groups and apps
You know that sinking feeling you get when another ‘You’ve been invited to Linda’s Party group’ alert arrives? Or when that old friend from college shares another ‘Map my Run’ update? Time to ease the pain. Go through your texts, groups and pages and start culling. What or who can you live without? If you no longer do a certain sport, hobby, activity – then leave. What don’t you need to see on your newsfeed anymore? Which groups don’t serve you anymore? Be bold. And then breathe in the sweet sounds of silence.