Spring Cleaning – How to be Green During your Spring Clean
Avoid the Landfill: How to be Green During your Spring Clean
There are so many things to love about spring. The warm sun, the singing of the birds, the smell of freshly cut grass and blooming flowers all draw us out of winter hibernation and into the outdoors.
However, there is one thing that we all dread as spring arrives — spring-cleaning! All the scrubbing, dusting, sweeping under your kitchen rugs, vacuuming and wiping make us want to go back to bed and throw a duvet over our heads, once and for all.
As the weather gets warmer, the scum on our windows, floors and walls become obvious. Sadly, there’s no other way to get around them but to resort to some elbow grease.
While spring-cleaning make our homes livable, getting rid of some of our old stuff means adding waste to landfills. Here are some ways on how to spring-clean your home without adding to your carbon footprint.
Salvage old stuff.
Clearing clutter is the first step to having an organized home. If you have plenty of clothes stuffed in the closet, now is the best time to sort through them. Anything you haven’t worn in the last six months to a year should be placed in a box and donated.
Worn out clothing can be recycled by sewing them into new clothing or accessories. Use old neckties as belts. Cut the sleeves of an old T-shirt to create a sexy halter top and reconstruct the sleeves into a headband or pillowcase. You can also recycle an old pair of jeans into a purse. For clothes beyond repair, you can cut them up into smaller pieces and use them for cleaning windows and floors. That way, nothing goes to waste.
Create treasures out of junk.
If you have a keen eye for details and a good hand for designing, why not put your creativity at work and make your own craft projects? Make tote bags out of newspaper, a clutch out of candy wrappers, and earrings out of soda cans. You can even make money by selling them online or locally. Etsy is a good place to start if you have a knack for creating handmade goods out of recycled materials, but you can sell your masterpiece anywhere on the Internet these days.
Being good stewards of the earth means thinking of smart ways to recycle waste, including electronics. As new gadget designs come out practically every quarter, we need to come up with ways on how dispose our old contraptions without dumping them in the incinerators. Unfortunately, not many people see direct returns for all the efforts they put into recycling, which is why some companies offer cash in exchange for old electronics.
Cell for Cash and Gazelle are two companies that pay for every cell phone you turn in for recycling. For other items that you may have already been recycling, RecyclingBank gives incentives like food and pharmacy gift certificates.
Trade your old stuff.
Give your old items a new home by swapping them for something else you need. This will help you clear your home without adding garbage to the landfills. Several non-profit organizations encourage individuals to place their items on the list and another person will take that item free. The same rule applies if you need something and don’t want to shell out money for it. Hold a garage sale if you want to make some money. If you find that physically exhausting, list your items in Craigslist and wait for some DIY-ers to haul your old stuff into their homes.
Refurbish your furniture.
Tired of looking at the same old sofa you’ve had since your college days? Why not refurbish it and give it a new life instead of turning it into firewood? Many upholsterers and antique dealers would gladly salvage old pieces of furniture and transform them into new works of art. Revamp your furniture by having them upholstered. If you have the skills, create your own slipcovers to extend the life of your furniture. Not only do you save money, you also get a new look for your home.
Clean your lighting fixtures.
Save money on lighting by wiping them clean. Dirt that has accumulated over the months on light bulbs lessens the illumination they bring. Use a dry cloth or an old handkerchief to wipe the fixtures. This way, you lengthen the cycle of your bulbs and you save money by not buying new ones.
Use recyclable storage boxes.
Storage boxes come in different styles and sizes. For something that truly never goes out of fashion, use empty old boxes in keeping clutter out of sight. Get your old TV box and fill it with old magazines, clothes and whatever old stuff you have at home. Plastic storage boxes may look pretty with all the sweet colors they come in, but they also add to landfill waste once disposed.
Green spring-cleaning your home is possible by looking for creative ways on how to dispose old stuff without necessarily throwing them away. Reduce your carbon footprint by recycling most of the items you have at home.
Jessica Phan is a designer for Balsamhill.com a purveyor of high-end artificial Christmas Trees. Living in the San Francisco Bay Area is perfect for her because she has a wide range of interests, including Art & Design, Fashion, Photography, Painting and Thrift Store Shopping.