Be green, be organized! How and why organizing is eco-friendly.

You might think that saving things rather than discarding them is good for the environment. Well, there are eco-friendly ways to make your home more functional, more fashionable! It's all about finding the right places for your existing belongings and making plans to reduce future consumption. Here are just a few ways that individuals and families can live simpler and greener...

Use technology to save space in your home, give to those in need and do better for the environment.

  • Invest in an electronic reader such as Amazon's Kindle or the Nook by Barnes & Noble. Yes, you'll miss the feel of the pages in your hands at first, but you'll soon get used to your reader. You'll save money on buying books and magazines, and you'll be able to travel with as many books as you wish with only the weight of your reader in your bag. Fewer hard copy books means more space in your home and less paper used for production. Think about donating your old books to local schools or libraries, where they can be enjoyed by those who can't otherwise access them.
  • Now that we can buy, manage and play music and videos online, think about selling or donating your old CDs and DVDs for someone who needs them.
  • Scan old photographs into your computer, where you can preserve them, and enjoy them more often and more easily.
  • Hire a digital conversion service to transfer old cassettes onto DVD. Your files will be better preserved and take up a lot less storage space.

Recycle, reuse, renew, repurpose your stuff

  • Items jammed into junk drawers, spilling from closets or - cringe! - rotting in storage spaces cost you time, energy, peace of mind and sometimes even money. They're also valuable resources being wasted in valuable space. By finding a new purpose for these items, even if it's someone else's use, you cut down on the need for future spending of money and natural resources.
  • Ever buy a brand new kitchen appliance only to discover later you already have one - or two - at home in a pile of old wedding gifts? When you have an organized system in place, you always have an accurate inventory and your resources are best put to use.

Involving children in organization projects is a great way to teach them about mindful consumption as well as instill personal organization skills, which will serve them well in school and later in life. It's also nice to have the help and the company while you work!