Eco-Friendly Tips for Decluttering and Cleaning

Having a home that is free from clutter is important. However, having an environment that is free from pollution is even more important. So, if you have plans to declutter and tidy up your home in the future, make sure the methods you use are as good for you as they are for the planet. To help you stay green, here are a few earth-friendly cleaning and tidying tips.

Clean With the Right Supplies

Decluttering can be a chore. So, once you’re finished, you will definitely want to have some eco-friendly cleaning supplies to help keep your home sparkling. You can use green cleaning products that won’t harm the environment, or you can use DIY cleaners made from simple ingredients such as vinegar and baking soda. You should also aim to buy reusable cleaning supplies. For instance, investing in a top-rated vacuum can make your cleaning efforts less wasteful than using disposable sweeper pads. A quality vacuum is useful if you have pets because certain vacuums do especially well at removing pet hair from furniture and hard-to-reach places. 

Recycle or Sell What You Can

As an eco-conscious consumer, you may already be recycling cans, bottles, and plastics. But if you are decluttering your home, you will need to take care when handling larger items. If you set furniture or large appliances on your curb, chances are they will end up being picked up and disposed of in already harmful landfills. These trash collectives not only create an environment eyesore, but they also pollute our air and water resources with large amounts of plastic and potentially harmful chemicals. Look for eco-friendlier appliance recycling options instead. Many local retailers offer recycling services free with an appliance purchase, or you may need to arrange a recycling pickup with a utility provider. You can also sell your used items, which as Gumtree notes not only earns you some money, but also helps reduce landfill waste. Selling unwanted items means you take part in the second-hand economy, and you can choose to sell online, at a garage sale, or donate the items.

Cut Out Your Paper Waste

Appliances are not the only clutter that can end up in landfills. If you have tons of paper documents and photos around your home, and you want to get rid of them, you may have a hard time recycling responsibly. Chances are, you will want to shred these papers before you put them in your recycling bin, but many municipal recycling centers cannot accept shredded mixed-use paper. A better option is to put a stop to your paper waste. Give any old photos away and discard documents as needed. Then, make a commitment to using cloud storage solutions for your future photo and document needs. Cloud storage has less of an impact on the environment and is a much safer method for preserving your memories.

Reduce Your Reliance on Plastics

Once you have your photos sorted out and scanned into a cloud, you may wonder what to do with the extras you want to keep. Well, before you go out and purchase those popular plastic storage bins, you should know how much of an impact they can have on the environment. Our planet is being suffocated by plastic, and purchasing plastic products is contributing to the problem. Even using plastic garbage bags for your decluttering trash can be severely damaging to the environment. So, as you clean up and organize your home, consider cleaning up your plastic habits in the process. Opt for metal or glass storage solutions as you tidy up your cabinets, rather than plastic. You can also just leave the bag out of your garbage bin for a small way to make a major difference in your plastic consumption.

Decluttering your home can be good for your soul. However, it doesn’t have to be bad for the environment. With a few small tweaks, you can make your cleaning routine easier for you and more eco-friendly for the world around you.

Photo Credit: Pexels
Author: Alice Robertson

Assessing and Monitoring Rain Gardens

We are proud to share the final product of a 3 year collaboration between Stewardship Partners, WSU and the City of Puyallup (with funding from the Stormwater Action Network). This assessment protocol is helping us all find out what is working and what isn’t in rain gardens across the region and what priority maintenance issues to plan for.

Want to asses rain gardens of your own or in your community? Check out the protocol, instructions, and helpful resources here:

Learn about SAM studies on how well bioretention treats and reduces stormwater runoff:

Win Tickets to the Sold Out Feast on the Farm!

The Stewardship Partners team is keeping busy as we get closer to this year’s Feast on the Farm! As all the details come together, we can’t help but get excited for what will be our best Feast yet!

The menu is being planned by our amazing chefs Branden Karow of Ethan Stowell Restaurants, Jason Stoneburner of Stoneburner, Mutsuko Soma of Kamonegi, and Brendan McGill of Hitchcock, and our wine pairings from Erath and Chateau Ste Michelle have been picked.

While this event is SOLD OUT, there’s still a chance to score a pair of tickets!  Along with Chateau Ste Michelle, we are giving away 2 tickets to Feast on the Farm! If you, your friends, family, coworkers, or neighbors weren’t able to purchase tickets, share this opportunity to win!

