Living a more environmentally sound life is a wonderful thing. It benefits you, your family, your neighbors and helps put a few more tokens in the machine, so to speak, to keep this planet running.
But, is there a downside to going green? On a larger scale, the benefits of repurposing and reusing certainly come out on top, but beware: there are some pitfalls.
Pitfalls to repurposing — Know them, avoid them
Creating clutter. Is your repurposing habit turning into a hoarding habit? When every last inch of your cabinets and closets is filled with empty jars, butter tubs, bottle caps and wine corks, scraps of cardboard, holey socks and — what, you mean there’s more?? If this sounds like your house, it’s time to put a method to your madness.
- Find a designated spot to store items marked for reuse. When this spot is full, that’s it!
- Put a time limit on how long to keep things. If you haven’t found a new use for the toilet paper rolls, empty pasta boxes or baby food jars in 6 months or 10 months (please, no longer than a year), it’s time to recycle or freecycle.
Forgetting to reduce. “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” isn’t just a catchy phrase, it’s an ordered set of instructions. If your household is constantly overrun with excess stuff, it’s time to reduce the amount of waste you create. Here are a few simple ideas you can put into practice today:
- Buy in bulk. It reduces packaging waste and saves time and money.
- Avoid convenience-sized anything. Resist the temptation to buy cute little snack packs! Not only are they more expensive, but they create an excessive amount of paper and plastic waste. Buy larger bags/boxes and portion out snacks in reusable containers.
- Buy used. If you’ve never stepped foot in a thrift or consignment store, now is the time to start. Thrift stores house hidden treasures of high quality clothing and household items. The next time you need something, check out a couple of local thrift stores before visiting your regular retail shops. Want some tips? Check out these helpful articles.
- Invest in your purchases. When possible, spend a little more money on items like clothing, appliances and furniture. Higher quality items last longer, which saves you money and reduces waste.
Repurposing too soon. You wouldn’t dump out a full jar of pickles just because you needed the jar. Likewise, don’t cut up your spouse’s favorite pair of jeans just so you can make a cool new craft. If the item in question is still being used for its original purpose, leave it be.
“Everything should be made as simple as possible, but no simpler.”
Repurposing is meant to be a method to simplify your life and reduce your impact on the environment. If going green is making you blue, don’t get discouraged; take a few moments to rethink and reorganize to make it work for you.
How do you keep repurposing simple in your house?