This post is my contribution to the January Green Moms Carnival: “Green Decluttering” hosted by Amber.
I am not an expert in cleaning, especially since Joshua was born. I honestly see no reason to continue to clean the same thing when you can’t even see the dirt there. If something’s not visibly dirty, I’m not going to clean it.
However, clutter does bother me. As a teacher, my biggest clutter problem is paper. Piles and piles of paper. The only thing I’ve found to really remedy the paper pile problem is to not create the clutter in the first place. In the past few years, I’ve made a real effort to not bring unnecessary paper into the house.
Here are the best ways I’ve found to reduce my paper clutter at home:
- Think before I print! I don’t keep my printer hooked up to my laptop at all times, so I actually have to walk into the other room to print. This really helps reduce my printing because my laziness prevents it. I have a pretty notebook that I write recipes in, so when I find one online, I copy it down into the notebook. I’m sure you could do this electronically as well, but I like the notebook method.
- Only do work electronically at home. I don’t bring lesson plans or assignment papers home. I have them all saved on my computer, so it’s easy to work on documents on the laptop. The only papers I bring home are ones I have to grade, and I haven’t yet found a way to reduce them!
- Reduce and then immediately sort junk mail! When I get the mail, I only bring the important items into the house. The rest of the mail stays in my car (we have a long driveway!) to wait for recycling day or goes right into the recycling bin. I’ve tried to reduce our junk mail by removing my name from lists, but we still get junk almost every day.
- Cancel the newspaper! You can read the news online for free. Or watch it on TV.
- Pay bills online or set up automatic payments. You won’t need stamps or envelopes and you won’t ever have a late payment.
- Immediately recycle envelopes and used scrap paper. These papers only contribute to clutter and make your piles bigger. You can save them to write on, but I’ve found that I’d rather use a contained notebook than disheveled scraps of paper.
Just like so many other aspects of being green, reducing consumption is a necessary first step. The best way to declutter is to prevent clutter in the first place. Now if only I could apply what I know about paper to toys…
Any tips on reducing toy clutter? I just throw them in a basket so far!