The Pack Up Artist was honored to receive the 2018 Excellence in Recycling award from Green Lights Recycling in Blaine, MN!

When I started this business in 2015, I thought I knew what it meant to “reuse” items. With almost every job we took on, we made runs to donation centers, and filled dumpsters, and we tried to assist our clients in finding ways to make money off of their discarded items. And while we did a decent job of recycling items we KNEW to be reusable- we still had a lot to learn about how to do better!

3 years can teach you A LOT!

A few things we’ve learned about reusing and recycling in the downsizing process:

1) Almost every county has a FREE (or inexpensive) program for recycling hazardous chemicals (NO, you SHOULDN’T dump Windex down the drain!) as well as general items such as glass, metal, and cardboard.

2) Into the dump: paper vs. electronics. This might seem like common sense, but we’ve been taught to recycle paper, but not necessarily bigger items that are MUCH more detrimental to our landfills! Remember, if a piece of paper ends up in a landfill- it WILL decompose (quite quickly,) but a TOASTER? That baby will take up space for YEARS to come! While it can be costly to bring these items to the dump and have that company sort it out- recycling these items is MUCH cheaper-in some cases even FREE- and it is a HUGE waste reducer!

3) Did you know that an organization such as Green Lights Recycling will take propane tanks, any kind of metal, lightbulbs, extension cords, and SO MUCH MORE?! Don’t have the means to get them there? We’ll pick them up for you and make the job that much easier! And while there is a cost to recycle items- it’s MINIMAL compared to what you’ll pay at the dump! The earth will thank you!

4)The resources are there- when you know to look! As a company, we have a lot more to learn about what and where we can recycle. There are organizations (such as Tech Dump in the east metro) or Appliance Mart, that will take a few items for free- but this doesn’t always guarantee that the items will be fully recycled. Recycling centers are the best option to minimizing waste.

5) AMAZING businesses such as “Junket” in Minneapolis are dedicated to helping us REUSE almost everything- from paperclips, to fabric, to sewing machines. Julie Kearns, owner of Junket can give you about 500 crazy ways that you can reuse a paperclip! Just ask her!

6) Goodwill isn’t the only option for donation! Non-profits NEED us! Have you heard of any of these excellent organizations? Help your community as you downsize-it relieves YOUR stress and HELPS others! (And the tax deduction is often BETTER than what you can get selling it!)

Some of our favorites:

Habitat for Humanity ReStore-cleaning the garage? TOOLS, extra building materials (in good shape), even windows or cabinets help Habitat as they build homes for those in need.

Bridging, Inc.- Furniture can be expensive, for families new to our state or country it can be a HUGE blessing for them to get gently used furniture to outfit their homes.

Disabled Vets/non-profit donation centers- while Goodwill is the most known (but is for profit), LOTS of smaller groups (Salvation Army, Lupus foundation, etc.) use the sale of donations to get funding for vital community programs.

If all of these options overwhelm you (including the clutter you have collected all of these years!) DON’T stress! WE CAN HELP!

Not only does The Pack Up Artist help you downsize and de-clutter. We also do all of the HAUL AWAY and dispersal of items. Let us haul away that old treadmill collecting dust, or the thousand screwdrivers that have multiplied in your house! We know the resources, so you don’t have to, and we seek to TRULY take the stress out of your mess!