By Kara DiCamillo on January 09, 2012

Cleaning out the closet can be cathartic, but it's only the beginning. Now you need to find recycling locations for all those items.

For the past couple of years I have been looking around my house, wondering how I have acquired so much stuff. I wouldn’t go as far as calling myself a hoarder, but I do have piles of this and that in my office, a closet full of clothes that I don’t wear, a bathroom cabinet filled with lotions and a basement with old cooking gadgets and furniture.

closet item recycling

I mean, am I ever going to use this avocado slicer? Probably not, because I typically just use a regular, old knife.

As I sat down to consider my green resolutions for the New Year, I started thinking about how and why I have somehow managed to obtain all of the miscellaneous items that have been accumulating over the past few years. The reason, actually, is quite simple: I hate getting rid of things. Yes, some of them do have sentimental value to me, but the major reason is that throwing them out means that they end up in my local landfill.

A few years ago, when I moved, I put a sofa on the curb with a “free” sign attached to it. Surely someone would want it because it was in perfectly good condition, but was just too big for my house. The following morning, I awoke to that sofa being thrown into the garbage truck, which was grinding away trying to get it in. I had to cover my ears.

Call it ridiculous, but our state landfill here in Rhode Island is filling up at an alarmingly quick rate, so it’s difficult for me to think that I’m not one of the culprits.

“But there’s nothing wrong with it,” is a common phrase used around here, and the thought of throwing out items that are perfectly fine makes me cringe. I definitely get that from my parents. So, the item heads to the basement or a box in the closet that will be most likely be forgotten.

In 2012, I’m making it my goal to simplify my home. As you can imagine, this will be a big step for me. Over the next year, I’ll take you through my process, room by room. My challenge will be to find ways to recycle and repurpose almost everything that I’m getting rid of and to do what I can to keep my old items out of the landfill.

Now, does anyone out there need an Ebelskiver pan? It comes with a cookbook…

About the author

In her Newport, RI, community, Kara is the organizer of Green Drinks Newport and a member of Newport's Energy & Environment Commission. Kara volunteers at Norman Bird Sanctuary, and has also volunteered as a panelist for Rhode Island Farmways, speaking to farmers from around the state about how they can better market and promote their businesses.

Beyond the moat that surrounds her island home, Kara has backpacked Mt. Washington in New Hampshire too many times to count, is a member of the Appalachian Mountain Club, a graduate of the Colorado Outward Bound School and, in real life, she is a public relations director. Kara began her writing career with TreeHugger.com in January 2005 and is currently a contributing writer for TriplePundit, Ecorazzi, EcoSalon and her local Newport Patch.


Learn more about Kara DiCamillo

Comments

There are no comments for this post yet


Articles by Kara DiCamillo

Sustainable Surfing: Look for Boards with Smaller Footprints

By Kara DiCamillo on September 23, 2014

The ECOBOARD Project ensures that dozens of manufacturers are able to produce eco-friendly surfboards.

Oregon Sign Recycling Saves Money and Improves Sustainability

By Kara DiCamillo on May 29, 2014

A pilot program in Oregon may have discovered an efficient, eco-friendly way to reuse the base materials in old highway signs.

Earth Day 2014 Events Take Over Boston in April and May

By Kara DiCamillo on April 14, 2014

Boston is alive with Earth Day events in April and May.

Lifestyle Articles

Constance Zimmer: From Recycling to Upcycling

By Constance Zimmer on September 17, 2014

Actress Constance Zimmer has long been a greenie. Now, she has turned her attention to educating her daughter to reduce, reuse and recycle.

Green Resolution: Two Green Goals for 2014

By April Stearns on January 8, 2014

Eco-friendly habits can be hard to maintain on a regular basis, so choosing attainable green resolutions will help to ensure they are achieved.

Green Resolution: Start with Small, Sustainable Changes

By Maggie Wehri on January 8, 2014

This year is all about planning daily tasks more efficiently.

Current News

Recycling Profile: Las Cruces, NM

By 1-800-RECYCLING on October 17, 2014

New Mexico's second-largest city collects recyclables at the curb twice a month.

Recycling Profile: Knoxville, TN

By 1-800-RECYCLING on October 10, 2014

Since Knoxville's curbside recycling program debuted three years ago, participation has exceeded expectation.

Finally, a $100 Tablet Worth Buying

By 1-800-RECYCLING on October 8, 2014

Battery life, speed make Amazon’s Fire HD 6 the best deal among low-price competitors.

Loading