Little Green Dress- Recycled, Reused, and Made in the USA Closet Organization

by - Tuesday, March 22, 2016



Ok, so this month was all about clothes (ALL ABOUT CLOTHES), but I need a break, so if you are greening your closet, you could also think about greening the stuff you use to organize your stuff. I am not an organizational master, but I am hitched to one, and he needs order to live, so I have learned a little bit on the way.

The biggest thing I have learned is that being organized is actually pretty nice.

You actually know where stuff is, you can actually fit a bunch ore stuff into a small space, and you actually know what you have. This isn't being facetious. I genuinely didn't know these things. That being said, a little organization really can help you green your closet.

Organization tips in general can be tricky for our purposes, because so much of it is stuffing more stuff into the same amount of space, and that doesn't line up with our goal, which is to have a life less ruled by an overwhelming number of objects and possessions! Honestly, if you have to hang hangers on top of each other, you have too much clothing.

On the other hand, I strongly believe that a key step to living a green life is knowing exactly what you have, and that can be hard to do if you aren't organized. We all have so much that things slip through the cracks and you end up buying more Christmas socks when you already have Christmas socks! Or leather pumps when you already have them. The list goes on and on. You can read my blog on how to seriously cut down on your closet, but if you have done that and now you want to get organized, you can find eco-friendly tools to do so.

Based on what I can see and our experience, these are the tools that you might need:

Hangers for Clothing
Organizing Systems to Maximize Space
Bins (especially under bed bins) to put out of season clothing away
Shoe Organizer
Laundry Baskets

So to wrap up Green Closet month, let's look at where you can get these kinds of items. If you are going to have a closet filled with eco-friendliness, better take care of the bones too, right?

Closet Organizers

My Pick- ClosetMaid doesn't have that sort of flashy Mariah Carey closet panache, but their organizing system is by far my pick (and have worked perfectly in our closet). Why? Their sets are made in the US our of at least 90% post-consumer recycled material. I love it. Just the tool I would recommend to keep your space organized, save a bunch of money, and to do a little bit of good in the world. Their cubes are also listed as Made in the USA, so they might make a great choice over the imported options you can find all over the place.Everything here is really affordable.

Organize It has a Made in America section for closet organizers, storage items, and laundry storage. Pretty awesome.

EZ Shelf is a made in America company that makes shelves and rods for closets- this might be perfect if you aren't looking for anything too complicated, but still want to get organized. You can see this website also has a "Design your own Closet" feature, which might be perfect.

Stacks and Stacks (yes, this is a real store with a genius name) has a section of closet goods made in America as well, but what I like most about it is the solid selection of shoe organizers. We have one now, and it keeps things neater, but it also has instituted a one in one out rule, so it creates a limit for how many shoes we could ever buy. Might be a perfect thing for someone in an apartment to buy, because it keeps you organized and you can take it with you.


Hangers


For hangers, you might be able to find some at consignment stores (always the best option), but if you can't, you have two eco-friendly options- Bamboo hangers or Recycled plastic hangers.

Honey Can Do sells recycled hangers for about 50 cents a hanger. Not any more expensive than the fresh plastic ones, and you are saving more plastic from being made/ put in the environment. This is the budget and eco-friendly solution for sure. Watch out that some of them are apparently smaller than the normal size, and they do come from China, so I will keep working to find a better recycled plastic solution.

Kids can get even more eco-friendly hangers with these recycled thick paperboard hangers from Little Dundi. They are both really cute and way better for the environment than any of the other kids' hangers I found.

Bamboo works the same as wood, really taking care of your clothes, but bamboo can regrow much faster and therefore is always a more eco-friendly choice than new wood (even better if they aren't stripping large areas of bamboo at once. Definitely more expensive, but you will buy them once (unlike the plastic ones, which will break). Options? These ones from Fox (100 seems like a lot to me, but I bet it isn't if you live in a household with plenty of people). These ones from the Great American Hanger Company are listed as "Bamboo/Wood" and it is not clear to me where they land, but they look like bamboo, and they have a space saving design. Tosnail hangers got a great review, and look really simple, not too heavy.

