Ahh, the sun is beginning to shine, the days are becoming longer and your allergies are kicking up again. The dreaded winter months are finally ending and spring is in the air - literally.
All of these are signs that it’s time to declutter your mind, closet and home to reduce stress and relish in the freshness of the new season!
Before you begin this lengthy process - why not consider making your spring cleaning, and season, more sustainable with these 9 tips!
Create a Checklist
Efficiency is key, so start by making a checklist of all the areas you want to clean. You can take this further by breaking down each section into individual tasks that need accomplishing in each room. Remember to work smart. You can set apart time for each task and spread them out throughout the week, or even a couple of weeks. Spring cleaning should help destress you, not give you more stress. So, definitely don’t try to get all of the rooms done in one day!
Declutter (and Destress)
There’s nothing worse than clutter to make a space feel messy and stressful! According to Christiane, M.D., “piles of stuff in our homes are one of the greatest stress triggers… When you reduce the noise of the things around you, you can focus on creating your life.” As you go through each area on your checklist, identify things that you no longer use. This doesn’t just mean you’ll just throw it away. Once you’ve put aside all the things that are causing your house to feel cluttered, put them in three separate piles: reuse, donate and recycle.
Repair Instead of Replace
We all learn about the 3 Rs of recycling (reduce, reuse, recycle) but many of us default to the third R - recycle. Before jumping ahead you need to consider how you can reuse your old items! Through crafty DIY projects, you can give your unwanted clothing and items a whole new look! From creating a new set of kitchen rags to turning t-shirts into produce bags, the possibilities are endless!
Donate What you Can
Once you’ve repaired everything you can, and want to keep. Consider the other items and the joy they can bring to other people. This could either be people in your life, like your family or friends, or people you don’t know. There are dozens of goodwill donation centers, salvation armies or other donation centers all over the US that you can consider giving your old stuff to.
Learn How to Properly Recycle
Once you’ve found ways to reuse and donate most of your items, it’s time to learn how to properly recycle or dispose of items that cannot be repaired, repurposed or donated. Start by learning what kinds of waste are accepted by your municipality. Check with your local recycles to see if there have been any changes in your recycling program. Make sure you have recycling bins in convenient locations throughout your home, and model good recycling habits for your children to ensure they are aware of what should and shouldn’t be put in the recycling bins.
Use Non-toxic Cleaners
Now it’s time to get to the nitty gritty of things. You’re done organizing and decluttering your space, and now it’s time to clean that space. Before you begin, make sure your cleaning supplies don’t have toxic ingredients and chemicals such as ammonia and phosphates. There are plenty of eco-friendly cleaning supplies you can get (here!) to reduce the amount of chemical pollutants that ultimately wash into waterways and the ocean, so you can do your part to make the world a better place for all living things around you.
Dust and Clean your Home (and Change your Air Filters While you’re at it)
Springtime is the perfect time for allergies to start acting up, and while there are few things you can do you stop them completely, it can help to dust your home, dust your fans, the table, any counters, and even between your staircase! Also be sure to thoroughly dust your vents and replace your heating and air conditioning filters, too as this will help decrease your family’s exposure to pollens.
Reduce Paper Use
Ditch the paper towels and switch to reusable towels instead. You can buy some inexpensive ones online or at your local shop, or cut up some old towels or t-shirts that are just lying around and use those as cleaning rags. While a swiffer is super user-friendly and convenient, it creates a whole lot more waste than it picks up! You can even fashion an old towel or washcloth into a reusable Swiffer cover! Get creative with your cleaning habits.
Clean your Digital Clutter
And lastly, but not least, consider decluttering your digital space! Are you someone who always has too many tabs open on your browser, or keeps your desktop filled with file icons? You’re certainly not alone. Research is finding that digital clutter can also lead to increased stress. The solution? Take some time to organize your email inbox, sort your files and photos and only keep what’s important.