ORGANIZING – how it's good for you and the environment by Laura Leigh Way and Melanie Lalonde of Gadget Girrrls In recent months, I’ve been coming up with solutions to make my home a more relaxing place. There is a freedom that comes with getting rid of clutter and getting rid of “stuff”. I’ve donated clothes to shelters, sold items online and turned my academic papers into notepads. As a personal organizer, I’ve come to realize that being more organized can play a significant part in reducing both your environmental impact and your spending. All of us, at one time or another, have frantically searched through junk drawers looking for that BBQ lighter, the extra birthday candles or some spare batteries.
If, after a while, you can’t find what you’re looking for, you get frustrated and decide, “Ah it’s hopeless, I’ll just pick up a new one.” A few hours, days or even weeks later, you are looking for something else, and there is that BBQ lighter or the batteries you needed. But you already picked up new ones, which adds to the growing “stuff” pile that makes it difficult to keep a home organized. Does this sound familiar? Replacing things we already have means we are consuming things we don’t need. The more we consume, the more waste we create: the more waste we create, the more stuff we eventually dump in our landfills.
Being organized saves you time, money, and mental energy, you also save other household members the time and headaches that come with those agonizing, seemingly futile searches. If items are consistently put back in the same spot, then no one wonders who lost the BBQ lighter again. The bonus? You’re being environmentally friendly and consuming only what you need.
How can you achieve this? Organize junk drawers so that you know what is in them.
Remember, we the Gadget Girrrls are here if you need some structured guidance. I do understand, sometimes that new kitchen, office or workshop tool is just too hard to resist. Well if this is the case, don’t throw out the old one. Donate your old items to charity. There is always someone out there who is starting anew and needs more than they can afford to buy. Your donation could mean a lot to someone who is on a low budget. The best part is that the item doesn’t end up in a landfill before it’s time.
Also, remember not everything that you perceive as garbage is actually garbage. Check your community listings to see if someone is looking for free household items. Post your unwanted items on Full Circles/Free Cycle (a community group aiming to keep useful items out of landfills). There are a lot of people who can make your trash their treasure. Look for community environmental groups who will re-use or recycle old household items for their projects.
For example, Habitat for Humanity – Re-store; “Habitat for Humanity ReStores are building supply stores that accept and resell quality new and used building materials. They generate funds to support Habitat's building programs, while reducing the amount of used materials that are headed for overflowing landfills!” (http://habitat.ca/restoresc648.php) That said, if the item doesn’t work or isn’t repairable, it may be time to junk it. Best not to donate something that’s clearly at the end of its days. Gadget Girrls