Lifestyle. Wellness. Creativity.
How many times have you cleared clutter only to be appalled by the amount of stuff you are contributing to a landfill. Feelings of guilt arise. Between being dismayed by the amount of stuff you have accumulated and the remorse of contaminating Mother Earth, clearing clutter oftentimes becomes a project of procrastination, or worse, a permanent avoidance.
If this resonates with feelings you’ve had at some point, then help is on the way… there is no longer an excuse to put off clearing clutter. We will use the Reduce Reuse Recycle mantra as our guide for the best ways to clear clutter and be green.
The Number One best thing about clearing clutter is that once it’s gone, once you realize just how much you have accumulated, and once you realize how little you really need, then you are so much less likely to consume as much in the future. Clearing clutter reduces future consumption. In fact, after clearing out your clutter, you will feel so much lighter that you will not want to re-clutter your space. And when you do get the itch for something new, you will be oh so much for choosy in what you purchase.
The second tier of being green is to Reuse. In my 5 Step Guide to Clearing Clutter, I recommend separating your items into piles: trash, recycling, returns, donation, and ‘for sale’ items. Those items designated as donation and/or ‘for sale’ are actually on their way to being reused. Congratulations! So, take the time to sort these out. For any items that you want to sell for extra cash, then list them on craigslist.com or ebay. If your item(s) doesn’t sell, then your price is too high or it’s ready for either a garage sale or Goodwill.
Now that you have pared down your items to those no longer reusable, it’s time to recycle. So many more items are recyclable than you may
think. If you don’t already recycle paper, glass, aluminum, and plastic
on a regular basis, then start now. Every major city has recycling
centers if they don’t already pick up at your home. Research what
services your city already offers. You may be surprised. (I just learned
that Nashville.gov sells 80-gallon compost bins for $40!)
What about those items that aren’t readily recycled? Earth 911! That’s right, go to www.earth911.org
Earth911 is your one stop source to finding what you can recycle and where — from mattresses to computer monitors to eyeglasses. Simply search by your zip code. It’s incredibly easy and informative!
Another option is the businesses from which the items originally came from. Here are some examples:
Dry Cleaners. For example, do you have a ton of dry cleaner’s hangers and plastic bags? Chances are they will not only take
them back, but reuse them. If they don’t, consider taking your business
to a greener dry cleaner.
Computers. The same is true for most computer companies. Computers contain a number of harmful chemicals, so it’s
important to make sure they’re properly recycled. Most major computer
manufacturers now offer some type of recycling program. Dell will recycle any Dell product for free, and if you buy a new Dell, they’ll recycle any other brand of computer for free. Hewlett-Packard, Gateway, Apple and Toshiba also have recycling programs — check their Web sites for details.
Hand-held Devices. Small electronics are full of big toxins. Instead, drop off your old cell phones, pagers and PDAs at
Staples stores around the country. The company has partnered with
which collects and recycles the phones. When possible, CollectiveGood
refurbishes them and puts them to use in developing countries.
Otherwise, the phones and other items are broken down in an eco-friendly
process and the metals are separated out for reuse or proper disposal.
If there’s not a Staples store near you, you can mail your phone to the
CollectiveGood — and even get a tax credit for the donation. Other
office supply stores, such as Office Depot offer recycling options as
Athletic Shoes. Nike has a great program that will recycle any brand of athletic shoe through its Reuse-a-Shoe program. You
can drop shoes off at any Niketown store or Nike Factory store. The
company processes and recycles the footwear to make sports surfaces for
basketball courts, tennis courts, running tracks and playgrounds. Right
now they’re collecting shoes to make athletic surfaces for New Orleans,
to help bring youth sports back to the city as it rebuilds. To date,
about 20 million pairs of athletic shoes worldwide have been recycled
through the Reuse-A-Shoe program.
So before you throw your stuff in the garbage bin, think about the Reduce Reuse Recycle mantra. With each item consider whether it is reusable and, if not,
recyclable. And, before long, you will automatically be reducing. The
best thing is that it feels good to be green AND clutter free.
Visit www.tishamorris.com for more information on how you can clear clutter!