By guest blogger Natalie Jones
There is a link between clutter and stress, anxiety, and decreased productivity, so there’s never been a better reason to clean up your house. But considering the average American tosses 4.4 pounds of trash every day (not including a purge session), the entire country racks up 728,000 tons of garbage on the daily.
Sadly, about half of all yearly waste winds up in one of more than 2,000 landfills across the country, so you really should be thinking twice about your daily recycling habits, as well as how you’re going to handle those big-ticket items (and extremely toxic ones) when you’re decluttering.
Here’s a checklist to help you protect the integrity of the environment while boosting your spirits at home, too.
Sustainably Getting Rid of Big and Tricky Items
Bedding and Towels
It’s all too easy to throw bedding and towels in a trash bag and out onto the street, but you can help the Earth and animals at the same time by donating your used linens to a local animal shelter. Even if the items aren’t in perfect condition, they can still be of use as they can be used as rags to clean the facilities, or to be made into smaller blankets/bedding conducive to the size of a cage. If your goods are in extremely good shape, then they may be of better use at a homeless or battered women’s shelter in your area — especially during the cold winter months.
You’ve probably seen a bevy of mattresses out on the curb, and the majority of them probably wound up in a landfill. The good news is that the average person only disposes of a mattress once every 10 to 20 years, but you still have to figure out what to do with this bulky item when the time comes to dispose of it. With that in mind, consider your options. Ask the store where you purchased your new mattress to haul it away, see if you have a local recycling program for bulk waste, or donate it to a secondhand store if it’s in good shape.
Along with handing down your items to other family members and friends, there are several organizations and retailers that would happily accept your unwanted wares. From local organizations, to veteran-specific groups, to those in dire need of career gear or a prom dress, rest assured your clothing is going to a good place.
Whether it’s an old television, computer, gaming device, phone, or defunct stereo system, you simply cannot toss it out with your regular trash. In fact, it’s likely that your state — in conjunction with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) — forbids you to do so. Luckily, this organization makes it easier to research certified recyclers in your area so that you can sustainably dispose of these hazardous items. The same is to be said for those CDs and DVDs that are collecting dust, thanks to digital technology. Both items are largely composed of polycarbonate — a plastic that can be recycled at a low cost and reused for medical technologies and automotive and computer components.
While you have to be comfortable with basic technology, taking advantage of “cloud” technology can save you a lot of space when it comes to photographs and videos — both personal and professional — especially considering the quality deteriorates over the years in a tangible form. Other advantages include usability (it’s so easy to drag files between cloud and local storage), bandwidth, accessibility and disaster recovery.
Once you’ve decluttered, you’re going to want to keep your space clean. Make the process easier on yourself by investing in a quality vacuum that tackles common home allergens better than a traditional model. Minimize the toxins within your home by opting for green cleaning products versus chemical-based formulas. Look for products made from naturally occurring, non-toxic substances void of chlorine, VOCs and phosphates.
Make sure your large and potentially toxic items don’t make it into a landfill. By recycling and donating these items, you will play a major role in helping the environment all while reducing stress in your home.
Photo Credit: Pixabay