As you bring furniture, decorations, and other assorted knick-knacks indoors to prepare for the long winter months, your storage spaces can get packed to the brim. Though you may not be a hoarder, it’s easy to forget about the many things you pack away as the months and years go on.
There’s no time like the present to free up some space around the home, reducing stress along the way! Luckily, many of your family’s forgotten-about possessions can be recycled, making it an easy and environmentally friendly way to get your house in order. Get started with any and all of these household items:
- Old running and knockaround shoes: More likely than not, you have a small-but-growing pile of footwear at the bottom of your closet—shoes that no longer fit, or are too tattered to wear out in public. Donating to a charitable organization is one option, but if you’re having trouble finding a donation site, programs like Nike’s “Reuse-a-Shoe” are available, where your shoes are shipped off and recycled into sustainable products.
- VHS tapes, CDs and DVDs: Talk about a blast from the past! With all of the streaming services now available, there are mountains of (seemingly ancient) tapes and CDs just waiting to be recycled. These release harmful dioxins when dumped at a landfill, so be sure to research e-waste programs in your area so that they can be disposed of properly and responsibly.
- Chargers and power cords: With new smart phones and gadgets coming out every year, the cords from all your old devices can definitely fill up the junk drawer. Just like the devices themselves, these should never simply be thrown away in the garbage. Drop them off at e-waste facilities as you would with old electronics.
- Paperback books: If you’re able to work past the nostalgia, the old books—and textbooks—on your bookshelves and in the garage can be donated to libraries and schools. Or, you can sell them on sites like Etsy and eBay. Alternatively, just drop them into your recycling bin. If you have a hardcover book, you’ll have to rip the pages out and just recycle those (another excellent stress relief activity).
- Undergarments: It may seem obvious to toss out your tights and pantyhose when they’re ripped or otherwise too worn. But, these items can take up to 40 years to decompose. There are a number of companies that will convert these undergarments into playground equipment and insulation materials. For those old bras that no longer fit, donate them to women’s shelters and charities so they can find a happy home.
Laundry baskets, metal clothes hangers, and even your high school sports trophies can be remade into other products. What else around your home can you find to recycle?