Thankfully, finding ways to be Eco-friendly while organizing has never been easier. And while there are lots of organizing products out there that are made from environmentally friendly and sustainable materials, such as bamboo and natural fibers like cottons and linens, I’m going to skip the product picks for this post and save that for another time. Instead, I’d like to share some easy tips for applying the motto of Reduce, Reuse and Recycle into your organizing efforts.
Bringing less “stuff” into your home will have a positive impact on your spaces and how they feel and function, and will help you in your quest to cut the clutter and get and remain organized. If you’re sick of the paper clutter than enters your home thanks to the onslaught of junk mail, catalogs, credit card offers, and useless coupons then OPT OUT!
Be proactive and reduce clutter by putting an end to unwanted mail. These websites help consumers get their names off of marketers’ lists:
Another simple way to do your part to save trees and reduce the paper clutter is to go digital. If you haven’t already done so, consider going paperless for all your banking and bill paying needs. The advantages are huge! No more documents to manage, to file and to hog up precious storage space in your file cabinets. If you must keep copies for your records, make a habit of downloading statements into folders on your computing system and using a naming convention that will make them easy for you to find later.
Get creative and repurpose what you already own! So much of what we use in our everyday lives can be upgraded to a clever organizing product with very little effort. If you have access to shoeboxes, tin cans and jars, then you can fashion cute and handy containers for office supplies and other knick-knacks. If you need inspiration, check out what others have done by searching for DIY organizing ideas on Pinterest or in any search engine.
We all bring home so much packaging that can easily up up-cycled into something useful. I’m always impressed with the fresh and surprising ideas that Real Simple puts in their New Uses for Old Things website. One idea of theirs that I love is to use an old Kleenex box to keep plastic bags in one easy-to-access, tidy spot. Simple, but effective! My desktop pen/ruler/scissor/stapler holder, is a re-purposed KOBO candle package. The packaging was too pretty to toss, so I found a way to make good use of it! Next time you buy an Apple iPhone or similar, don’t toss the box! The sturdy boxes that phones come in make great drawer organizers.
Recycling isn’t just for paper, plastic and glass! You can give your old stuff new life by “recycling” it and donating to worthy organizations. If there’s a cause that speaks to you, find out if opportunities to donate goods exist. If you’re stumped by where to donate your used goodies, charities such as the Goodwill, Dress for Success, Soles4Souls, and The Salvation Army have wonderful programs in place and are easy to find in most big cities.
If your used stuff is too junky to pass on to others, then discard of it responsibly. I often find that people hang on to stuff that’s broken because they don’t know what else to do with it. It ends up as clutter, and who wants that?
There are great resources available like Earth 911 for finding the proper way to dispose of batteries, electronics, cords and cables, tires, paints, and pretty much anything you can think of. There’s also TerraCycle, which has programs for recycling waste from hard-to-recycle packaging. In San Francisco check out the local recycling program for info on free or low-cost removal of unwanted items.
So, go Green and Reduce, Reuse and Recycle while on your path to getting organized.