Reuse: Find New Uses for Old Things

Being organized has great personal benefits. You can easily find things, save time and money, and become incredibly productive. Getting organized can have great environmental benefits as well. By following the three Rs (reduce, reuse, recycle), you’ll use fewer natural resources, discover new uses for old things, and find fresh homes for your castoffs. Tackle the second “R” -- reuse -- by finding creative new uses for your things. It’s not only environmentally friendly, it’s fun and allows you to stay organized! 

Make old furniture new again. A can of colorful spray paint can liven up an old picture frame. A coat of glossy paint can transform an old dresser into something new and fabulous. 

Hold a clothing swap with friends. Invite some pals to a clothing exchange party. Have each person bring 5-10 items she no longer wears, and swap them over music and hors d’oeuvres. Everyone leaves with a free new wardrobe! Send the leftovers to a local charity.

Shop smart. When you need something, consider buying it used at a secondhand store. You can find everything from upscale clothing to furniture, books, building supplies, and more.

Rotate toys. If you have kids, send Barbie on a vacation for a while, let the stuffed animals hibernate, and let some games take a time-out. Bring those toys out a few months later and they’ll seem like new.

Find new uses for disposable items. Make fun projects with reused materials, such as old film canisters, CD jewel cases, and baby food jars.

Create your own organizing containers. Rather than spend tons of money on plastic organizing bins, drawer dividers, and wicker baskets, reinvent common household items: The small boxes that your checks come in make great drawer dividers. Oatmeal boxes nicely hold art supplies like crayons and pencils. An ice cube tray neatly divides earrings or holds desk supplies like paper clips and tacks. Look around your home and see what inspires you!

© 2018 Articles on Demand™



Reduce: Make the Earth Happy

One of the great benefits to living an organized life is the positive impact you can have on our environment. When you’re organized, you can buy less stuff (reduce), you can think of creative ways to reinvent old items (reuse), and you can thoughtfully dispose of your discards (recycle). Follow these tips to tackle the first “R.”  You’ll earn key benefits like saving money, time, and natural resources, as well as feeling less cluttered and stressed at home and work

Think before you buy. Studies show that 80 percent of what we use comes from 20 percent of what we own. That means that 80 percent of the things in our homes are rarely or never used. Next time, before you buy, think about the time you’ll spend in cleaning, storing, and maintaining that item after you bring it home. If you must buy, establish a “new item in, old item out” system where some purging takes place before shopping, meaning less clutter in your home.

Reduce waste at the office. Try to generate less paper by printing less and saving more to electronic storage, such as your computer or a CD-ROM. Send an e-mail rather than a printed memo or letter. Think before you hit “print” and you’ll have less paper to deal with on your desk.

Purchase items that have less packaging. Buy concentrates, such as orange juice and laundry detergent. Avoid single-serving products and buy in bulk instead. Reuse paper or plastic shopping bags or bring your own sturdy cloth tote, thus reducing a messy pile of bags littering your home.

Reduce travel toxins. Opt for walking, biking, or taking the bus or subway over driving a car. Try to combine trips when running errands to save time, money, and natural resources.


© 2018 Articles on Demand™

Sort It Out

With the huge variety of organizing products out there, it’s easy to become overwhelmed — and cash-strapped — when shopping for containers. A professional organizer can help you demystify the myriad of bins, boxes, and baskets so you purchase products within your budget that will be beneficial for you and your spaces. You can also try some of these creative storage solutions.

The first thing — before you ever step foot in a store with the intention of buying organizing paraphernalia — is to sort, pare down, and evaluate your stuff. Whether it’s a closet crammed with clothes or a tiny junk drawer full of oddball items, you can’t contain it until you follow these steps:

SORT

1) Sort: Pick a space to tackle, and gather similar things together into piles. For example, if you’re organizing your bathroom, separate out hair-care products, first-aid supplies, towels/linens, make-up, paper products, etc. Once you can clearly see everything you have...

PARE DOWN

2) Pare down: You probably own much more than you originally thought, so start tossing! Get rid of anything broken, stained, or past its prime. Then, for remaining items, ask yourself if each item is truly beautiful, useful, or loved. If not, it’s time to go! Recycle, donate, or share those things with someone who really needs them, and then..

EVALUATE WHAT'S LEFT

3) Evaluate what’s left: You probably don’t have nearly as much stuff as when you started! That’s a good thing. Now that you’re down to the essentials, you can...

FIND THE RIGHT SPOT

4) Find the right spot: Decide where you’ll store each category of items, take note of the size of the spaces you have, and figure out what type of storage containers will work best. (Use a tape measure!) Now, you can begin either shopping for new containers or creatively reusing ones that you already own, saving environmental resources and money.

© 2018 Articles on Demand™