Spring-cleaning, green(ish)-style

The approaching snowstorm notwithstanding, spring will arrive in 15 days. It’s time to start that annual optimistic exercise known as spring-cleaning.

Every year, I spend a few days cleaning out my apartment before spring. I vacuum down walls and shampoo carpets. Invest time in waxing and polishing all the furniture. Turn mattresses, wash slipcovers, wax floors. And inevitably, in sorting through a few closets and drawers, I pull out some items which are broken, or no longer needed. And usually, those items get thrown out.

But our landfills are taking over the countryside, filled with discarded items containing toxic substances that could pollute our environment. Charities in the area are always in need of household goods and spare clothing. And there are some things that I’ve bought, or been given, that I never/no longer need, that could be sold and the funds used to better purposes.

And so I have decided to spend the next four weeks in a deeper form of spring-cleaning, “green(ish)” style. I’m going to go through every closet, every drawer, every item in storage. I will be ruthless in my culling — if I haven’t used it, read/watched it or even thought about it for at least a year, it will be up for disposition.

But instead of throwing things out, I’m going to see how many of these items can be recycled, either by sale or donation.

Some things will be easy to handle. Clothing, books, entertainment media — these items can all be either resold at used stores or donated to libraries, charities or shelters. Old computers or televisions can be taken to a recycling facility.

But then what do I do with old furniture? I don’t have a curb to place it on, so that people driving by can take it and give it a better home. I have a plentiful supply of knick knacks, those little gifts that inevitably turn up as presents at birthdays and holidays. Can I list them on Craigslist? Or can they be donated to a charity that can resell them and earn much-needed cash?

My goal is to recycle/donate/sell at least 75% of my discarded items. Stay tuned for updates!

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