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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.

Spring Cleaning

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.

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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.

 

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Recycle e-waste.

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.

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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.

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Do you have an organized pantry? Of course, organization in your pantry, like your refrigerator and other appliances , is key to a kitchen that is organized and easy to use.  This week, guest poster Tim Eyre examines what your pantry organization skills say about you.
Pantry OrganizationYou should never judge a book by its cover. But is it possible to judge a person by his pantry? Well, I’m not normally one to judge anybody. But I’ve found that when I walk into someone’s home and look at his or her pantry, a mental image of the owner instantly takes shape in my mind—and I am amazed at how accurate that mental image usually turns out to be!

No, I’m not just talking about the difference between a neatnik and a slob—that can be pretty obvious to anyone. I’m talking about more fundamental character traits—what the person is like, how he/she approaches life, and even sometimes what he/she does for a living.

You can tell a lot about people by how they organize things. And very often you need to look no further than their pantry to get all the clues you need. Here are some common personality types and the kinds of pantries you most likely will find in their homes: Read More→

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Spring Cleaning and RecyclingWith spring cleaning on everyone’s lips, there’s going to be a lot of junk tossed into dumpsters in the coming months.  Although the idea of de-cluttering is a noble goal, one person’s clutter is another person’s gold.  For example, that tacky sweater your aunt gave you last Christmas may keep someone less fortunate warm next winter, and a lot of toxic waste—to include batteries, used CFLs, and other things that contain chemicals harmful to the environment—needs to be dealt with particularly.  They don’t belong in landfills, and in fact much of our spring cleaning refuse can be recycled.  Here’s how. Read More→

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It’s Spring time already? Where has the time gone? Daylight savings time will be springing forward soon, the leprechauns have got their clovers ready for St. Patrick’s Day and Easter is hopping closer and closer. Some where in between all of these things, there’s one more Spring time essential that must be done: Spring cleaning! This year will be no average year for spring cleaning in my household. I’ve been doing some research and this spring, I’m on a mission to bust my winter clutter.

  1. Safety
  2. Many people may think, “What? You’re talking about power cleaning and clutter busting and you’re going to start with safety? It’s just cleaning, Do I really need to worry that much about safety?” I don’t mean to scare anybody, but every year there are 20,000 deaths and 21 million hospitalizations from home-related injuries so the first and foremost item on my list is to stay safe! Here’s a few safety tips: When you’re going to be spending a lot of time bending, kneel instead and wear some knee-pads to keep yourself comfy. When clearing and re-organizing clutter, make sure you leave any doorways, hallways and stairs clear of objects to trip on (about ½ of those injuries I mentioned are from tripping and falling). When carrying arms full of household items, make sure that you can see the ground and the path you’ll be walking over or around your load. When you have to use a step ladder, don’t take any risks. Lastly, before you doing anything strenuous, stretch yourself out and warm up a bit, like you would before exercising. You’d be surprised how much that will improve your energy and attitude while cleaning, while at the same time reducing your chance of injury.
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Organize Your Desk
Whether you use your desk for paying household bills or making multi-million dollar deals, an organized desk will help you function more efficiently with less stress.

    · Clear your desktop and drawers of everything except large items like computers or printers. While you have your desk clear, wipe down surfaces and drawers.
    · Put desk accessories (pencil cups, calendars, desk pad, rolodex) back on the desk where you are able to easily reach or see what you need. Insert drawer dividers or other desk organizers you need to keep like items together and stay organized.
    · Sort the items you cleared from your desk. Set up boxes with categories like: shred, recycle, trash, office supplies, equipment, papers to file, decorations, and elsewhere (items that don’t belong at the desk to be put away later). Place items in these boxes.
    · Put items you have sorted away. Place the things you use daily within easy reach, items you use weekly close enough to reach them with little effort, and supplies you use monthly or less often away from your desk. These can even go in a closet or storage area in another room. Keep your workspace clear so that you have a clutter free environment that allows you to focus on your work and put like items together so you can easily find them.
    · File papers. If you do not have a good filing system, set up simple system for handling paper where you can find the paper you are looking for in less than a minute. Don’t pile—file!
    · Place any decorative items where they can be seen and enjoyed, but not on your workspace. Display items that inspire you most, but minimum the amount of decorations so you are not distracted from your work.
    · Maintain the hard work you have done. Take time to put things in their proper place each time you use them. When you are working your desk can become cluttered, which is understandable. Just make sure that at the end of the day everything is put away and the desktop is clear, ready for a new day of work.

Cathy Bates is owner of Practical Solutions Professional Organizing and a Golden Circle Member of the National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO). They offer hands on organizing help for homes and offices. To find out more about how they can assist you, contact them at www.psorganizing.com or call (909)810-3719.

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