SIX TIPS for ECO-FRIENDLY ORGANIZING
Task: Reuse, Redistribute, Recycle
Lam. 3:22 -23 “It is of the Lord’s mercies that we will not be consumed, because His compassions will not fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”
If you are looking for not only an organized space, but also an eco-friendly space, I’ve got some tips for you!
Minimalism has been quite the buzz lately. Minimalism is simply having less so you can enjoy the things you love more. If you have not seen the documentary Minimalism yet, it is available on Netflix, Amazon, Vimeo and more and offers some wonderful insights into living a minimalist lifestyle. Minimalism can look different depending on everyone. When you have less stuff to care for, not only is home maintenance easier, but your time is literally freed up to focus on the activities and people you love more. Plus, you are using less resources and consuming less, which is better for the environment.
2) Identify Consumer Habits:
When decluttering and minimizing, you realize what the items are that you truly love and are useful to you and your family. Look at your consumer habits. Are you buying things that get little to no use or appreciation? Have your consumer habits changed throughout the years? Have you found yourself donating bags of clothes and household items, thinking wow, I wish I hadn’t bought some of that! Our consumer habits do change when we go through different seasons of life like kids, changing hobbies etc. As you move out of one season, find an organization to donate to that can put those items into the hands of a grateful consumer, without them having to buy new. There are many wonderful organizations out there that are changing lives such as providing baby and children’s items to foster families, and charitable organizations who put your used items back in the marketplace. When shopping, try buying used first. I have saved a ton of money this way on everything from baby items to sports equipment and office furniture, all while having the peace of heart knowing I am keeping things out of landfills.
3) Use organizing solutions you already have:
When I first meet with a client, I often tell them, please do not purchase any bins, baskets, or other organizing solutions until we are done with the decluttering process! Chances are, you will find bins literally opening for use. After decluttering, when you are setting things in their place, if you find you do not have an organizing solution that would make sense for the space & make life simpler, then you can go ahead and buy, which gets us to #4.
4) Purchase Sustainable, Eco-Friendly Organizing Tools:
There are a ton of options out there to keep the environment in mind while pursuing a simpler, more organized life. Everything from planners and calendars made with recycled paper, to bins and drawer inserts made with sustainable materials. Look for items made of recycled material, bamboo, and cotton. Steer away from plastic whenever possible. The Container Store offers many options. You can read about their stance on Environmental Sustainability on their website, and check out their line of eco-friendly products. Other retailers of note: Smead, Dolphin Blue, Mighty Nest, and a basic search of “eco-friendly organizing products” on Amazon comes up with many great options too.
5) Recycling tips:
When decluttering, it’s also good to know what you can recycle and how. Your city’s website should have information on recycling of household hazardous waste, expired prescription and over the counter medications, and perhaps even electronic waste recycling programs. Also look at your recycling options through your waste management provider. We were able to request a larger recycle bin, as well as a smaller trash bin to encourage our eco-friendly habits. Clothing recycling is not always so clear. Donate usable clothes to a charity of your choice, and consider keeping a (small) stash for cleaning rags. Also check with your local animal shelters on what textiles they can use. You can also cut up fabric to sew into new projects. Textile waste has become a huge problem today. This is another reason to consider buying eco-friendly clothing and clothing that may be more expensive, but will last much longer.
6) Look for more reusable options:
As you work eco-friendly habits and solutions into your life, look for ways you can work more reusable options in. For example, consider using Bees Wrap, a good alternative to plastic wrap. For food containers look at glass and stainless-steel options. There are also cloth paper towels, reusable snack bags, and don’t forget to use up old rags for cleaning. Don’t forget to use your reusable shopping bags not only at the grocery store, but at al retailers!
Written by: Karen Gauthier, Neat Doctor