Julie’s 6 R’s of Eco-Organizing
Most of the environmental damage is done in the manufacturing stage, so the less consumerism, the better. According to the EPA, Americans produced 254.1 million tons of household trash in 2007. In 2008, landfills reported a 30% decline in waste levels. Keep in mind my six R’s when you are getting organized. Make every day Earth Day!
Think before you buy. Think again. Do you really need that item? The less stuff you have, the less you have to organize. Have or give experiences (Trips, tickets, special events, cooking/sewing/craft lessons, etc.) instead of giving things. One client keeps a jar for when she doesn’t buy clothes or shoes. When she accumulates a certain amount she treats herself to a day at the spa!
It’s great if you recycle your boxes from the holidays, but even better if they can be reused: take them to a local moving company; to BJ’s or Sam’s; find out if a business or non profit is moving and give to them.
Donating items that you no longer love, need, or use to those who could truly put those items to good use. Adopt a charity, or even a particular family or consider giving them away on www.Freecycle.org.
Throwplace, “the internet’s landfill alternative”, allows you to donate goods that can be used by non-profits. Your non-profit can also sign up to get goods as well. Registration is free. www.throwplace.com/
Try and see if you can repair an item before purchasing another one. If you can’t, giving it away on http://www.freecycle.org/
Figure out how to repurpose an item. Get creative. Instead of buying a special plastic case for ornaments, I use a wine case with a divider to store them.
Do you have some mismatched dishes hanging around because you haven’t wanted to part with them? Use a pretty cup to hold your cotton balls or lay your make-up brushes on a plate on your vanity. Those plastic containers for curtains also make great storage units. They are clear and you can write with a sharpie on them. I use mine to store holiday lights and electrical cords.
When organizing, remember to recycle. Often times, people are unaware of recycling guidelines, or whether something can be recycled at all. Know your guidelines and local recycling centers. Consider setting up a recycling center in your home or business to make it as easy as possible.
Encourage the legislature to pass laws. There is a program that offers incentives to people who recycle in form of gift cards. www.recyclebank.com/
Get into the habit of rethinking of why you buy something, how you use it, if you really need it. Modern conveniences & marketers have convinced us we need stuff we really don’t! Train your brain to rethink how you can begin to be green, become more green and spread your knowledge to others!
Julie Seibert is the owner of Healing through Organization. She was the first professional organizer in the state of North Carolina that specialized in green for home and business. Julie’s vision is a more sustainable world created through peaceful, joyful, inspirational, organized spaces for living and work. She was awarded the 2011 NAPO Los Angeles Award: Green Award for Most Eco-Friendly Organizing Service! To learn more about Julie and her services please visit: www.healingorganization.com