Clean & Green: Help The Environment By Getting Organized

By Monica Friel

We all want our beloved earth to last and flourish for future generations. How we utilize what we have can truly make a difference in our pursuit of helping the environment. When you think about your stuff; what you buy, how you use things, why you keep what you keep, it enables you to take an honest look at how you’re doing your part to reduce, reuse, recycle and repurpose. Here are a few ways that the process of getting organized can actually help you to be more earth friendly:

Knowing what you have. When your space is organized, you know where things are, you can look and know immediately if you need to replenish your supply. In your closet, for example, if you keep all of your white shirts together, you can see exactly what you have, know what condition it is in, and decide when it may be time to add or subtract from your collection. In any area, knowing what you have will help you to make well informed purchases.

Keeping a mental inventory. Through the process of organizing, you must weed out and make decisions about what to keep and what to eliminate. This process of going through each and every item not only helps you get rid of what your not using, it also helps to mentally inventory what you have so you don’t over-purchase.

Strive to minimize. With all the attention that’s been given to environmental friendliness, there is an endless supply of gadgets and gizmos you can purchase to help in your green initiative. However, retailers don’t often mention that one of the most important elements in being earth friendly is not what you purchase, it’s what you avoid purchasing. When making any purchase, be clear about its use and value to you, as well as what effect your purchase may have on the environment. Small purchases add up. Think of what you can do to reduce your personal consumption.

If you desire to be more organized and want to be environmentally conscientious at the same time, here are a few things to keep in mind:

Your home is not a recycling center. Do you have a perpetual pile for the always elusive yard sale? What about the pile of things you want to eventually sell online? Stop putting it off, set a date, mark it on the calendar and hold the sale or post the items and get the ball rolling. If you don’t give yourself a deadline, the items could linger endlessly. Remember, having a yard sale, selling online or donating your items means putting things you no longer use  back into circulation, not only helping the environment, but also helping someone who may not be able to purchase that item new.

Sentimentality vs. Functionality: Is your space filled with sentimental items that you’ve been guilted into keeping? For example, Grandmothers rocking chair in your basement. Is Grandmother being honored by her rocking chair sitting there, or does the fact that its there taking up space you’d like to use for something else frustrate you whenever you walk past? If so, think of ways you can minimize what you have by still honoring Grandmother. Can you take a photo? Save another, smaller item that reminds you of her? Find alternate and creative ways to remember her, wouldn’t you want someone to do the same for you?

Beware of being over-earth friendly. Many times we hang on to things because they are too valuable to toss or give away. In the pursuit of finding the perfect owner, items linger in your home indefinitely causing clutter and frustration. If you’re pile of recyclable plastic bags is overtaking your kitchen pantry, set time aside to get them to the store’s recycle bin, or get rid of them. Think of an item’s recycle value in comparison to the value of that space.

So if you want to make some headway in your green initiative, it’s a good idea to start getting organized today!

Monica Friel


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