Spring Forward (at Home)
The weather is warming up and we’re more inclined to head outdoors but don’t forget that it’s time to do some indoor work too! And although we may have done some of this since the pandemic began perhaps you’ve fallen short of what you had hoped to accomplish (I certainly did!). As we plan to reset clocks on March 14, 2021, it’s a good time to plan our spring-cleaning adventures in and around our homes, and here’s a short list of things to consider as we “spring forward”.
Declutter your Home
We have so much “stuff” in our homes and we’re often overwhelmed with work, errands, or a pandemic (maybe) that we don’t have enough time to organize our homes and prioritize what’s important to us. For many of us, spring energizes us and we’re more likely to declutter our homes by sorting closets, kitchens, and garages. When re-organizing, I recommend the following questions: (1) If I haven’t used it in 6 months, do I really need it? (2) If I keep it, will I use it in 6 months? (3) If I don’t want it, will someone else be able to use this item?
This translates easily into the 3Rs – Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. Reduce your unwanted items by donating where possible. Reuse old clothes by turning it into dusting cloths or drop cloths for painting jobs around the home. Recycle old electronics and kitchen appliances. And, there are other R’s to consider including Repurpose, Refuse, Rethink, Rot, Repair and Rent! When you Recruit others to help you with this process, we can all contribute to a sustainable lifestyle. Together these actions will help to lighten your home’s carbon footprint and if you want more information on “stuff”, check out this Story of Stuff video.
No spring-cleaning plan is complete without the use of some cleaning agent. For a “green” spring cleaning event, consider switching to a green cleaner or making your own cleaners to use around the home. Vinegar and baking soda works wonders in your bathrooms, kitchens and laundry! Natural cleaners do not introduce toxic fumes in your home and, for those of us with allergies, that’s an added bonus. Use this link to learn how to make household cleaners for different jobs around your home, and you’ll save money too!
As you organize your homes, consider organizing your electronic life as well. Sign up for online banking and bill pay to reduce the amount of paper you receive. Also, if you have the latest e-reader gizmo, consider switching your magazine subscriptions to an electronic format. Don’t forget to remove yourself from mailings that you are no longer interested in. If you have books lying around the house that you’ve already read, donate it to a library or start a book-swap with your neighbors. Also, sign up for your local city’s recycle guide or follow on social media for mobile events (e.g. ShredFest).
Indoor Air Quality
During the winter months, our homes are kept tightly sealed to conserve warmth but as the weather changes, it’s a good time to promote air exchanges before we head towards the warm summer months. Frequent air exchanges lead to humidity problems so be sure that you check humidity levels before beginning natural ventilation. Check out this article for more information on indoor air quality and do’s and don’ts when ventilating.
Don’t forget that your landscape also needs cleaning. And, your local Extension office can help you do just that. If you cannot attend a virtual class, this guide helps identify multiple ways that you can have a low-cost, low-maintenance landscape.
Good luck, and spring forward with spring cleaning to beat the summer heat!