Bins


Three brands make those see-through plastic bins in the USA- Hefty, Sterilite, and Iris. I love that they are one thing you can count on to find Made in the USA at any Walmart or Target. I only wish they would incorporate recycled plastic into their products- why do all bins need fresh plastic? We use the under-bed bins to keep our out of season clothes. Underbed bins, to me, are the key to keeping organized, but I know my sister in law uses one with drawers. It might be about what works for you, but if you are going to buy plastic, at least buy things made nearby.

Pop n' Store Storage Boxes look pretty and they are made from 100% recycled material (70% post-consumer). They look really clean and nice, and they come in five sizes so you can get the size you need.


Shoe Organizer

from Wood Gifts and Decor
My Pick- Etsy has more shoe racks than I have shoes, and they are mostly pretty fantastic, being multi-purpose and even being made of reclaimed wood in the US! I LOVE this one made in the US by a retired US Marine. Bemoaning the way veterans are treated? I have a place for you to put your shoes, and it even looks great! Wood Gifts and Decor sells great stuff. This shelf set from the Knotty Pallet looks like a pretty similar and good-looking shoe rack if it works better for you. This one from Reformed Wood is probably the prettiest, so an awesome choice if you live in the South. This one from JM Country is very similar if you want to try somewhere else.

If you have a bit of room in your closet or bedroom, this shoe storage bench from The Sole Secret is pretty awesome (and made in the USA!).

from Creative Designs Decor
If the sole secret just isn't flashy enough for you, this might be your jam. Let us all strive to have shoe collections with such confidence that they could hang out in this ridiculous and glamorous shoe rack. Mariah Carey wants this shoe rack. Creative Designs Decor is getting it done!

Need something a little less pricey? Many Green Forest pieces are made in the US, including their shoe racks.


Laundry Bags and Baskets

from Hen House Originals
My pick- Hen house originals sells oodles of funny laundry bags, and something about a laundry bag really screams for some humor. It's covert resistence against the banal horrors of adulthood. You can find lots of cool fabric baskets on Etsy as well.

You can buy a military-grade laundry bag on Amazon, and it was made in the USA. And it does look tough. As tough as a bag of unmentionables can look.

Handy Laundry makes laundry backpacks in the USA, which sounds silly, until you think about dragging your laundry to the laundromat or even to your basement at the same time as your child. The practicality of how you move it makes a lot of sense to me. Could be great for travel too (we usually use a pillow case, but this is classier.

If you want one that are more like a hard hamper, Lamont Hampers are made in the US, and they look pretty and subtle. They come in multiple finishes, so look around and see if something you like is there. My favorites are the benches.

from Etsy
Etsy has tons of options for hard hampers, both retro vintage and homemade.I absolutely love these hampers, because the picture makes it look like they have frowny faces. This one has a pretty and rustic style, and this one could put your old plastic baskets to work while still keeping things attractive.

Chelsea Collection hampers are made in the US and come in a variety of sizes and finishes. They remind me of ones my mom had back in the day, but in a good way.

Green Forest sells hampers with some shape but made primarily of a cotton/linen blend. They have natural looking designs, but aren't too cutesy to not be useful. They also have jute hampers which could be recycled or reused once they look to rough to cart laundry in (is that a thing that happens?). This one looks pretty small, but plenty of options exist.

United Solutions makes their plastic hampers in the US, but they are also fresh plastic hampers. If that is your deal, and you can't find a hamper at your local goodwill or consignment store, then this is probably the best possible option.

Odds and Ends

from Andrew's Reclaimed
Accessory Hangers- Every time I look at my belt hanger, I feel an instant need to give some away. Why do we have so many of these things? Don't let little things become invisible and linger when you never use them, hang them up on a hanger like this one. Andrew's Reclaimed is one of my favorite Etsy stores, and they have such nice looking hooks.

Cedar Hang Ups from Cedar America are grown and made in the US, they can also help to keep your clothes nice and lasting longer (key to green living- buy less and use what you already have longer!).

from William Robert Vintage
Clothing Rack- If you don't have a closet and need a place to hang your clothes, Etsy has some really cool hanging rack options that could look gorgeous in a bedroom. I like this industrial one from William Robert Vintage. This copper one and this wood one might be more your style if you are a little more feminine or modern.
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from Copper Garden Studio
This thing- This pretty copper thing from Copper Garden Studio. You can hang jewelry on it? Or really thin belts? No matter what, this is the prettiest thing on this list.

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