Keep Your Home Clean, Green and ClutterFree with These Tips
When you’re committed to an eco-friendly lifestyle, decluttering is a hard pill to swallow. You
want a tidier, more organized home, but you don’t want to throw away piles of stuff to achieve it.
Thankfully, it is possible to reduce the mess in your home and shrink your environmental
impact. Here’s how to do it.
Tips for Cleaning
Before you start decluttering, you’ll want to arm yourself with supplies for cleaning as you go.
Many conventional household cleaners release high levels of volatile organic compounds
(VOCs). VOCs are toxic chemicals that harm human health, especially in children. You can
learn more about VOCs from the Environmental Protection Agency.
You can reduce VOCs in your home by opting for non-toxic cleaning products or making your
own with all-natural products such as vinegar and baking soda. However, VOCs aren’t the only
thing irritating your health at home. Carpeting traps allergens including dust mites, pet dander
and mold spores, so it’s important to vacuum regularly to protect your family’s health. A quality
upright vacuum with an HEPA filter makes it easy to stay on top of the vacuuming, and most
upright models have height adjustments so you can use them on carpeting and hard floors alike.
Another way to make your cleaning more eco-friendly is by replacing disposable products with
reusable alternatives. Swap your Swiffer for a washable mop, choose bar soaps instead of
plastic-packaged liquids and gels, and replace paper towels with microfiber cloths that trap dust
Tips for Decluttering
As much as you want decluttering to be over ASAP, avoid sending everything to the landfill. Not
only will your items remain in the landfill long after you’re gone, but some items are hazardous
to the environment when thrown away. These include large appliances, electronics, household
chemicals and medications.
To keep your stuff out of the landfill, donate items in good condition so someone else can use
them. Appliances, furniture, recreational equipment, linens, dishware, and clothing are all great
candidates for thrift store donation. You can even donate well-loved items if you’re creative
about it: Old bedding and towels can be used at animal shelters, building supplies and paints
donated to a Habitat for Humanity ReStore, and partially used cleaners given to a neighbor in
need. If your items are broken or otherwise unusable, recycle through approved channels such
as e-waste recycling programs, prescription drug take-backs and large appliance recycling
Tips for Organizing
Once your stuff is pared down to the essentials, it’s time to organize it for tidiness and
functionality. Store everyday items where they’re used most often: If you’re using an item in the
bathroom but storing it in the hallway, you’re only increasing the odds it gets left on the
bathroom counter instead of returned to its place. If you don’t have enough storage, use This Old House’s ideas for adding storage where you need it most.
When it comes to paperwork, photographs and sentimental clutter, take a digital approach to organization. Instead of storing these items in filing cabinets, photo albums and shoeboxes, scan them to create digital versions that can be stored in the cloud instead. Digitizing documents and photographs not only keeps them safe and accessible, it also prevents them from degrading over time.
We’re all guilty of letting messes accumulate from time to time. Thankfully, cleaning them up doesn’t have to mean hauling stuff to the dump or using harsh cleaning products that are bad for the Earth and your health.
We’re all guilty of letting messes accumulate from time to time. Thankfully, cleaning them up doesn’t have to mean hauling stuff to the dump or using harsh cleaning products that are bad for the Earth and your health. Use these tips to get started on your next decluttering project and you’ll be rewarded with a cleaner, greener home now and into the future.