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Green Tips: Removal of Clutter

Purging and de-cluttering is not easy, and involves physical and often emotional effort, but we all have to do it from time to time. Most people find this task tedious and time-consuming at best. For others, the decisions to keep personal belongings or to discard them can be very troubling psychologically.

The good news is that de-cluttering will help you not only feel calmer and more balanced, but your home will also look better and be more organized and functional because of it. It's all about finding the right place for the things you have in your home and letting go of those things which no longer need to be there. To receive the most benefit and enjoyment out of this annual ritual, here are some green cleaning tips to make the task more manageable.

  • Take a walk around your home and identify the clutter areas where things pile up the quickest, like kitchen countertops, kitchen drawers, and closets. Make a list of these separate areas.
  • Tackle one area at a time. De-cluttering is really a series of small projects, not one massive one. Instead of saying, "I have to go through every single closet and give everything we don't wear to charity," say "I will fill up one box today." I can fill another box next Saturday." Don't think about the next area until you have completed the first one.
  • Free is not always good. Lessen the "free" items that come into your home. Do you really need every free t-shirt, bag, and coffee mug that is offered to you? Limit the free items to those that you will actually use and enjoy. There are hidden costs to "free," such as the added clutter and ultimate energy you will spend freeing yourself of these items later.
  • Make it a green clean. Recycle or donate your discards to reduce landfill waste and help someone in need.

Be mindful of gravity. Dust and dirt will fall towards the ground during cleaning. To prevent having to re-clean an area too soon, clean from top to bottom. Vacuum and mop the floor last, and remember to use green cleaning products!

Be efficient. Take the fewest steps possible. Start at the door of each room, and clean left to right until you have made your way back to the door. Also, keep your cleaning supplies in a bucket, as they will be easier to transport from room to room, which will prevent you from having to stop what you're doing to retrieve something from another part of your home.

Below are some green cleaning tips to help you with your daily and annual clean-ups:

  • Groom your pets frequently to prevent loose hair and pet dander from taking over your home. Use herbal flea collars and repellents, rather than chemical flea collars, to prevent pests. Some essential oils, like lavender and rosemary, are effective and safe around pets, but others can be dangerous. Do some research first!
  • Sautee vegetables and cook bacon in a stock pot instead of a pan. The high sides will prevent grease spatters from escaping the pot and keep your stove top much cleaner.
  • Spray non-stick cooking spray on the inside of plastic containers before you pour tomato-based soups and sauces into them. The layer of oil will prevent the food from staining the container.
  • Sprinkle baking soda over your carpet before every vacuuming. Regular use will help control odors and prevent the need for air fresheners, which can contain endocrine disruptors and suspected carcinogens, as well as trigger asthma and allergy attacks.