How clearing clutter can reduce your carbon footprint

We all know that clutter isn’t a good thing. We’ve read articles about how a cluttered space can affect our moods or make allergies worse. As if that weren’t incentive enough to get rid of all the extra stuff, there’s another great reason: Clutter is bad for the environment.

Consume less, fill less space

Often, discussions about climate change and “going green” center on the concept of your carbon footprint, or the overall impact that your daily activities have on the environment. The more fossil fuels you use, the higher your carbon footprint. And it’s not just our cars that use fuels, either. Fossil fuels are used to create electricity to power appliances, as well as create the items we use every day—and the items that we don’t actually use, the ones that form clutter.

It’s not only the manufacturing of items that affects your carbon footprint, either. When your home is filled with clutter, it can actually be less energy-efficient. When furniture, boxes and other items block vents or windows, you may consume more energy, as your heating and cooling systems will have to work harder. Not to mention, when your windows and doors are blocked by “stuff,” you’re less likely to keep them maintained, meaning that you could be letting cold or warm air out and increasing energy usage.

We all have a responsibility to work together to reduce harmful greenhouse gases and protect the Earth, and a good place to start is by clearing out your clutter. Fortunately, it’s easy to do, and you’ll have a healthier home in the process.

Reduce, reuse, recycle

As you clear out the clutter, your first instinct might be to throw away things that you don’t need, but before you do, consider whether you could recycle or donate them instead. Old electronics, for example, should not be thrown away because they can leech harmful chemicals into the soil, so it all should be donated or delivered to an electronics recycling center, which will appropriately dispose of the items.

Clothing, toys and household items are obvious candidates for donation, but you can also donate larger items such as boats and cars. In fact, older vehicles can be harmful to the environment in many ways, so donating them to be properly disposed of or restored reduces your footprint in several ways. If you have older equipment such as lawn mowers or snow blowers taking up space in your garage, look for programs that will allow you to trade them in for newer, more efficient models.

Recycling your clutter will also reduce your footprint. You might be surprised at what your local recycling center will accept. Paper, metal, glass and cardboard can all be recycled. At the same time, commit to reducing your consumption of these items. Look for products with less packaging, buy in bulk or bring your own reusable containers to limit the resources you use and the clutter that you bring into your home.

Keeping your home clutter-free requires thoughtfully considering your purchases and thinking about what you need. Whenever possible, borrow items that you will only use once, and look for local, sustainable products. Not only will you have a cleaner, more organized home, but the Earth will thank you. 

Learn how to recycle your old furniture