Clutter Free Living!
By Misty McNallyNatural Home MagazineJanuary 2007
I was interviewed and quoted extensively in this article.
We don’t need to tell you that Americans have a lot of clutter. It fills our closets, our basements, our desks. In addition to the stress that can cause, our overstuffed lives present environmental dilemmas. We need bigger homes than our parents and grandparents did, even though our families are smaller. And when we can’t find that seldom-used punch bowl amid the mess, we run out and buy another one—not exactly the most prudent use of our world’s resources.
For a clutter-free house, we need to let go of our “stuff,” organize what remains and avoid acquiring more stuff to take the place of the old. Seems so simple. Why is it so difficult?
Plastics, including polystyrene (Styrofoam), bubble wrap, and PVC or vinyl tubs and bins, are made from nonrenewable petroleum, which can outgas harmful odors and chemicals into the environment—and onto the stuff you store in it. This could discolor linens and clothing or damage photos and documents.
The best way to keep your keepsakes? Avoid storing them in basements or crawl spaces where they might get wet or damp. Steer clear of plastic containers and wraps altogether—especially those made of PVC. Always use acid-free, dye-free papers and boxes if you’re protecting valuables, such as antiques, or packing away household items made from porous materials, such as cloth, paper or wood.
Instead of: Bubble wrap, packing “peanuts” or Styrofoam, Use this: Tissue paper, recycled newspaper, old towels, worn-out T-shirts; Storage tips: Wrap fragile holiday table settings and décor in holiday linens.
Instead of: Large plastic or PVC storage bins and tubs, Use this: Cardboard boxes (especially those with recycled content); Storage tips: Used computer or copy-paper boxes are sturdy and often have handles.
Instead of: Plastic crates or modular pieces, Use this: Metal modular furnishings, or those made from wood or other fibers; Storage tips: Steel or aluminum modular furnishings or stackable storage bins are sturdy and ultimately recyclable. Or look for modulars made from either Forest Stewardship Council–certified wood or wood substitutes, including bamboo, wheatboard (made from wheat stalks) or Kirei board (constructed from sorghum stalks).
Instead of: Plastic zip bags, Use this: Cloth bags or canvas bins; Storage tips:Tote bags, cloth laundry bags or canvas bins are ideal for storing clothing, towels, linens and craft supplies.
Instead of: Plastic laundry hampers, Use this: Baskets; Storage tips: Look for fair trade baskets made from all-natural or recycled materials.
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