by Alice Robertson
Since the first modern landfill was opened in California in 1937, the United States has changed the way we deal with trash and unwanted household items. However, there is a better way. Instead of being part of the problem, you can be part of the solution by going green in your home decluttering efforts. Through small actions, such as using green cleaners and setting up neighborhood swaps, you can make a big difference in your home and community.
Forget Retail: Sale and Swap
Every American creates, on average, 4.5 pounds each of trash every day. Much of this waste is made up of perfectly usable items, such as clothing, furniture, and appliances. When you have a house full stuff you no longer need, consider setting up a neighborhood swap or hosting a yard sale. A neighborhood swap shop, according to PlanetPals.com, is an excellent way to repurpose tools, food, office and school supplies, and sporting goods. It’s also an opportunity for you to get to know your neighbors and proves that one man’s trash is another’s treasure. Similarly, hosting a garage sale is an excellent way for you to turn your belongings into cash. Money Crashers’ offers advice on organizing a successful garage sale.
In addition to your overall decluttering efforts, you can keep chemicals and nonbiodegradable plastics to a minimum by utilizing green cleaning techniques. Homemade cleaners, such as these from Good Housekeeping, are non-toxic and utilize common kitchen staples, including vinegar, lemon juice, and baking soda. A maid service, which costs between $117 and $225 in the San Francisco area, can help you tackle the initial interior cleaning. Discuss with your preferred service provider ahead of time your insistence on natural products.
When You Can’t Reuse, Recycle
There are untold billions of pounds of perfectly recyclable goods clogging up both landfills and the ocean right now. Aside from metal, plastic, and glass, you can recycle paper and cardboard, lightbulbs, batteries, and electronics. Waste Management reports that 29 percent of waste in the US comes from paper products. Invest in a photo scanner for pictures and documents and store these online, which will not only free up space but will reduce your environmental footprint.
If you run a business or have an unusually large collection of electronics, contact your local green disposal company for options. Green Citizen in the Bay Area is one such company that accepts electronic waste and either dismantles and disposes of these items responsibly or refurbishes them for later use. By keeping electronics out of landfills, you not only eliminate mass but also reduce the number of harmful chemicals that leach into the surrounding terrain. Components of our smart devices and computers contain heavy metals, such as mercury and cadmium, that can have a long-lasting and far-reaching negative effect on the environment.
It’s not always feasible or desirable to get rid of everything. If you’re moving to a larger home or have a collection of heirlooms you would like to pass down to your children or grandchildren, a self-storage unit can help you keep your living space clean without giving up the things you love. However, make sure your storage unit is environmentally friendly by choosing an insulated facility and packing your possessions in sturdy, biodegradable cardboard containers.
We only have one world. It is up to us to ensure that it remains beautiful throughout our lifetimes and for generations to come. Start at home by reusing and recycling where possible and maintaining your commitment to environmental sustainability when it’s not. Simple actions can make a big difference, and your good choices may create a ripple effect within your community.
Image via Pixabay
s Fall begins many of us are reminded of the New Year’s resolutions we made in January, be it to go to the gym more often, work less, or the dreaded get organized resolution.
We make these promises to ourselves with the best of intentions but end up getting sidetracked with our busy lives and our motivation wains. What we all need is a little encouragement and help! It is a proven fact that if our live and work spaces are well-organized we will live a more productive life. Or as Gretchen Rubin, author of the best-selling Happiness Project puts it “outer order contributes to inner calm. ” Seems easy enough but just how can we accomplish this? We have found this process to be helpful so keep clam and carry on...
1. First identify the problem: Simply state “I’m un-organized and I need to do something about it. ” Take a deep breath and be proud of yourself for taking the first step. This may sound a little silly but trust me it works.
2. Make a list of what you would like to accomplish (one small area at a time). For example you may want to clean up and organize your desk. First get rid of unnecessary times, then group things by type (i.e paper, office supplies, binders etc.) then you can put them away accordingly. You may need bins or drawers inserts or cabinets so make a list and measure to get the most optimized results.
3. Do it now: Don’t wait! Make it a point to start organizing and de cluttering today. You can start with a small project such as organizing the “junk drawer” or simply tiding up your space by putting unused things away but just start. This success with give you courage to move on to the next (larger) project.
4. Get help: For many this can be an overwhelming task. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. If you just can’t seem to get started on your own ask a friend for support. Or hire a professional organizer. We actually enjoy doing this and they may be able to help get the job done in half the time. A good book to consult is “If I could just get organized” By Karen Jogerst
5. Enjoy the process and keep your goals in site. Though this might be challenging but try to focus on the progress you’re making not what you have left to do. Put on music, pour a glass of wine whatever will make the process more enjoyable and have fun with it!
6. Reap the benefits: Acknowledge what you have accomplished and realize that living an organized life is a journey not a destination.
Top 15 things to get rid of or donate now:
1. DVDs you have watched and won’t watch again
2. Cushions, pillows or bedding that have lost their plumpness or are worn (TIP – If you love the cushion then you can re-fill with a faux down feather insert which will give it new life)
3. Clothes that don’t flatter you or that no longer look their best – either worn out or misshaped
4. Junk mail / old paperwork that is piling up
5. Hair or personal products you never use
6. Old used up pens
7. Greetings cards from past events (keep only those that are truly sentimental)
8. Shoes that hurt when you wear them
9. Out of date newspapers or take out menus
10. Used candles where the wick has worn down and can’t be lit again
11. Tupperware or plastic storage containers with missing lids
12. Children’s outside play equipment or Outside furniture that is faded, broken or past its best
13. Decorating / DIY supplies that you don’t require in your home (fixtures that you have since removed, old wallpaper etc…)
14. Excess loose change – gather it up and get it to Coinstar or donate it
15. Excess coat hangers (especially the wire ones!)
Good luck and we hope you enjoy your new more organized surroundings!
“You leave old habits behind by starting out with the thought, ‘I release the need for this in my life’.”–Wayne Dyer
Hello everyone! I am so excited to launch my new and improved blog site. I have so much to say and share in hopes of enhancing peoples lives and your environment making it a better all around place to live.
I opened Thomas Designs | Design with a Conscience in 2009 after working for some of the best Bay Area Interior Design Firms. Design is my life and my passion! Having my own firm has been a great experience and I am looking forward to an abundant year for us all. The purpose of this blog is to share my experiences in design, organization and a positive life style with anyone that is interested in listening. I have learned so much from others along the way and I'm a firm believer that we can all work together to obtain the knowledge that we need to lead an overall happy and healthy life.
Thanks for visiting my blog and be sure to check back regularly for new fresh design ideas and inspiration!