Eco-Friendly Decluttering: Good for You, Good for the Planet by Claudia of @la.eco.latina
Like most people who binge-watched “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo” this year, the promise of life-changing magic and more joy as a result of tackling clutter had me asking, "how do I sign up?". In years past, I didn't bat an eyelash when it came time to tackle spring cleaning. I would prepare for the occasion by grabbing some trash bags and tossing in anything that wasn't nailed down. To my credit, I always donated items that appeared to still have some life in them: books, clothing, electronics, etc. However, since changing my mindset and habits towards a more sustainable lifestyle (my definition is having less of a negative impact on the planet), I've taken a more mindfulness approach toward eco-friendly decluttering. Here are my lessons learned and recommendations to help you reduce clutter without sacrificing the health of our planet.
Share with your community
Buy Nothing Project: Consider joining your local Buy Nothing group on Facebook to donate items that are still in good condition but no longer serve your needs. Eco-Tip: if you’re looking for a particular item (like when I was looking for a bread pan) check with your fellow Buy Nothingers first.
Freecycle: The Freecycle community is all about reusing and keeping items out of landfills. I like to think of it as Craigslist’s more optimistic sibling which is centered on good karma and positive vibes. This is also a good alternative to the Buy Nothing Project which is dependant on having a Facebook account. Eco-Tip: I like to subscribe to my local group’s weekly digest so I can see what types of items are wanted by my community members. I was able to gift an old mannequin to a local knitter so they could display their scarves and up their online sales.
Charity donation: There are countless worthy causes working within the local, statewide and national level so deciding on which one to support is up to each individual. I like to donate items of value to local charities that align with my personal values and ethics. My favorite animal shelter has a treasure shop that specializes in clothing and housewares. I like saving items like outerwear and electronics for donation so that I can help contribute to the expense of providing housing, medical treatment, and adoption services for animals waiting for their forever home. Other donations with a purpose are World Computer Exchange and Give Back Box.
A few years ago your only online consignment option was eBay. Nowadays there are a few niche resale options like Poshmark--geared towards customers with an affinity towards brand names--as well as my go-to social marketplace, Mercari. Mercari is great for anyone looking to sell home goods, clothing, sports equipment, and more! I’ve had great experiences with all three platforms and recommend doing a bit of research to determine the price point.
Environmentally responsible disposal
What do you do if you have items that are no longer in working order, good condition or you don’t have the resources available to repair? Here is a helpful guide to empower you to act on behalf of the planet.
Do you have other eco-friendly decluttering tips? Share them with me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
CLAUDIA PINEDA TIBBS is an environmental educator and sustainability advocate. She currently works at the Monterey Bay Aquarium and is also the founder of LA ECO LATINA - which is her mission to add diversity to the sustainability community through the context of community advocacy, civic action and environmental justice. You can learn more about Claudia HERE Adding diversity to the sustainability community through the context of community advocacy, civic action and environmental justice.