Top 10 Ways to Eliminate Your Clutter Sustainably


Eliminate things you are not using in your home sustainably. In the book, Get Organized Today, Nancy Castelli, of BALANCE Organizing Services Company covers this topic and I’d like to add my thoughts.

10. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

We all know this, but how much do you practice it? In addition to recycling, how much do you try to reuse what you already have. Read some distressing trends.

9. Find a Donation Center You Love

The closer to home the better. Convenience is key, so you can donate easily and often.

8. Share Your Entertainment Collections

DVDs (if anyone uses them anymore), board games, but also serving dishes that you’d use for entertaining can all be borrowed from a family member or friend.

7. Unload Your Extra Office Supplies

Elementary schools would love your extra pens, pencils, paper, and art supplies. Send them over.

6. Get Rid of Your Tech and Electronic Gear

You can donate old cell phones and other working electronics. However, if it doesn’t work properly anymore, please drop it off for recycling.

5. Discard Lotions, Potions and Notions

If they are unopened, please drop off your extra healthcare products at a homeless shelter.

4. Get to Know Your Local Options for Trash and Recycling

Learn what is available in your area. Find out the days you have a home pick up and what requirements you have to abide by so nothing goes to the landfill by mistake.

3. Identify and Eliminate Toxic and Hazardous Waste

Many municipalities offer collection of hazardous waste. Therefore, learn what is available in your area. Check these DC Metro areas:

2. Build a Home Recycling Center

The easier you make it to recycle, the more the sustainable the practice will be for you. It doesn’t have to be fancy. Just have a home for your recycling and make it sustainably easy to use.

1. Stop Shopping

In conclusion, reuse what you have, swap, share. The less you shop and the less will go to the landfill in the future.

Get Organized Today

A collaboration of many professionals providing inspiration that affirms the power and importance of getting organized. The book provides practical ideas that you can use immediately to live a better, more effective life.

To purchase a book, go here.

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Janet Schiesl

Janet has been organizing since 2005. She is a Certified Professional Organizer and the owner of Basic Organization. She loves using her background as a space planner to challenge her clients to look at their space differently. She leads the team in large projects and works one-on-one with clients to help the process move quickly and comfortably. Call her crazy, but she loves to work with paper, to purge what is not needed and to create filing systems that work for each individual client. Janet is a Past President of the Washington DC Chapter of the National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals (NAPO) and was voted 2016 Organizer of the Year by the Washington DC Chapter of NAPO.


  1. Seana Turner on June 1, 2020 at 8:02 am

    One of the things I’ve missed most during this strange time has been the ability to donate. It has thrown a wrench into my personal rhythm and been a barrier for clients wanting to declutter. I can’t wait for the Vietnam Vets to start picking up again, because I ALWAYS have a box going for them. I think you make such a good point that there are so many ways to release our clutter in a way that benefits someone else!

    • Janet Schiesl on June 1, 2020 at 1:47 pm

      Thanks Seana. It’s nice to have options for clients. I agree with anticipating the donation centers opening up again.

  2. Stacey Agin Murray on June 1, 2020 at 11:00 am

    I have been recommending #7 to my clients for years! I’ve helped unwanted art supplies and office supplies make their way to many preschools and small business start-ups. I sometimes keep pens (donated by a client) in my purse and offer them to a store cashier when they can’t locate a pen. When I tell my clients about how happy they made children and adults with the donation of something they no longer needed or wanted, they feel great joy–a win-win!

    • Janet Schiesl on June 1, 2020 at 1:49 pm

      That’s wonderful Stacey. I’ve never thought of offering a pen to a cashier. Good idea.

  3. Sabrina Quairoli on June 1, 2020 at 12:14 pm

    I’m a big fan of being responsible when getting rid of clutter. So much so, I have two pages on my site – one for Recycling events and another for where to get rid of my stuff. People get very overwhelmed when they just don’t know where to donate items, especially the people who love nature and do not want to add to the trash piles. I am sharing this on my social media pages as another source for my friends in the DC area. Thank you!

    • Janet Schiesl on June 1, 2020 at 1:53 pm

      Thanks Sabrina. We also collect information like this for clients. The nature of the business I guess. There are so many options that people don’t know about. It’s great to be able to share information.

  4. Amy Slenker-Smith on June 1, 2020 at 1:39 pm

    Stop Shopping. Best advice ever. And the easiest way to eliminate clutter in your home. Recycling is good. But repurposing and doing without are much better for our planet. Great read!

    • Janet Schiesl on June 1, 2020 at 1:55 pm

      Yes! I like to say “recycling starts at the point of purchase”. I like to educate people on the idea that there would be less to recycle (or trash) if people didn’t buy as much. We like to joke that the stores are storing items for us until we need them.

  5. Lucy Kelly on June 3, 2020 at 10:55 am

    we have a wonderful place called ArtParts in our community that accepts used arts and crafts supplies and sells them at thrift store prices. I especially love donating perfectly good pens from my clients, they’re always thrilled that someone actually wants them!

  6. Janet Schiesl on June 4, 2020 at 6:57 am

    I love that idea! I have heard of two similar places in my area, but they are both quite a distance from me, so it’s hard to donate to them.

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