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You are here: Home > Organizing Advice > Organizing Tips > "Green" Organizing
"Go Green" Organizing
Samantha Naeyaert, Muddle Management, www.MuddleManagement.com
 
Telescoping Bag DryerAs organizers we are always looking for better ways to save time, money and effort and getting organized provides all of that, plus takes care of our environment at the same time!  Here's how:
 
Reducing consumption (better than recycling)
One green benefit of becoming more organized is that once you have control of your inventory you no longer purchase replacements for lost items. This reduces resources and consumption and plays a major part in 'going green.' A few ideas are:
  • Replacing bottled water (petroleum product) with a water filter which saves gas, shopping time, space in pantry and recycling efforts.
  • Did you know that it is rare for bottled water bottles to be recycled - most of it is sold to China to be made into carpet backing, plastic wood (whatever that is) and polar fleece, according to Amanda Kovattana, NAPO Newsletter contributor.
  • Instead of focusing on recycling what we've already purchased, let's try to learn more about how items are manufactured and make knowledgeable purchases. See www.storyofstuff.comfor additional information.
  • Try to purchase paper products with a high "post-consumer" content, especially toilet paper, paper towels, and tissues which curb deforestation.
  • Have you tried bamboo items yet?  They have clothes and fences and floors and molding! Try these websites to start looking into this option: www.shirtsofbamboo.com,and www.calibamboo.com, Also to be fair, please see this website that says that bamboo might still not be the perfect solution www.treehugger.com. It's good to stay informed.
Donate items
Your friendly professional organizer loves to help you purge items and most will take donated items to the local charitable center for you.  This saves gas (he/she already has to drive home), time and effort and provides a benefit to the community.  Remember to believe in the abundance of the universe, giving is always good!
 
Hazardous items
Most professional organizers are trained by NAPO to dispose of tricky material like batteries, styrofoam, and outdated medications appropriately and will provide the information and/or dispose of these things for you.
 
Ecological impact
By working with your professional organizer you can save money by organizing your time to use large appliances during off-peak hours, and reduce phantom loads of electric components (we call them money-sucking-electric-vampires) like TVs, DVD players, recharging devices, etc. by using power strips to make it easier to turn off these devices when not in use.  And did you know that screen savers are also power hungry as they are used to keep the computer from going into sleep mode (which saves energy).
 
Recycling items
Most recycling centers are called 'single stream' which means that a person or persons stand at a conveyor belt and sort through the recycled material hand sorting specific types of plastic or glass. So, just because the recycle truck picks up your items it doesn't mean that they are necessarily being recycled.  The more knowledge you have regarding recycling the more time, money and effort is saved for you and for the recycle companies.
  • Glass: Unbroken bottles and jars of any color (please rinse!)
  • Plastics: Bottles, jars, containers labeled #1, 2,3,4,5 and 7 (please rinse!)
  • Metals: Steel, tin, and aluminum (please rinse!), used aerosol (non-hazardous) cans.
  • Paper products:  Newspapers and inserts, magazines, catalogs, telephone books, mixed office paper, mail and junk mail.
  • Cardboard: Cardboard boxes, chipboard (like cereal and tissue boxes).
  • Plastics sell for approximately $165 per ton.  On the other hand, used glass has very little market value, but the City can crush it and use it instead of buying expensive gravel.
Shredding papers
What do you do with old files, papers, etc.?  Many professional organizers are trained to help you determine what to shred. Here is a short list of some items that need shredding for your safety: Accounting Records, Cancelled Checks, Banking Information, Budget Data, Copies of Checks, Credit Cards, Education Records, Financial Reports, Loan Information, Medical Information, Payroll Reports, Shipping Information, Anything with your Social Security Number on it.

IDEA: Take the items you know you want to donate and/or shred and set them aside. Just get them out of your way! Then call your local professional organizer and set your next appointment to organize the items you know you want to keep!  This saves you money and time!

Re-purposing items
This is the MOST green you can be!  Reuse what you already have in a new way.  You'll be so proud of your creativity and keep your money in the bank (or under your mattress).  
 
Being green is about saving our time, our money our energy and our planet! Every bit helps!