Wednesday, March 4, 2009

How to Go Green: Spring Cleaning

For most of the country, it doesn’t quite feel like spring just yet—but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t start thinking about your spring cleaning routine. This is the perfect time to start de-cluttering, organizing, and scrubbing down your home from top to bottom, so that when the weather does finally warm up you can spend your time outside in the sun instead of inside with a bottle of cleanser—because even if you’re not a through-and-through neat freak, a solid deep clean can make your home greener, more efficient, healthier, and safer.

Reduce your trash

Start your cleaning process by weeding out stuff you aren’t using (and never will), but don’t just throw it away; it might not be junk to someone else. If you’re the patient type, try selling it on eBay or Craigslist, or planning a yard sale for the spring. If you’re more of the get-it-out-of-the-house-immediately type, post it on Freecycle, donate it to your local Goodwill, or see if anyone in your family could use it. Even better: see if there’s a use for it that you hadn’t thought of before: could that old frame work around a mirror? Maybe you could stack those books into a side table? Get creative.

Clean your cleaners

Spraying and scrubbing is an unavoidable part of any spring cleaning project, but that doesn’t mean you need to invest in a case of antibacterial spray. Most places in your home don’t need disinfectant, and even those that do can be taken care of with a few simple products you likely already have in your home, like baking soda, hot water, vinegar, lemon, and salt. Making your own natural cleaners keeps your home safer, improves indoor air quality (since you won’t have those unlisted toxins floating around)—and it costs a lot less.

Plan ahead

Taking a little extra time this year can save you a ton of time during next year’s spring cleaning—especially when it comes to reducing your paper intake. Check sites like greendimes and 41 pounds to stop the flow of junk mail into your home, and sign up for paperless billing to save time on filing. Both these steps take just a few minutes, but will keep your entryway and office neater for months.

Get more tips, tricks, and advice with Planet Green’s How to Go Green: Spring Cleaning guide.