Just because you have old electronics collecting dust, doesn’t mean you should simply recycle them by dropping them off at the recycling center. If you’re proficient in electrical work, you can wire old electronics together in a very creative way. You can literally make your electronic junk sing for you!
Star wars’ Imperial March played by old floppy drives:
Eye of the tiger
Gotye - Somebody That I Used to Know
The Animals - House of the Rising Sun
But if you lack the necessary skills to replicate the above, you can always do what I do and use your old computer as a door stop. Just kidding!
Are you looking to clean up your act this year? The running joke about New Year’s resolutions is that they don’t last. In fact, most people seem to forget about them after just a few months. The resolutions we make at the beginning of the year are often unrealistic or unachievable, so why not resolve to make a change that is easy, manageable, and full of benefits you can reap all year long?
A new year means a chance to start over. If you haven’t already added de-cluttering to your list of resolutions, don’t worry, because it’s never too late to start!
The best part about a de-cluttering resolution is that you’ll be able to immediately see results. Your living space will look better and bigger, and you’ll feel so good you might even take on some other challenges that have been waiting in the wings.
Why is de-cluttering a good resolution?
There are numerous benefits to de-cluttering. Here are our top five:
1. More space. To put it simply, less stuff equals more space. Think of it this way: there’s no reason to be surrounded by things that don’t work, that you don’t need, or that you don’t even like. By getting rid of clutter, it will allow you to have more space in your home that you can enjoy.
2. More time. Having more time is one of the most important benefits of de-cluttering. Just think of the free time you’ll have, now that you aren’t organizing and maintaining your unnecessary stuff. Spend that time on something you love instead!
3. More freedom. Having less clutter in your home will allow you to clean more quickly and with ease. De-cluttering will also reduce dust collection, making it easier to reach all those hidden areas while you’re cleaning.
4. More productivity. The positive energy you’ll gain with a clutter-free home will give you one less thing to worry about and allow you to focus on your everyday tasks. Your living space reflects your state of mind: the more cluttered the space, the more cluttered your thoughts may be.
5. More gratitude. Owning less stuff will make you appreciate and value what you already have.
How do I start?
We recommend tackling one room at a time. As soon as you enter a room, take a quick look around and ask yourself the following questions:
- How does the room look at first glance? Can you open drawers, closets, etc. and easily find the items you are looking for?
- Do you waste time looking for things, or buy items you already have because you can’t find what you were looking for?
- Do you think you need a bigger room because you are running out of space?
- Are there any items that you haven’t used in the last year? Or worse…several years?
If you answered “yes” to at least one of the questions above, then it’s time to reclaim the square footage in your home and de-clutter!
How to make your resolution stick
Clutter is stubborn, and here’s a warning: it can easily sneak back into your life! In order to make your resolution stick, it’s important to always keep de-cluttering top of mind; never let clutter pile up, and as soon as you see something that is ‘out of place’ be sure to act quickly!
The first three or four weeks might be a little difficult, but after the first month, you’ll be over the hump. De-cluttering shouldn’t take over your life, but junk shouldn’t either. The sooner you start, the better.
We know you love recycling. We know you love the holiday season. With North Americans producing more waste between Thanksgiving and New Year’s than any other time of year, why not combine the two? Learn how to make some tree ornaments yourself while also reducing waste!
Why throw away old puzzles when you could turn them into whimsical decorations? All you need is a glue gun, a ribbon and some paint (acrylic or spray) and you’ll be decking the halls before you know it.
What was once a burnt-out lightbulb is now a penguin, snowman or Santa (they’re perfectly shaped for ‘jolly’ things, aren’t they?). Put on your creativity hat and bring out your paintbrush, string, glue and other decorations–you’ll have a (literally) well-rounded group to hang on the tree!
Has your plant outgrown its pot? Make these great bell ornaments by painting old clay pots and knotting wire or ribbon through the bottom. Try gluing decorative holly to the top as a finishing touch.
