Day 18: How To Get Rid Of My Stuff With The Earth In Mind

Day 18 of the Small Changes, BIG Impact Challenge has me thinking of the big Marie Kondo book out now.  (Have you read it?  It is good, but with 4 kids, not super practical for a lot of it.  My girls do the laundry folding, and I am happy they help.  I am not about to train them how to “correctly” fold.  I do like the Joy based criterion for keeping stuff or purging it though.  I do love a lot about the book.)  I have been decluttering and reorganizing for years.  I highly enjoy it!  I don’t always know the best way to get stuff out of my house.  Do I throw it in the trash?  Do I recycle it?  Do I donate it to the local thrift store?  Am I ever going to sell stuff at the Moms of Multiples Sale?  What about the impact I am making on the Earth?  Am I being a responsible consumer?  Questions!  Questions!  Questions!  Today is all about a few answers and resources.  So, the challenge for today is simply to either use one of the resources I give you, or to find a local solution that is environmentally responsible to take or give your extra or unwanted stuff to.

Ready?  And go…

  •  Want to exchange, drop off, or donate your agricultural supplies, household hazardous waste, or business stuff.  Locally, you can take some of these things to Clean Sweep of Dane County.  Look on their site for further information.  If you are not local, no worries, many counties have programs you can take these items to.
  • Best Buy has a great recycling program for all things electronic.  They even give you 15% off of an HP Printer if you bring in a printer for recycling.  I think that is a win-win, and something I wish I would have known last week when I purchased a new printer.  At least I know where to take the old printer for recycling!
  • RecycleNation is a fantastic resource for you to learn what you can recycle and where.  I want to recycle (fill in the blank) in (fill in zip code) and then click search.  Too cool for school!!!
  • Recycle your reusable bags!  You can mail them to:  ChicoBag Company c/o Zero Waste Program, 13434 Browns Valley Drive, Chico, CA 95973.  You can send any and all reusable bags there!
  • Have crayon nubs laying around?  Miscellaneous crayons from party favor bags?  Did you know that you can recycle crayons of any size, regardless of their condition?  I did not know this!  When I completed my graduate studies, I headed a program to send our gently, as well as, not so gently used school supplies (nubby crayons and all) to a small village in Africa.  I wish I could recall the organization.  Check that out too.  I am sure there are many places that will accept things we totally take for granted.  (Right!)  For now, go to to see how you can recycle the crayons for now.
  • What do you do with your old tires?  There are actually 5 places within 20 miles of my home that will accept old tires.  Check out the RecycleNation site listed above and I bet you will find similar results to help you get those tires disposed of with the Earth in mind.
  • American Flags can be recycled through organizations, such as the Veterans of Foreign Wars post (VFW), the Boy or Girl Scouts of America, and The American Legion.  So, when you have a tattered and torn flag, give it a proper last home.
  • Do you have a pool?  Lucky, lucky, lucky!  Okay, so I would love to have a pool to dip my toes in during the hot summer days, but one thing I don’t want around here are pool chemicals.  Luckily, there are salt pool options these days and my girls can gladly dip their toes in those.  If you do have a pool that uses the conventional pool chemicals, you can contact a pool-supply company to inquire if they accept them for disposal or you can sometimes donate them to your community pool.
  • Do you bowl?  Do you own your own bowling ball?  Do you have one from the 80s that you no longer use?  You can often give your unwanted bowling balls to a local bowling alley.  Sometimes farmers put them in with pigs to entertain the piggies.  I bet there may even be a local artist that would take it off of your hands.  Other ideas?
  • I wish I practiced yoga more.  My type of yoga these days is the yoga I do trying to wrangle 2 year olds.  Needless to say, I do not have a yoga mat.  If you have yoga in your life enough to own your own mat, then you are super awesome in my book.  I strive to be centered (someday).  I hear that worn out yoga mats make great kneeling pads for gardening.  Who knew?  Super cool!  Are there other repurposing uses for them?
  • The American Birding Association will gladly take your used backpacks off your hands.  I know I have went through my fair share of backpacks over the years.  I am guessing you or your family has too.  You can contact them at 800.850.2473
  • How about all that junk mail in your inbox?  Even your email needs a purge from time to time.  You can unsubscribe with one click from all of those email newsletters you receive.  Go to to start.  Super cool!  (I had 93 subscriptions.  I was thinking 30 tops.)
  • Host a Swap Night!  Invite your friends, set a theme, drink wine (or not), and swap away!

Any Earth Friendly Tips you want to share to declutter your home and get rid of your someday I will deal with pile?


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