Sometimes, embracing the idea of doing something and knowing exactly how to go about it are two very different things. That’s often the case when it comes to decluttering in an earth-friendly way. After all, it’s one thing to be willing to part ways with your “stuff” and another to do it in a manner that is kind to the environment. Here’s some advice to help ease the process.
Cutting Down Is a Good Thing
Humans have a long history of accumulating “stuff,” and only in recent years has science come to realize that we might be better off when we avoid surrounding ourselves with clutter. In fact, some studies indicate decluttering offers some important health benefits.
- Lower stress levels
- Less risk of depression
- Better sleep
- Lower blood pressure
- Less risk of diabetes
- Reduced risk of stroke
- Better ability to focus
- Improved productivity
- Lower risk of kidney disease
Sorting Your Stuff
You might not need much convincing to accept that decluttering is a good thing, but finding a method for editing your belongings can be challenging. Becoming Minimalist recommends beginning the decluttering process with a thorough sweep of your space and scheduling time slots so you can fully commit. Plan to clean as you go since you’ll likely stir up a lot of dust bunnies and dirt. Keep a good vacuum handy. If you don’t have one, try to borrow, rent, or purchase one second hand. If buying a new one is the best option for you, consider purchasing a commercial vacuum since they offer more suction and power than traditional vacuum cleaners and their heavy-duty construction means they may even outlive you. Armed with the right tools, you can expedite your cleaning, cutting down on time and energy.
Kind Cleansers Are Crucial
While it may seem counter-intuitive, most off-the-shelf cleaning products are bad for your health and for the environment. As SFGate explains, most cleansers that lift dirt, grease, and grime from our bodies, clothes, and homes contain chemicals that pollute our air and water. Look for green cleaning products that are nontoxic, biodegradable, sustainable, and naturally derived. Better yet, make cleansers with things you likely already have on hand. Baking soda, vinegar, lemon juice, and essential oils can lick just about any dirt in your home. They are also kind to our environment and inexpensive, so you can feel especially good about your decision.
Re-homing Your Things
Once you sort out the belongings you’re ready to part with, you need to figure out what to do with it all. The trickiest part is to avoid letting your old stuff end up in landfills. Many useful items can be re-homed by donating them to charities, or you can sell them in yard sales, resale shops, or online. Those things which are worn out or broken can often be recycled. Many people are particularly perplexed by what to do with larger items, such as old mattresses, electronic devices, and broken appliances. However, the same stores that normally sell those things usually have a program for recycling them and will accept your old ones for a small fee.
For more tips on how, when, and where to re-home your old things, download our FREE Ultimate Guide to Sustainability in Everyday Life.
Paring Down Paper Products
The amount of paper thrown away by Americans exceeds all other discarded materials, but in this day and age, you can make your home virtually paper-free. Start by digitizing your important documents and memories. You can store photos, the kids’ report cards, and your tax paperwork on the cloud, allowing you to visit them whenever your heart (or the IRS) desires. It’s a simple DIY project if you have access to a scanner, or you can pay a provider to do it for you, which is helpful if you have a substantial amount of ground to cover. Don’t forget to unsubscribe from mailings coming into your home, and embrace online banking and payment systems.
Simplifying your life just got simpler! Cutting down clutter can be complex at first, but with a little thinking and planning, you can work it out. You’ll feel great, and you’ll be taking care of Mama Earth.