Giving up these 40 things won’t just help you simplify your stuff and organize your life – it will make you a better person!
Bangladesh, India, and China are among the top sweatshop offenders. Do a little research on your favorite name brands. Know how your clothes are manufactured and support companies that support fair trade, human rights, and environmental sustainability. Patagonia and The Good Trade are two phenomenal resources to help bring a little consciousness to your consumerism.
Plastic Food Storage Containers
Glass and stainless steel are more durable, more economical over time, and better for you and the environment.
How about toys that promote gender equality, positive body-image, and collaborative, creative problem-solving? It’s not 1959, for Pete’s sake!
Anything with GMO’s (Genetically Modified Organisms)
GMO safety is far from proven. In fact, evidence indicates GMO products are wreaking havoc on human digestion and require exponential amounts of known carcinogenic herbicides and pesticides as crops grow increasingly resistant. Organic food production is just better for us and more sustainable for the planet.
Desktop Printers at Home
Go paperless at home. Reduce your impact on forests and landfills by printing infrequently at business centers and local printing stores. If you absolutely must use a printer at home, make sure to recycle your ink cartridges.
Anything Sold on QVC after Bedtime
It’s bedtime. Go to sleep. Whatever it is – you don’t need it.
Toxic & Animal-Tested Beauty Products
Look and feel radiant knowing your beauty products are cruelty-free and without known toxic chemicals.
Gift Shop Tchotchkes
When you’re traveling, it’s great to support artists and local shop-keepers. But if there’s nothing of substantive cultural quality and value, consider donating to a local charity, school, or buying lunch for hard-working local artisans. You don’t need to bring stupid stuff home every time you travel.
The truth about bottled water may surprise you. Filter your water at home and take it with you in a re-usable container. You’ll be doing your part to end one of the biggest ecological disasters in human history.
If you don’t know about Monsanto’s little secret, glyphosate, it’s time to get with the program. Seriously.
If you’re still trying to figure out what to do with your cassette tapes, you can add CDs to the list of things to purge and never buy again. Downloading and streaming music (and movies) has never been easier.
Turns out, about 2 billion disposable razors end up in the landfill every year. That’s not good for anyone.
Learn to shave your mug (and more) the old fashioned way.
With so many reasonable alternatives, there’s just no reason to use your pits as a toxic waste dump.
The list of harmful stuff in air freshener is alarming. Take out the trash, open a window, and use essential oils instead.
Back in 1950, plastic silverware was invented. That was almost seventy years ago and the sustainable alternatives are many. In general, stop buying (and using) plastic. The stuff is toxic to the planet, carcinogenic for people, and cost-ineffective to recycle. The less of it – in every form – the better!
Try these instead.
Hankies are back! Repurpose the softest fabrics you can find into unbelievably eco-friendly snot rags.
Everything I write down either goes in my day planner or on a pad of recycled paper awaiting entry into Trello. Manage the details of your life in just one place with online project management or one of a jillion phone-friendly sticky-alternative apps.
Giving a gift? Less is more. Despite the cheerful intention, excess packaging and traditional gift wrapping is not friendly stuff. It’s made from known carcinogens and is responsible for horrific landfill waste. Reduce. Reuse. Recycle.
Those harmful chemicals don’t get your windows any cleaner. A little lemon, vinegar and newspaper works the best. Instead of the costly name brands, make your own house cleaners for better results.
Brace yourself. This one is going to sting a little. Turns out, balloons are bad. Who knew.
Plastic Shopping Bags
It’s time to re-think using plastic shopping bags. Among other things, sea turtles think they look like jelly fish.
Plastic-Ringed Six Pack Containers
I’m not a beer-drinker, but if I were a sea turtle, these would look delicious.
Here’s the recipe. You’ll never touch the stuff again.
The last time I cared about TV, President Bartlet was in the White House. Yes, we own a television, but we hardly ever watch it. From time to time, we put in a DVD from the library. Quite frankly, I don’t know how people have time for television. But if it’s your thing, think about one of these alternatives.
Paper Napkins and Paper Towels
If you’re like most people, you probably have enough hiding under your kitchen counters to last three decades. Stop buying the stuff. You’re good.
We now have the technology to reduce the amount of stuff we need to power the crap we buy. It’s better this way. You’re just going to have to trust me. These are the best of the best.
There really is a dot org for everything. You’ll like this one.
Artificial Colors, Sweeteners, Flavors
Food should be two things: delicious and nutritious. Brand name manufacturers are dropping artificial additives and you should, too.
Here it is, the official list of what to eat, what to throw back and why.
Anything with Plastic Microbeads
Alright, it’s complicated. But here’s a few healthy alternatives, including a few that might surprise you.
Cellulose in Food
Got wood? Cellulose is usually derived from wood pulp or sawdust. It’s an ingredient filler – and it’s not healthy.
The number three item in landfills, poopy diapers represent 30% of non-biodegradable waste. My wife and I used cloth diapers for our one and only until she was three years old.
My wife is a massage therapist, so we use our microwave oven for heating rice and lavender hot packs, but other than that, it never sees our food. Here’s why.
Three bites and a half-pound of excess packaging. No thanks. Eat an orange; it comes with its own wrapper.
Single-Use Anything (A case study in coffee)
Keurig is a great example of too much of a good thing. I love an exceptional cup of coffee, but without the guilt. Which is why I only drink coffee from www.filanthrope.org.
Added sugar: One of the worst health epidemics of our time. Private profits blatantly put ahead of public health.
In 2016, the Wal-Mart’s global net sales amassed approximately $478.61 billion. They can afford to do better.
Evan Michael Zislis is a professional organizer, social entrepreneur, and author of the bestseller ClutterFree Revolution: Simplify Your Stuff, Organize Your Life & Save the World. For more information, visit ClutterFree Revolution.