Eco-Friendly Decluttering at Home
Eco-Friendly Decluttering at Home
Is your home being overrun by “stuff?” Maybe you have too many boxes of old paperwork or a few too many clothes, decorations, or gadgets. No matter what type of clutter is dominating your home life, there is a way to tackle that excess stuff in an eco-friendly, non-wasteful way. If you want to help reduce the 254 million tons of waste that end up in American landfills each year, start by reading the following.
Recycle, Recycle, Recycle
The cornerstone of an eco-friendly decluttering mission is recycling. Just because something is old, unused, or broken doesn’t mean that it has to end up in the landfill. Recycling small and large items has the dual purpose of decluttering your home and reducing landfill waste.
The majority of household clutter can be donated to local thrift stores and charities. Clothing, small appliances, books, and toys can all be given new life through a second-hand store.
Some organizations will even pick these items up right from your front door! If you have an item that you do not think a thrift store or charity will accept, it’s time to get creative.
There is a whole community of environmentally-conscious declutterers just like you! If you don’t know what to do with a certain item, get online and do a bit of research. Guaranteed, someone has encountered a similar conundrum and has shared some lucrative solutions.
For example, local animal shelters are often in need of used towels, bedding, and pillows, and would be happy to accept your donations. As for broken or old electronics, many cities do sponsored e-cycling days when people collect old electronics right from your home. Alternatively, you can contact a local recycling center and ask if they accept electronics. Still scratching your head about what to do with a particular item? Visit the Waste Management website and find a recycling drop-off facility in your area.
Paperwork and photos are a common clutter culprit and are usually the hardest items to justify getting rid of. If you have a problem with paper-based clutter, consider embracing the world of digital archives (also known as “the cloud”). There are a number of online software programs that can help you store important documents and photos. Dropbox and Apple iCloud are two of the most popular methods for online storage. You can also get started for free! Simply scan or take photos of the materials you want to keep, upload, and save. Digital archives also allow you to access your documents anytime, anywhere. No longer will you have to worry about losing important paperwork or damaging a precious family photo.
The final step of your decluttering journey is cleaning. That being said, the majority of popular cleaning products contain environmentally-harmful chemicals, but there are eco-friendly options. HomeAdvisor explains, “When people clean using products and methods that are free of toxic or unsafe materials, and that are safe for the environment and human health, it is called green cleaning.” Vinegar, lemon juice, and baking soda are the most eco-friendly cleaning products available and will clean your entire home from top to bottom. If you prefer cleaning with store-bought products, consider replacing harsh multi-surface cleaners with organic brands such as Ecover, Green Works, and Ecos. When comparing brands, select those that are biodegradable as well as chlorine- and ammonia-free.
Decluttering doesn’t have to mean multiple trips to the landfill or cleaning with harsh chemicals. By focusing on recycling, digital archiving, and green cleaning, you can feel good about your path to a clutter-free life. By following the advice above, you are well on your way to making a positive change for yourself, your home, and your environment.
Suzie Wilson is an interior designer with more than 20 years experience. What started as a hobby (and often, a favor to friends) turned into a passion for creating soothing spaces in homes of every size and style. While her goal always includes making homes look beautiful, her true focus is on fashioning them into serene, stress-free environments that inspire tranquility in all who enter. The Ultimate Guide to Prepping Your Home for an Open House is filled with tips, tricks and other advice based on Suzie’s years of experience in interior home design that will set you up for success.