Home & FamilyThe Green SceneHow to Tidy Up Your Home and Save the Planet

How to Tidy Up Your Home and Save the Planet

You don’t have to be a hoarder to realize that a lot of the clutter in your home can go. Maybe you’ve got an extra kitchen table and chairs in the basement that you never use, or perhaps it’s Grandma’s 18-place-setting china gathering dust in the attic.
unused stuff

But did you ever consider how you could help others when you get rid of your unneeded possessions? Or maybe that you could even help the planet? Here are five ways to give back while giving away.

1. Help Your Garden Grow
Empty yogurt containers can be great to help seedlings grow in your garden, since they’re the perfect size for new plants. Or, cut the bottoms off of plastic water bottles to create an instant mini-greenhouse for new plants. Either way, you’ll be reusing something that would be clogging a landfill somewhere while you provide oxygen for the planet. You can even use old Styrofoam packing peanuts as gravel in the bottom of potted plants.

2. Make Your Trash Work for You
Instead of buying new trash bags, use plastic and paper bags from stores to hold your refuse. Empty Kleenex boxes make great mini trash containers for the car, or use them as plastic bag dispensers. In fact, get creative with any container, as containers are among the easiest household items to reuse. If you’re thinking a little bigger, you can even find places to donate your old car, such as Kars4Kids.
3. Unwanted Clothes? Sleep On ‘Em
If you’re like most people, you have a few shirts in your closet that you haven’t worn in a year or two. You could donate them, but if you’re feeling crafty, buy some pillow stuffing and sew them into pillows! You’ll save a ton of money compared to buying new pillows and pillow covers.
4. Drink Wine, Make Art
Empty wine bottles can be used for a variety of artistic projects. Make a vase or a lamp, or maybe a soap pump or salad dressing bottle (if you add a pour spout). If you’re the adventurous type, you can even find directions online to tell you how to make your own drinking glasses out of wine bottles! If not, your city may have an artists’ center that will gladly accept items like wine bottles as donations.
5. Junk the Junk Mail
If you receive a lot of junk mail or unwanted catalogs, take the time to call the companies who send them to you and ask to be taken off their mailing lists. Or better yet, check out the Direct Marketing Association to save yourself some time in taking yourself off the big marketers’ mailing lists.
So as you look around your house, try to see things with new eyes. What other uses could that item have? Who might like to get his hands on that old box or book or bottle? Here’s a challenge: find three items in your house today and use them in a different way than they were originally intended to be. It might start you down the road toward becoming a master reuser and expert planet rescuer!

By: Janice Hill


  1. I use the ideas from # 2 all the time – plastic grocery bags are the perfect size for bathroom and bedroom garbage containers.
    I am starting to grow new plants, and love the yogurt container idea, will be trying that!


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Subscribe Today





Get unlimited access to our EXCLUSIVE Content and our archive of subscriber stories.

Exclusive content

More article