green-blocks.jpgFor those of us to whom organization does not come naturally, it can be quite a challenge. Personally, I know when I watch those organizing shows on cable, it makes me want to empty my whole house and start fresh. If only that were an option…

While being organized is a great feeling, getting there can be a less-than-green proposition, especially with all the stuff that’s now available to “help” us. But here’s a little known secret about buying all that great organizational gear—you will only stay organized if you work at it.

Buying those things will not magically transform one into a more organized person and frankly, one of the best ways to stay organized is to simply buy less stuff and get rid of the stuff you don’t use. You may have heard the old expression “Use it up, wear it out, make do or do without.” It’s especially relevant to green organizing. In short, the less you have to manage, the less you have to manage.The first step is going through everything you have and deciding if you really need it or not. If I haven’t touched it, thought about it or used it in a year, it has to go. If it’s something usable, then by all means, give it a second chance with someone else. Yard sales, Freecycle, charity thrift stores and Craigslist are great ways to get rid of things without relegating them to the landfill.

Once you’ve figured out what you don’t want anymore, think about storage for the items you’re keeping.

Chances are you have plenty of storage bins already in addition to things in your home that you can repurpose for storage. Shoe boxes, wooden crates, berry baskets and empty jars can store anything from paperwork to office supplies to puzzle pieces and more. Another idea is to check with shoe stores to see if they have spare boxes or ask them to hold some for you. They can be labeled and even decorated with fabric or paper if you want something more aesthetically pleasing. If you must buy containers for organizing, you can find smaller plastic storage boxes made from biodegradable corn starch from EcoGen at Organize.com and Emu galvanized steel boxes at Ikea.com

Of course, to keep your newly organized home or office as such, you’ll have to cut back on the clutter stream. Start by getting rid of junk mail. Catalogchoice.org is a free service that will let you pick and choose which catalogs you want and don’t want—or stop ALL junk mail for $8.20 per year at 41pounds.org

And finally, the most important green organizing tip of all—buy quality things that will last and when you do buy, consume more consciously. If you don’t really NEED something or can get the job done with something you already have, consider taking that route instead. Not only will you save space and cut down on clutter but you’ll also save money. It’s a win-win for your home and the earth, as well as your wallet.

Do you have some great green organizing tips? Please feel free to share them!

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