Declutter and recycle?! Two ways to do good and feel good . . . and get organized.
You know how important I think decluttering is! You just can’t organize clutter. I won’t even get started on it here because I’m afraid you’ll leave. But to get the most out of decluttering – to help yourself, others, and the planet – try combining decluttering with recycling.
It seems like recycling is everywhere; it really has become more and more prevalent in our society. And with good reason: It reduces waste and pollution, and benefits ecology and the economy. It can help with the problem of overfilled landfills (cluttered landfills?), and it can help with the problem of clutter around your house.
So far as the usual recyclables are concerned, I’ve found that one of the obstacles to recycling is sorting and storing them. If you have the space, I strongly encourage you to set up a little recycling center in your home. (If you don’t have the space, I strongly encourage you to look again. I don’t have a lot of extra space around here, but I’ve carved out a small area in the laundry room for bottles, paper, and cardboard – Who knew that THAT much cardboard came in the house?) All you need is a few bins lined with bags to hold aluminum cans, plastic bottles, glass, paper, etc. Instead of watching the junk mail pile up or throwing out soda cans, you’ve got a convenient place to put everything until you can put it out for pick-up (if you city has a recycling program) or take it to your recycling center.
But when you think of deluttering, also think beyond outdated magazines and half-empty bottles of shampoo and condiments. Look around your home for things that you no longer need, things like old appliances, clothing, toys, and furniture. By recycling these things, you don’t just reduce the clutter in your home, sometimes you can even get extra cash for them (e.g., sell clothes, toys, etc. at a yard sale; take worn-out appliances to a scrap yard that deals in metal). You won’t get rich, but you’ll probably get something and all those resources will get a little more life.
If you only have a few items or don’t want to be bothered with a yard sale, consider donating to organizations like the Salvation Army, Goodwill, or Freecycle. You’re probably familiar with the first two, but in case you don’t know about the third: Freecycle is a grassroots, nonprofit movement that has over 4,000 groups and over 7 million members around the globe. By giving and getting stuff for free, the members help reruse, recycle, and save good stuff from ending up in landfills.
Start your recycling like you did your decluttering: with baby steps. If you start small and work your way up, before you know it, you’ll be recycling like a pro and living in a neater house and a better world.