Decluttering Tips for a Healthier Environment and a Happier You
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Much is made of decluttering these days. Baby boomers are downsizing, millennials love minimalism and letting go of things is supposed to be good for us. But how do those choices affect the environment? Follow these eco-friendly tips to ensure your decluttering is healthy for yourself and everyone else.
Benefits of decluttering. We live in a culture that encourages us to add “stuff” to our lives all the time. We’re inundated with ads on television, the Internet and in printed media, encouraging us to invest in various things. Yet there is an undercurrent of understanding, embracing the concept “less is more.” Science backs that idea with Psychology Today explaining the following benefits shown to come from the act of decluttering:
- Improved sense of well-being.
- Healthier eating.
- Improved mental health.
- More efficient visual understanding.
- More mental clarity.
Home-field advantages. Decluttering is also beneficial to your home environment. For example, once you go through the process of decluttering, some experts point out you will be less inclined to purchase unnecessary items. Not only is it easier on your budget, you will be less wasteful in the grand scheme of things. There will be less for you to dispose of down the road, too, giving you time and energy for other things. And once you declutter, you’re more apt to share with others and borrow items from friends so you don’t need to purchase one-time use things such as tools or books. But what do you do with all that “stuff” you are ready to part with now?
Down the drain no-no’s. It’s important not to dispose of your excess or unwanted items improperly. Many people make the mistake of pouring substances like medications, personal care products and paint down their drains to dispose of them, but our wastewater facilities aren’t designed to manage those products. Many bodies of water in the U.S. are polluted because people pour these harmful substances down their drains.
Eco-friendly options. Some objects clearly won’t end up in your plumbing, but there is reason to be concerned about other items you might be unloading. For instance, when you leave appliances or electronics for the trash company to pick up, those things are likely to end up in a landfill. However, you can easily recycle those things. If they still function, charities often accept appliances and electronics happily. Some big box stores will recycle them for you as well.
Mattresses are another large item that requires special consideration. As Wayfair explains, “Don't let your old mattress become one of the 20 million mattresses that end up in landfills each year. Look for ways to recycle or refurbish your old mattress the next time you upgrade to a new one.” Selling, donating or repurposing your old mattress are better choices than throwing it out.
Small, but mighty solutions. Make a big impact with the little things in your life as well. For instance you can select “green” cleaning products that are actually clean in and of themselves, and good for the environment. Some experts recommend learning how to read the labels on cleansers in order to make informed choices. Another idea is to use digital hacks to declutter. Think outside the box on little items that collect on shelves and in drawers, and let technology lend a hand. For instance, you can receive electronic versions of your monthly bills and bank statements. Take digital pictures of sentimental items that are large but you’re ready to part with and minimize clutter by scanning old photos and embracing “the cloud.”
Healthy and happy. Reducing your clutter is good for you, your home and the environment. Take steps to declutter and do so properly. When you choose eco-friendly decluttering solutions, everybody wins!
Author: Alice Robertson