Guest Post: Eco-Friendly Decluttering

This week, we have a guest post from home organization industry professional Alice Robertson!


George Carlin once said that life is all about trying to find a place for your stuff (link is NSFW). However, sometimes the stuff takes over and you just want to clear out your space and make a fresh start. As tempting as it can be to just toss out the excess and move on, decluttering should be a thoughtful process, done with an eye to the responsible disposal of belongings both small and large. Protecting the environment is about more than just recycling your plastics; furniture, clothing, paper, and electronics can also pose a threat to nature, and should be cleared away responsibly.


Eco-Friendly Cleaning

Decluttering and cleaning often go hand in hand. If you’re going to the trouble of clearing out all that old junk, you might as well make a fresh start and clean out what’s left behind. However, think twice before using industrial and bleach-oriented cleaning substances. Instead, try cleaning with baking soda, lemon juice, peroxide or vinegar, or eco-friendly cleaning materials from Seventh Generation, JR Watkins, and similar companies.


Electronics and Appliances

Image by Curtis Palmer

These days, most of us have leftover electronic devices and an accumulation of cords, adapters, earbuds, and old computer mouses that will never see the light of day again. Instead of overstuffing your drawers and leaving a trail of electronic debris that date back to the Walkman era, why not box it all up and take it to the nearest electronics recycling center, or donate it all to a charitable organization?

Few things clutter a house like excess appliances. Some people accumulate old microwaves, toasters, and televisions for no other reason than they don’t know what to do with them, not wanting to just leave them out for the trash collectors to deal with. That’s good because electronics that get tossed into landfills are a real environmental problem, leaching ozone-depleting chemicals like chlorofluorocarbons into groundwater.

Look for a nearby recycling station for appliances, or arrange to have them taken to a scrap metal recycler (you may be able to sell them for scrap). Remember, if any of your old appliances are still functional, try to donate them before tossing them out.


Clothing and Bedding

Fast fashion is filling landfills at an unsustainable rate. Image from Trusted Clothes.

Textiles are a major source of landfill waste, so donating or recycling clothing and bedding is a truly eco-friendly act. Most of us allow old clothing to pile up and get out of control, but there are many options for donating old clothing to charity, from homeless shelters to hospitals and homes for abused children. And you can always take excess clothing to a local consignment store and earn a few dollars for your trouble.

Bedding is another source of landfill excess that can be donated to Goodwill or the Salvation Army thrift shops, which will gladly take your comforters, sheets, curtains, and blankets. A local animal shelter will be glad to take any excess towels you may have. Some communities even have textile recycling centers.


Scan Away

Paper clutter is a major nuisance and can grow in considerable volume, as can old photographs. So, why not make technology work for you and scan any necessary documents and old pictures that can be uploaded to the cloud for virtual storage. It’s one of the greatest developments for storage efficiency in recent memory and a truly environmentally friendly asset.


Approach decluttering as a liberating task that creates space and order that can be done in an environmentally responsible manner. Many of the objects that comprise clutter create a major environmental problem when discarded, so take advantage of any opportunity to donate and recycle.

For more from Alice Robertson or on eco-friendly cleaning, visit