by Teresa Greenhill
Are you thinking of decluttering, but unsure how to begin? Sometimes finding ways to pare down can be challenging, especially if you want to do so in a manner that is kind to our environment. Try these tips for an eco-friendly, uncluttered home.
Recycling large items. When it comes to decluttering, one of the toughest things for homeowners is knowing what to do with bigger belongings. When you’re ready to part with appliances, electronics and even mattresses, finding appropriate ways to unload them without them ending up in a landfill can be difficult at best. And landfills aren’t designed to allow items to effectively decompose. As LiveScience explains, landfills merely store trash. They don’t recycle, but instead, just layer the garbage and seal it. Eventually, some things break down and release dangerous, flammable gas. Some landfills recycle the gas into fuel and some just vent it.
Instead of leaving your big items for the trash company to pick up, here are some suggestions:
Appliances. Did you recently upgrade your kitchen appliances? Or, invest in a larger washer and dryer? When you decide to part with working appliances for whatever reason, one suggestion is to donate them to an area charity. You can also list it for sale online or in your local paper. Broken appliances can be more challenging, but you still have options. Sometimes local appliance repair shops will take them for parts, or you could potentially sell them for scrap metal, or you can turn them in at a big box retailer that recycles.
Mattresses and box springs. Beds are bulky and heavy, making them one of the most difficult things for consumers to dispose of properly. If your mattress set still has some life in it, just like with appliances you can donate it to a local charity. Shelters for victims of domestic abuse and homeless people are often grateful for them.
If your bed is coming from a local retailer, another option is to have them haul away the old set when they deliver your new one. If you can’t enlist any other options, you can reach out to area upcyclers who will pick through your mattress and box springs for parts, or upcycle them yourself. According to Sleep Junkie, you can glean the springs, wood, padding, trim and cover for interesting crafts. Make a wine rack, fun lawn furniture and beds for your pets.
Electronics. With speedy advances in technology, we are going through more electronics than we used to. When you get a new television, computer, smartphone or tablet, what do you do with the old one? For gently-used items, check with local senior centers or other charities, which might be able to use them. If you can’t rehome them, many electronics manufacturers will take back their products, and as Consumer Reports explains there are nonprofit organizations focusing on electronics recycling. Before releasing any electronics to another party, be sure to wipe clean your data.
Household substances. In the course of paring down you might need to dispose of substances like personal care products, medications, paint, and similar products. Note some bodies of water in the U.S. are polluted because people pour these harmful substances down the drain.
Green cleaning. Decluttering can lead to stirring up dust and dirt. Did you know some of your cleansers are not safe for the environment? At the same time, chances are you have several safe cleansers on hand, such as lemon juice, witch hazel, baking soda and white vinegar. Mixed with some water or applied directly, you can blend your own green cleaning products.
Embrace “the cloud.” Another challenge to decluttering is paper clutter, especially family photos and other mementos like refrigerator art. You can digitally organize your items, scanning and saving them electronically instead of letting them pile up.
Clear conscience. Paring down can feel great, especially when done properly by clearing out big items, properly disposing of harmful substances, embracing the cloud and cleaning with green products. You’ll enjoy a clear conscience with eco-friendly decluttering.
Image courtesy of Pixabay