My name is Meghan Holloran, and sustainability is my game.
I’m being for real. My minor is sustainability and resilience, and I’ve grown up with a mother who repurposes almost everything, so I’ve learned a thing or two. Read on for everything from making your own cleaning rags to trash liners!
I don’t know how more people don’t do this. I do this even in my tiny dorm room. Keep a good mix of box sizes in your home or apartment whenever you get a delivery!
If you do this, not only do you save money and the hassle of buying a box the next time you ship something, you’re saving another cardboard box being made. This is great for moving too!
Pro Tip: If you’re short on boxes for a move or storage purposes, and in my case, too poor to buy some: call local stores and ask if they’ll save you a few boxes after their next shipment. I know this works at Walgreens pharmacies.
Instead of using paper towels or mass-produced cleaning cloths, just cut an old shirt, dish cloth, pillowcase, etc. This prolongs the life of the fabric you’re using and decreases clothing waste, which is a huge issue (I’ll write a post on that another time). There are plenty of tutorials out there if you’re struggling. Take some kitchen shears or fabric scissors and have at it!
This one kind of tacks on to the last one. If you have clothes that no longer fit, you don’t wear, or, as Marie Kondo puts it, don’t spark joy, then your first goal should be to donate them.
Try a local community outreach center or homeless shelter. They usually have the most need. I will always advocate for local first, so if a local non-profit doesn’t take it, then try Goodwill or other national donation chains.
Second goal: Sell trendy pieces or more expensive clothes
If it’s something nice or ‘in-style,’ take your clothes to Uptown Cheapskate, Plato’s Closet, or other boutique resale stories. I recently scored a pair of slacks for work at Plato’s!
Lastly, if you can’t donate or sell your clothes. Please do your best to recycle them. 85% of all textiles end up in landfills each year, according to Earth.org. Although they are one of the many fast fashion brands behind clothing pollution, H&M will recycle clothes and give you an in-store discount.
I really like recycling with For Days. However, this option is slightly pricey ($20). Stuff the bag they send you with as many clothes as you can fit, and ship it back to For Days, and they will turn those fibers into new clothes. They also give you a 10% discount on their clothes when you recycle with them.
I’m not trying to advertise for For Days, I am not receiving any affiliate marketing money whatsoever, but I love my green romper and long-sleeve shirt from them. They’re sturdy, breathable, and comfy!
This three-pronged approach to getting rid of old clothes should be a mindset you adopt for other things in your life, such as old furniture and children’s toys.
Always ask yourself, ‘Where can I donate this, sell this, recycle this? ‘
If you think I’m about to ask you to stockpile your plastic bags: you are correct!
Plastic bags have so many uses, and there are far too many of them in the world, especially when it takes 1,000 years for them to break down in landfills.
If you have a pet: save them and reuse them as poop bags! In my home, we have an extra large bag that holds a bunch of plastic bags. Before every walk with my dog, I grab some from there. It’s an easy habit to form. Every time you go to the grocery store (which you should take reusable bags for!) Place your plastic bags in a spot you’ll remember.
Plastic bags also make great trash-can liners. They are usually the same size as small bathroom and office waste bins. This saves you from spending $3 at the store on actual trash bags and helps mother earth!
That’s all the tips I can think of right now. A lot of these these “tips” I don’t even think about. It’s a seamless experience for me. It’s how I grew up. I hope these tips become no-brainers for you too!