When we find a Saturday morning available for our purging efforts, we tend to take the path of least resistance with our excess stuff. Most of your neighbors will do the same thing. American curbs see billions of pounds of trash each year, and much of it, including appliances and mattresses, is recyclable. This compounds and leaves the landfills full of items that really belong elsewhere.
Don’t be alarmed
If you’ve already initiated your own personal purging efforts, you don’t have to feel guilty. You can make changes to the process now that will have a long-lasting and positive effect on your carbon footprint and your quality of life. If you have bags of items sitting in your garage, you should know that most of these can be reused, sold, or donated. Even your children’s dingy, dirty, and worn-out sweatpants can be turned into usable items via textile recycling, which Chicago Textile Recycling explains saves water and promotes woodland conservation.
Before you get started, you’ll need to stock up on natural cleaning products such as vinegar, lemons, washable bamboo cleaning cloths, and a commercial vacuum. A high-quality vacuum will also remove more dust and allergens from the carpet and other soft surfaces. If you’re a pet owner, you can also purchase a vacuum specifically designed to remove pet hair. Many of these models have filters and attachments that make it easier to rid your upholstery of hair.
If your time is limited, consider hiring a cleaning service to come in a couple times a month. You’ll need to budget for the expense, and the cost will depend on the size of your home. Just make sure that the service you hire uses green cleaning products.
And so it begins
Even if you’ve cleaned things up before, there are many ways to take your efforts that much further. The One Kings Lane blog underscores famous organization specialist Marie Kondo’s wisdom by citing her methods, which start with working in categories instead of going room to room. This prevents items from being shuffled around the home and lets you actually get rid of things you no longer need.
Aside from clothing, other belongings you likely have in abundance are toys, shoes, small appliances, and books. Electronics can be recycled, and things like toasters, refrigerators, washing machines, and furniture are excellent candidates for donation. Your library of dust-covered books is easily replaced by a single Kindle or Nook. Even better, ereaders are eco-friendly, and the books you read on them don’t require the destruction of the forest.
Living with less stuff gives you more time to enjoy the things you love. You won’t spend your days chasing dirt or frustrated that you haven’t yet cleaned for the week, since you’ll live in a more organized environment every day. Most importantly, decluttering your home is good for your health, and if you switch to natural cleaning methods and take the time to recycle, you’re also helping to heal the earth.
Alice Robertson of tidyhome.info