Adhering to sustainable and eco-friendly practices at home is about more than just recycling correctly. In fact, there are many ways you can organize your home to be more sustainable and environmentally conscious.
Incorporating eco-friendly home organizing ideas can not only enhance the aesthetics of your living space but also contribute to a more sustainable lifestyle (and save you money in the process).
Eco-friendly organizing tips
'Adopt the reduce, reuse, and recycle philosophy in organizing by creatively repurposing materials and reducing consumption through mindful organizing,' says Alexander Testel , from eco-conscious living and practical sustainability company Frugal Frontier.
1. Use sustainable storage solutions
'Efficient storage is the key to a well-organized home. So opt for eco-friendly storage solutions to ensure your efforts are environmentally conscious,' says Georgina Caro, eco expert and sustainability coach.
Look out for eco-friendly storage made from renewable or biodegradable materials and avoid products that contain harmful chemicals or contribute to deforestation. Bamboo, recycled plastic, glass, stainless steel, and seagrass are all good options. Not only are these materials durable and sustainable, but they are also incredibly versatile, meaning they can be utilized for bathroom storage solutions, desk organizers, or drawer dividers.
'You could also invest in modular shelving systems to expand and rearrange your items as your storage needs evolve,' suggests Georgina Caro. 'This minimizes the need for additional furniture and reduces waste.' This adjustable storage rack from Wayfair is a great example.
Georgina Caro is an eco expert (PgCert) and sustainability coach. She helps people to live a more sustainable lifestyle by breaking their daily routines down into simple steps and manageable tasks.
2. Upcycle items
One of the most effective ways to sustainably organize your home is by upcycling leftover decorating materials and items.
'Give an old bookshelf a new lease on life with a fresh coat of paint or repurpose an antique dresser into a charming storage unit,' recommends Robin Aebischer, interior designer and co-founder of BUYnBLUE. 'Not only does this add a touch of elegance to your home, but it also minimizes the demand for new furniture production.'
This DIY approach to furnishing your home not only saves money but also prevents these materials from ending up in landfills. Try to use materials from renewable, recyclable, and ethical sources – such as eco-friendly paints – for further sustainable points, and sand, paint, and repurpose items to match your personal style.
3. Repurpose with purpose
Similar to upcycling, this tip encourages us to repurpose existing storage or containers with a new purpose.
'Get creative by repurposing old crates, vintage suitcases, or wooden pallets into unique and stylish storage units,' recommends Robin Aebischer. 'Or reimagine a ladder as a quirky bookshelf or a convenient place to hang towels. This eco decor not only adds character to your space but also contributes to the reduction of waste.'
With a little creative flair, shoe boxes can be transformed into storage containers and glass jars can be reused to organize and store small items. This not only reduces the need for single-use containers but also adds a charming touch to your home.
4. Optimize energy efficiency
This next idea isn't an organizational tip in the traditional sense, but it will enable you to organize your finances better and stay on top of your energy bills.
Consider upgrading your electrical components and heating types by installing smart-home must-haves, such as smart lighting sensors and programmable thermostats to help you keep your home heated efficiently.
5. Invest in a green cleaning kit
'Build a green cleaning kit with natural or homemade products to minimize harmful chemical usage,' recommends Alexander Testel. 'You can either use eco-friendly, non-toxic commercial cleaning supplies, or you can craft your own DIY cleaning products, such as homemade cleaning sprays.'
6. Declutter responsibly
'Decluttering, when done thoughtfully, can align with a low-waste lifestyle,' says Georgina Ross, interior designer and founder of Simply Tablecloths. 'The key is to focus on long-lasting items and be conscious about what you bring into your home. This approach helps reduce consumption and waste.'
Additionally, when organizing and going through your decluttering checklist, consider donating items that are no longer needed rather than throwing them away. This can help reduce waste and support local communities.
'For items that cannot be donated, research your local recycling options. Many materials can be recycled instead of being thrown away, reducing waste and environmental impact,' explains Shlomo Cherniak, owner of Cherniak Handyman Services. 'Check with your local recycling centers or waste management facilities to find out what items can be recycled in your area.'
Along with thoughtful decluttering, engage in mindful consumption. Before buying new items, assess whether you truly need them.
7. Utilize digital organization
Reducing paper use by digitizing documents and receipts can not only make your workspace more productive and organized but also reduce your paper intake and waste, saving trees and reducing your carbon footprint.
Where can I find sustainable furniture?
To source sustainable furniture and second-hand options, Amanda Liford, professional organizer and owner of Easy Life Organizing says: 'Professional organizers often donate furniture and storage items to donation centers. Shopping at these centers is a great way to find affordable storage containers or furniture while preventing items from ending up in landfills.'
Finally, consider creating a discrete section near your front door for bags, say in a closet on a hook, so you can quickly grab one on the way to the shops to reduce the likelihood you will need to buy a plastic bag in the store.
Remember, these are just a few eco-friendly organizing tips to get you started. By choosing sustainable storage solutions, repurposing materials, upcycling furniture, and being mindful of your decluttering and consumption, you can organize and declutter your space while minimizing your environmental impact.
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Lola Houlton is a news writer for Homes & Gardens. She has been writing content for Future PLC for the past five years, in particular Homes & Gardens, Real Homes and GardeningEtc. She writes on a broad range of subjects, including recipe articles, reviewing products, writing ‘how to’ and ‘when to’ articles. Lola now writes about everything from organization through to house plants. Lola is a graduate student, who completed her degree in Psychology at the University of Sussex. She has also spent some time working at the BBC.
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