Clutter Free ....Make a Green Difference

by Katy Green

Many people examine their lives and make a resolution to live more healthy, more green, more altruistic at the beginning of the year. The best way to start the process is to organize and declutter. 

Clutter Free
TLC's Hoarding: Buried Alive  is an extreme version of clutter and it features people that have a compulsion to accumulate and store large quantities of nonessential things.

Most people don't hoard but it is not healthy to hold on to stuff that you don't need and give it to charity, recycle or sell.
I am sure you are thinking "I don't have time to organize all of my email accounts much less organize my closet"
I know I feel the same way but it is important because being organized saves you time, reduces stress and is earth friendly.

Are you an "innie" or an "outie"?
  • According to, you need to decide if you are a "innie" or an "outie" before you embark on your clutter free journey.
    • An innie is someone who likes to store stuff in closed containers for a 'clean and tidy' look.
    • An outie is someone who worries that they'll forget something they don't see, so they like to organize things in plain sight.
3 Questions to Ponder:
  1. "When was the last time I used this item? If you can't remember or if you never used it then you don't need it.
  2. Will I use this item in the next 3 months? If no, then will I use it in the next 6 months? No, then you don't really need it.
  3. Are you keeping an item because it has sentimental value but you never plan to use it? Well, there is no right or wrong answer but sentiment is a symbol of a memory or an experience you can recall on any time without the item.
Five Green Ways to be Clutter Free:

Junky Drawers

Junk Drawer: If it’s out of sight, it might end up out of mind. Put junk-drawer stuff on display.
  • If you an "innie" then "a junk drawer" is your enemy.
  • Go through all of your items and decide what to keep and what to discard.
  • Most junk items are not worth saving and the more junk you have the more dust and pollution.
  • Think transparent. Small, see-through recycled glass jars can house change, push pins, rubber bands and more.
  • No plastic or boxes. Glass is the best preserver of items. (source
  • If you are an outie try to keep your glass jars to a minimum. You don't need to keep all items that you no longer need in a jar.
Mail or Bill Collector
  • Store mail or bills in an organizer near to a recyclable basket so you can discard easily.
  • Nothing is more daunting that sorting mail. Try to sort daily. I sort whenever I watch TV during the commercial breaks.
  • Best way to reduce mail is to opt for paper free which is offered by all credit card companies, banks and utility companies. 
  • Certain companies offer incentives for paying through electronic debit.
Note: Certain bills and documents must be kept for seven years. Go clutter free by creating a virtual file cabinet. Remember to use an external hard drive and keep it in a safe place. Don't use a thumb drive either.
Clothes Addict
  • Organize the closet by what you wear the most and put that first and sort by color and season. Everyone says sort by color and season first but there are certain outfits I like to wear often.
  • Store or sort all Spring and Summer clothes and place in organizer cloth bins in your closet or in storage.
  • Donate all items you no longer wear to the your local organization or to a clothes swap. For more information, visit\
Makeup and Medicine Madness
Cosmetic Recycle Programs
  • Back to MAC Program - US (MAC brand only)
  • Kiehl’s Recycle and Be Rewarded Program - US (stores only) not easily listed on website so I copied what is on their Q&A.
    When empty Kiehl’s product containers are returned you earn rewards. After returning 3 containers, you receive a Lip Balm #1. After returning 5 containers, you receive a travel sized product. After returning 10 containers you receive a full sized product valued up to $25.00. If you have further questions we suggest you contact your local store directly for further information.
  • To locate your nearest Kiehl's store, we invite you to use our Store Locator by clicking here. Simply enter your zip code to find the addresses of Kiehl's stores most convenient for you.
  • Lip-Ink Recycle Program - International
  • Return to Origins Recycling Program  - US and Worldwide (any brand Origins brand containers) not easily visible on the Origins site but one of their friendly reps helped me locate it. You can recycle at any Orgins store or department store Origins counter.
  • Recycle Caps with AVEDA - US (this is not for makeup but for general caps)