The following is a guest post by Jennifer of Mindfulness Mama
Spring is almost here! That’s great, but it also means it’s time for the annual spring cleaning. Sure, some people love it, but a lot of people just try to get it done and over with. Either option is fine, but there are ways to make it more fun.
If you’re struggling to find the motivation for this cleaning spree, then try and have a little heart. A bit of experimentation can help, and so can the knowledge that you can help the planet. So gear up and get ready to learn how to clean in a way that helps the environment at the same time.
DIY All Purpose Cleaner
There’s a ton of DIY cleaners you can make, but the absolute easiest is a simple mix of half vinegar and half water. That’s literally all you need. Just pour it into a spray bottle and use it on practically anything. Hardwood floors, countertops, tile, the kitchen sink, windows — whatever you want. Be careful with granite, though, since some countertops could be damaged by it.
If the smell bothers you, there are two options. You can just wait and the smell will dissipate, or you can add some essential oils to the mix. It’ll help hide the smell, and some oils can have added uses around your home.
Fill It Up
Washers tend to work better and more efficiently when they’re run with a full load. To avoid wasting water, only run the washer or dishwasher when it’s really full. It won’t waste extra water to wash a few glasses by hand, but it will if you run the dishwasher for them.
The same goes for your refrigerator and freezer. The fuller they are, the better they run, but the ambient temperature matters too. During spring, try opening your windows. Keeping your house 64 degrees or lower helps your fridge. This is only easy during the winter and spring though, not during the summer. Keeping it 64 degrees when it’s 90 degrees outside will waste more energy than your fridge will save. Just use common sense and you’ll be good.
Fix All the Leaks
Leaky pipes, faucets, windows, doors and anything else that leaks is a drain on your home’s energy usage. Spring is a great time to do a solid check of everything. It’ll be cool enough that you can feel drafts, but warm enough to work outside. Drafts let heat and air conditioning out, while leaks end up wasting water.
Swap Out Single-Use Items
Paper towels are used so often for cleaning, but there are other options. There’s a cool idea called un-paper towels. They’re just cloth sheets that are designated for cleaning. You simply pop one out, clean whatever you need and toss it in the wash. It’ll save a ton of waste, and you won’t have to buy paper towels all the time.
Take a New Look at Toothpaste
Toothpaste can actually be a surprisingly useful tool around the house. If you have the kind with baking soda in it, it’s also an effective remedy for bee stings. Around the house, it can be used for different things like spot cleaning and touchups. It’s great for removing watermarks on wood, removing scuff marks and even polishing diamonds. Turns out buying three packs at once isn’t such a bad idea!
Hang Dry Your Clothes
With the weather getting warmer and hopefully sunnier, it’s an excellent time to skip the dryer. Drying your clothes outside will help reduce your electricity bill while also giving your clothes a crisp, outside smell. Plus, sunlight has mild antibacterial properties, so it’s great for drying things that don’t get cleaned very often. Pillows and comforters fall into this category, so toss them outside and leave them there for a few hours.
Swap Your Air Freshener
Air fresheners certainly do their job during winter, but with spring on the way, it might be time to ditch those and look for something new. Of course you can open your windows and let the outside air do the trick, but that won’t work indefinitely. Eventually, it’ll get cold, rainy or just too hot to keep them open, which is why you might want to consider eco-friendly scented candles instead, or make your own using the recipe from Little House Living!
Offer a Hand
If you need something, like a carpet shampooer or a power tool, ask your neighbor to borrow theirs instead of buying one. Borrowing it from others prevents all the work that has to go into making one. It reduces your carbon footprint and prevents you from collecting more junk you don’t really need. If you limit yourself to buying only what you really have to, you’ll end up saving a ton of money, space and fossil fuels. Plus, you might get lucky and make some new friends!
Clean up the Basement
The basement is an often-overlooked area, but an important one for spring cleaning. That’s where the air filter probably is, and it will likely need to be changed. The water heater will need to be checked to make sure it’s functioning well, and you should also look around for mold.
Your HVAC appliances can always do with a checkup at well. You might not need to actually do anything, but a quick double check can prevent problems before they get started. If you have any concerns or are thinking of an upgrade, call a technician.
Don’t Forget Your Yard
There are tons of options to make your yard a bit greener. You can cut down on mowing and make your yard useful to wildlife by planting gardens, either vegetable or flower. You can learn to collect rainwater for your plants, try using environmentally friendly pesticides, and use as many native plants as possible. It all adds up to a beautiful area that needs less work from you to stay that way.
Spring cleaning is a bit more tolerable when you know you’re doing more than just cleaning your house. Put on an audio book and let yourself have a relax with it.
Clean your house, save some money and help the planet, all in one weekend. Superhero much?