Organizing a home can be a monumental task. It can especially be difficult if hauling things to the trash or purchasing plastic or other unnatural products gives you a twinge of guilt. These few simple tips, however, will help you neatly store and organize your belongings in a sustainable and eco-friendly way so you can be both organized and green.
Skip the landfills
Often the first step in organizing a space or home is purging unwanted or unneeded items. Try to resist the quick and easy thing—throwing your unwanted items in the trash. Trash is a tax on your local community and on the environment because trash must be sorted, transported, incinerated, or dumped.
Pass it on
Instead of tossing something you no longer need or want, give it to someone you know or donate it. There might be a charitable thrift shop in your area that takes donations. You can also go online to schedule pickups of things you’d like to donate on websites like PickUpPlease.org (to help American veterans) and The Salvation Army. You can also check if your local Goodwill Donation Center does pickups. Some Habitat ReStore locations can send someone to your home for furniture and other large household items. Keep in mind that some charities limit the types of items they take for donations, however, so check their list of accepted items before donating an item. Even if your item has seen better days, a crafter or DIYer might be interested in rehabbing it.
Resist the urge to buy
When you think of organizing, it’s hard not to picture rooms filled with pristine store-bought containers. These supplies are nice to have, but do your wallet and the earth a favor and refrain from purchasing brand-new organizing bins and containers. There are plenty of eco-friendly ways to get a beautiful and orderly space, including reusing and repurposing old items.
Use what you have
Reusing things you already have is an eco-friendly way to get organized and gives purpose to something that might otherwise be clutter. It also eliminates the chore of tracking down something brand new for storing odds and ends. These common household materials can be repurposed into useful storage containers:
- Spaghetti sauce or salsa jars: use for storing pens/markers in an office or buttons in a craft room
- Mason jars: utilize for keeping sugar and spices on your kitchen counter or for holding toothbrushes
- Shoeboxes: these can be used for holding and sorting mail
- Tin cans or soup tins: decorate them with chalkboard paint or decorative paper, and stash small toys and tiny knickknacks in them in a kids’ room
- Breath mint or other small tins: these can contain paper clips on your desk or pocket change in your mudroom
- Soda boxes: place your canned goods in these to organize your pantry
- Over-the-door shoe bags: hang these on your pantry door for spice packets, or in your craft room for scissors, tape, and glue sticks
- Coffee mugs: paint them for organizing office or beauty supplies
Get second hand
If you don’t already have what you need to organize your space at home, you can always find gently used items to repurpose. Friends or family members may have things they no longer want that will suit your needs. One way to find free organizing supplies is by joining a Buy Nothing group in your area via the Buy Nothing app or by joining a local Facebook group.
These five easy organizing ideas will have you well on your way to a greener, more organized home.