One of the great benefits of living an organized life is the positive impact you can have on our environment. When you’re organized, you can buy less stuff (reduce), you can think of creative ways to reinvent old items (reuse), and you can thoughtfully dispose of your discards (recycle). The first “R”, reduce, will have the most impact on the environment. With the recent decision by China to greatly decrease the amount of recyclable material they will accept, our best bet for helping the earth is to reduce our consumption!
Here’s some tips to tackle the first “R.”
Think before you buy. Studies show that 80 percent of what we use comes from 20 percent of what we own. That means that 80 percent of the things in our homes are rarely or never used. Next time, before you buy, think about the time you’ll spend in cleaning, storing, and maintaining that item after you bring it home. If you must buy, establish a “new item in, old item out” system where some purging takes place before shopping, meaning less clutter in your home.
Reduce waste at the office. Try to generate less paper by printing less and saving more to electronic storage, such as your computer or the cloud. Think before you hit “print” and you’ll have less paper to deal with on your desk. Be thoughtful about brochures and swag you pick up at work conferences. How much of that ends up in the trash?
Purchase items that have less packaging. Buy concentrates, such as orange juice and laundry detergent. Avoid single-serving products and buy in bulk instead. Bring your own containers to refill at your local co-op. You can also bring your own containers to restaurants for leftovers. Reuse paper or plastic shopping bags or bring your own sturdy cloth tote, thus reducing a messy pile of bags littering your home.
Reduce travel toxins. Opt for walking, biking, or taking the bus or subway over driving a car. Try to combine trips when running errands to save time, money, and natural resources. Combine multiple needs into one online order to reduce packaging and energy costs. Selecting a longer delivery time also helps reduce energy consumption. Do you really need it tomorrow?
By following these tips, you’ll earn key benefits like saving money, time, and natural resources, as well as feeling less cluttered and stressed at home and work.