Tips from QWS on fall decluttering

Here’s a few tips from Quinte Waste Solutions (QWS) which is the operating name of the Centre & South Hastings Waste Services Board.

Established in 1990, QWS provides curbside recycling, commercial recycling, household hazardous waste collection and waste electronics collection for the nine municipal partners that make up the Board of which Prince Edward County is one.

Decluttering can be overwhelming, especially when you haven’t done a good clean out in a while. Starting with a plan is always best. Go through each room with a pen and notebook and write down where and what you think needs an overhaul.

Then gather your supplies. Cardboard boxes are best because they can be reused or recycled. A three-box system is a good start. Grab a black sharpie and label each of the boxes individually as follows: donate, reuse/repurpose, recycle.  Also have a bin or bag ready for items that are garbage.

Now, start filling those boxes. It’s recommended once you have finished with a room, to dispose of those items to their designated location before moving onto the next room. If you’re wondering where you can take all those items, here’s QWS list of the top ways to declutter in a sustainable way: Donate. Gently used clothes, toys and household items can be donated to a variety of places. QWS has some ideas on their website.  I’m adding to this article to remind readers that to think of Community Care’s Thrift Shop as a local place to donate your good used items.  Call 613-476-1555 to make an appointment to meet a volunteer at our depot where we hold donations for 72 hours for everyone’s safety.  You’ll also be helping seniors live at home.

Reuse and Repurpose. Just because something is broken, doesn’t mean it’s no longer useful. Make a new piece of furniture out of a broken chair or make some retro couch cushions with old t-shirts. There are also some great crafts out there involving concrete. A pair of old rubber gloves can make a really cool planter for some succulents.

Recycle Electronics. Electronics aren’t made like they use to be made. Many municipalities offer an E-Waste recycling program for free where you can take your broken electronics to be taken apart and the parts are recycled into new electronic parts. However, household items like coffee makers and vacuums don’t fit into the recyclable electronics. A great recommendation for these and the recyclable electronics – hand them over to a kid along with a screwdriver and let them take them apart as a learning tool. Once you’re done with the recyclable electronics, take them to your local E-Waste program. If they’re the non-recyclable kind, they’re just garbage.

Garbage. If there really is no way to reuse, recycle or repurpose, it’s just garbage. As much as we try to get as much out of an item or material as we can, it will eventually end up in a landfill. When you’re ready to get rid of the items in your boxes, make some calls. See who will accept what and where. There’s lots more useful information on the QWS website.

Check it out at

-Debbie MacDonald Moynes