As college students, spring cleaning is not always the first thing on our minds. But with the change in weather comes looming trepidation: how to responsibly dispose of unwanted items for spring cleaning? It’s not always an easy thing to do, but it is definitely possible. Since it is so clearly on everyone’s mind, here are a few green tips that will help get any room into tip-top shape.
Before getting rid of anything, it’s important to take stock of the situation. This means asking difficult questions, such as, “Do I really need to get rid of item A or B?”; “Is there any way that I might possibly use item A or B in the future?”; “Is there a creative or original way that item A or B can be upcycled or used for another purpose before I put it in a bag and make it someone else’s problem?” Often, the answer to many of these questions is yes. Of course, this article is in no way condoning being a pack rat, which has many of its own adversities and disadvantages. But if something is potentially useful and can be kept in an organized fashion, there’s no reason to get rid of it.
Obviously, if it’s decided that an item such as a pair of sneakers or pants still fit at the end of the year, the best way to use the item would be to wear it. However, if this is not possible for whatever reason, there are some creative ways to make something old new once again. For old clothes and fabric items that are no longer wearable, cut the items into squares, and make an eco-friendly quilt or other item, such as a pillow. If you aren’t the most creative person, there are books out there made specifically for you, including Junk Jeans Recycled and The Sweater Chop Shop.
On the other side of the spectrum, if an item is no longer usable, and needs to be donated, there are local locations where this goal can be achieved, such as the American Red Cross of Central New Jersey, located in Princeton. And if items are waiting around until the end of the semester, they can be dropped off at “Don’t Trash it, Recycle it,” which will be held and hosted on Wednesday, May 5, 2010, and items will be donated to Home Front N.J. Either way, there is no need for anything to end up in the dump, because your old gym shorts or winter jacket can find a new purpose in life somewhere else.
– Kyle Dacey