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Refresh Sustainably: Out With the Old, In With the New

Something the new year and home refreshing have in common; purging. At least for me, there's a need to "out with the old, in with the new" whenever I want to enter a new chapter. Although I think this practice is healthy and necessary, disposing of unwanted items in a sustainable way is just as important. I've gathered a few ways you can do so down below if you're in this process right now.

Repurpose Items to Give Them Extended Use

While decluttering often involves removing products entirely from your home, you can sometimes recycle them within your own space and give them new purposes. An old shirt you no longer wear could become a cloth for garage projects. Baskets and bowls you don’t use anymore could transform into an organizational system to help keep track of your belongings. Repurposing items before moving onto the next decluttering step will help keep you from buying even more materials. Curtains can be repurposed to pillow covers or blankets.

Another way to repurpose is to re-gift some of your belongings — on purpose. While sometimes frowned upon as bad practice, re-gifting actually gives people in your life the opportunity to find value in items completely new to them.

Donate the Materials You Can’t Use Yourself

If you look around your home and see a million items you think you’d like to eliminate, don’t start loading up your trash bins just yet. You might be surprised by the number of charity and donation centers that will take unwanted goods off your hands and repurpose them with a better aim. If you want to get rid of towels, sheets, and scrap fabric, for instance, animal rescue shelters will use them to keep animals dry and warm. Another option is to look into textile recycling at a Goodwill or other thrift store locations.

If you have clothing and household goods you want to get rid of, several programs could help, like foster-care clothing programs, the American Red Cross, Dress for Success and Rescue Mission Thrift Stores. These programs help children who have to move around with little to their names, victims of natural disasters and families in need of supplies.

Think Hard Before Your Next Purchase

Decluttering doesn’t by any means force you to stop making new purchases. Before you buy, you’ll want to think about your seller and find out their practices in regard to the environment. Many people also find that among other benefits of cleaning their home and opening up more space, they become less likely to shop as a hobby and acquire unwanted, wasteful items on impulse. For people who have lowered their consumption rates, decluttering in an environment-friendly way will be much easier in the future.

- Raph




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