Keeping unnecessary junk out of your home is an essential part of keeping your space clean and free of clutter. With less waste in the home, it’s much easier to get to those deep-cleaning tasks.
And a clean and tidy home allows you to enjoy your space with peace of mind. Essentially, a waste-free home is part of a healthy environment-inside and out. On top of that, cutting down on wasteful habits will save you money.
SAY NO TO PLASTIC BAGS
It’s impressive how easily plastic bags can accumulate in the home, tucked away into cupboards and closets. While some municipalities offer plastic bag recycling, why not avoid the clutter all together and bring your own reusable cloth bags!
Keep a spare supply in your vehicle and close to the door of your home for easy access. Better yet, some brands of reusable bags can fit compactly into your purse or gym bag and are very durable.
OPT OUT OF JUNK MAIL
Junk mail doesn’t only mean unwanted flyers and pamphlets crammed into your mailbox. Nowadays, you can also get all of your utility bills, bank statements, credit card statements, and more, electronically.
This is a great way to get rid of those piles of mail and to streamline your billings from your electronic device.
BYOB-BRING YOUR OWN (WATER) BOTTLE
Bottled water is expensive and highly wasteful. Tap water is strictly regulated and perfectly safe by Canadian standards. If you prefer, invest in a home water filtration system, but always remember to carry your water bottle with you.
Portable, reusable bottles are inexpensive, easy to clean and lightweight. With so many fun and colourful bottles available on the market, it’s easy to personalize to your taste. Hydrate in style and reduce waste. Win-win!
DON’T FORGET YOUR TRAVEL MUG
Most takeout cups are lined with plastic and thus are not recyclable. And if you’re a regular coffee drinker, those takeaway cups pile up fast.
Just like reusable water bottles, there are so many fun options on the market for personalized travel mugs. Plus, most cafes and coffee shops offer a discount when you bring your own cup.
SWITCH TO REUSABLE CLOTHS AND RAGS
Napkins and paper towels are single-use items that end up directly in the trash. They’re also bulky and costly to replace. Switching to cloth napkins will save you money and you can even use old t-shirts or clothing for cleaning tasks. Just throw them in the laundry when you’re done and use them again another day.
Takeout meals are often loaded with excessive packaging that is sure to end up in a landfill. Save money and reduce waste by cooking at home. Or, enjoy your meal at the restaurant.
If you are to indulge in the occasional takeout treat be sure to let the restaurant know not to include extraneous cutlery, napkins or condiment packets.
YOUR TRASH IS SOMEONE’S TREASURE
Gently used clothing, furniture and other household items can all be donated to local thrift shops. Make room in your closets and cupboards by donating items rather than sending them directly to a landfill.
Or try listing them for sale online. Check your community and online listings for clothing and other “swaps” too. You can trade your unwanted items for something more useful instead.
VISIT YOUR LOCAL LIBRARY
Books can take up a lot of space in your home. Support your local library, and reduce clutter in your home, by taking out book loans. Additionally, many libraries have an ever-expanding digital collection where you can sign out material from the comfort of your own home.
BUY IN BULK
Shopping in bulk allows you to purchase exactly the amount you’ll need and use. It also removes much of the unnecessary packaging that so often comes with food purchases. As a bonus, bulk shopping is often significantly cheaper.
Dried beans and legumes, for instance, are nearly half the cost and you won’t need to deal with wasteful cans and jars at home. You can also bring your own containers when shopping in bulk to further reduce waste and of course, don’t forget your reusable bag!
MAKE A SHOPPING LIST AND STICK TO IT
This applies not only to your grocery list but to any other purchases you bring into your home. Be mindful of what you’re purchasing and take into consideration how much space it will take up in your home.
Consider donating, recycling or throwing out items to compensate for new purchases such as clothing or cookware. This way you’re not adding to the amount of stuff you have, just swapping it out.
MAKE A MEAL PLAN
Cooking at home drastically reduces waste compared to takeout options but it’s important to have a meal plan in mind before heading to the market. Plan your meals and purchase only what you need.
Choose recipes that contain similar ingredients to ensure you’re using everything you buy. Plus, you can take leftovers for lunch or freeze them for an easy meal later on.
AVOID OVERLY PACKAGED FOOD AND OTHER ITEMS
Fresh produce always contains the least amount of packaging. In fact, one of the best parts of cooking at home is that you can reduce the amount of heavily packaged foods and you know exactly what’s going into your meals.
For other household items like handsoaps and detergents, buy items in larger sizes, concentrates, and refills.
FRIDGE CLEARING RECIPES
Soups and stews are excellent ways to use up leftover produce in the fridge.
Fruit smoothies are another tasty, and nutritious, option for getting the best out of your food purchases.
There are tons of great recipes available for using up items that are just a little past perfect.
Composting is another great way to divert food waste from the trash. It’s an invaluable tool for any gardener as it enriches the soil and cultivates healthy plants. It’s nature’s original recycling facility!