Do you want to de-clutter and recycle? Room by room, here are some of our favorite ways to combine spring-cleaning, recycling, and a few craft ideas for spring break.
1) De-clutter and recycle in your Bedrooms:
In your bedroom(s), start by stripping the room clean, down to the bare essentials. Bed, dresser and whatever necessary furniture can stay, but pull everything else out including emptying your drawers and your closet. Now, step back and ask yourself: “How does it look?” With just the base items does it look tired and plain, or fresh and sparkly awaiting a new look? Does it need a coat of paint, some repairs to tattered headboards & banged up dressers? Now is the time to dig through your supply of half-used paint that you have been meaning to recycle and get creative. Choose the colours that work together and have some fun with your walls & furniture. (here are some great ideas from Apartment Therapy)
Then comes the essentials – lights and electronics. Double check that all of your electronics are in good working order and have them repaired as necessary before bringing them back into the room. Replace items with worn cords, batteries (are you using rechargeable batteries?) and ensure lightbulbs are energy efficient. You will want to recycle all of the items you are replacing – so start your RECYCLE pile. Want to give your lighting a new look? You can always paint or upcycle old fixtures and accessories. We love the ideas in this post by the DIY Network.
Next, start bringing the “soft” stuff back in starting with the bedding.
Does your bedding still work for you? Is it old and feeling a little shabby? Does it need a new look? Before you send it packing (for recycling of course) think of dying as an option. Dying old bedding is a great way to freshen up the look for a fraction of what it costs to purchase new bedding. Don’t know where to start? Check out this great post on how to dye bedding by the experts at Rit.
Then, in come the clothes. I follow the ‘if you haven’t worn it in 12 months, do you still need it?’ rule. Yes, some things do end up back in… classic styles that never really go out of style, but let’s be realistic here as well. Anything that is neither classic nor worn in the last 12 months lands in the DONATE pile. Have anything that can’t be donated? That’s for the RECYCLE pile.
Now, let’s look at accessories and other items that you haven’t yet brought back in. Toys, games, books and everything else you had piling up in the bedroom need to be reviewed. Be ruthless as you ask yourself if they should be in the room. Are the toys still in favor, the books and games still need to be there? Donate or recycle any of these items if they are no longer useful to you.
And finally, take a look around. Did anything come out of the room that belongs somewhere else in your house? Dishes, iPods, old notes, old pictures or something else? Before you automatically put it down somewhere else, make sure it goes through the test of “do I need this?”.
Now it is time to head into the kitchen to de-clutter and recycle! Basically, it is the same process as the bedrooms with a few twists. Since dumping the whole kitchen out could be rather painful, I suggest going appliance by appliance and then cupboard by cupboard starting with the stove. Empty the drawer and put anything you haven’t used in a year in the DONATE pile. Have lids without pots? Out they go! Want to recycle them? They either make great cymbals for the kids or add them to the RECYCLE pile.
As you are going through the kitchen, pay special attention to all of your small appliances. Take a good look. Do they need to be on your counter? I’d suggest that if they aren’t used at least once a week they are a decoration and should be relegated to a cupboard. That is unless you have more counter space that you need, then of course feel free to decorate with unused appliances! Before you tuck them away, inspect them. Do they need repair or should they be recycled? Here’s a great list of the small appliances that can be recycled.
Now, starting with the upper cupboards, go through each of your cupboards one by one. Empty the whole cupboard and wipe down. Line shelves – no that is not just something your grandmother does – and then begin to place items back in. Items not used in a year go in the higher shelves; items used daily go in the lower cupboards. If you play the game “one of these items doesn’t belong here” do you end up with any odds and ends? Collect these things off to one side to sort through later.
Leave the cupboard under the sink to the end since it may be a little messy.
Again, pull everything out and wipe the inside of the cupboard down completely. One by one begin to place items back into the cupboard making sure that you eliminate clutter by combining half-full cleaners, boxes of garbage bags and other items that tend to collect under there. Remember to recycle old cleaner containers in your blue bins!
End your kitchen de-cluttering with a good review of your recycling bins. Make sure to have an organics bin in addition to bins for plastics (blue bin), bottles to return for deposit refund and paper. Save a little space for the handy FREE electronics recycling box you can pick up at any of our 8 Regional Recycling locations.
3) Living room:
Now that we’ve gotten the hang of this whole de-cluttering game, it’s time to take on the living room. Using the skills and tips we picked up in the bedroom and kitchen, let’s start again by pulling everything out. Now that you have the room down to the basics, take a look around. Is it time to re-arrange a little and freshen up the view? Does anything need a little repair, a fresh coat of paint or a complete overhaul? If yes, now is the time!
Once you are happy with the results, let’s look at some storage options before you start bringing things back into the room. Because the living room often holds all types of bits and pieces – remotes, books, games, and all sorts of other small things we like to have on hand as we “live” it is often the place of the greatest amount of clutter. Creative storage, as well as a ruthless de-clutter, is necessary.
Recycled Boxes and Storage
I love using boxes and baskets for storage in the living room because it allows me to have more without looking cluttered. If I need items easily an open basket is key. Other items are easily hidden away inside boxes that can be stacked to keep the area looking clean. Here is a great blog on how to recycle cardboard boxes into pretty storage containers – a great spring break craft project with the family. It’s a great way to recycle old shoe boxes! Here are some other great ideas from Bob Vila.
Now that you have your storage ready, let’s start bringing things back into the room. Remember that the goal is to de-clutter and recycle so double check all of your electronics to make sure that they are in good repair. DONATE or RECYCLE old and broken ones, and replace your light bulbs with energy efficient bulbs. Remember that you can recycle all of your lighting products (and your batteries) at all of our Regional Recycling locations.
Making it easy to de-clutter and recycle your bathroom is all about creating storage (see above) and finding ways to collect your items for recycling. If you don’t know what can be recycled in your bathroom we’ve found this great post from ZM Science about what products in your bathroom can be recycled. And, we have found another fun post on how to create a recycled box using ideas from this Bathroom recycling box craft project from Unilever.
If you are like many of us, recycling is often a forgotten task in the bathroom and is an easy place to step it up. In addition to all of the items noted above, think about recycling your old, unused small personal care items too. From razors and dryers to electric toothbrushes, all of your small bathroom electronics can be recycled with us as well.
Now that you have been through all of your rooms to de-clutter and recycle, you are going to have to deal with your DONATE and RECYCLE piles. Don’t worry that you have created a whole day of carting stuff around. All of our bottle depots accept your bottles for refund and we have bins where you can donate clothing and books.
Because Regional Recycling is your one-stop recycling shop we take many of your other items for recycling too. If we don’t PAY YOU for them, we promise to recycle them for FREE. Check out our website to see what we recycle and to find the Regional Recycling location near you.
Did you enjoy this post on how to de-clutter and recycle? Check out our posts from previous years to see more information and ideas for Spring Cleaning: