The birds are chirping, the sun is shining, and the house is covered in a dull film of winter. It’s spring, and it’s time to spruce up the home front with a good purge and scrub. Clean faster and better with these tips for spring cleaning in 8 easy steps. Make sure to read our green spring cleaning checklist.
Spring cleaning in 8 easy steps
As you dive into spring cleaning, be sure to follow these simple steps to make your cleaning low-impact and more environmentally friendly.
The first step of any spring cleaning is to get rid of the junk you accumulated in the last 9 months — and the stuff you haven’t missed all winter and therefore, can probably live without. When you’re purging, you might be tempted to trash everything, but resist the urge. There’s are greener ways to deal with your unwanted items.
1. Re-Use or Repurpose Unwanted Items
Don’t get rid of anything you know you’ll use again. This may seem obvious, but sometimes it’s tempting to throw everything away and start over again. This is your chance to be creative. Think about ways you can repurpose unwanted items.
2. Recycle the Recyclables
For belongings and boxes that are beyond reusing, make a recycling pile and a trash pile. Double check your city’s list of recyclables, then get to work sorting through your trash. Some progressive cities have drop-off bins for cardboard and other easy-to-recycle materials.
3. Have a Yard Sale
A garage sale is one of the easiest ways to purge your house of unnecessary items, and it has the bonus of bringing in some cash. (Immediately take whatever doesn’t sell to your nearest Salvation Army or Goodwill or other secondhand store. Whatever you do, don’t bring the items that didn’t sell back into your home and garage.)
If a yard sale is too much work for you, post your belongings on Craigslist or freecycle. These things all take time. Sometimes you want stuff gone immediately. In these cases, take it to an organization for their upcoming rummage sale, or drop your things off at Goodwill, which makes it very convenient. Take your books to the library. Bring school and office supplies to your local school. Basically, anything decent deserves a home.
Now that you’ve decluttered your life, it’s time for the real hard work — cleaning. Before you rush to the store to stock up on cleaning supplies and paper towels, read these tips to save money and the environment.
4. Use or Make Green Cleaning Products
If you’re into store-bought cleaning products, check out greener brands like Method and Seventh Generation. But if you’re up for making your own products, you can save a lot or money. My favorite natural cleaning products are baking soda and vinegar, but there are tons of ways to use other non-toxic cleaners. Check out Non-Toxic Home Cleaning for ideas.
5. Forgo Paper Towels for Old Rags
Paper towels are terrible for the environment. According to Care2, their production kills 1.4 million trees every year. So pass on the paper towels and opt for reusable rags made of old towels, t-shirts, socks, and any other cloth you find lying around.
6. Give New Life to Walls with Low-VOC Paint
If painting your walls — or anything else — is on your spring cleaning list, go for low-VOC paint. It’s less smelly, better for your health, and better for the environment. Plus, the quality of low-VOC paint has gotten better over the years and now it’s just as good and the non-eco alternative.
Prepare the Yard for Spring
If you’re feeling ambitious enough to take your spring cleaning outside, follow these simple, eco-friendly tips to get your yard ready for spring.
7. Compost Your Leaves
The best way to get rid of those leaves left over from last fall is to throw them in the compost bin. If you don’t currently compost, you can build your own compost bin. At the very least, be sure to use paper leaf bags instead of plastic garbage bags; many cities require them now and they’re better for the environment.
8. Skip Weed Killers
Yes, dandelions can be pests. I spent a good 5 hours last year with a manual weeder uprooting the pesky weeds, but it was worth it. The chemicals in spray weed killers are bad for your health, your children’s and pets’ health, and the environment. If you really want to use a weed killer, opt for a natural alternative.
9. Install a Rain Barrel
Prepare your yard for spring by adding a rain barrel or two. That way you won’t waste water when you water your plants. Instead, you can reuse rain water. Consider setting up a rain garden as well.
What are your green spring cleaning tips? By using these spring cleaning in 8 easy steps ideas, you will be on the way to a more organized and less cluttered home