How to Green up Your Spring CleanUp

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Posted April 13, 2017

Spring is finally here, birds are chirping, flowers are blooming and, once again, it’s time for the City’s popular Spring Cleanup program. The two-week program takes place every year and helps residents get rid of yard waste and unwanted household items. It is a great time to clean out the garage, declutter your home and finish up that spring cleaning.

For some, the idea of spring cleaning may seem a bit daunting.  After all, clearing out the garden and hauling all that old junk to the curb is a chore, but it’s also hard to beat the feeling of satisfaction when your house is clean and you’ve finally gotten all that stuff out on the street. Unfortunately, this same feeling of satisfaction and the haste to achieve it can make adopting a “throw away” mentality far too easy.  Let’s face it, we’ve all seen things in the spring cleanup piles that didn’t belong there and many of those unwanted items could have been reused, repurposed or recycled.  Your spring cleaning doesn’t have to be a long and tedious process nor one that creates a bunch of unnecessary waste. Here are a few easy tips to help you shorten your cleanup time for years to come while creating less trash along the way.

Most likely you’re familiar with the phrase, “reduce, reuse, recycle” but it’s good to be reminded of what it really means, and how you can incorporate these ideas into your cleaning routine. More importantly, how you can “rethink” some of your habits, lessen your carbon footprint and save money too!

Reduce – To lessen, decrease, diminish or minimize. 

The first step to combating messes and keeping your home spick-n-span is simple, reduce the amount of stuff you have – because having less to clean makes the job quicker and easier. This doesn’t mean you have to resort to a minimalist lifestyle, just get rid of all those things you never use.  Go through closets, junk drawers and, any other, “out of sight out of mind” places where you feel inclined to put such things.  As you sort through these areas ask yourself “do I really need this?” If you can’t recall the last time that you used it, or forgot that you owned it, that’s a pretty good indication that you don’t need it.

Other ways to reduce the amount of waste and clutter in your home might include unsubscribing from magazines or other mailing lists, starting a home compost pile or re-growing common vegetables from kitchen scraps.  https://www.davidwolfe.com/stop-trashing-your-scraps-16-produce-items-to-re-grow-at-home/

Reuse – To employ for some purpose, put into service or make use of.

Once you’ve managed to gather up all of that unwanted or unnecessary stuff, go through and see if any of those things could serve another purpose. Many old household items can be repurposed outside in the yard or garden.  For example, an old dresser or broken chair can be transformed into a unique planter for your porch or patio.  In fact, a quick internet search can produce a plethora of ideas to reuse or repurpose just about anything. Take a moment and see if any of these things can help you avoid purchasing something else. Take a look at our Pinterest page for a bit of inspiration. https://www.pinterest.com/recycle715/

Now that you’ve taken out the things you can reuse, separate out any items that someone else might need. You can donate things like clothing, home décor, dishes, and old tools to a local thrift store.  If you feel like some of those items still hold value, consider having a yard sale or listing them online. It’s true what they say, one person’s trash really can be another’s treasure, and many of your unwanted items could find a new life with someone else.

Recycle – To make something new from items that would otherwise be considered waste.

We know that you’re already recycling your newspapers and other items accepted by our program. However, there are many items that can’t be placed at the curb which can be recycled elsewhere. Old electronics, light bulbs, batteries, motor oil and much more can be dropped off at specialty locations here in town. Take a second look through all of that stuff that can’t be sold or donated and recycle as much as you can. Check out our “Hard-To-Recycle” guide for locations or give us a call we’d be glad to point you in the right direction. http://gjcri.com/hard-to-recycle-guide/

Rethink – To make a reassessment of something, especially one that results in changes being made.

Think about the waste you create and consider any alternatives. For example, bring reusable bags to the store, buy in bulk to avoid unnecessary packaging, and look for products that use recycled content. Don’t buy things you don’t need and feel free to return or exchange gifted items that you won’t use. Thinking ahead and thinking green throughout the year will put you ahead of the game and give you a jump start on your cleanup next spring.

Follow the link below for more information on the City’s Spring Clean-Up program.

http://www.gjcity.org/residents/street-systems/spring-clean-up/

Learn how to make your own inexpensive household cleaners with natural ingredients.

http://greatist.com/health/27-chemical-free-products-diy-spring-cleaning

Here are some additional links to help inspire you to reuse and repurpose.

http://www.diyncrafts.com/6081/repurpose/100-ways-repurpose-reuse-broken-household-items

http://www.wimp.com/30-impressive-ways-to-reuse-stuff-youre-about-to-throw-out/