It is never too early to think about spring cleaning and this year I plan on going green with my spring cleaning. Of course spring cleaning will involve more than just what agents to clean with. Green spring cleaning involves a state of mind about how to live more naturally and with less. Remember less is more.
Step 1 will involve reducing the clutter in your house. Start with the clutter you can see around the house and remove the stacks that may have accumulated. Also look deeper in your closets, junk drawers, out-of-reach shelves, attics and basements, and any other place where you’re likely to hide items. Separate the items that you are likely to use and the ones you will not need.
In step 2, you can go through the piles of stuff you have and see if you can reuse or donate some of the items. For example you may be able to reuse picture frames that old pictures were housed in. You can donate items to Goodwill or the Salvation Army or put them on Craig’s List or Ebay and possibly make a little cash. The important thing is that these items will get some use and will not end up in a landfill.
Step 3 involves recycling items such as newspaper, aluminum and plastic. For old electronic items you may be able to find a retailer that will recycle and check your local library for local pickups of electronic items and other household items. Again these items will be recycled and the landfills will thank you for that.
In step 4, you will be able to organize your items that you have decided to keep by getting ecofriendly shelving and/or using cardboard boxes, that you can decorate, to store things in. Avoid the non-biodegradable plastic bins for storage. This step will help free up floor space and give you a cleaner looking house with more living space.
In step 5, you can go paperless by ending you magazine subscriptions and reading them online. You can also get rid of your junk mail by signing up for services like GreenDimes or 41 pounds which can eliminate your junk mail. You can do online banking and get rid of your bank statements. All of this will reduce the amount of paper generated and save some trees.
Your final step 6 will involve using natural cleaning equipment and cleaning agents. You can get rid of your Swiffer sweeper and use a broom or an old fashioned mop. Get rid of those paper towels and use the reusable microfiber cloths or sponges. Use the natural cleaning agents that do not have harsh chemicals in them, instead of phthalates which may cause birth defects, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that lower indoor air quality and can be connected to respiratory problems, phosphates that break down dirt but can also affect algae when they enter the water supply, petrochemicals or petroleum-based by-products that have been linked to cancer and chlorine bleach which will disinfect, but can cause serious health problems. Instead switch to natural cleaning products that you can make yourself. Your home can be primarily cleaned with cleaning recipes that combine hot water, vinegar, and baking soda or washing soda. You can add a few drops of essential oil for scent if you prefer. I found a wonderful all-purpose cleaner on www.natural-healthy-home-cleaning-tips.com and the ingredients include Liquid Castile soap, white distilled vinegar, borax, purified water, and an essential oil for fragrance. Check out that site for other natural cleaning recipes.
As you can see, green spring cleaning involves a new state of mind and thinking about your home environment. In addition to natural cleaning agents and supplies, you also need to take a look at cleaning the clutter in your house and life. You will be happier and feel richer and the environment will thank you for going green.