Getting organized is a very green process, as you "reduce" the clutter you have and new clutter you’ll buy, "reuse" items you had forgotten about, and "recycle" items you give to others or dispose of properly. While it seems like you may be throwing away a bunch of stuff, getting organized often convinces you to consume less and to concentrate on the items that are really important to you. If you are having trouble deciding how to dispose of items in an eco-friendly manner, here are some ideas.
As you sort, have bins for recyclable materials such as paper, plastic, glass, and aluminum. (Remember to shred anything that has personal information on it.) One of the hardest things to do as you organize is to decide what to do with items that are broken but that cannot be recycled. Be honest with yourself about when and if you will repair these items, and set deadlines for the items you keep. The items you don’t keep can be disposed of at a hazardous waste event in your community.
Reuse Organizing Supplies
Repurpose boxes, baskets and bins from other places in your home for organizing projects in your office, closets, and kitchen. Not only does this reduce clutter, but it reduces how many new items you have to purchase.
Recycle clothing by making old clothes into rags for cleaning or carwashes. Or, create a few "work clothes" outfits for gardening, car repair, etc. Remember to be realistic with yourself about how many rags and work clothes you really need to keep.
Donate any unwanted clothing to your local thrift shop, a clothing donation bin, or to programs such as "Operation Warm" or "Dress For Success." Books and magazines can go to libraries, thrift shops, community centers, retirement communities, churches, or prisons. Drop off old cell phones at libraries or government buildings to be refurbished and given to those in need. Donate old towels to veterinary offices and SPCAs who use them for the animals.
Reduce New Purchases
Completing organizing projects is a good way to assess how much clutter you have and to gain a new perspective on your purchasing practices. Use the pleasure you gain from your successful projects to resolve to buy fewer new items in the future. You’ll find that reducing your own consumerism will help the environment and add simplicity to your life.