Anyone interested in attending this year can also sign up for our waitlist here.

Top 10 reasons to attend Feast on the Farm:

10) Test your corn hole skills.
9) Fill your cup with local, sustainable wine.
8) Settle in on a haystack to incredible live music.
7) Take home fresh, sustainable produce.
6) Raise your paddle to win a weekend getaway in the San Juans.
5) Feast on food prepared by local chefs.
4) Break-bread with like-minded community members.
3) Immerse yourself in a world of sustainability.
2) Support conservation and restoration right here in the Seattle region.
1) Celebrate a decade of feasting around the table together.

Thank you to our 2019 sponsors!

Host Sponsors



Acre Sponsors





Field Sponsors

Garden Plot Sponsors



In-Kind Sponsors


Christopher Bayley Jonathan Moulton
Barbie Snapp David Burger


Thank you to our 2019 Sponsors

Are all those rain gardens out there working?

Volunteers assessing a rain garden.

While there is little doubt that rain gardens are effective tools in managing stormwater and runoff in general, we’ve wanted to track how real-world rain gardens fair over time and geography since we started the 12,000 Rain Garden Campaign back in 2011. As it turns out, local governments across Western Washington want to know how they are doing as well.

In February, Stewardship Partners, WSU Jefferson, Thurston, and Snohomish Extensions, and the City of Puyallup wrapped up a 3-year project to develop an easy to use assessment protocol for rain gardens and “bioretention facilities” (more highly engineered rain gardens). Funded by the Stormwater Action Monitoring (SAM) program that manages pooled resources from Western Washington local governments, over 80 volunteers and 40 sites across 4 counties were involved in this study. The primary goal of this project was to create an assessment tool that would make it easier for every community to assess their own rain gardens, streamlining and standardizing the data being collected so we can learn about general trends and improve rain garden design and maintenance strategies.

(Photo courtesy: Resource Media)

It was encouraging to analyze data from across these far-flung rain gardens and learn that by and large, real world rain gardens work, work well and are well-liked by the people who own them. The assessment protocol is available now on the SAM website and will be shared nationally as well:

Did you know we are halfway to our goal?

In 2011 we set out on a mission to identify and register 12,000 rain garden projects throughout Puget Sound. And we are happy to announce that we are officially half way to that goal! Community groups and local jurisdictions across the region have worked with us to register their rain gardens through and, officially totaling 6,202 projects!

It’s a Wrap: the 4th Annual Puget Sound Green Infrastructure Summit

On February 7th, the forecast was dire. Snow-pocolypse was imminent. Stewardship Partner’s marquee professional event of the year, the Puget Sound Green Infrastructure Summit, was scheduled for the next day. Food had been prepared and purchased, 250 people registered, 40 speakers confirmed, agendas printed, cars packed to the gills, but the choice was clear, we had to reschedule and let everyone know immediately to make sure none of our partners would be in harm’s way from what ended up being a multi-week winter storm across the region.

Attendees participating in one of the challenge topics. (Photo credit: The Nature Conservancy)

Flash forward six weeks as 260 people arrive at Cascadia College’s Salmon-Safe certified campus and begin to connect and reconnect with fellow Green Infrastructure leaders from the whole Puget Sound region and from each of the four sectors (connecting the dots: .com, .gov, .org, and .edu). It couldn’t have been a more uplifting contrast. The sun was out, and virtually every speaker was able to reschedule for the new date of March 22.

And what an amazing event we had! We grounded ourselves in a history of human relationships to land, water, fish, trees, and whales that dates back 10,000 years to the last ice age, and we consciously chose to create a learning and collaborative community. We applauded the ways that many redevelopment efforts are adding density and jobs while simultaneously reversing negative environmental impacts and we dove deep into the sticky issue of how we are going to retrofit a century’s worth of hardscaping to treat our wealth of rain like the vital resource it is.

Youth Voices panel participants. (Photo credit: The Nature Conservancy)

Our attendees were challenged to make this emerging and growing field a source of good jobs and education for the passionate and increasingly diverse generation entering today’s job market who don’t see themselves reflected in our ranks nor see pathways to change that fact. We laid out 16 challenge topics to network and build coalitions around, and 6 breakout sessions to dive deeper into specific hot topics related to retrofits and voluntary green stormwater infrastructure.

