Tuesday, May 27, 2014

De-Cluttering Your Life Benefits You and the Environment

Do you wonder whether it is worth the time and energy to de-clutter your life? Consider the costs of not reducing your clutter intake:

  • Spending money to store items you do not use
  • Investing constant time and money to maintain all you own, whether it is useful and loved or not
  • Clutter increases daily stress level and lowers self esteem
  • You cannot take it with you. Those who are left to inherit and deal with your clutter will be grateful to you for dealing with it now.
  • When you eliminate the unnecessary, you open the door for new things that can enrich your life in new ways. 
  • Having less increases your ability to enjoy the here and now.

Some sobering statistics:
  • The average American gets over 50,000 pieces of mail in a lifetime, one-third of it junk.
  • The average American consumes more than 700 pounds of paper a year.
  • 80 percent of filed papers are never referenced again; 50 percent of filed materials are duplicates or expired information.
  • 60 percent of materials going to storage have no retention value and should have been destroyed.
  • If the United States cut office paper use by just 10% it would prevent the emission of 1.6 million tons of greenhouse gases -- the equivalent of taking 280,000 cars off the road.
  • Cleaning would be reduced by 40 percent if clutter were eliminated.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Reduce Clutter and Help the Environment with “Green Organizing”

Getting organized is about more than just finding a home for things and purchasing containers to hold all your stuff. It is about using what you have before buying more, donating what you do not need, and recycling whenever you can. For that reason, organizing itself is about being more environmentally aware. 

To truly live a greener lifestyle, it requires making better choices at the time of consumption. Everything you buy requires energy to produce, chemicals to create and packaging to discard. By thinking before you buy, not only will you then be helping to lessen your footprint, but you will save an enormous amount of time, energy and money by not having to manage, clean, find space for and eventually discard more stuff from your life.

The following tips will help you live greener and more organized:

For Future Purchases
When making purchases, remember this slogan: “Reduce-recycle-rethink purchases.”

Here are some things to ask yourself before your next purchase:
  • Do I really NEED this?
  • When am I going to use it?
  • Will I be glad I have this a week from now or a month from now?

To avoid emotional purchases:
  • Write down what you want, but wait a week before buying it to see if you still feel the same.
  • Notice what you tend to buy over and over again (weaknesses) like shoes, purses, new electrical gadgets so that you can avoid shopping in those stores or catalogs.
  • Make an agreement not to buy anything other than groceries and necessary personal items for one month. Notice how much you save that month and how it makes you feel.

For a Greener Office
Two simple ways you can have a greener office is to reduce energy and paper consumption.
  • Buy “efficient” (look for the Energy Star logo) equipment and turn it off when it is not in use. The electricity used to run office equipment costs homeowners and businesses $4.85 billion each year.
  • Consider using a laptop rather than a desktop computer to save a lot of energy.
  • Use recycled paper and office products. Print on both sides of paper before recycling it. 
  • Purchase recycled paper, toner, ink cartridges and recycle them yourself. 
  • Use less paper. If printing less is not an option for you, you can reduce paper use by 4.75 percent simply by changing your margins. The standard Microsoft Word document sets the margins at 1 inch on the top and bottom of the page, and at 1.75 inches on each side. Reducing those margins to .75 inch each saves paper, money, and trees.

For Green Cleaning
  • Use biodegradable cleaning products.
  • Keep ingredients such as white vinegar, hydrogen peroxide, baking soda, lemon juice and club soda handy to make home recipes for safely cleaning your house.