Spring is here. For many of us, that means it's time for a yearly project: spring cleaning. It’s good for your mental health, and your home or office. It can also be good for the environment. A recent survey found a whopping 92% of people said they were considering their environmental impact while spring cleaning, with more than half adding they were considering using environmentally friendly cleaning products.
Here are some tips, tricks, and ideas to get your space feeling less cluttered and less dusty all while going green.
Make a plan
The American Cleaning Institute reports 78% of households in the U.S. will spring clean this year, up nearly 10% from 2021. And the ACI said the majority of Americans cleaning were motivated by having a healthy home environment.
But where do you start? Make a plan. Your plan should include things like what areas of a room you want to focus on, what other common areas of the home need attention, and what products and equipment you’ll need. Break it up into smaller goals so it doesn’t feel so overwhelming.
Declutter each room first
Go through every room, closet, and space in your entire home and get rid of things you haven’t touched or used in a while. Group them together and if you can’t remember the last time you touched or used an item, it’s probably a sign to pass it on. A good way to label your piles is one to keep, one to donate, and one to toss. A garage, driveway, or even your yard can be great places to lay everything out.
Know what you can recycle
Don’t just throw out toys, clothes, furniture, and other items after you go through all your drawers and closets. Find out what you can recycle from the pile. Items made of paper, plastic, tin, cardboard, or glass are usually widely accepted by recycling programs. And if you find they can’t be recycled, look up some programs near your neighborhood. Charities like Salvation Army and Goodwill will take old toys along with places like hospitals, doctors’ offices, daycares and emergency shelters. Old furniture can be reused by places like Habitat for Humanity and The Furniture Bank Network which help families in need. If you’re getting it hauled from your home or office, it might require a special permit. Electronics can be dropped at some big-box retailers to get recycled. You can also check to see if there are special electronics recycling events or if any recycling centers near you will take items. A few seconds and a quick Google search are all that’s needed.
Reevaluate your home or office recycling
Are there enough bins? Is the signage adequate? Are employees or family members educated enough on the goal of the program? Should the bins be in a new spot? These are just a few quick questions that can be asked when taking a look at your recycling program. At the office, the lunchroom can be a great location to easily recycle paper, glass, plastic, and aluminum. In your home, the kitchen is the perfect place to get started composting. A place near the bathroom is also a good choice for a recycling bin for plastic body wash bottles and toilet paper rolls.
If your office needs a hand getting started with its sustainable goals or just needs a refresh, RoadRunner can help.
How can you repurpose clothing?
Many recycling programs won’t take your old, ripped clothing, and it often just ends up at the landfill. The fibers get wrapped around equipment at the recycling center creating equipment jams and can even break machines.
You might try to reuse the fabric or even think about donating it. Small holes can be fixed with patches or using needle-and-thread. You can chop cloth up into squares or rectangles to make reusable rags for cleaning. And if the items aren’t in too bad of shape, consider donating them to a shelter, thrift store, or community center to help someone in need. Even animal shelters are always on the lookout for blankets or towels to help keep their animals comfortable and warm.
Read the labels of eco-friendly cleaning products
Do you know what a verified ecolabel looks like on a cleaning product?
The EPA certifies products “that help consumers identify products that meet specific environmental performance criteria.” The agency runs two ecolabel programs: Safer Choice and Design for the Environment. Each program evaluates and assesses product ingredients to meet specific health and safety metrics. Both also offer online databases where you can search for products. Major brands are now getting into the game with products that meet and exceed these criteria. If you don’t feel like making your own cleaning solutions, most major retailers now carry some, if not all, of these brands and products.
Make it fun!
Blast your favorite radio station, make a special playlist, or even dig out that old mp3 player. Make it a friendly competition between teams, coworkers, or family members with small prizes. Turn the whole process into a party with dance breaks. Spring cleaning doesn’t have to be a chore. Making it fun for everyone can turn it into something that won’t be so dreaded, and it can make the time pass more quickly. Another added benefit: you’ll get a full-body workout and burn a ton of calories without even noticing.
Staying conscious of your impact on the planet while spring cleaning your home or office isn’t hard, but it does take some planning. Mapping out your cleaning, choosing the right products, and seriously considering if you need to hang on to some items can leave your space feeling fresh. It can lead to a happier, healthier you. It can also help you meet your sustainability goals and keep our planet a little cleaner and greener.