There’s a Better Way to Declutter by Alice Robertson

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Clutter is distracting. When you want to focus or find relaxation, clutter fills your vision and mind, and as a result, your thoughts fall into disarray. In fact, clutter has been found to harm your mental well-being, thinking, and sense of self-control.

With so many negative effects of a cluttered space, it’s no wonder decluttering is such a popular trend. Before you start loading your old stuff into trash bags, think twice about where it’s going to end up. Sending usable items to the landfill is easy but it’s not good for the planet. Here are some ways you can achieve a clean and serene space without the dirty environmental impact.

Donate, Swap, or Sell Everything You Can

You no longer want your old stuff, but that doesn’t mean it has to go in the trash. Check the rules of your local charity thrift store to see what they accept. Some charities even coordinate pick-up of large items like furniture and appliances, although not every organization is able to offer this convenience. Keep in mind that most thrift shops only accept items in good condition. If you have things that are worse for wear, get creative! Some handy people will pick up broken items to repair or use for parts, which will keep them out of the landfill.

Selling items in good condition is another great option, especially for young people who could use the extra cash. There are lots of places to sell things online, from eBay and Craigslist to online consignment shops like thredUp and Tradesy. Or, if you’re getting rid of clothes and have friends that wear similar sizes, host a clothing swap for a free wardrobe refresh!

Know Your Local Waste and Recycling Rules

Some items should never go in your trashcan. Things like broken electronics, compact fluorescent light bulbs, and household chemicals are considered hazardous household waste and are especially dangerous for the environment. Odds are, your city has special rules for handling these items, so search online or contact your waste management company to learn the safest way to dispose of hazardous items.

Get Creative with Repurposing

Decluttering usually means getting things out of the house, but sometimes holding onto items can help you meet your decluttering goals. Damaged and broken items are especially good candidates for repurposing. If something is headed for the trash, why not look for another way to use it first? You can turn tattered T-shirts into cleaning rags, use jars to store dry pantry goods, or turn broken coffee mugs into cute succulent planters. The only limit is your own creativity!

Make Tidying a Habit

Clutter accumulates when we stop being mindful of our living space. Set aside time every week to organize and tidy your home. If you tend to make excuses not to clean, find strategies to make it as quick and painless as possible. Hate lugging a heavy vacuum around? Invest in a cordless model instead. Only clean halfway because you hate walking across the house for supplies? Stock a simple cleaning caddy in each area so you can clean at a moment’s notice.

Go Paperless

Mail is a major source of clutter, and half the time it’s comprised of mail you don’t even want. But did you know you can opt out of some junk mail? It’s true — Small Footprint Family will show you how. And if you’re receiving your bank notices and utility bills by mail, make the switch to e-delivery. You’ll save a tree and be less likely to lose track of important paperwork.

Use Green Cleaning Supplies

Single-use paper towels and cleaning supplies aren’t good for the planet. What’s more, a lot of conventional household cleaners are bad for the air quality inside your home. For a truly clean home, switch to reusable cleaning cloths and buy eco-friendly cleaning products — or make your own with simple ingredients with ingredients you already have in the kitchen.

 

Now that you know the most eco-friendly ways to banish clutter, you’re ready to start saying goodbye to your old stuff! Decluttering is hard work — both physically and emotionally! — but once your house is clean and organized, you’ll feel so much better about your living space.

// alice

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Alice loves helping others, and she knows that having a clean, organized home can do wonders for stress and mental health, so she created tidyhome.info to help others reach their cleaning and organizational goals.