Top Tips for a Green, Clean and Uncluttered Home

Jennifer McGregor

Many homeowners are looking to declutter these days. With our busy, on-the-go lifestyles, having less can truly be more. However knowing how to mindfully dispose of the things you're parting with can be challenging. Here are some tips for responsibly paring down and cleaning up.

Tackle big stuff

Are you in the process of cutting clutter? Some of the hardest items to deal with are the big ones. Even if your trash collector will take the items, chances are they would end up in a landfill. Landfills harm our environment, contaminating our air, water and soil. Instead of contributing to pollution, try some alternative solutions when tackling large item disposal:

  • Mattress sets. Finding a way to deal with a bulky, used mattress and foundation can be particularly difficult, but you do have options. If your new set is being delivered by a local company, you can see if they will haul your old one away for recycling. Another option is to check with local charities. If your old set still has life in it, they can potentially use it in a shelter or sell it in a nonprofit thrift shop. You can also check with local recycling centers about disposal. Lastly, consider upcycling it for crafts. Harvest the materials for pet beds, furniture and more.
  • Electronics. You upgraded your phone and your television, are parting with your printer and got new tablets for all the kids. What do you do with that pile of old electronics? It's a growing problem in our culture. Thankfully, you have options. If your old gadgets are still working, MakeUseOf suggests reselling them or donating them to a nonprofit. If they are not working, you can often return them to manufacturers or upcycle the parts.
  • Appliances. Appliances are also bulky belongings that are tough to responsibly unload. When looking to rehome functioning dishwashers, microwaves, ovens and such, check with nearby charities and used appliance sellers. For non-working appliances, check with your utility company about potentially recycling them. Another recommendation is to connect with appliance retailers, since they'll often haul your old appliances for a fee.

Digitize smaller stuff

Sometimes little things that collect in our homes can be overwhelming. When you're ready to prune your paper goods, one suggestion is to start scanning and save to "the cloud." NBC News points out you can record those old photos, documents, letters and other data electronically, freeing up drawer space and countertops. And if you haven't done so already, stop subscribing to printed material and request e-statements from your utilities companies and banks.

Household materials

Another area of concern is household goods, such as medications, oils, personal care products, paints and solvents. When people pour them down the drain, they can contaminate bodies of water. Instead of polluting the environment, check out this guide from Budget Home Services explaining how to dispose of common substances and chemicals in the most environmentally friendly ways possible.

Deep clean

Decluttering is an accomplishment, and once it's behind you it'll feel good to keep your home clean and fresh. Investing in a quality upright vacuum can give you incentive and keep the task pleasant. Check out reviews to find the best one that matches your needs. Many upright vacuums offer features such as height adjustment, making them ideal for everything from hardwood to carpeted flooring. In addition to your floors, you'll want to spruce up your other surfaces. Steer clear of harsh chemicals since they can be bad for the environment. Martha Stewart recommends a number of green cleaning essentials you can find right in your pantry. Baking soda, lemons, vinegar, and tea tree oil can refresh and revitalize your home in an eco-friendly manner.

When it's time to cut clutter, take steps to do so responsibly. Recycle big and small stuff alike, dispose of items properly, and clean in an eco-friendly way. Being home will be all the more refreshing thanks to your green cleaning efforts!