Someone asked me if being green in organizing was simply another excuse to hold onto trash and keep clutter.  ABSOLUTELY NOT! But, for some people, especially hoarders, it might be a challenge to let it go.

Eco Organizing Tips

There was an article in the Raleigh News & Observer a few years ago about an artist who makes art from stuff people want to throw away.  Some people might see it as junk, but this man has chosen to make something artistic out of it. I am not a big fan of modern art, so I can see how people wouldn’t appreciate what he has created.  Alas, beauty is in the eye of the beholder!


So many times when I see organizing or cleaning shows on TV I see all of this good stuff just being chucked into a container to be dumped at a landfill later.  Eco-organizing is about recycling what you can according to your local laws; reusing items that are in good condition; donating items, such as clothes, that can be used by someone else.

There are many alternatives out there (Freecycle/Craig’s List, etc.) for you to give to someone else instead of simply pitching. I prefer to think of it as organizing and letting go of clutter responsibly.

It is not healthy for anyone to hold onto too much stuff, even if they want to be green; I help clients find alternatives to letting go of items so they can feel good about letting go.


Getting organized takes some planning and discipline, but before you spend a small fortune on plastic tubs and other boxes manufactured and marketed just for storage, take a look around the house for items you can reuse. You can save some money and keep a few more things out of the landfill.
From an Online Article Years Ago

This was probably about a decade ago, before I was married and when my business was still Healing through Organization.


Jennifer Schwab, the Sierra Club’s director of sustainability, said reusing household items is even better than recycling many things because some material, including plastic, is difficult to recycle.


“It just comes down to putting a little more time into really thinking about things you have and how you can reuse them,” Schwab said. Professional eco-organizer Julie Seibert, of Healing Through Organization in Raleigh, N.C., said finding organizing tools around your house is just a question of seeing items with a fresh set of eyes.


“Get out of the mindset of going to the container store and spending $30 or $50 on stuff made in China,” she said.

Here are Schwab and Seibert’s tips for household items that might have a second life for storage.
Eco Organizing Tips

Wine bottle cartons are great to reuse for storing just about any kind of breakable object. They’re particularly handy for Christmas decorations. Just wrap each ornament in some paper and slide them into the snug bottle-sized compartments. These cartons are perfect for storage because they’re easily stackable.


Empty tissue boxes can find a second life dispensing a variety of things that clutter up drawers and cupboards. Restful them with your plastic grocery bags, which you can reuse as garbage bags. Or refill the box with the small plastic bags you use for pet poop.

Used FedEx packages are sturdy and tough to recycle. But you can cut one down for use as a receptacle for magazines, cookbooks or paperwork.
Don’t Forget

Save the clear plastic zippered bags in which most blankets and sheet sets are sold. The plastic is tough to recycle, but it’s sturdy and easily reused for storing just about anything. “You can even write on the outside with a marker,” Seibert said.


Canvas shoe organizers, particular the kind that can hang on the wall or from a hook, are great for more than shoes. Use the compartments for any small item, from toys to craft supplies. Many are attractive enough to hang in the middle of a room, not just in a closet.


Clean out empty baby food jars; jam jars and other small glass containers to use for storing small items like nuts and bolts on your tool bench, buttons and notions in your sewing room or any collections of small items. Clear glass jars work best so you can see the items.

What eco organizing tips will you try? What are your favorite strategies for being green while organizing?
DIY Options to Clear Clutter
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