There is no way to summarize just how hopeful and meaningful of a day it was, but when co-chair of the Orca Task Force, Stephanie Solien, took the stage at the end of the day to call us to action, it was so great to hear her say that it was in fact she who felt called to action by the summit and the amazing group of doers who showed up and  take action every day. I think that sentiment was shared by all and is the reason that we are already looking forward to the 5th Annual Green Infrastructure Summit in 2020. And maybe we’ll stick with late March instead of February! Huge thanks to the amazing team at SP, truly all hands were on deck, plus our brilliant host committee and generous sponsors, volunteers, and all those people who adjusted their calendars to make it work.

Thank you to our 2019 Host Committee Members & Sponsors who helped make this event a huge success!

Remembering Our Friend Patti Southard

Patti (left) and her sister Ellen (right) crabbing in the San Juan Islands

We are deeply saddened by the passing of our dear friend Patti Southard. We have lost an incredible driving force in the green building community. Patti was a brave and loving friend who made everyone smile and had an infectious way of making hard environmental and social justice work fun. Her environmental contributions at every level surpassed those of anyone I’ve ever met. She was one of a kind and will be greatly missed.

Patti Southard was the program manager for GreenTools at King County for the past 14 years. She was a pioneer in creating incentives and solutions to move the needle forward in making green building mainstream. Patti received numerous awards for her work in the green building sector and was on several boards including Oxfam, Built Green and Northwest Natural Resource Group to name a few.

Patti had a long family history in conservation of the New Jersey Pine Barrens as well as many years of leadership in outdoor and environmental education. She was raised on her family farm and focused her sustainable development career on the juxtaposition between rural and urban communities and planning.

Our hearts go out to Patti’s friends and family, especially her sister Ellen Southard, who is a very close partner of Stewardship Partners and manages the Urban Salmon-Safe Program. Throughout the year we will be recognizing Patti’s spirit in the work we do, starting yesterday with the trees we planted along the banks of the Snoqualmie River in her honor.

With my deepest loving condolences,
David Burger

“To live in hearts we leave behind is not to die”. -Clyde Campbell

Powered by Plants: 2018 in Review

By Habitat Restoration Crew Lead Geoff Bough

2018 was an incredibly productive year for the Snoqualmie Stewardship Program field crew. We had the opportunity to work on exciting new properties as well as create new volunteer partnerships. This year also brought our first fee for service work through our partnership with Capri Property Management for a streambank stabilization project in Woodinville. The project involved laying out rolls of coir fabric and the installation of hundreds of livestakes and shrubs to better hold the slope together. This was a fun project for us and allowed us to work with some plants that are not typically in our palette.

Our planting goals for the year were far exceeded with the installation of over 17,000 trees and shrubs throughout the Snoqualmie watershed. Most notably was the phase two section of the Aronica Family property. We partnered with Microsoft this year for the annual Day of Caring event and were able to prepare a large area for a Fall planting at Aronica. We also had our friends at Aspect Consulting out to our site at Carnation Farms where we planted 1,000 trees and shrubs along the Snoqualmie River!

The Snoqualmie Stewardship Habitat Restoration Crew

We are ever thankful to all of the landowners, partners, volunteers and other agencies that allow us all to become better stewards of the land through education, restoration and hard work!

If you would like more information on the Snoqualmie Stewardship Program or have a project that you think our crew could help with, please visit or contact Chris Lapointe at

Time to Stand up for Our Beloved Orcas

by David Burger, Executive Director

With the devastating news about Tahlequah and Scarlet this summer, I found myself longing for a time when their struggles were not a common theme. I reflected on a time when I was a young boy and my grandfather took me out to his sailboat to see a pod of orcas in the San Juan Islands and was blown away by these majestic creatures.  This memorable moment gave me great respect for the natural environment and a big reason why I’ve dedicated my life empowering people to become caretakers of the environment and our native wildlife.  Our Southern Resident Killer Whale population have been in the national spotlight and it hasn’t been good news with no new calves born in the last three years.  There are many factors for the decline in the 30-year low population relating to pollution, habitat, food supply, etc., and Stewardship Partners directly worked to solve these.

