There are so many different ways to be green when re-organizing and I’d like to share some of my favorites with you this month in honor of Earth Day!
Reduce– Get rid of things you no longer use or love. Whether you gift them to family/friends or donate them to a local charity, you’ll be making the world a better place. If you want to take it a step further, research local organizations to learn if there are any that take items that are not in the best condition. I worked with one that would ship items to third world countries if they were not usable in the U.S.
Reuse– I re-use things as much as possible… probably to a fault. In fact, a tour of my home would reveal that I’d much prefer to re-use a container to give it new life rather than buy something brand new. Am I frugal? Yes! To a fault? Yes! But do I feel good about my choices? Absolutely! 🙂
Recycle– I attempt to recycle everything. Many times I have clients who are not green. That is their choice and I would never force my preferences on them. However, if they have items to dispose of that can be recycled, I’ve been known to take them home with me to achieve that goal… with the client’s permission of course!
Rent/Borrow: If there’s an item that you don’t need consistently, consider renting or borrowing it for the short time you need it vs. buying it and having to store it.
Repair– I almost always attempt to repair an item before purchasing a new one. And if I can’t repair it or it’s not worth the cost, I’ll list it for free on a local website (www.freecycle.com or the free section of www.craigslist.com.) I’d rather give it away to someone who can possible fix/use it vs. trash it.
Return– Do you have items in your home that you borrowed from someone? Whether it was last week or last year, return them. Or perhaps you over-purchased or purchased the wrong item? If so and if it’s within the store’s guidelines, return it. Not only will you save yourself some money but you’ll free up space in your home.
Re-think– Think before you buy. When someone I know talks about buying something new, I always ask the questions “Do you WANT it or do you NEED it?”. I know that drives people crazy but it’s a great question. We’re so bombarded with advertisements to buy every new product that comes out on the market, many times people don’t take the time to think before they buy. Another saying I tell all my clients is “Shop at home first!” Many times they already have items they need at home but don’t take the time to look for them before purchasing new ones.
Repurpose– This is when you use an item for a different purpose than it was intended. I love encouraging clients to do with sentimental items they don’t want to part with yet, want to retain. An example I like to use if if you have a watch with sentimental value that no longer works. You can remove the face from the straps, hang it from a chain and turn it into a necklace that can be work for years to come.
Upcycle– Though similar to repurposing, the difference is that when you upcycle an item, you’re repurposing it in such a way that you add monetary value to it; not just finding another use for it. Again, this is another fantastic option for items of sentimental value. To use the same example as above, I’ve seen artists who use non-functioning watches to create sculptures. These works of art are then sold for than the nonfunctioning watch ever would have yielded.
I hope you learned as least one new thing from my eco-conscious Earth Day suggestions. At a minimum, remember my famous question to ask yourself the next time you want to purchase an item… do you WANT it or do you NEED it?
“The ultimate test of man’s conscience may be his willingness to sacrifice something today for future generations whose words of thanks will not be heard.” ~ Gaylord Nelson ~
Brenda Tringali, Organizing, Productivity & HR Specialist
At Your Fingertips Organizing
Serving Greater Myrtle Beach, SC or “virtually” anywhere (via phone/video)
Brenda Tringali is the owner of At Your Fingertips Organizing. She provides Life/Workplace/Residential Organizing & Productivity services to clients in the Myrtle Beach, SC area & “virtually” anywhere via video, phone, etc. Drawing from her 30 years of Human Resources/Staffing experience, she also helps clients with HR/Staffing/Job Search needs as well. Brenda is an active member of NAPO (National Association of Productivity and Organizing professionals). She is also Chair of the NAPOCares Committee which highlights the community outreach efforts of NAPO members, NAPO Chapters, and NAPO Business Partners as they reach out to share the three “T’s” of Social Responsibility: their Time, Treasures, and Talents.