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Reuse and Recycle While Spring Cleaning: How to Make a Difference Through Donating

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It's a week before Earth Day, and spring has sprung. Now is the perfect time to think about your individual environmental impact.

What does the start of spring have to do with the environment? Well, according to a 2013 survey by the American Cleaning Institute, more than 70 percent of Americans engage in the annual tradition of spring cleaning. And anyone who has ever engaged in this age-old ritual will tell you that, at its core, spring cleaning is not always the most eco-friendly activity. Every decision to clear out space may be met with an equal level of guilt about everything you are throwing out.

But it doesn't have to be that way. By thinking of spring cleaning season as donation season, you can clear out your clutter AND help reduce waste. To get this year's spring cleaning season off to a fresh start, follow these tips for sorting the items that you no longer need. This spring, commit to cleaning out just one part of your house and finding something you can donate. Ready to get started?

• If you no longer buy paperbacks and instead use an e-reader, consider donating your books. While you're at it, if you have any e-readers, tablets or other electronics that you no longer use, you can donate them as well. Even broken computers can be recycled. Check out the DellReconnect website for locations.

• Go through your holiday drawer/box/cupboard and identify any decorations you might be able to live without and donate them. If that inflatable Santa hasn't been displayed since 2000, it's time to donate it!

• Finally, go through your closet and be honest with yourself about what you'll wear and what you won't. If you haven't put it on in the last 365 days, you probably don't need it and can donate it to a charitable organization. Check GuideStar to find a reputable charity that is making an impact in your community.

When done right, spring cleaning can actually be fun and eco-friendly. At Goodwill, we collect clothes and household goods and use the revenues from sales to fund job training programs and community-based services that can lead to fresh starts for people who are unemployed or underemployed. That's an added bonus: You clean your house, and you help the environment and others.