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Decluttering Your Home the Eco-Friendly Way

posted 9/30/2015

Let’s face it. Most of us have a lot of stuff. And stuff tends to accumulate, becoming clutter in our home. It becomes a closet stuffed full of outgrown clothes, a garage dedicated to partially filled paint cans and children’s rooms bursting with abandoned toys.

The good news is you can create order in your home without cluttering the landfill. Eco-friendly decluttering begins simply with knowing “where it should go.”

Below is an eco-friendly clutter-busting checklist to help you tidy up and feel good about making environmentally-responsible choices.

Closets

You’re not the only one with outgrown or outdated clothes stockpiled in a closet. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the average person in the U.S discards 70 pounds of clothing per year. It’s estimated that 85% wind-up in landfills or incinerators.

Eco-Friendly Clutter-Busting Option:

Donate clothing, blankets, sheets and other textiles to a local thrift store or charity. Some organizations even accept clothing that is not in wearable condition to salvage for rags.

Play Room

Americans buy more than $18 billion worth of toys annually (Toy Industry Association). Considering kids tend to outgrow toys even faster than clothing, that’s a lot of fluffy stuffed bunnies, plastic Happy Meal toys and electronic game systems left to clutter our landfills.

Eco-Friendly Clutter-Busting Option:

If in good condition, donate toys to your local thrift store or charity, or add them to a garage sale. If not in good condition, the best place for well-loved toys is in the trash. Most toys are made of rigid plastic, which cannot be recycled in your curbside cart. Electronic games and toys in working condition can also be donated, or sold. Some electronic recycling businesses may accept electronic games. Learn more on our recycling guide.

Refrigerator

Not sure what’s lurking in your refrigerator? While leftover and expired food needs to go in the garbage, there may be other options for containers. Decluttering the fridge is also a good time to assess the amount of food you purchase and the number of servings your family actually consumes, helping you to cut down on food waste in general.  

Eco-Friendly Clutter-Busting Option:

As you dump out expired salad dressing and mayo, pay attention to which containers are recyclable. Plastic food containers with twist off lids can go in your curbside cart. Glass jars, as well as margarine and yogurt tubs, are also recyclable. Empty, rinse and toss in your recycling cart.

Garage

Garage chaos may seem like a different kind of clutter-beast, but armed with a little knowledge, tackling paint, wood scraps and old tricycles, can be a breeze.    

Eco-Friendly Clutter-Busting Option:

If you need to dispose of unused materials that say toxic, flammable, corrosive or keep out of reach of children, take them to the Metro Hazardous Waste Drop-Off, which accepts these types of materials from residents free of charge. Items like oil based paints and stains, motor oil, gasoline, even florescent light bulbs, contain chemicals that can be harmful to people and the environment and should not be put in the regular garbage. Big wheels, sand toys, and hoses are typically made of rigid plastic which cannot be recycled in your curbside cart. If in good condition, donate them. If not, dispose of them in the trash.  

Not only does decluttering help you create a tidy home, it can help you form better shopping habits, inspiring you to buy less and live a low impact lifestyle. Buying less also means less energy and resources needed to make products, and less to dispose of later.