Lightbulbs really make great recycled ornaments, don’t they? You can paint these old Christmas lightbulbs or use colored ones. Googly eyes + pipe cleaners + pom poms = so easy.
These beautiful creations from Martha Stewart (instructions http://www.marthastewart.com/273222/holiday-card-ornaments?center=0&gallery=276934&slide=273222 ) are made from old greeting cards. They were too beautiful to toss when they were sent to you, so repurpose them into tree ornaments and you can continue to enjoy them year after year.
Glue old corks together into a seasonal shape and affix a ribbon with a tack or push pin.
Did you know that the average American generates almost five pounds of waste per day but only recycles 1.5 pounds? Let’s change that. Last week was America Recycles Day, and to celebrate, here are the answers to some of your commonly asked recycling questions:
Can I recycle batteries?
Yes! Get in the habit of never throwing batteries in the trash, especially rechargeable ones. They contain heavy metals, which can leak and contaminate the environment. See if your local electronics recycler accepts batteries. If not, sometimes electronics retailers and hardware stores offer battery recycling programs.
There’s a useful program called Call2Recycle (http://www.call2recycle.org/) , which recycles rechargeable batteries. Check out the Call2Recycle program locator to see if there’s a drop-off point near you.
The good news about technology is that more and more devices are using rechargeable batteries that you just need to plug in to charge. But the next time you need to purchase new alkaline batteries for a camera or handheld game, look for rechargeable ones—they’ll be a greener choice than single-use batteries.
Where can I recycle my old cell phone?
Try your local electronics recycler. If not—Call2Recycle (http://www.call2recycle.org/) , mentioned above, recycles mobile phones!
What do I do with my old laptop?
Laptops can definitely be recycled. If the computer is intact, contact your local electronics recycler or computer retail outlet (see if they’re running a program). If the screen is broken or there are fluids leaking from it, it’s considered a hazardous waste product. If the electronics recycling facility can’t take it, your local waste collector may have a recommendation. The most important thing to know is that you shouldn’t throw your laptop in the trash!
I bought something new, and not only is the old one too big to throw away, I would feel bad sending it to the dump. It’s still in good shape!
We still call it ‘recycling’ when we donate items in good condition, because that item is being given a second life and not being dumped in the landfill. It may also help someone in need. Think about donating that old lamp, MP3 player or forgotten toys to a local non-profit or charity thrift store, and feel good about making that choice!
What other surprising things can be recycled?
If you can’t find a drop-off point in your community, there are organizations popping up all over the place that will accept niche ‘what-do-I-do-with-this’ items if you are able to ship to them:
SHOES: The glue that holds shoes together can be toxic to the environment, so chucking shoes in the garbage is a bad idea. The national shoe charity Soles4Souls (http://www.soles4souls.org/) collects used and new shoes to help needy people in the community. Check out their website to see if they’re running any drives near you, or send them a package with your old shoes (make sure to follow the instructions on doing this properly).
TROPHIES: Did you know that you can recycle trophies? A company called Lamb Awards (http://www.lambawards.com/recycle.html) accepts old awards you no longer want cluttering up your room.
CRAYONS: Crayons - which contain petroleum and shouldn’t go in the landfill - can be sent to the Crayon Recycling Program (http://crazycrayons.com/recycle_program.html) where they melt down the wax into new crayons!
It’s well worth taking the time to recycle. We recommend you set a personal goal this America Recycles Day and see how much you can recycle over the next year…and beyond!
Read more Reduce, Reuse, Recycle! articles
- Disposing of hazardous materials Jul 6
- De-clutter before you list your home! Mar 30
- Glenmore Landfill - more than a dump Feb 15
- Fall cleaning better than spring Nov 2
- Is your garage full of junk? Aug 30
- Are you a hoarder? May 9
- The house that junk built Mar 15
- Inside a landfill Feb 12
- When recycling meets art Dec 1
- Disposal costs are going up Oct 1
- BC Hydro wants your old fridge! Jul 24
- It's not easy being green Jun 3
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