While everyone is talking about Spring Cleaning, why not consider “Spring Greening?” April 22nd is Earth Day and the sunny spring weather, popping plants and just being outdoors reminds us of the beauty of nature. With so many negative reports on the hazards in our environment, I urge you to consider what you can do with your own carbon footprint to take better care of the earth.
Here are some ideas of how to organize around your house and also recycle, reuse and reduce while you’re at it.
1. Clean out your closets – It’s an easy 2 hour project to take everything out of a closet, keep what you use, need and love and donate the rest. The hard part is knowing where to take the excess and then actually doing it.
- Clothes – Goodwill, or any charity for clothing that is in good repair. Take a good look at what you give to others and make sure you are not passing on rags. Impact Thrift store actually will take rags for recycle but it’s nice to separate these out and mark them as such.
- Food – find a local pantry, usually affiliated with a church, where you can take food that you don’t want or need.
- Electronics – Some Goodwill stores and municipalities, or Best Buy & Staples will recycle old electronics, DVDs, CDs, and VHS tapes. If you want them out of the house, put them in the car and find the closest location for drop-offs.
2. Re-use fabric shopping bags – Make a bag of bags and leave it in your car. Take them out any time you go to a store. Not just for groceries but also for runs to the drug store, clothing stores, anywhere! Imagine all the plastic bags that you are preventing from going to a landfill.
3. Reduce your family’s waste and stop buying foods that are individually wrapped. Instead of lunch size snacks, buy one big bag or barrel of snacks and pack your kids’ lunches using re-usable containers, cloth napkins, water canteens and re-usable fabric lunch bags. Make it cool to be green in school!
4. Recycle everything you can – We all know about newspapers and plastic or glass bottles, but what about paper plates, napkins, food boxes and mail? Make it easy to recycle by having a recycle bin in your house in a convenient location: right next to the regular trash can or out the back door are two suggestions.
5. Buy recycled products if you must buy more organizing products, check out the companies below:
6. Unplug – Teach your family to turn off lights as soon as they leave a room. But also unplug major appliances when they are not in use. Don’t leave chargers in the outlets. All these things use up electrical power unnecessarily. Develop a routine at night to do this. Put everyone in your family in charge of a room or two.
7. Buy local produce – As the farmers’ markets and produce stands open up in your town, support them! Buying local means less gas for everybody and it usually means you get fresher fruits and vegetables. That’s what I call win/win.
8. Program your thermostat to go down at night or when no one is home.
9. Consolidate your errands and set up carpools for your kids’ activities to use less gas.
10. Plant flowers, trees or shrubs and celebrate Earth Day!