Here at Fast Haul, we help people remove their junk. As we’ve written about before, some of the stuff we remove has sentimental value. A good deal of it once held importance to its owner. But to be perfectly honest, a lot of it was always junk.

Part of living an eco-conscious life is finding ways of avoiding stuff you don’t ever really need. If you’ve got junk, we’ll come pick it up. But if you want to avoid junk, try using these helpful tips:

  1. Junk mail is a good example of garbage that started as garbage. When was the last time you responded to a credit card offer or called someone whose number you found in the phone book? Never? I thought so. Try using to remove yourself from credit card mailings. It will also help your credit score!
  2. Avoid SWAG! It stands for Stuff We All Get, and you’ve seen it everywhere. A t-shirt from an event that doesn’t fit, or a lousy ball-point pen. Why would you want a sun visor from a water heating conference? You don’t. Just say no to SWAG.
  3. If you’re going shopping for home stuff, make a list beforehand and prioritize it. Look it over and finalize the list before you go. I even go so far as to look up product reviews before buying simple things. Most home appliance stores try to sell you loads of things you don’t really need in the name of convenience. If you start to get suckered into buying a chair-mounted back massager or a laser hair removal kit, stop. Take out that smartphone and try to find a review online. If you can’t do that, just go home without it. If you still want it in a few days, maybe it’s something useful. Most likely, if it wasn’t on the list to begin with, you didn’t really need it.
  4. Buy things that last, avoid things that don’t. Clothing is a terrific example of this. Cheap clothing will save you in the short term, but it always falls apart faster. Instead of buying several pairs of inexpensive jeans, save up for the nice ones. This goes for shoes, furniture, bedding, even some electronics.
  5. When you’re about to make some new purchases for the home, find an equal number of things to recycle or donate. If you can’t find obvious junk, you may have to go digging in your closets for some stuff you no longer need. If you’re feeling really ambitious, get rid of two old things for every new thing that you bring into your home.This is a great way of cutting down on clutter gradually, and it makes it more likely that you’ll remove things in a conscientious way.

Stuff has a tendency to pile up. We’re all guilty of accepting stuff into our homes that we don’t really need. Which is why I try to keep something in mind that I’ll leave as one small bonus tip:
Share! If you have something that a friend or neighbor needs, share it with them. And if you’re thinking of buying something, try borrowing it first. You might find that you don’t really like or need it, and you might find that you need something different. The same goes for those messy neighbors of yours–you might even want to share these tips with them.
And if despite all this you end up with a pile of junk in your garage, don’t forget your favorite junk removal business!