Published on June 5, 2019

Decluttering is a double-edged sword. On one hand, the KonMari craze has thrown even the messiest among us in a bout of organizing. On the other, most of us don’t just view tidying as an opportunity to purge—we use it as an excuse to replace.

Cleaning house is all about making hard decisions. Do I really need three spiralizers? Will I want this ball of rubber bands five years from now? At the end of a long day of sorting, it only seems natural to reward ourselves with a shiny new container to house the items we decided to keep around. But as we’ve learned from you, our readers, over the past few weeks, loving your home and loving the planet shouldn’t be mutually exclusive. Filling our spaces with cheap, plastic organizers that, when the time comes to toss them, will sit in a landfill and await the 1,000-plus years they take to decompose, can’t be the only answer—and it isn’t. 

We looked at some of the most popular organization products and came up with a few greener alternatives you can feel good about. Often, it’s a simple matter of choosing your materials wisely. In other cases, it’s about rethinking how you store certain objects altogether. If you’re tired of purchasing plastic goods but want your home to feel clean and fresh, consider these smart swaps.

Instead of See-Through Drawer Dividers…

Junk drawers don’t discriminate. Whether your kitchen knives are in a jumble or you can’t keep your bathroom vanity tidy, dividers can be the difference between order and chaos. Unlike plastic, bamboo products are easily renewable, thanks to the plant’s rapid growth and regenerative qualities. Because this set is expandable, it can change and adapt with you as you move from home to home.

Instead of the Big Bin Under the Sink…

Designed by Mika Tolvanen, this dusty green all-purpose basket is a great substitute for the large acrylic bin with handles you had originally intended to stash in the scary cabinet under the sink. Crafted from polymer felt, the chic design will instantly elevate the objects you wish to hide. Bonus: You don’t have to use any harsh products to clean it. Simply vacuum or wipe it down with a moist cloth if any unwanted gunk shows up.

Instead of Command Hooks…

Command Hooks have become a convenient way to hang essentials on a whim, but when you start to count the number of disposable hooks you’ve trashed or accidentally snapped in half over the years, it adds up fast. All of the items in IKEA’s Tänkvärd collection (including this chic rattan hanger) are crafted from natural fibers like flax, jute, and cotton, which are grown using fewer chemicals and less water.

Instead of the Souped-Up Beauty Organizer…

If you’re out to edit your gargantuan beauty stash, a Lucite makeup organizer can often seem like the simplest way to go. After all, there are so many customizable options out there on the market to keep your pretty paraphernalia in order. But if you want to pare down your ecological footprint, consider swapping out the product-specific compartments for an array of colored glass jars.

Instead of the Magazine Rack…

While you don’t have to look far to find a stylish magazine rack that’s not made from plastic, we encourage you to think outside the box when it comes to storing your favorite reads. Instead, look around your home for a spare sizable basket that will look good on the floor. Something like this storied find, which was handmade in Uganda from raffia and sweetgrass, will get the job done.

Instead of Fridge Bins and Grocery Bags…

Looking for a fresh way to store produce? These mesh reusable bags from Colony Co. are polyester-free, nylon-free, unbleached, and completely biodegradable. Even their packaging is plastic-free and recyclable. Simply toss the bags in the wash when they’re looking a little dingy.

Instead of the Dirty Dustpan…

Brooklyn-based design studio Good Thing’s reimagined essentials are worth the extra splurge when you consider just how often you replace everyday cleaning supplies. This hardy steel dustpan is bound to outlast any $5 pick you’d snag at your local Target. Give it a good wipe down every now and again and you’ll actually want it hanging in your utility closet for years to come.

See more stories like this: 
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