By Pam Melyan-Bratton | Contributor
What better way to celebrate National Recycling Day on November 15 than taking some time to get organized while recycling and reusing? According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the average person generates 4.5 pounds of trash every day and National Geographic states that 91% of plastic is not recycled.
It’s time to take a look around your home and become inspired by shoe boxes, yogurt containers and cleaning wipe cylinders. The National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO) says that organized people save time and money and reduce stress and frustration levels. Move room by room throughout your home, and you will be amazed at not only how you can help the earth, but how organized you can get your home.
In the Home Office – Go Green Greetings!
Greeting cards are thoughtful expressions, but how many people truly hang on to every single birthday, holiday, and anniversary card that they receive? Rather than just tossing those cards in the recycling bin, neatly tear off the front of the card. It usually has a nice picture or sentiment on it with no writing on the other side. Save these as postcards for your kids to give to friends or family for different occasions. Children can enjoy “shopping” in the card pile for the perfect card and decorate the blank side. What better place to store these cards than in a shoe box! Have the kids decorate several shoe boxes to correspond to special events — birthday, holiday and anniversary cards can have their own special place. No need to panic at the last minute when you realize you don’t have a card for an occasion!
Reusing greeting cards saves money and it helps the environment.
What to do with all of those school flyers that have perfectly blank sides or misprints from your home printer? Take a small stack of those reusable papers and cut them into fours. Staple or clip a bunch together and you have yourself a small notebook perfect to keep by the phone, in your bag, or on your desk for quick notes and messages.
In the Closets – One for You, One for Charity!
When it’s time to buy new clothes, or you just have the itch for a new shirt, make sure you donate one article of clothing for each newly purchased piece. This will not only keep your closets and drawers from exploding with garments, but will help a charity, too. Many non-profits offer pick-up services at your home for items like clothing, shoes, bedding, towels and toys. If a t-shirt is in really bad shape and cannot be donated, cut it and add it to your household rag bag.
For a listing of nonprofits that offer pick-up services, go to www.donationtown.org, choose a charity and schedule a free pick up.
In the Kitchen – Junk the (Junk) Mail!
Open your mail near your recycling bin so as you sift through it, you can immediately toss the junk mail. No need to keep piles of useless papers on your kitchen counters to clutter your space and overwhelm you. Then take the “real” mail and either deal with it immediately or set up an organizational system to come back to it.
In the Bathrooms
Even when we are trying to help the environment by using reusable bags for shopping, inevitably we forget our bags and have to get the plastic kind at the grocery store. Reuse these bags for trash can liners. Keep them neat under your sink’s vanity or in your linen closet by storing them in an empty tissue box. These make handy holders — simply pull out a bag when needed. In the Kids’ Rooms
New Shoes? New Storage! Save your money and forget about those expensive plastic shoe boxes — use the real deal! Shoe boxes are perfect for corralling many items from hair accessories to crayons to your child’s first birthday cards. When faced with toys that have tiny pieces, designate one box for each type of toy and cut the label off the specific toy package. Glue the picture on the shoe box. This especially helps children who may not be reading yet to identify where to put the pieces for easy clean up. Stack the boxes with their lids and everyone is happy.
We buy so many things that come in all shapes and sizes of plastic containers. Yogurt, cleaning wipes and butter tubs are all perfect to collect crayons, hair ties, markers, stickers, tattoos – you name it and you will be able to find objects that always seem to get lost or cause clutter in our homes. Reuse these containers to round up those little objects that always seem to get lost in the kids’ rooms then put the containers in a drawer or on a shelf for easy access.
Let creativity be your guide as you reduce, reuse and recycle to keep your home organized and make the earth happy.