Orcas rely heavily on Chinook salmon, another endangered species, making our work to restore habitat and keep our waters clean one of the most important actions we can do to help orcas.  It’s clear that we are at a critical time for our Southern Resident orcas, and we urge you to take action to protect and restore habitat. Become a Stewardship Partner today by donating, volunteering, or learning what actions you can do in your daily lives.  It’s my hope that I can show my grandkids orcas in the Puget Sound one day.

Crew for Hire!

The Snoqualmie Stewardship restoration crew extended their reach recently with a collaborative effort between Capri Hospitality Management, the City of Woodinville, and a few other partners. The crew has always been for hire, but more and more businesses and new partners are approaching us to work on restoration projects, mitigation projects, and collaborative efforts outside our normal routine of riparian restoration on agricultural lands. This recognition is a great way to expand our breadth of work while maintaining our focus on providing clean water, healthy habitat, and engaged community partners.


This September they worked to stabilize nearly 200 feet of stream bank on the property of the new Hampton Inn and Suites in Woodinville, WA. This project offered the crew a chance to hone their bioengineering skills by stabilizing a steep and challenging bank along a tributary of Little Bear Creek, a creek historically known for salmon spawning.

As Stewardship Partners gains this new knowledge and expertise, expanding our services offered to landowners, businesses, and other organizations/agencies, the Snoqualmie Stewardship Restoration crew is available to work on slope/bank stabilization, volunteer event management, riparian habitat restoration, wetland restoration, upland forest restoration, implementing green infrastructure features such as rain gardens, and mitigation projects.


Additionally, the entire Stewardship Partners’ staff is available to be hired for consultation and opportunity assessments, project design, mitigation design, permitting assistance, implementation, and maintenance. Our full-time restoration crew and Director of Ecological Restoration combined have over 25 years of experience providing these services to landowners and communities and have restored over 72 acres of degraded habitat. We are excited to share our expertise, muscle, and passion with a wider audience in the years to come!

A Conversation between Sustainability Leaders

On October 3rd, Stewardship Partners hosted a riveting conversation between two leaders in environmental sustainability, Tom Alberg and Chris Bayley. Tom and Chris are long-time friends who grew up in the Seattle area, met while attending Harvard, and returned to the Northwest where they each founded organizations committed to sustainability and environmental stewardship.

Tom Alberg is the founder of Oxbow Farm & Conservation Center, and Chris Bayley is the founder and current Board Chair of Stewardship Partners. Originally a family farm that raised beef cows, Tom and his wife Judi converted Oxbow Farm into an education and conservation focused non-profit whose earliest partner in conservation was Stewardship Partners. This early partnership helped form Stewardship Partners’ model of engagement where we empower people as caretakers of our land and water, and even led Oxbow Farm to restore over 14 acres of salmon habitat along the Snoqualmie River with the help of Stewardship Partners.

Held at the Madrona Ventures offices in downtown Seattle, community members were able to witness this exceptional conversation while enjoying sweeping views of Seattle. Moderated by Lisa Jaguzny, Oxbow Farm & Conservation Center’s recently appointed Executive Director, Tom and Chris discussed their respective paths in sustainability and why environmental stewardship is important to preserve the natural beauty and health of our Puget Sound home. Growing up in the Northwest, Tom and Chris both had a natural, if at the time subconscious, desire to protect the environment they grew up in.

“I played on the beach at Bainbridge Island and Orcas Island and did all these wonderful things that involve nature. I suppose that’s where I understand now that it’s so valuable because our grandchildren are now turning over the same rocks on Orcas and finding the same crabs that I was finding [as a child].” – Chris Bayley


This event was an extension of our “I’m a Stewardship Partner” campaign where we recognize community members committed to environmental stewardship practices. Tom Alberg is a shining example of a Stewardship Partner and was presented with the first ever “Groundbreaker Award for Environmental Leadership in Washington State” for his work with Oxbow Farm & Conservation Center and Stillwater Creek Vineyard as well as a continued commitment to sustainability.

Stewardship Partners would like to express a sincere thanks to Madrona Venture Group for hosting this inspiring event in their scenic offices, Novelty Hill Winery for providing delicious, Salmon-Safe wine, along with Barbie Snapp, Lisa Jaguzny, Chris Bayley, and Tom Alberg for helping make this an engaging and inspiring evening dedicated to sustainability.

You can view a video recording of the evening’s conversation on the Stewardship Partners website here.