The First Step – Cleaning Out Responsibly
Look familiar? The essential first step to any cleaning project is clearing out the clutter, and spring is a great time to lighten up and let go of all that stuff just hanging around in your closets, cabinets, basement and sometimes even under your bed. It can seem daunting at first but it can be really simple if you have a plan.
Don’t try to do the entire place all at once, keep it simple and start with one space, like a closet, at a time. I like drag everything out, sorting it as I go into things I want to keep and things that I don’t. All the “keepers” get cleaned and mended, if necessary, and go back in organized. Then I start working on the “give/sell” pile. This is where many cleaning projects go awry, in a haste to clear out we often dump everything in the trash. But to keep more things out of the landfill, allow your toss-aways to be reused by taking advantage of some of the resources and ideas listed below next time you de-clutter.
If your unwanted items are in good condition, try Freecycle, a worldwide, online, gifting community that connects you to people in your area who are often looking for the very things you are willing to toss. Or if you want to get it out quick, donate your goods to people who are really in need by stopping by the local homeless shelter, the Goodwill, Salvation Army or the Vietnam Veterans of America. If you have a little more time and are looking for a few bucks, try Craigslist.org and ebay.
Here is a quick list of few ideas for specific items you may find lurking in your closets:
- Ladies, to donate nice women’s professional clothing, check out Dress for Success and for formal dresses suitable for a high school prom try The Glass Slipper Project. While your at it, take all those old magazines to the gym or swap with friends.
- Athletes, to donate old sneakers be sure to try Recycled Runners.
- For your “e-waste,” that is your tech trash, send it to Staples or check out this list put together by the EPA.
- Earth911 is has a wonderful search tool that allows you to find the nearest place to recycle specific goods.
- And, check out this great list of other ideas from Grist.org