Keep Spring Cleaning Green!

Some tips on how to clean house without hurting the environment

As soon as the weather starts to warm up, I get the urge to shed some clutter and dirt along with my winter sweaters. But cleaning the house shouldn’t dirty the planet. Here are a few ideas for staying “green” while you get your home clean.

Get rid of clutter
The easiest way to clean up (and to cut down on future dusting) is to relieve yourself of all that stuff that you don’t need anymore. Go through closets, junk drawers and attics and be honest with yourself: do you really need that electric egg cooker? And if you haven’t worn something in a year (or two), does it really need to be in your closet?

Sell, donate, reuse!
Once you have your pile of things that you don’t need, consider carefully how to get rid of it. There are lots of options before heading to the city dump. Yard sales are a great way to pass on what you have no use for and make a little cash in the process. If that seems like too much work, consider donating to charity anything that is in good shape. Or use internet resources like Craigslist and Freecycle to find folks in your area looking for exactly what you have. And don’t forget to take a fresh look at your “junk” and think about whether it may have a new use in your home. For example, cut up the fronts of old Christmas cards and use them as gift tags next year, or repaint old picture frames and hang a group of them on the wall.

And for those items that have no good use left, don’t forget to consider which part(s) can be recycled before you throw it in the trash can.

Earth Friendly Cleaning
When you’re ready to get rid of the dust and dirt, here are some tips on how to do it cheaply, safely and earth-friendly!

•Open the windows
Indoor air is often more polluted than outdoor air, especially after months of shutting out the cold. Letting the fresh air in is a great way to start ridding your home of those musty smells.
•Make your own cleaning products
You can find lots of recipes in home magazines and online for simple, safe and cheap solutions for cleaning around the house. Ingredients like vinegar, baking soda and lemon juice aren’t just for cooking! They can help your house shine, without a lot of chemicals and strong smells. Check out this helpful article for lots of advice and recipes.
•Use sponges and rags
While you are using your “green” cleaning solution, ditch the paper towels and grab reusable items like sponges, towels and rags. (Hey! there’s a good use for those old holey t-shirts that you found while decluttering!) You can even tuck a small rag into your Swiffer sweeper and, when it’s dirty, drop it in the washing machine instead of the trash!

A clean house always feels like a fresh start to me, like great things are possible. Hopefully, you are inspired to get that feeling for yourself, while still taking care of our little planet.

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