Purge your possessions with love
Whether it’s the instinctive urge to spring clean as the warm weather sets in, or you’re taking inspiration from the likes of clean-up queen Marie Kondo, pairing back your belongings can be liberating. But rather than contribute to landfill, send your unwanted items off to a new home with these tips.
Clear out your closet
If it’s ripped, stained, stretched, faded, too small or you just don’t wear it anymore (and it’s not your wedding dress), it’s time for it to go. Items in the latter category could be just what someone else is looking for, and there are several locations in Amsterdam that will help any cast-off items in good condition find a new home. Charities like Dress for Success make suitable clothing items available to people who need them for job interviews – think quality jackets and collared shirts, dress shoes, scarves, ties and belts. Movement on the Ground is a fantastic opportunity to donate goods to refugees, and Lena Fashion Library aims to change the way we procure clothing through their lending library concept. There are also secondhand stores throughout the city that give you a percentage of the proceeds, such as Mooi, Style Story and De Ruilhoek.
Make it child’s play
Children grow out of things quickly and you can be easily overwhelmed by piles of unused clothes and toys. Round up the things that no longer “spark joy” with your youngster and send them to places like Mic Mac Minuscule, a Belgian initiative that creates sets for sustainably-conscious future parents and saves them money on buying them new. Stichting Babyspullen is a not-for-profit that assists low-income families with items for babies, while the Speelgoedbank in Amsterdam is another organisation that makes toys accessible to families in need. Secondhand stores specialising in children’s clothes and toys include Recycle Kid, Otis en de Wolf and Old West.
Do something beautiful
Purge your bathroom of unused beauty products: shower gels, lotions, masks and samples. Soap Treatment Store’s Soap Foundation donates unwanted skincare products to shelters in the Netherlands. The initiative stems from the idea that beauty is not a luxury, nor should it be wasted. You can drop off your goodies at any Soap Treatment Store – the perfect excuse to book in for a manicure.
When your shelves are full, unload some of your pre-loved books by contacting Tweedehands Boeken Gezocht (secondhand books wanted) for a free collection. This organisation gives books a second life by donating them to schools. Another option is scope out the charming Minibiebs, or small, neighbourhood libraries, near you. You can also start your own, enabling your neighbours to exchange reading material and increasing community spirit.
Broken hair dryers, old phones and other electronic appliances can be discarded sustainably by WeCycle. The organisation can collect your items and uses the raw materials to create environmentally friendly new ones. They also safely recycle items with rechargeable batteries and energy-efficient light bulbs. Or, if you’re not ready to part with your prized possessions, visit one of the Repair Cafés in the Amsterdam Area. Typically situated in neighbourhood centres once or twice per month, let the volunteers bring your device back to life – and maybe even learn some repair tips yourself.