Clear Out Clutter With These Green Cleaning Tips
By Alice Robertson
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Keeping up with clutter can be a daunting task! As a homeowner, it can be especially tough to find ways to pare down responsibly. Some items are difficult to appropriately dispose of, and some just seem to pile up. Try these eco-friendly decluttering tips you can feel good about.
Getting new things is exciting and sometimes necessary, but that often leaves a dilemma of what to do with your old items, especially larger ones. Leaving them for the trash company to pick up usually means they will end up in a landfill. Landfills are bad for the environment. Not only do things just accumulate at landfills, the garbage creates greenhouse gases, contributing significantly to climate change. Here’s what to do with those big, tough-to-manage items.
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Getting new appliances can make your whole home feel brand-new, but what do you do with the old ones? Thankfully, as Better Homes & Gardens points out, you have several options. If your appliance is still functional, you can sell it online or in a yard sale. Donating it to a local charity is another great option, since senior centers, homeless shelters, and domestic abuse facilities often are in need of such items. Thrift shops are another good idea. If your appliance is broken, you have some good options for recycling. You can check with the manufacturer to see if they have a recycling program, and sometimes local utilities companies offer recycling.
While most electronic goods are easy to manage physically, most homeowners go through them pretty quickly these days. As technology improves by leaps and bounds, cell phones, televisions, tablets, and other electronics quickly become outdated and fall by the wayside. Like appliances, however, most major retailers will recycle your old electronic devices. You can also check in with manufacturers to see if they will take them back. If they are still in working order, some experts note you can often donate your old electronics to charities. Before parting with your old devices, be sure to wipe clean your personal data.
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Old mattresses and foundations can be the most challenging items for homeowners to recycle. Not only are they large and unwieldy, sometimes it’s tough to find places that can properly process the materials. If the mattress set is still useful, you can donate it to a shelter, and some secondhand shops will take it. If you’re purchasing your new mattress set from a company that will deliver to you, one suggestion is to see if they will take your old one for recycling. If that isn’t an option, check with local recycling centers.
Some of the smaller things that collect in our homes can be as challenging as the big ones. Here are some tips for managing those small, yet complex items.
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Personal hygiene products, medications, solvents, and such can’t just be poured down the drain. Several bodies of water in the U.S. are polluted due to improperly disposing of these harmful substances.
For many of the smaller items that pile up in our homes, technology can be your friend. You can embrace “the cloud” to cut down on boxes, drawers, and shelves full of “stuff”—everything from old photos to CDs can be digitized. Becoming Minimalist suggests scanning old paper items and recording data to free up your space.
Once you pare down on all those excess items, you’ll look forward to keeping your space clean and uncluttered. Stay motivated by investing in a high-quality vacuum. Many commercial vacuums are great for cleaning large areas but can still reach tight spots as well. When it comes to cleaners, you can part with harsh chemicals and instead pull some kinder products from your pantry. Lemon juice, baking soda, white vinegar, and salt are simple, green cleaning staples.
Paring down can be challenging. Sometimes your old things are bulky or hazardous, making decluttering complicated. However, with some smart strategies, you can recycle your old belongings and clean conscientiously.
By Alice Robertson