‘Green’ Organizing for a Happy Earth Day!

Is it possible to be organized and green? There are a lot of companies out there constantly urging us to buy our way into home organization. (This doesn’t work by the way!)  Purchasing more products is not the best answer. Being organized is green by design. You know what you have so you don’t create waste by buying duplicates or letting food expire. You save time by not looking for misplaced items.


A real willingness to make long-lasting behavioral changes and the right infrastructure will get you on your way to a beautiful, decluttered home and office. Here’s how…



You can tell an organized home from the minute you walk in the door. An organized entryway sets the tone for a green lifestyle.

Organized Entryway for a Green Lifestyle

Chances are that you already own what you need to get and stay organized. The infrastructure required for organizing is basic. Shelves, closets, cabinets, and containers. Green, sustainable organizing is about using what you have whenever possible, not generating more waste.

There are many fun options out there to create beautiful storage, and a little forethought and self-discipline will create spaces that are aesthetically pleasing and better for the planet. If you are considering fancy, aesthetically pleasing bins, try using cardboard boxes of similar shape and size first to ensure the system works. You don’t want to invest and realize the pretty bins don’t meet your needs. Once you know that you have a great storage system, then you may want to invest in some good quality storage containers made from renewable and long-lasting materials, if possible.




Changing habits and behavior has the biggest impact on whether you are living a sustainable lifestyle. If being green is truly a priority for you, you will take the less convenient actions and be able to feel good about your choices. Doing the right thing is usually more difficult at first. Recycling takes more time and effort than just throwing everything away. Washing food and beverage containers is less convenient than buying and tossing one-use plastic in the trash. Not buying more stuff that will end up in landfills is the cornerstone of being green. Learn to love what you have and when you really do need to buy something new, find alternatives made with renewable resources such as glass vs. plastic and linen, wool, silk, and cotton vs. synthetic fabrics.


Remember, anything that you already own and can still use is a green choice!


The ‘One In – One Out’ rule. What a great way to practice saying no to things you don’t need! This behavior is not only green but very organized. Here’s how it works: If you have perfect storage space for 15 pairs of shoes and you want to buy a new pair, decide before you buy, which pair of shoes you will be donating. This will often keep you from buying unneeded footwear and will keep your home clutter-free.

Many people are not blessed with abundance so unless an item is undoubtedly trash, donate it instead of throwing it away. Extra office supplies can always be used by students for school. Old towels and clothes can be used as cleaning rags or by the SPCA. Glass jars that you don’t want might be a treasure for an artist. 


Be creative and consider that many things can be repurposed.



An organized kitchen is a must for a green lifestyle. Be proactive about grocery shopping and food storage. You should know what’s in your refrigerator and rotate items so food doesn’t spoil. If possible, buying dry goods in bulk from a health food store saves on unnecessary packaging. Reimagine your existing containers. If you have too many plastic food storage containers cluttering your cabinets, they can double as office supply caches or drawer organizers. Mason jars are useful in the bathroom and the kitchen for containing cotton balls and swabs. Grow food if you are so inclined!

Lastly, try to avoid temptation. If you have trouble saying no to shopping, stay away from stores and websites where you may be tempted. 

As Professional Organizers, we at Ideal Organizing + Design witness firsthand clutter, unmanageability and the impact that is the result of buying unnecessary items. In honor of Earth Day and all that is green, make the decision to optimize your belongings this year and the planet will thank you for it!


By Jennifer Dwight, Professional Organizer, Caregiver, Coach, NAPO Gold Circle Member and Team Member at Ideal Organizing + Design (IOD). IOD is a devoted team of talented experts with decades of experience improving clients’ productivity and helping them love their spaces and lifestyles again. Read our team members’ stories of how they became among the industry’s most dedicated Professional Organizers. Send the IOD team a quick message, ask an organizing or productivity question, or get a free phone consultation by contacting us here!