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It’s truly amazing how quickly our homes can fill up with miscellaneous furniture, clothing, old electronics, and papers. The sheer volume of items can be incredibly overwhelming and can leave you feeling trapped, out of control, and frustrated. If you want to take control over your home before the new year, start by going through the items causing you stress. While you may think a clutter overhaul will involve bags and bags of garbage, there is a way to declutter that will satisfy you and the earth. Keep reading for a few best practices for eco-friendly decluttering.
Recycle the Big Stuff
If your home is being overrun by electronics, furniture, or appliances, it’s time to take action. By tackling the big stuff first, you will be able to clear up the space necessary to sort smaller items. Instead of taking all your big items straight to the landfill, consider your options for redistributing them. During the decluttering process, always remember that even if you don’t want it, someone else might. Start by making a list of what you have as well as what condition each item is in. Next, research options in your area. Is there a second-hand store? Do you know anyone who is just starting out on their own? Can you sell the item online? If none of these options seem viable, consider listing your items as “free” on a buy/sell website. If you have a lot to get rid of, a garage sale can be highly effective. For any items that are in disrepair, consider contacting your recycling depot. These businesses often accept electronics and appliances for little to no charge.
Pick a Room
Now that you’ve tackled the big stuff, it’s time to move on to the smaller items. During this process, it is important not to overwhelm yourself with the sheer scope of the job. To do this, consider focusing on a single room at a time. Instead of simply classifying every unwanted item as “trash,” divide goods into four piles – keep, donate, recycle, and garbage. If there are items you are unsure about, you may want to do a bit of online research. For example, animal shelters will often accept blankets, pillows, sheets, and towels. No matter what you are looking to redistribute or recycle, there are options available to keep these items from the landfill. Disposing of old lightbulbs? Make sure you’re recycling CFL and other bulbs that contain mercury. Check out the EPA’s page on how to properly dispose of non-working bulbs. Of course, for those working bulbs, light bulb storage is a snap with a bulbNEST!
Decluttering doesn’t have to mean an exodus of all items. By going digital, you are able to keep photos and paper work safe without all those cumbersome paper stacks or filing cabinets. Start by scanning the documents and photos you want to keep onto “the Cloud,” a secure digital filing system. Dropbox, OneDrive, and Google Drive are three of the most common ways of uploading materials to the Cloud. Once your documents are uploaded, you will be able to access them whenever you want.
Now that your home is a bit less cluttered, it’s time to do some cleaning. Be sure your cleaning products are good for the environment. The most eco-friendly items are those made of simple ingredients, such as lemon juice, vinegar, baking soda, and essential oils. There are numerous online recipes to help you make every cleaning product imaginable.
If you want to keep you place clean now and in the future, investing in quality cleaning equipment can help. If your home has lots of hardwood, look into a dust mop to help keep dust and debris at bay. If your home has lots of carpeting, a good vacuum cleaner specially designed for carpeting is an absolute necessity. For pet owners, consider vacuums that are made to remove pet fur, hair, and dander.
Decluttering doesn’t have to be bad for the environment. Recycling, repurposing, going digital, and green cleaning are all effective, eco-friendly decluttering methods. Best of luck on your cleaning mission!