Monday, March 3, 2014

Conservation Monday #5: Reducing Waste in Other Rooms

It's Monday, which means it's once again time to share some conservation/waste reduction tips!

The last two weeks, we've looked at some ways to reduce waste in the kitchen and the bathroom. For us, these two rooms are the biggest waste generators. But today let's look at some other areas of the house where you may be able to cut down your waste and conserve resources.


1. Get Rid of Old Clothes. While you may not think of old clothes sitting in the closet as "waste," they are certainly wasting your space if you are not wearing them! If items are in good enough condition, and you have the time, you may be able to sell them online, to a place like Plato's Closet, or through another consignment store. Otherwise, donate! Free up that closet or drawer space for the clothes that you actually do wear.

2. Minimize Clutter. Again, not exactly a waste stream issue, but by reducing clutter you will save time cleaning and organizing.

3. Use Blankets instead of a Heater. If you live in a mild enough climate (this may not necessarily work for you if you have inches of snow on the ground!) pile up the blankets and leave the heater off. You'll save energy, which in turn reduces your electric or gas bill.

Home Office

1. Junk Mail. It's so easy to let papers just come into the house, and then what do you do with them? Hopefully you're able to toss them in the recycling, though there are those pesky ads that have some plastic coating on them preventing recycling. But wouldn't it be better to stop the junk from ever coming into the house? The Federal Trade Commission website shows you some ways to opt out of unwanted mailings (and phone calls!). DMA Choice also allows you to opt out of certain unwanted mailings.

2. Print Judiciously. It's very easy to get into the habit of printing out everything. But if you only print out the files that you truly need a hard copy of, you will reduce paper usage and reduce your need for storage.

3. Sell Old Books. If you have old books you aren't going to read again, sell them to your favorite used book store. One of my favorite used book stores will even pay you more if you take store credit rather than cash. Since I always find great art/architecture/theater reference books there, I'll happily trade old fiction for more long-term resources!

that top shelf has a nice hole in the sea of books - the former residents are in a box waiting to be sold, and read by someone new

Living Room

1. Reduce clutter. Once again, clutter reduction saves time and effort when it comes to cleaning.

2. Rent/Borrow vs Buy. This applies to movies, books, even video games. By renting movies and TV shows (from either a physical rental place, or Netflix) you have access to lots of media without having to purchase it. This can save you money, save space, and reduce the amount of packaging that enters the waste stream from producing all those DVDs. Borrowing from friends is also a great resource, and free!
Your local library is also an amazing resource. I haven't bought many new books in the last couple years (when I have, it's primarily been for school) as our public library is so extensive. Some people also borrow movies from the library; personally I haven't had the best of luck with this as DVDs are often scratched. However I have had excellent luck borrowing music and books on tape from the library.

3. Use those Blankets! Just like the bedroom, blankets can be used to keep warm instead of a heater. I enjoy curling up on the couch with a cozy throw blanket while reading or watching TV. If your heater can get noisy like ours, you want to avoid using it while watching TV anyway!

 you can see my pile of blankets on the stool above

Of course, if you have any other suggestions for reducing waste in any of these areas, please share in the comments!

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