The evenings are getting lighter, the birds are singing and the weather is completely erratic…all of which means that spring time is upon us once more. And with spring time comes spring cleaning, the chance to de-clutter your house, get rid of the belongings you no longer have use for and freshen up the old place.
But the cost of cleaning products and the chemicals used in many of them means that spring cleaning can come at a cost to both you and the environment. So take note of the following tips to make this year’s spring clean a frugal and eco-friendly exercise.
Re-use, recycle or re-sell
When rushing headlong into a spring cleaning fenzy it’s easy get carried away and just throw away all of your unwanted items. But a more considered approach needs to be adopted for a truly frugal and eco-friendly clear-out. So instead of just dumping the lot, categorize your clutter into things that can be recycled, things that can be given away and things that can be sold on. It’s amazing the things that people will take off your hands, especially if it’s going free. As the old saying goes; ‘One man’s junk is another man’s treasure.’
You can then take those old cell phones, clothes or magazines to the appropriate recycling depots, ustilize websites such as Craigslist or Freecycle to give away any items you want cleared out quickly and then have a yard sale or an online auction to rid yourself of those unwanted items that are still in saleable condition. And in selling on your old stuff you may make some money into the bargain. You can then use that extra money to pay off some bills, treat yourself to a post-cleaning present or put it into a savings account for a rainy day fund.
Make your own cleaning products
Once the clutter has been cleared then the cleaning can begin. But instead of buying expensive cleaning products that can also have a negative impact on the environment you should try to utilize items that you already have lying around the house.
For example, a half-and-half white vinegar and water solution is ideal for cleaning windows and disinfecting surfaces. Granted, the smell isn’t great, but this should disappear as the vinegar evaporates or you can add some essential oils to mask the smell. Another good tip when washing windows in this way is to use newspapers, as opposed to rags, as these will not leave any lint on the windows and are less likely to streak.
If you have any of this window cleaning concoction left then add a few drops of tea tree oil and use the solution to disinfect floors and surfaces. Both the vinegar and the tea tree oil are great disinfectants that should leave surfaces germ free.
Baking soda is another great ingredient to get rid of grime that can be used as either a scrubbing agent or even as a drain cleaner. The lightly abrasive and deodorizing qualities of baking soda make it ideal for cleaning down surfaces whilst a cup of baking soda followed by a cup of vinegar makes a great natural remedy for blocked drains.
One final frugal cleaning tip is to never buy cleaning cloths or rags as cut offs from your old clothes will do just as good a job and won’t cost a penny!
Freshen up naturally
Now that you have de-cluttered and deep cleaned it’s time to freshen up. But instead of buying expensive and potentially environment damaging air fresheners you should look for more natural remedies to rid your home of odor.
One of the simplest ways of doing this is by simply opening the windows…you’ll be amazed how quickly this freshens up the home! And even if you live in the city, the air outside is normally fresher than the air inside and so you’ll still feel the benefit of letting the stale air out and the fresh air in.
And once the stale air is cleared you can then freshen things up even further by placing live, air purifying plants such as an English Ivy or Bamboo Palm as well scented flowers around the house. But if plants are a little expensive or high maintenance then you can simply burn scented beeswax candles or even place cotton wool balls dipped in water and essential oils in rooms around the house.