Spring is here, and it is the perfect time to clean and declutter your house! Here are some of my super easy, eco-friendly tips for spring cleaning!
Spend Just 10-20 Minutes A Day Cleaning:
Cleaning can sometimes be a daunting task! In the past I used to spend all day cleaning, which is very exhausting and time consuming. So I’ve begun to clean a little bit every day, and over time have cleaned a lot!
Start by cleaning just a few minutes per day, and set aside a specific time every day to clean. By doing it in steps, you can get a lot of cleaning done in a couple weeks, without spending a lot of time on it.
Use Eco-Friendly Products To Clean:
Many commercial cleaning products are made with potentially irritating and potentially toxic ingredients. Protect you and your family’s health by switching to eco-friendly products. Plus you’ll save money too! Soap nut decoction (liquid) is an excellent all purpose cleaner (use it to clean a variety of surfaces like counters, sinks, bathtubs, equipment, toys, etc) and laundry detergent.
White vinegar is also a great all purpose cleaner, which can be used on a wide variety of surfaces. It is a fantastic fabric softener and deodorizer too. Just add ½ to 1 cup of white vinegar to your laundry to soften and freshen up your clothes.
For more household cleaning tips, check out my previous eco living articles below.
How to use soap nuts and make soap nut decoction/liquid: http://www.allnaturalbeauty.com/articles/eco-living/69-living-an-earth-friendly-lifestyle/391-eco-living-using-soap-nuts-for-green-cosmetics-and-house-cleaning
How to remove laundry stains and odors: http://www.allnaturalbeauty.com/articles/eco-living/69-living-an-earth-friendly-lifestyle/531-more-eco-living-laundry-tips-green-ways-to-remove-stains-and-odors
Green, budget-friendly house cleaning tips, includes using white vinegar as a cleaner. http://www.allnaturalbeauty.com/articles/eco-living/69-living-an-earth-friendly-lifestyle/319-eco-living-lis-quick-eco-tips-for-green-house-cleaning-on-a-budget
Another quick laundry tip, and a paper tip too. http://www.allnaturalbeauty.com/articles/eco-living/69-living-an-earth-friendly-lifestyle/488-lis-quick-eco-tips-laundry-and-paper-tips
Don’t Throw Away Good Items:
If you have items that are still in good condition, try to use them or find them a new home instead of trashing them. You can use, reuse, recycle, give away, donate, or sell items. Help the environment by keeping good items out of our overflowing landfills!
Use Or Reuse Items:
Many items can be used or reused. Sometimes when I am cleaning I find items that are in good condition or even brand new that I have forgotten to use. To make sure I remember to use them, I put them in places where they are more visible, and I try to use them more often. Or I try to reuse it in some way, either giving it a second life, or I will use it in a different manner than it was intended! For example, I reuse my old toothbrushes to clean my bathtub. Or I reuse items like pantyhose, and even use up soap scraps!
Here is an eco living article on using soap scraps and old pantyhose: http://www.allnaturalbeauty.com/articles/eco-living/69-living-an-earth-friendly-lifestyle/783-eco-living-lis-quick-eco-tips-on-using-soap-scraps-and-old-pantyhose
More quick eco tips, including using scrap paper and other tips: http://www.allnaturalbeauty.com/articles/eco-living/457-eco-living-more-lis-quick-eco-tips-every-day-is-earth-day
A lot of common household items can be recycled, including many containers (such as bottles and jars from cosmetics, house cleaning supplies, or food), paper, and cardboard. For containers, usually glass, and #1 or #2 plastic containers are recyclable in most areas. Some areas accept other types of plastics, and bottle and jar caps. Many places recycle a wide range of paper (newspaper, white paper, or mixed paper). A lot of areas accept cardboard too (cardboard boxes, as well as cardboard from cereal boxes, tissue boxes, etc). A few places will reuse or recycle many other items like packing materials.
Many trash companies pick up certain recyclable items. Other places that recycle include many libraries, government buildings, and schools. Some health food stores accept glass and plastic containers, and a few even compost (like Whole Foods). Some stores accept light bulbs and batteries. Other companies accept items like packing peanuts and bubble wrap.
