Monday, August 11, 2008

10 Easy Ways to Be More Sustainable with Your Home Organizing

In September my youngest goes to school full time. With that, I will be devoting more time to freelance writing. I plan on putting in 25 hours a week actually working instead of the 10-12 I put in now. If I want to be make those 25 very efficient hours, I need to be getting my office in order over the next three weeks. It's a disaster area. So home organization is on my mind.

I'd love to hire a professional organizer, have that person come in and put in cabinets and shelves and cute little color coordinating baskets and window treatments. But that wouldn't be sustainable or affordable. I'm going to have to get organized in a sustainable way. Here are ten easy ways I could do it.

  1. The first step in organizing is always to get rid of things you don't need. Don't throw away anything usable. Donate or freecycle it.
  2. Tackle the paper monster. If your home is anything like mine there are piles of paper everywhere, not just in the office. Gather it all up and put in several piles - recycle, shred (then recycle), file, reuse (if there is still a clean side to the paper and you don't need what is on the front) and perhaps another pile or two that you deem necessary. Then tackle the piles until all paper is where it should be.
  3. Anything that is behind closet doors doesn't need to look pretty, it just needs to be organized. There's no need to buy matching boxes or baskets. Shoe boxes and other make shift organizing supplies are fine.
  4. Pens and pencils can go in mugs. You don't need a fancy desk top pencil holder.
  5. Use well washed glass jars and plastic jars to hold items.
  6. Buy used. If you need shelves or containers, hit the thrift store or yard sales.
  7. Repurpose things you already have. Do you have any unused furniture sitting in an attic or basement. Could an old chest of drawers be used to organize kids papers and craft supplies? Sometimes a fresh coat of paint and some new drawer pulls can do wonders.
  8. Use old dresser drawers underneath beds to store items. If you are worried about dust, place a beach towel over the drawer that can be easily washed. There isn't a week that goes by that I don't see someone put an old dresser out at the curb.
  9. Ask your friends, neighbors and family members for things that they aren't using. Let them know you're trying to get organized and e-mail them a list of things you'd like to have. You might be surprised at what people have stored away that they are happy to part with.
  10. Once you're organized, stay organized. If you know what you have and where it is, you'll eliminate making the mistake of buying duplicate items.
What are your sustainable home organization tips?
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Audrey said...

In my experience it is more expensive to go to a thrift store for things like shelves as you mentioned. Much cheaper to figure our what you need then shop around. Prices at Goodwill and such places are ridiculous.

Robin Shreeves said...

Audrey - I, too, have noticed that Goodwill's furniture prices can be expensive. I'm all for being sustainable and frugal at the same time. Perhaps a yard sale or a friend's attic is a more affordable place to get used furniture.

Deoxy said...

I suggest getting to know the thrift stores in your area. Goodwill may be expensive, but there may be another that is much cheaper. That is how it is in my neighborhood.