While “green” and organizing may sound unrelated, promoting green consciousness is a natural extension of the organizing process. Professional organizers enter homes and businesses on a regular basis, and armed with proper knowledge, a professional organizer can assist clients in becoming more Earth-friendly. As the Chair of my Town’s Earth Day Clean Sweep for the past six years, I am well aware of the importance of reducing and recycling, and relish the opportunity to influence clients and the general public in this regard.
What can you do to get better organized in a “green-friendly” way? Here are some tips.
- Think Before You Buy – Try to transform your buying habits so that you are not accumulating too many items in the first place. Most of the environmental damage is done in the manufacturing stage, so the less consumerism, the better. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, Americans produced 254.1 million tons of household trash in the year 2007 alone. In 2008, however, as a result of the economic recession and the resulting decrease in disposable incomes, landfills reported a 30% decline in waste levels.
- Pay bills Online – According to Javelin Strategy & Research, 53% of Americans currently use online banking services, rising to an estimated 67% by 2012. The report also estimates that Americans could prevent the logging of 16.5 million trees every year if all Americans switched from paper bills to online banking.
- Repurpose and Reuse – Consider repurposing or reusing existing items in creative ways to avoid buying more and to give new life to forgotten items that are just taking up space.
- Recycle – Throughout the sorting, purging, and organizing process, think of the benefits of recycling. Often times, a person is unaware of the recycling guidelines in his or her particular area, or whether a particular item can be recycled at all. For a list of lesser-known recycling programs, visit the Donation and Recycling Resources page of my website. Get educated so you can stop adding to landfills and recycle more. Consider setting up an organized recycling center in your home or business to make it as easy as possible to recycle.
- Donate – Remember, recycling includes donating items that you no longer love, need, or use often to those who could truly put those items to good use. Adopt a charity, or even a particular family to donate to (check out Tangible Karma). If you just want to unload items for free, consider giving them away on Freecycle.
Think “green” when organizing. You will not only be able to reduce your clutter and find things more easily, you will be helping the Earth in the process.