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 in January 2005 and is currently a contributing writer for TriplePundit, Ecorazzi, EcoSalon and her local Newport Patch.

Learn more about Kara DiCamillo


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