When you’re finally fed up with your clutter and ready to get rid of every last scrap, the simple solution would be tossing it all in one huge garbage bag and taking it to the curb. But simple doesn’t always mean smart, and making rash decisions when it comes to clutter can oftentimes start the process all over again. You’ll likely recollect the items you didn’t mean to throw away or realized a better use for after the deed was done. Plus, the stuff you’re throwing out could be harmful to the environment if not properly disposed of. Instead, follow these 6 eco-friendly organizing tips to help get your home in order while also helping out Mother Nature:
- Switch out your old light bulbs for compact fluorescent lights (CFLs)
It’s common to buy your usual light bulbs in bulk, storing the extras in a cabinet for when a bulb needs to be replaced after a few months. It’s also common to forget that you bought these extra bulbs, only realizing you had three on the shelf after you just brought home three more. Clear up space and save energy by switching to compact fluorescent lights (CFLs). They’ll last eight to 15 times longer than incandescent bulbs, so you really only need to buy one at a time. They also use only one-third of the electricity, slashing your electric bill to a quarter of its original size.
- Install a collapsible clothesline for air drying
A washer and dryer can be huge time savers, but that’s about the extent of their “saving” abilities. They run up your bills, damage some fabrics, increase your carbon footprint, and take up a huge chunk of space in your home. While the washing machine might be unavoidable (assuming you didn’t schedule “hand wash each individual shirt I own in The Wonderwash” on your to-do list), the dryer could easily go. In its place, consider a collapsible clothesline. Air drying your clothing can save more than $200 per year on electric or gas bills. Additionally, it’s more gentle on clothing, as excessively high heat in a dryer can actually ruin the fibers. The environment will thank you, too: Air-drying clothes can reduce your household’s carbon footprint by nearly 2,400 pounds a year. Since the clothesline collapses (either into itself or the wall), you gain back a ton of space, which is always welcome in a laundry room.
- Use a dry erase board for messages and reminders
Leaving messages on pieces of paper scattered around the kitchen is a guaranteed way for someone not to get your notes. Do we even need to talk about the waste of paper? Hang a dry erase board in a high-traffic area of your home where messages are sure to be seen. It’s endlessly reusable and much more efficient at reminding someone to buy more eggs.
- Meal prep saves the day and the planet
If you have the time and stamina to cook for yourself or your family every single day, more power to you. Just know that prolonged daily use of your oven can run up a hefty energy bill. But don’t take our word for it. Take the word of this calculator that will show you how much energy your oven uses and the cost. Schedule a day or evening to cook all meals for the week. This will save on time and energy costs. You can store each meal in the refrigerator or freezer and simply reheat them throughout the week. Reheating meals in the microwave is more energy efficient than heating them in the oven, and you get your free time back!
- Reuse cardboard, styrofoam, glass, and plastic containers
Buying new storage containers is silly when you can repurpose these five common household items:
- Egg cartons are the catchall that does it all. Cut in half, quarters, or individual sections, they’re great for storing thumb tacks, earrings, loose change, beads, paper clips, nuts and washers, or small ornaments. You’re also recycling cardboard and styrofoam, keeping them out of landfills.
- An empty shoebox makes a great container for craft supplies, envelopes, nail polish, or greeting cards. They’re easy to stack and store on a shelf, and can be labeled to give every small item a home.
- Mason jars and old vases can live a second life on your desk as a stylish office supplies holder, making pens, pencils, and scissors easy to find. On your countertop, your kitchen utensils will be on prime display and ready to stir that sauce.
- Thoroughly clean a plastic butter tub or coffee container to more efficiently store baking ingredients, corral small plastic toys, or to DIY your own plastic bag dispenser (for twice the eco-friendly power!).
- Save empty spice containers to reuse as glitter shakers, small seed holders, bath salt dispensers, or … to be refilled with spices you’ve bought in bulk. Hey, no need to reinvent the wheel, right?
- If you must buy new, seek out eco-friendly options
Sometimes purchasing a new storage bin is unavoidable. In that case, look for containers made of sustainable materials. Maize, bamboo, recycled cotton, medium density fiberboard (MDF), glass, and clay are all fantastic, durable options that ensure the environment will be just as long-lasting. Once everything is in its place using the greatest of go-green efforts, you may notice there are some items that are still left unorganized. You don’t want to get rid of them just yet, but clutter is no longer an option. What do you do? Check out full-service storage in LA provider MakeSpace (we also serve Chicago, New York City, and Washington, DC). We’ll pick up everything from your home, transport it to our secure temperature-controlled storage facility, and create an online photo catalog of your stuff so you never forget what you packed. When you’ve set up a storage system of repurposed wooden crates and are ready to receive your things back, simply browse your online photo catalog, click your items’ photos, and we’ll deliver them back to you.
Getting organized is easy. Being eco-friendly is essential. MakeSpace helps you do both.
This article is written by MakeSpace, a full-service storage company that picks up, stores, and delivers your stuff back so you have more free time to do the things you love instead of visit a self-storage unit.
All images via StockSnap.io