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3 Steps to Making Your Home Clean and Clutter-Free the Eco-Friendly Way

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Many of us know what it’s like to have a cluttered home – and the stress of feeling overrun by stuff. But when you’re ready to cut the clutter, how do you know what to keep and what should go? And how can you get rid of all that stuff in a way that’s friendly to the Earth?


Step 1 – Sorting

The first hurdle you face when decluttering is deciding which items to keep and which ones to part with. If you aren’t sure how to decide, Apartment Therapy recommends asking yourself one question about every single item: “If I was shopping right now, would I buy this?” If it’s clothing that doesn’t fit or no longer suits your style, you wouldn’t buy it. If it’s something that’s broken and can’t be fixed, you wouldn’t buy it.

For the things that can’t easily be sorted with this question, ask yourself whether you just think you need them (or have an emotional attachment) but they could actually go. You may be surprised by how much clutter you can cut by going digital. Take a look at your paperwork that piles up, like mail and receipts. Even kids’ schoolwork and photos can be scanned and kept digitally in the cloud. Doing this allows you to keep those important documents and memories without contributing to clutter in your home.

Also, read about Green Giveaways

Step 2 – Deciding Where it All Goes

Once you turn papers into digital files, the best thing to do with those hard copies is shred and recycle them. But what about the bigger items? Instead of sending them to the landfill, you have several options of getting rid of them that are much more eco-friendly.

  • Sell second-hand – If you have things that are still in good condition, one option is to get into the second-hand economy by selling them. Everything from clothes and books to electronics and toys can be sold online. According to Gumtree, this is a win-win because it puts extra cash in your pockets and is good for the environment at the same time.
  • Donate – Another way to give old stuff new life is to donate it to a charitable organization. Look into whether a local charity, such as a homeless shelter, could use your second-hand items, or donate them to one of these larger organizations.
  • Repurpose – If you’re feeling crafty, there are many ways you can repurpose old clothing and furniture so that it continues to be useful. Since you’re trying to declutter, the trick here is to only keep things you’re sure you will use for something else.
  • Recycle – If you have clothes that aren’t in good enough condition to sell or donate, there are a number of organizations that will recycle them. For those larger items like appliances and electronics, you have a few options. If you’re buying something new, many times the store you purchase from will take your old appliance away for recycling when they deliver the new one. If this isn’t an option, the website Earth911 provides a Recycling Locator tool to find a center near you. If you have used electronics like old cell phones, TVs, and computers, check with your local electronics retailer to see if they take them for recycling. Just be sure to erase all your data before taking them anywhere.

If you want to declutter your items but don’t want to throw away stuff, you can always rent a storage space. Look for a Garage for Rent nearby. You can pack in boxes all of your personal belongings that you want to keep and store it there indefinitely. You’ll find that you have more space than you thought you had.

Step 3 – Green Cleaning

Now that you have a clutter-free home, this is the perfect time to give it a thorough cleaning. Instead of buying a throw-away towel or duster, set aside some old T-shirts to turn into repurposed cleaning rags. Another way to be kind to the Earth (and your own health) is by using natural cleaning products. You can get a lot of cleaning done with kitchen staples like lemon, vinegar, and baking soda.

With all the conveniences we have like modern cleaning products and gadgets, we sometimes forget that simple, natural options are just as easy. The best way to protect the Earth is to start at home. Green cleaning and decluttering is worth the time it takes, and you will appreciate your happy, healthy new space.

About The Author: This article is contributed by McKinley. Jim is a retired professional and wants to help fellow Baby Boomers in gaining financial independence and sustainable living. 



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