Clean and Green Tips for Eco-Friendly Decluttering By Alice Robertson

Maintaining a healthy sense of well-being depends on a number of factors. Managing stress and feeling in control of one’s life are among the most important because how you live has a lot to do with it. A cluttered, disorganized living environment makes it difficult to feel content and on top of things. Keeping your home orderly and decluttered is an ongoing commitment and a state of mind, much like determining to live in an environmentally responsible manner. Fortunately, with a little mindful attention to detail, you can maintain a clean indoor environment and contribute to a healthy and sustainable natural living environment.

Recycle the Big Stuff

Most people know you can recycle paper, plastic, and metals, but are you also aware that electronics and bedding materials can also be recycled? That’s good news if you have a closet or drawer bulging with electronics you were sure would come in handy. Take a look at them now and think again. How many of these items will you really use again? Surely not that flip phone from 1999 or the power cords and adapters from a smartphone you had three generations ago. Plop it all into a box or bag and head to the nearest electronics recycling facility.

Old Clothing

Few things create clutter quite like accumulated clothing. You might be shocked at how much clothing you’ve held onto through the years. Accept that you just won’t fit into those slacks from high school anymore and start looking for other lost causes that can go. Donating them to charity or taking it all to a consignment store will free up room in your closet and prevent a whole lot of textile -- a leading cause of landfill overflow -- from contributing to environmental waste. 

Plastic Bags

Have you ever opened a kitchen cabinet and gotten a face full of plastic grocery bags? Plastic is a major source of pollution and presents a deadly threat to many forms of wildlife. Plastic bags release toxins into the environment as they degrade and animals eat the remains. Try substituting a reusable environmentally friendly cloth grocery bag for all that plastic instead. 

CDs, DVDs, and Books

If you have a large pile of old CDs, DVDs, and books, consider donating them to charity or selling them on eBay. Libraries, schools, and community centers are usually happy to take such donated items. CDs and DVDs produce carbon dioxide and contribute to global warming. CDs are made of a material that can’t be recycled, which contributes to landfill waste. Consider downloading music to a handheld device and joining one of the many movie streaming services, such as Netflix or Amazon Prime. If you have lots of photos, reduce clutter by scanning, digitizing, and storing them in the cloud.

Take a Stand Against Junk Mail

We all get tons of junk mail every year, usually on an unwanted basis. Much of it goes unread and simply piles up, contributing to clutter, or goes into the trash or recycling bin. Wherever it ends up, junk mail constitutes a tremendous waste of paper. Register for the mail preference service, which removes your name and address from mailing lists.

Dispose of Carefully

If you’ll be disposing of environmentally harmful substances like old medications, paint, and personal care products, be aware that many bodies of water in the U.S. have become polluted because people simply pour them down the drain. Check out this guide to learn about responsible disposal of common household substances and chemicals, including oil, grease, and solvents.

Clean Green

Be careful about the kind of cleaning products you use. Many commercial sprays and fluids contain environmentally damaging chemicals that aren’t healthy for your indoor environment either. Look for alternatives that use natural ingredients, or try cleaning with eco-friendly substances like baking soda or vinegar. To help you maintain your healthy home after properly scrubbing it down, consider a highquality vacuum with a high efficiency or HEPA air filter. These filters will help eliminate allergens and dust particles lingering in your home.

The next time you’re cleaning and decluttering, bear in mind all the ways you can create a clean, orderly home without damaging the environment. Try adopting a minimalist attitude to your belongings and an eco-friendly approach to cleaning.