Keeping the environment top of mind when you are clearing out years of junk from your home can be a challenge if you don’t have a solid game plan. There are many reasons why we have so much stuff in our homes. Some of us have fallen victim to our increasingly consumer-driven society and have purchased too many new items without disposing of the old. Others may be supporting elderly parents who are downsizing after many years in the same home. Whatever the reason, a little planning for proper disposal can go a long way to helping reduce junk in our landfills.
Here are our top tips for eco-friendly junk removal and please note: it’s best to do this in order.
Categorize items. Identify everything you will not be keeping and make color-coded sticky notes to categorize them into the following: keep, donate, recycle, trash.
Research community donation facilities. The majority of your stuff will probably go into this category. Consult a search engine or yellow pages looking for:
- Charities and shops that will pick up or accept drop off items that are in good condition.
Also consider searching for “local charities accepting donations” or asking friends, family and co-workers for suggestions of people who may be in need.
- Online classified pages where you can give your stuff away. Sites such as Craigslist, Kijiji and the like all have “free” sections where you can offer up your items in good condition for free.
- Opportunities to place your items on the curb with a sign “Free”. Many cities will allow this, with some restrictions.
- Local schools/churches that have new families or poor families in need of household items
Research community recycling facilities. Almost everything can be recycled. Items you decide not to donate or that are not in great condition can be recycled in whole or for their parts. These include: electronics, appliances, metals, wood, paper, cardboard, plastic, and cloth. Even your local landfill/transfer stations will have some provision for recycling these components.
Take action. Gather the family or friends together and put a team effort into distributing your unwanted items to the appropriate facility. Plan a thank-you dinner or treats at the end of the day to reward your helpers and celebrate your new spacious home!
Don’t stress. You may end up taking some items to the landfill, but don’t stress over it. Focus on how positive you’ll feel about the eco-friendly actions you have taken. Truthfully, there are just some items you can’t give away or won’t be acceptable for recycling by the facilities in your neighborhood. Do your best!