Maxine’s Housekeeping Tips – Part #12
SUBMITTED BY: Maxine in Idaho
Saturday’s Tip: Organizing Your Recycling
I have often wondered why people (like me) who are least able to manage clutter are the ones who seem to be the most enthusiastic about recycling. Filling our garages with garbage that we then have to haul away ourselves doesn’t make much sense when viewed strictly from a housekeeping perspective. But there are other reasons to recycle–concern for the environment, cost of garbage collection, etc., so many of us do it with fervor.
I don’t have any good solutions. My best advice is to analyze the problem, then work with what you’ve got. I will use my own experience to get you started.
When I first started recycling, the city where I lived provided bins in all of the supermarket parking lots. Well, I’ve already told you that I tend to do one thing at a time, so a trip to the grocery store didn’t necessarily remind me to get rid of the recyclables. Meanwhile, the various boxes and bins were overflowing and dh was threatening to move (he does this a lot–threaten, I mean). One day, I decided that I would start going to the produce market every Saturday morning. (You’ve already figured out that scheduling and making rules for myself helps me). As I was on my way out the door through the garage, it occurred to me that I could drop off the recycling on the way, every week. After I started doing that, I never had a problem with it again.
Then the city adopted curbside recycling. I was able to get rid of the 5 gallon buckets and cardbox boxes I was using, because they gave us plastic bins that were just the right size. They pick up on garbage day, every other week. I missed quite a few weeks because I would lose track, but then it occurred to me–the neighbors always remembered. When I would go out in the morning to get my newspaper, the bins would be lined up along the street on recycling day. Once I imprinted that on my brain, I simply forgot trying to remember what day they picked up, and would put mine out when I noticed the neighbors doing the same thing.
Then we moved 125 miles away. Where I live now is a semi-rural area, kind of where town meets country. I don’t have curbside recycling (I don’t have curbs!). Recycling bins are at all of the schools, but I don’t have kids in school anymore and they only take certain things, and I never can keep track of which location accepts which thing. However, I can recycle everything at the garbage transfer center about 8 miles away. Since this is obviously more trouble, I do it much less often. So instead of concentrating on where to take the stuff, I have had to concentrate on how to store it. After making a big mess for quite a few months, I eventually bought plastic garbage cans with locking lids for the high-volume items like milk jugs, newspapers and (I’m sorry to admit), aluminum cans. I use rectangular plastic milk crates for steel cans, glass and magazines. I have set up an area for these things in the garage, just outside the kitchen door. When the cans fill up, I schedule a trip to the dump. The bonus is that this usually encourages me to take along other stuff I want to get rid of.
As you look at your own situation, the two things to look at are how and where you will store your recyclables, and how you will get rid of it on a regular basis. It really helps if you can tie it to another regular activity, like my trips to the produce stand (boy, I miss that place). If you don’t have curbside pickup, try to delegate the hauling job to someone else in the family (I’m working on that).
SUBMITTED BY: Maxine in Idaho
NOTE: Be sure to stop by and “Like” A Frugal Simple Life on Facebook!
Other Articles of Interest: