Happy Earth Day! Today is all about our environment and making it a better, cleaner, and healthier place. And, what better place to start than right in your own home? On Earth day, we’re reminded to keep things simple as we live and organize at home.
Here are a few ideas to green your next organizing project in your home:
Use What You Have
Deb uses old boxes to organize her junk drawer!
Get creative! There’s a good chance you already own the solutions you need. Is that empty jar the perfect size to store your rice? Or, what about your checkbook boxes? Can you use those to corral items in your junk drawer? We find that our clients often have what they need when they need it, so before you go out and buy something new, look around first and see if you can repurpose something that you already own.
To help you keep track of your organizational needs, keep a running list of the non-urgent things you’re looking for and try to get creative when searching for solutions. I keep mine on my phone so I can reference it wherever I happen to be. And, don’t forget to put some details on your list – what the piece will be used for, a color you’re looking for, and dimensions are always helpful. Often I’ll find something I need while cleaning out another area of my home, or sometimes I’ll luck out and find someone giving away the exact thing I need. Either way, a short list helps me to remember what to look out for. Bonus: it also helps me to be a little picky. I know that I don’t need to keep every single jar that I empty, but those with a certain lid or of a certain size are definitely useful.
Donate or Sell
Many items you’re letting go of can be donated or sold, so think twice before tossing something. If your things, especially clothes and home goods, are in good condition, try to sell them on eBay or bring them to a consignment store. You just might be able to get a little money back from your organization project! Smaller, more-used items and furniture can be donated to your local thrift store, school, or community center.
And, if you’ve got a few extra cell phones lying around, check to see where you can donate them in your neighborhood. Verizon stores will accept phones to support victims and survivors of domestic violence. There are tons of programs to support with your cell phone donation, so find the one that works for you!
Next time you’re sorting through your office, or any room, really, bring in two trash bags: one for trash and one for recycling. You’ll be surprised how much of what you toss can be recycled. It’s as easy as that!
If you’re located in the NYC area, as of April 1, 2015, you can be fined for placing electronics on the curb for disposal. The NYC Department of Sanitation provides some useful information on alternate ways to dispose of your electronics, from donation events, drop-off locations, and mail-back programs. And, if you’re in a larger building, ask your building manager to sign up for e-cycleNYC, the free electronics pick-up program for apartment buildings.
Every organizing project requires a little bit of cleaning, so this time around, try out some green cleaning products. Stores sell plenty of green cleaning options these days, but you can always make your own! Pick up some white vinegar and lemons at the store and look up a recipe for any cleaning need.
And, grab yourself some microfiber cloths; these guys will pick up dust like no other, and they’re reusable! I also recently discovered the Trader Joe’s Super Amazing Kitchen Cloths and they’ve been a dream as a paper towel replacement. I use them for everything in the kitchen: to wipe up spills, wipe down the counter, dry my dishes.
How do you think green in your home? Share in the comments below!
Photo Credits: Maeve Richmond, Marla Kabashima