The Chicago Organizer

The Chicago Organizer

Terris Tips for an Organized Life

January 2016

It’s easy being green! Living an eco-friendly lifestyle is not only trendy, but it’s the right thing to do! So why not incorporate some green practices into your organizing? You can keep it low-key by following some of the easy eco tips listed below, or you can go all the way and declare yourself “eco-organized” by adopting an environmentally friendly lifestyle. If you’d like to get on board, start with the 3 Rs: Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle.

By clearing clutter and creating easy-to-locate homes for your things, you avoid making expensive, unnecessary, duplicate purchases. Many of us have issues with consumerism and over-abundance. To be more eco-conscious, you might consider reducing your overall shopping habits. Or, you can decide that it’s sometimes better to invest in a higher-quality, longer-lasting item that won’t fall apart quickly. You can also “co-op” large purchases — such as snow blowers or lawn mowers — with your neighbors, or simply borrow (like in the good old days) things that you only need to use once in a while. And don’t forget about reducing your paper consumption. Use both sides of your paper and print out less. If you fear that you’ll lose the information if you don’t have a hard copy, then set up e-folders on your computer for easy file retrieval.

Would you like to save money and be eco-friendly by repurposing items you already own rather than purchasing new? Reuse common household items in new and attractive ways. An empty kleenex box can become a plastic shopping bag holder. An unmatched teacup can hold paperclips. Shoe boxes, coffee cans, paper ream boxes, mint tins — just about any type of container can be covered with pretty paper and reused in the organizing arena. Very often people purchase many, many organizing bins, baskets, and boxes with the hopes that they will be the answer to their organizing woes. Scout out your own unused containers and put them to good use.

There are many ways you can recycle both during and after the organizing process. Consider your current recycling habits. If you are an eco-newbie, start off with baby steps. Explore your local recycling programs, and set up an easy recycling station in the kitchen. Stash small recycling bins in locations where you handle papers. See how easy it is to toss papers and cardboard in a recycling bin rather than in a garbage can. Also, make smart decisions when it comes to recycling your castoffs. Rather than discarding items in the trash, utilize your local donation resources. You may already know that you can donate clothing to Goodwill, but what about the extra lumber in the garage to Habitat for Humanity or your old cell phones to Verizon and eye glasses to LensCrafter? Use your computer to search for nearby charities that need your unwanted items, or ask your Professional Organizer for recommendations.

In addition to these Reduce, Reuse, and Recycling tips, you can go a step further and:

  • discover new ways to save energy, such as turning off computers at night, using power strips to make shut-down easy, driving more efficiently by grouping errands, and setting up a home energy audit.
  • educate your family on how to handle household waste, such as locating recycling services in your county, disposing of household hazardous waste properly, and composting food scraps.
  • search out green retailers, such as those that offer sustainable or locally-produced organizing products and/or second-hand stores.

  • As with any organizing project, you must be motivated and inspired! Whether you want to get a little “greener” or become all-out eco-optimized, stay focused on the benefits of going green. Eco-organizing can be easy and convenient, and it can ultimately save you time and money. And, of course, it will make Mother Earth very happy.

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