Green Business Bureau Blog
Green Benefits of Spring Cleaning
Apart from being good for my retail and wholesale conscience, spring cleaning has green benefits. It is a time to de-clutter (reduce), re-discover (the ‘aha!’ when you find something you purchased and completely forgot about) and re-cycle all the plastic bags and containers you have managed to hoard over the year. You may be one of those who keep their homes clutter free all year, diligent and disciplined. And then there are the rest of us slobs. I procrastinate and procrastinate till spring is here. Of course, in the meanwhile I make copious lists and detailed plans of what to do with all the stuff I thought I needed but actually did not. If you find spring cleaning an exercise in misery, join the club. So did I till I found these simple ways of making life easier and justifying my manic retail and wholesale shopping. If you have left things to the last minute, categorization will make it less scary.
Start with the pantry. Throughout winter I stock up ‘cold wet miserable weather’ foods which I mostly ignore the rest of the year. This adds to clutter, the food sits there getting older, may even reach expiry date before you touch it again. Sometimes foods like nuts and grains can get moldy without you realizing it. I usually collect it all and deposit it at the End Hunger bin at the super market. When I am done I leave the plastic bags at the recycling bin at the super market. Voila, a clean pantry and a warm fuzzy feeling inside that you have done one thing right.
Next on my list are papers, books and magazines. Old wrapping paper rolls, gift bags that I have no use for and tissue also come in this category. Books gather dust and mites which pollute our homes and make us sick. Simply giving away or selling those of our books (public library/ craigslist/ half-price books and so on) will de-clutter our homes and make them greener without really lifting a finger. Most of us do not read the same paperback twice. It helps to do up similar sized books and magazines in like-sized bundles tied up with string. It is definitely easier to cart around and kind to your back.
Clothes are another health hazard at home. Left uncovered, they gather dust and mites. On the other hand, their plastic covers attract fine dust by virtue of their static charge. The best green option here is to do away with all unnecessary and unwanted items.
Once you have dealt with your ‘stuff’, we come to the actual cleaning. It makes good sense to turn off the air conditioning when you start surface cleaning. This will prevent dust and mites from getting sucked into the air ducts. Open the windows and let the accumulated dead space air in your home get replaced with clean fresh spring air. Most household detergents and deodorizers contain harsh chemicals like monoethanolamine and quaternary ammonium compounds which have shown correlation with the incidence of asthma. Nowadays there are green friendly, less hazardous choices as far as housecleaning products go.
Spring cleaning cleans not only cleans our homes, it also jumpstarts our jaded souls. Go green this spring! “Reduce, re-use and recycle!”