Although cleaning and decluttering are projects that are good for your family and your mental well-being, these tasks aren’t always ideal for the environment. If you care about being eco-friendly while you improve your home environment, check out these tips.
Donate, donate, donate
Possibly the easiest way to stay eco-friendly during your big cleaning/decluttering project is to make sure all the stuff leaving your home is repurposed. The easiest way to do this is to donate. Large, national organizations including Goodwill and the Salvation Army will happily accept your items, but you should also look into helping your local charity organizations - homeless shelters, food pantries and women and children safe homes. The Spruce highlights ideas on how to donate everything in your home.
Keep the big stuff out of the landfill
We know we can recycle, donate or sell a lot of the smaller stuff we want to get rid of. But sometimes it’s hard to know what to do with the big stuff: bedding, appliances and electronics.
For example, what do you do with an old mattress?
"Don't let your old mattress become one of the 20 million mattresses that end up in landfills each year. Look for ways to recycle or refurbish your old mattress the next time you upgrade to a new one,” notes Wayfair.com.
Or, you can sell your mattress on sites like Craigslist or eBay (if it’s in good shape). You can donate it to local shelters. It’s even possible to use the different parts of the mattress (the padding, springs, foam, etc.) for other home projects. Here’s a good list of ways to repurpose your aging mattress.
Appliance and electronic-specific recycling centers exist, and they are more common than you may think. Check out this guide from Earth911 on getting rid of these items.
Go (even more) digital
Perhaps, your life is already digital. But you are still hanging onto physical copies of things that, if thrown away will add to your landfill footprint and if kept will continue to clutter up your home. What to do, then? Go digital with your documents, photos, certificates, etc. You don’t even need one of those old, bulky scanners. By putting your old photos and documents in the cloud you can free up space in your home. And if you ever want to have a physical copy in the future, you can always just reprint them.
If you use a cleaning product that works, but harms the environment, you can do better. If you use a product that is eco-friendly, but doesn’t really get the job done, why clean in the first place? Eco-friendly cleaning solutions - whether they are for clothes, floors, counters, toilet bowls, or anywhere else around the house - need to be created, produced, tested and packaged in a conscious way. The Good Trade features 12 eco-friendly products for you to consider using in your home.
Another way to reduce your footprint is to ditch the paper towels in favor of reusable, washable, cloth towels for all cleaning tasks.
As humans, we create a lot of waste. We amass more than we really need. Though it’s not all “junk”, a lot of it can be clutter. When decluttering your home, you must make sure you don’t simply move the clutter to everyone’s bigger home - Mother Earth. It’s becoming easier to be green.
Photo by Miriam Espacio on Unsplash