Our world is a small place and we all want to contribute to our global wellness. “Green organizing” is an environmentally focused organizing strategy emphasizing principles of Reduce, Reuse and Recycle.
We have a choice for conscious consumption by thinking through the purchases we make. We can choose to reduce the volume of items coming into our home by having an awareness of the effects of our purchases.
These purchases can become clutter and create a log jam in the flow of items in our home. With large quantity comes the need to find storage so that these do not become clutter. In the Depression the saying “use it up, wear it out, make do or do without” was how each home was run.
Currently, we choose to focus on relationships and experiences rather than “stuff”. With our economy, reducing means frugality as well. “A penny saved, is a penny earned" and for many people that adds up to $1.33 earned dollars. Think through your purchases on many levels to honor what is most important to you.
With all we have in our homes, re-use can be an important focus. See what you have already that can create order in your home as well as be of value in new spaces. Be creative and use conventional items in unconventional ways. Empty shoes boxes are great general sorters, ice cube trays can sort jewelry and shallow plastic ware can hold categorized office supplies in a desk drawer. When purchasing, use recycled and/or biodegradable products where possible and feasible.
More of these products are easily available. Choose green organizing textile bags with sturdy handles for your shopping. Keep them handyin your car or at your landing strip.
As we are deciding and decluttering, let’s limit the amount of unwanted items going to landfills by donating, free-cycling, selling and recycling as much as possible. We can follow green disposal practices with recycling centers, finding individuals or organizations that need unusual items and safely and legally disposing of toxic items. There are many local resources for this.
- Hazardous waste disposal: www.cleanwaterclearchoice.org
- Recycling database - earth911.org
- Houston recycling - www.greenhoustontx.gov
- Craig’s List - www.craigslist.org
- Free items to share or take - www.freecycle.org
- Habitat for Humanity ReStore - (713) 671-9993
- Recycling phone line - 311
- Computer recycling - hp.com/recycle
- Keep Kingwood Green and Recycling - www.keepkingwoodgreen.org
Set up an effective and efficient recycling center in your home as a start. Choose an easy access spot with a bin for small amounts of recycling of paper where you sort the mail and have a larger area designated in the garage or by the back door. Many of us have backdoor recycling so this is as easy as putting out the trash. If not, create a routine that brings the recycling once a week to a recycling center.
Examples of acceptable paper and cardboard are grocery bags, corrugated boxes, cereal boxes, cracker boxes, and Kleenex. Pizza boxes or other boxes with grease or food residue are not accepted. Plastic with 1,2,3,5 and 7 are generally accepted. Glass is accepted when sorted by color. Have your family be a part of the process too with different responsibilities in the process.
Make green organizing a priority for your family and your community.
Together we can make a difference for the next generation. If you would like to make green organizing a priority and need assistance, please contact me! Happy organizing!
Ellen R. Delap, CPO®
Making Time and Space for what's important to you!
Certified Professional Organizer®
Member/Past President NAPO Houston
Member National Association of Professional Organizers
Member National Study Group on Chronic Disorganization