Green Spring Cleaning Tips
It’s come to that time of the year when we take a look at our homes, and start trimming the fat. Spring cleaning is especially after this past year with the majority of people spending much more time at home! A lot of us have collected items that we probably don’t need to have sitting around the house anymore. Common items that people are usually ready to part with during a solid clean out include; clothing, tupperware, electronics, bedding, furniture, toys, books, and more. When looking at decluttering with sustainability in mind, there are a couple ways to organize without everything ending up in a landfill. Usually most will separate the junk into a “donate” pile, and a trash pile. What do you do when an item doesn’t belong in either pile?
When you get to cleaning things start piling up quickly and you end up with a mountain of trash bags. This can get overwhelming so we’ve provided you with some tips to help you organize efficiently and possibly prevent a large spring cleaning haul next year. Before you get started check out some common items that we can dispose of in a sustainable way so you can declutter with a clean conscience.
We all have old cell phones and ipods that sit in a junk drawer for years – just in case. On top of boxes filled with old battery operated toys, DVD players that are no longer being used, old TVs that were upgraded, and miscellaneous electronics that have been collecting dust. These items can potentially be very dangerous in recycling and trash bins. Most electronics contain lithium batteries which can cause spark and ignite fires if punctured. Not only that, but they are full of toxic components that should never make it to a landfill. If those materials make it into landfills they can potentially leak into our ecosystem. That can have a significant negative impact on plant and animal life, which over time can create a domino effect damaging our food supply.
How to dispose of E-Waste?
There are a couple options available when it comes to tossing out old electronics. First and foremost, ask yourself if it can be donated for further use. You can bring most working gently used electronic items to second hand shops. If they are no longer in working condition, companies like Apple, Samsung, Staples, and Best Buy offer recycling programs for electronics and appliances. A simple Google search will reveal your local recycling options.
Clothing and Linens
Spring Cleaning means parting ways with old clothing, worn blankets, and similar items. When it comes to cleaning out your closets and cabinets, remember that clothes, shoes, and linens cannot be recycled at home. Before throwing them in the trash bin, see if they can be repurposed around the house or given to family and friends. You can make some extra cash by selling gently used clothing or shoes online. Instead of using paper towels when you get to the nitty gritty of wiping down windows and washing floors, consider using old t-shirts or towels for cleaning rags. When you’ve exhausted all other options there several organizations, including Goodwill, the Salvation Army and Volunteers of America will accept donations of various clothing and linen items throughout the year.
Pro Tip – Many animal shelters welcome bedding and blanket donations to provide our furry friends with a comfortable spot to lounge while they wait for their forever homes! Shelters also do their own Spring cleaning and dispose of worn out linens.
Items we collect over the years can include children’s toys, and kitchen appliances (i.e. blenders, pots/pans, cups, tupperware, office supplies, furniture). A good way to make some extra cash and recycle old items is to hold a neighborhood garage sale. You’ll find that this strategy works very well for a large haul of items to dispose of. Large furniture such as washers and dryers, televisions, couches, outdoor furniture and antiques will most likely sell right away. You never really know what people are looking for, and what will sell at a garage sale until you try!
Moreover, there are many local non-profits that will accept all different types of household items and give it to families in need. Simple items that you no longer want or upgraded can turn a house into a home for families that are less fortunate!
Not only are you making the planet a better place, but when you donate items to be repurposed you can use it as a tax deduction at the end of the year! Many companies even offer free pickups and will grab your box of used goods right from your doorstep.
Here are some great sustainable options to dispose of unwanted items :
- Giveaway to friends and family
- Repurpose around the house
- Donate to shelters or non-profits
- Host a garage sale
- Research local companies that accept recyclable e-waste responsibly
- Host recycling drives for specific items at school
- Sell online (ebay, Poshmark, Craigslist, etc) or to consignment stores
- Sell or donate unwanted items on Facebook Marketplace
- Research transformation quick and easy DIY crafts for repurposing
- Drop off your unwanted goods at Goodwill or other local thrift stores
For larger clean outs after sorting through your items, we recommend renting a roll off dumpster. This can save you time and money by eliminating the amount of trips to a dump, or storing garbage bags until you can get them out with your regular trash collection.