As I sit here looking around, I realize that the time has come to dive into some spring cleaning. Of course, to many people, spring cleaning means doing a little dusting, maybe straightening out a bit and leaving it at that. We, however, have managed to amass a number of items that we no longer use, many clothes the kids have grown out of, toys that either do not get played with anymore or that are missing pieces, and the place is beginning to feel cluttered. So while I figure out my plan of attack, I wanted to share some of my favorite green cleaning tips that will help you spring clean your home and your life.
- The first step, and the most essential one, in spring cleaning is to stop procrastinating. You won’t get anything done unless you take the first step.
- Once you have done that, make the decision it is okay to let things go. If you aren’t willing to let go of items you no longer need or use, you will not make the progress you could (and should), and your home will be just as cluttered as when you started. Trust me, clearing out the clutter not only has physical value, but emotional and spiritual value as well. Try it!
- Now that you have made some key decisions, go room by room through your home in order to get rid of items you no longer need or use. Going room by room makes it a little easier than trying to tackle the whole house in one day/weekend. As you go, put items you can sell in one pile, items to donate in another, and items to toss in a third. Here are some tips to help you decide whether you should sell, donate or throw it out. (Note: Keep in mind that many “throw out” items can also be reused in some other fashion. The key is to not keep it simply because you want to hang onto it, but keep it because you can actually use it.)
- The kids recently got a bunch of new clothes since a) they need new summer clothes and b) they have grown out of many of their old ones. While most of their old clothes can be donated, there are some that have stains, are worn-out or simply aren’t suitable to donate. They will, however, make great cloths for cleaning.
- When it comes to cleaning products, go natural. Instead of using store-bought chemicals to “clean” your house, use natural products. For example, here are 5 foods that make eco-friendly cleaners and here are 27 household uses for a lemon. Since cleaning your windows will let more of the spring shine through, here is a window cleaner many tout as one of the best.
- While you are at it, get rid of those chemical cleaners. I mean, do you really think you are doing your home, your family, or yourself any favors by adding chemicals into your home? Well, you aren’t. Follow these tips on how to dispose of toxic cleaning supplies and we will all be better for it.
- If your house seems a tad bit musty and lacks that fresh spring smell, forget the air freshener, open your windows. After having your windows closed up for the winter, it is time to open them up and air your house out. This is something you can do every week or even every day. Believe me, it is worth it!
- Now that you have aired out the place, try adding some plants inside your home. Indoor plants can bring a little of the outdoors inside, while at the same time they can help get rid of indoor air pollution and keep your home feeling fresh. Check out some of the top houseplants for improving indoor air quality.
- Another tip, mentioned by one of my readers, is to remember to do some digital spring cleaning. Unused files, massive amounts of photos stored on your hard drive, and all manner of other issues can slow down your computer and your ability to get work done. Spring clean your digital life and you will find your efficiency will increase too. Take a look at these tips to unclutter your digital devices and social media presences.
- Do not forget to spring clean your car. During the winter months our car sometimes gets loaded down with jackets, blankets and supplies we need when traveling in colder weather. Now that spring is here, and summer is just around the corner, it’s time to clean out your car and get it running more efficiently. Some simple ways to do that include rotating your tires and ensuring they are properly inflated, getting routine maintenance performed, cleaning your car with a waterless cleaner, and adding a proven fuel additive to help increase your fuel economy and lower your harmful emissions.
- Remember that our bodies can use a spring cleaning too! Recently I was put on a low-sodium diet in preparation for surgery, and I have to say I was really able to tell the difference in how I felt after eating fresh, unprocessed, low-sodium foods. The first few days were a little rough, as I felt as if I was detoxing, but after that I noticed I had much more energy, felt better, was not as hungry, my body did not ache as much, etc. So, here are some simple tips that may be able to help you spring clean your diet.
- Life just wouldn’t be complete without nature, would it? Not in my mind. Getting yourself outdoors every day, whether it is to go for a walk, ride your bike, play with the kids, enjoy a little fresh air, get some sun, watch the clouds or gaze at the evening stars, is an essential part of life. As kids, we spent many of our waking hours enjoying the great outdoors. No reason to stop now that we are adults, right? Besides, getting outside every day is a great way to get a little exercise, relax and clear your mind.
- Next on the list, now that you have a cleaner home, cleaner car, and you are working on spring cleaning your diet too, is growing some of your own herbs, vegetables and (if you have room for it) fruits. One of the best ways to ensure you are eating fresh, organic, local fruits and vegetables is by growing your own. Keep in mind that you can do this whether you have a big yard or not. In fact, here are some good tips for growing food in a small space.
In reality, there are so many different ways we can spring clean our lives. These are a few of the green ones I try to use and I hope you will be able to find them useful as well. Now, since there is no time like the present, happy spring cleaning!
Image by Dan McKay via Flickr Creative Commons