How to Keep Clutter From Harming Your Health and the Environment

We all want to leave our mark on the world, but clutter shouldn’t be a part of it. With busy schedules and packed routines, clutter can build up in our lives pretty quickly. But if you are letting clutter rule your home, you could be letting in extra stress. Clutter can be a latent source of stress and mental health issues in our lives, but getting rid of it can be a source of strain for our environment.

So how do you clear the clutter in your world without causing problems for the world around you? Luckily, there are some very basic steps you can take to eliminate clutter without negatively impacting the environment.

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You may end up with some larger items you need to get rid of as you sort through your home. While you may be thinking of leaving these items on the curb for trash pick up, you should try to find more environmentally friendly ways to rid your home of these items. Furniture, electronics, and appliances contain materials that take decades to decompose or will never break down.

Toxic chemicals are also used in the production of many household items, and these toxins will leech into the soil and water when left in landfills. So, keep your belongings from burdening the planet. Donate working or easily repaired items to a local charity, or look for recycling centers that accept larger items and electronics. Some stores will even recycle your electronics for you.

Don’t Dump Toxins Down the Drain

Organizing cabinets and storage areas often involves disposing of substances like medication, personal care products, paint, and other items. You may be thinking of dumping them into your sink or toilet, but many bodies of water in the US are polluted because people pour these harmful substances down the drain.

Check out this guide on how to dispose of common household substances, including oils, grease, solvents, and debris that might cause clogs, in the most eco-friendly ways possible. For example, if you have old medications, you can utilize a pharmacy take-back program or combine them with kitty litter in a sealed bag before you toss them out.

For household paints and chemicals, it’s best to take these toxic items to a hazardous disposal center. You can also prevent sewage issues by not putting oils, fatty foods, or even coffee grounds down your drains.

Scan Photos into Cloud Storage

If you have boxes of old photos around your home, getting them organized can clear out a lot of clutter. Spend some time putting your favorites into albums and frames to keep them safely displayed around your home. Then, get the leftovers into the cloud. With cloud storage, you can keep unlimited amounts of photos and documents safely stored online without cluttering your home with tons of paper.

Once you have your photos in the cloud, you can share, print, and edit them with minimal effort, making it even more beneficial to embrace the cloud. You can use a scanner or your phone to scan your photos into the cloud, where they will be safe from fire, floods, and the damaging effects of time. Try one of these cloud storage options to upload your photos and keep them accessible and safe.

Trade Chemicals for Non-Toxic Cleaning

You may be surprised to learn that some of the cleaners you think are keeping your home safe are actually filled with toxic chemicals. Solvents and substances found in some of the most popular cleaning products can cause serious health problems with prolonged exposure. They can also cause serious issues for the environment.

Instead of using toxic chemicals to clean your home, try these eco-friendly cleaning tips to keep your home clean and your body and the environment free from pollutants. Lemon, baking soda, and vinegar can clean just about any item in your home. You can use these ingredients to make your own powerful, safe cleaners or look for products at the supermarket. When buying premade cleaners, look for ingredient labels that are easy to read so that you know exactly what is going into your home.

Put a Stop to Junk Mail

Between insurance mailers and ads, our mailboxes can be filled with paper that will only end up in recycling or a landfill. Each year, Americans toss out over 90 million tons of paper.  That is a huge burden on the environment, so do your part and put a stop to the amount of junk you receive in the mail. Junk mail can include marketing mail, credit card and finance offers, catalogs, and local business advertisements.

You can cut down junk mail by following a few steps. Signing up at DMAChoice should eliminate the majority of junk mail you get, but you may also need to take additional steps, including contacting USPS, to stop receiving phone books, mail for other people, and specific kinds of marketing materials.

Ditch Those Plastic Bags

If you have not made the switch to reusable shopping bags, you really should. Keeping all those plastic bags around your home creates a lot of clutter. Tossing them into the garbage creates a lot of problems for wildlife and the environment. Environmental problems with plastic bags span a whole range of issues. From killing wildlife to clogging up waterways, there are hundreds of reasons to ditch your plastic bag habit.

However, you shouldn’t just stop at using eco-friendly shopping bags. Plastic trash bags and storage bags are also part of the problem. Eliminate these items from your cleaning and organizing routines, to make a considerable positive impact on the health of the environment. For safer alternatives, try using paper bags or avoid using bags altogether. You can also purchase reusable storage bags to cut back on your plastic habit.

Sort Out Recyclables

Recycling should already be a part of your garbage habits, but as you clean out your home, you have to make sure you are not recycling the wrong way. Certain “recyclable” items are actually not recyclable at all. Food containers and pizza boxes are typically tainted with grease that cannot be removed, which prevents these items from being recycled. You should also take care when tossing juice and milk cartons and styrofoam into your recycling bins.

Paper cartons are often lined with materials that inhibit recycling, and styrofoam is extremely difficult to break down and reuse. When you begin sorting through the throw away items in your home, keep these tips in mind. Finally, never put your recyclables in a plastic bag. As stated, plastic bags are bad for the environment and cause problems for recycling centers and processes.

No one needs clutter in their lives. Clutter and disorganization leads to more stress and anxiety, but getting rid of it should not put more strain on the environment. You can keep yourself healthy and keep the planet happy by using these tips to clear out clutter and clean your home in environmentally friendly ways. The smallest changes in your home routine can make the biggest impact on the future of our world. So make some changes, go green, and start taking better care of yourself and the world around you.

Photo Credit: Unsplash

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