Not sure what places in your local area recycle? Or want to find out which items can be recycled? Check out earth 911’s website to search for places that recycle in your area. http://search.earth911.com/
1800recycling.com's website is also a great resource to search for local places that recycle. http://1800recycling.com/
There are many mobile apps in which you can search for local places to recycle too. Earth911 has an app called iRecycle that works on iOS and Android. 1800recycle.com has an app too, which also works on iOS and Android.
Here is an eco living article on reusing packing materials (like bubble wrap): http://www.allnaturalbeauty.com/articles/eco-living/69-living-an-earth-friendly-lifestyle/766-eco-living-reusing-packing-materials
Give Items Away Or Donate:
Have you’ve ever heard the saying that one man’s junk is another man’s treasure? It’s true! If you have a lot of items that are still in good condition, give the items away or donate.
Ask your friends and family if they would like to have them. Or ask your co-workers if they could use them. Ask your neighbors too.
If no one you know wants them, place them in a box outside with the words ‘free’ on it (seriously, someone will take them!). If you are a student at school, some schools may have some ‘free boxes’ around campus (I remember many years ago my undergrad college had them: students would place their unwanted items in them, and other students took whatever items they wanted).
One great way to get rid of unwanted items is to freecycle it! Just list items on freecycle’s website, and if someone local is interested in it they will contact you. http://www.freecycle.org/
Another great way to get rid of items is to donate them to those in need. Many organizations accept gently used items ranging from clothes to household appliances. Thrift shops gladly accept donations. The best thing about donating to thrift shops—you get rid of the items, and the profits for the items usually go to charity. Your local government may have a list of thrift shops on their website.
Many women and homeless shelters accept items like clothing, (unused) cosmetics or skin care (a great way to get rid of any excess new beauty products you may have lying around), books, and toys, etc. Not every shelter accepts all items, so call them or check their website to see which items they need. Usually your local government will have a list of local shelters on their website.
Sometimes schools accept old items too. The art departments of schools may want items like art supplies or old magazines for art projects. The drama departments may need clothing or fabric for costumes. Ask your local elementary, Jr. high, and high schools, if they need these items.
Sell Old Items:
Another idea is to sell old items. There are many ways to sell your unwanted items. Craig’s list is one good way to sell items. http://www.craigslist.org/
If you are a student, some schools have ‘free bulletin’ boards. You can post about your items on the bulletin boards, and either offer to sell your items or give them away for free (this is a good way to get rid of old textbooks). Some super markets or local community centers may have free bulletin boards too.
Or have a yard sale. A yard sale is a great way to declutter and make some extra spending cash at the same time!
Many people sell their old items on e-bay. I’ve seen a wide range of items sold on e-bay from new items to gently used products. Selling on e-bay is another good way to get rid of junk and make money too! http://www.ebay.com/
About The Author:
Li Wong is the owner of Earth Alkemie, an all natural, vegetarian skin care and perfume company. She has a B.A. in Environmental Studies (Biology) and a M.S. in Environmental Science and Policy. Li has been crafting natural cosmetics and studying aromatherapy and herbalism since 2001. Environmental interests include conservation, botany, ethnobotany (uses of plants by indigenous peoples), mammals, organic standards in cosmetics, urban wildlife issues, environmental education and awareness, and public perception. She is the all natural beauty website’s Eco Living and DIY Natural Beauty Formulating Expert, and the anb’s mall Eco Living writer. http://www.anbportal.com/meet_the_all_natural_beauty_experts.htm
For more information on environmental issues, Eco Living, natural cosmetics, aromatherapy, and herbalism check out: Solarkat’s Eco Blog: http://solarkateco.blogspot.com/
For information on Earth Alkemie's products (skin care, hair care, perfumes, DIY raw ingredients, and containers), properties of natural ingredients, the benefits of natural cosmetics, and green business practices, please visit Earth Alkemie’s blog: http://www.earthalkemie.com/blog