7 Ways to Save the Planet While Organizing Your Home

Updated: Apr 29, 2021

Happy Earth Day, everyone! I don't know about you, but I LOVE Earth Day. Not only is it a day in which we can reflect on how our daily actions and consumption impact our beautiful planet, but for me, it is also the kickstart of so many things. The beautiful weather is coming back, along with the spring flowers, the leaves on the trees, and the birds and the bees (I feel like I'm about to break out into song here!) It's just such a beautiful time of year, and it's also a great time to get started on any organization project you've got on your list.


In saying that, I also believe that, when organizing, it is super important to be mindful of how the process can affect the planet.


To help you, I have compiled a list of 7 ways to save the planet while organizing your home.


1. Don't trash it. Donate it!


We are living in a society that is throwing away more trash than ever. A recent study has found that Canada produces more garbage per capita than any other country on Earth, and it doesn't look like it's improving.


When I go into a client's home to help them declutter, I suggest they sort their items into four categories:

  • Keep

  • Trash

  • Donate

  • Does not belong in the space

Ok. When actual garbage comes along, it goes in the trash. We know this. However, you'd be surprised how many people are quick to throw perfectly usable objects away!


When decluttering my own home, I adopt the Marie Kondo frame of thought and see my objects as having a spirit and feelings. I am essentially getting rid of them because they are no longer serving a purpose in my home, which would probably make them sad. Think of how much worse my objects would feel if they were still functional, and I decided to throw them in the trash! Heartbreaking, I know!


So those items automatically go in the donate pile, and I make the same suggestion to my clients.

The act of donating is a win-win for everyone involved if you think about it. You get rid of your stuff, someone else gets to use it, and your object serves its true purpose once again.


There are so many different organizations and charities that accept donations of clothing and home goods, so choose the one that is a good fit and start decluttering!


2. Do some thrifting yourself


Many people, when they think of organizing, think of something like this:

Yes, it looks so beautiful, but it also costs a lot of money to attain this level of organization. Additionally, when purchasing these brand-new storage solutions, you add to the inevitable amount of trash that will one day sit in landfills worldwide.


Before you head out to Walmart or The Container Store, perhaps make a stop at your local thrift store and see what you can find there in terms of storage solutions. Not only will you save money, but you will also be repurposing an item and giving it new life (see above), as well as helping the planet.


3. Recycle while decluttering


As I mentioned above, when helping a client declutter, I offer them four categories to sort their stuff into. I also like to provide a "Recycle" option within the trash category to ensure those items end up where they belong.


While it seems a bit tedious to sort between trash and recycling when you're already in purging mode, it is something that can make a difference when we have the well-being of our planet in mind.

So when you get started on your organization journey, make sure to include a blue bag or a recycling bin in the mix!


4. Repurpose Old Boxes


A tweet by user @Bisserat went viral earlier this year.

I felt personally victimized by this tweet.


Ok. Not really, but I have been known to hoard boxes—iPhone boxes, shoe boxes, etc. If it was cardboard, had a lid, and contained something at some point, it was probably on the top shelf of my closet collecting dust.


If you've read my previous post about mistakes that are keeping you from being organized, you will know that organization doesn't have to be pretty.


So why not repurpose those old boxes and use them as a part of your organizational system?

This shoebox was repurposed to hold the ribbon spools in a super genius way, while this old iPhone 5 box was a perfect size to store these sticky notes.


So if you find that you have a bunch of old boxes lying around, see how you can incorporate them into your organizational plan before giving them the boot!


5. Opt for natural and recyclable materials


My daughter got her most recent issue of Chickadee Magazine yesterday, and one of the fun facts they stated was that it takes a plastic water bottle 450 years to break down in a landfill.


FOUR HUNDRED AND FIFTY YEARS!


With the rise in popularity of home organization and the trend of acrylic/plastic storage solutions, I am really concerned about where that plastic will go when the next hot trend comes along.


To avoid this, I do my best to recommend as many natural and recyclable materials as possible to my clients. These materials include:

  • glass

  • bamboo

  • wood

  • wicker

  • cotton

  • rope

  • fiberboard

  • silicone (check your local recycling guidelines for this one)

Not only are these materials eco-friendly, but they are also durable, timeless, and fit so many different aesthetics.


There is an excellent guide on the Spruced Home Blog which lists the advantages of including these materials in your organization plan.


Privilege check: I know these materials can be pricey, and I am aware there is a lot of privilege that comes with me suggesting these costly natural storage options. If these items are not at your price point, try finding less expensive alternatives at your local Dollar Store or see if you can score some of these items at thrift stores in your area. If that's still not an option, do what works best for you!


6. Minimize the amount of stuff in your home and keep it that way


When it comes to organizing your home, I think we can all agree that the goal is to reduce the amount of clutter you have.


Ideally, you want that level of stuff to stay that way.


By reducing the amount of clutter you have, you will hopefully realize you don't NEED as much stuff, and the number of things you buy will also decrease.


You will also find you have fewer (if any) doubles of items because you have a clearer idea of your current inventory.


You know what that means, right?


Less buying and fewer doubles mean less waste.


Less waste means fewer things being unnecessarily thrown away.


Fewer things thrown away means less trash in the landfills.


Less trash in landfills means a happier and healthier planet.


7. Feeling that sense of inner peace when you're done


Every time I finish an organization project in my own home, I can't help but feel lighter and more peaceful. That is the feeling I try to create for my clients as well.


One result of that feeling is that I tend to feel more grateful and appreciative of the things I have in my life, one of those things being the nature surrounding me every day.


In feeling appreciative of these things, I also find I treat them with more respect. Which, when it comes to nature and, therefore, our planet, can only be a good thing.


I hope that when you complete whatever home organization project you set out to do, you get that sense of peace and can reflect on your surroundings and appreciate and protect our beautiful planet even more.

Happy organizing, everyone! And Happy Earth Day!

If this post was helpful, be sure to pin the image below so you can come back to this list when you're ready.


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