Spring is here, a time when many of us get the urge to declutter and streamline our lives with a good old spring clean. This year, why not take your spring cleaning to the next level and use it as the perfect excuse to make your home better for your family’s health, the planet and your back pocket.
Whether you’re gearing up to sell or you simply want to freshen up and simplify your home while reducing the number of chemicals you use, the following tips will save you time and money and bring an eco-friendly ethos to your cleaning routine.
1. Reduce and downsize
Reducing the amount and size of items you own is one of the fastest ways to live more sustainably and reduce your footprint on the planet. This could include downsizing to a home that better serves your needs, selling one of the family cars or buying a smaller, more economical car and giving away or selling furniture and clothing etc. that you no longer need. A smaller house and/or less possessions will simplify your to-do list, reduce your consumption and encourage you to get creative with what you already have.
2. Recycle responsibly
Recycling is beneficial to the environment, as long as it is done responsibly. Check with your local council about their recycling rules and initiatives, including how to dispose of electronic waste (e-waste), which is one of the worst offenders when it comes to incorrect disposal of goods.
3. Do an energy audit in your home
When was the last time you looked at the energy efficiency of the appliances, hot water, heating/cooling and lighting in your home? How old your appliances are will give you a hint. Typically, older appliances are less energy efficient than today’s modern equivalent. If you decide to replace an appliance, check the energy star rating before you buy. The more stars, the more energy efficient. If your hot water system is on its last legs, consider replacing it with a solar hot water system. Replace regular light bulbs with more energy efficient LED bulbs. Reduce paper waste by opting for electronic bills over paper-based bills sent in the mail. There are many things you can do to reduce energy consumption in the home.
4. Switch to natural cleaning products
For a sparkling clean, fresh and healthy home that’s also kind to the environment, ditch chemical-laden cleaning products for natural alternatives. You may just find you don’t even need to buy anything. Good old white vinegar, baking soda and lemons are items commonly found in most homes and are effective cleaning agents. Instead of synthetic air fresheners, consider keeping a selection of essential oils on hand for a fresh smelling home that’s kind to your health and the ozone layer. Another idea is to switch paper towels for reusable wash cloths.
A basic compost system is easier to set up than many people think and you don’t even need a backyard to reap the benefits as your indoor and balcony plants will love you for it and there are plenty of compact, neat and tidy compost bin options available that will easily fit on even the smallest balcony. Most importantly, composting is an excellent way to manage household waste without it adding to landfill.
6. Wash in cold water & avoid the dryer
Spring cleaning usually includes more washing than normal, whether it be refreshing the curtains or washing and packing away your winter woollies and bedding. About 90% of the energy consumed when washing comes from heating. Cold water washing is gentler on the planet, your fabrics and your hip pocket. Make the most of longer days and spring sunshine by drying outdoors and avoiding the dryer as much as possible.
Happy spring cleaning!