One of the challenges of downsizing is deciding what to do with the stuff you are getting rid of. And one way to begin simplifying that challenge is to ensure that you’re reducing your carbon and landfill footprints along with your clutter.
In other words, find environmentally neutral outlets for the materials you’re discarding.
In addition to selling the items that you no longer need or want to keep, there are multiple ways of dispensing things out of your home and life — while still letting them provide value to others in an environmentally friendly manner.
Five easy ways to reduce your environmental footprint when downsizing
Books, records, CDs and DVDs can be donated to libraries, schools, prisons, civic group fundraisers. Check with schools, churches and prisons on content restrictions before donating.
Clothing will find welcome and much-needed homes in shelters and disaster-relief organizations.
Cooking utensils and housewares are likewise much in demand at shelters and outreach centers.
Keep an eye out for organizations that assist in disaster recovery — they can be good outlets for furniture and working appliances.
Garden and workshop tools are nearly always in demand at shelters and community groups.
Two common challenges of downsizing
We all tend to have items — such as computers and magazines — that may be more difficult to recycle, but with a little thought and research you can find ways to minimize the environmental effects of moving them out of your life.
Old computers, phones and other e-trash can be recycled, but as we learn too often, the recyclers’ own environmental policies can be questionable and unreliable, check with local schools and electronics clubs to see if they have uses for old electronics.
Magazine and other glossy-paper products can be recycled but not composted. Take the time to sort your paper into the right pile.
And there are many other opportunities that are not included here, but we look forward to exploring with you!
When you make the decision to downsize you can also decide to do so in ways that not only do minimal harm to the environment but also help those in need.