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Cleaning Out Your Home’s Clutter: 4 Eco-Friendly Tips for Preventing Waste

If you want to clear out clutter from your home but are concerned about adding to the country’s landfills, your worries are well founded. Americans generate over 250 million pounds of trash, according to one report that examined the nation’s largest landfills, and that number is rising despite recycling and reclaiming efforts. However, there are a few ways you can get rid of old furniture, toys, clothing, and other items without having to worry about contributing to America’s growing trash problem.

1. Start an Online Thrift Shop

Opening up your own online thrift store has never been simpler, thanks to one-touch apps and other technology. Some sites, such as eBay, require a small percentage of the sale you make while others allow you to list them for free yet limit the number of items you can sell per month. You can also invest in a privately-owned website and list items there; however, this may take a bit more time and effort than using resale apps.

You can also cut back on waste when you start shipping items. Use recyclable box padding, such as newspaper, and use packaging materials that are made from 100 percent recycled cardboard, paper, and plastic.

2. Start a Community Book Trade

While books can be recycled, sharing them with your neighbors can be a fun and simple way to pare down your collection. Ask your local library to donate space where people can drop off and browse books, then take those they find interesting. Consider setting up a clipboard in the area where your neighbors can inquire about certain books they might be looking for or what collections they have available to give away.

If you have children’s books that your kids have outgrown, ask your library if they know of any communities or schools that might need them before you set them out for the book trade. This may help struggling school libraries that are often the victims of budget cuts and underfunding.

3. Upcycle Old Clothing

Babies and toddlers outgrow their clothing quickly, but you might not be ready to let go of some items that remind you of how little they once were. If you have some boxes of baby clothes you could not bear to part with, you can keep them on a more permanent basis by making them into something else. Consider making quilts, memory box liners, pillowcases, and pillows out of these items to adorn your children’s rooms or set them aside to pass down later.

Tee shirts with some wear left in them can make excellent craft material. Cotton shirts can be especially simple to work with and you can make purses or a button holder out of almost any old shirt. You can also cut tee shirts open and remove the sleeves to stock up on material for rainy day sewing or crafting projects.

 

4. Restore or Transform Old Furniture

Paint and varnish from old furniture can be potentially harmful to your local water supply if it seeps underground when the wood breaks down. While some sustainable water programs, such as the cadiz water project, aims to raise awareness about and protect a sustainable water supply for Southern California with the cadiz water project timeline, some cities and towns have had their supplies tainted by chemicals from decomposing furniture in nearby landfills. You can reduce landfill waste by coming up with creative ways to reuse or transform wooden furniture, especially if you enjoy crafting.

Wooden dressers, bookshelves, and chairs can all be broken down, sanded, and turned into a variety of items like outdoor shelving, rustic décor, and decorative objects for the garden. The possibilities are almost endless, and you can prevent these pieces from being tossed into the local landfill.

Decluttering your home can be a challenge, especially if you live green. However, with a bit of effort and ingenuity, you can breathe new life into your living space without harming the environment.

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