Spring Home Maintenance & Sustainability Tips
When Margaret Atwood said, “In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt,” she wasn’t talking about cobwebs and hairballs under the couch. This might be what you think of when you consider spring cleaning, but what if you did it differently this year? Maybe it’s time to consider how to make your house cleaning routine earth-friendly and sustainable.
You’ve probably heard the word “sustainability” used a lot these days when talking about the environment, but do you understand what it means? Sustainability refers to changes you make today that meets your needs but doesn’t compromise future generations’ ability to meet their needs, too. An excellent way to think about sustainability is to consider disposing of items you no longer need. Do you send them off to the landfill or spend a weekend upcycling and repurposing them to meet a new purpose around the house? When we minimize waste, we tend to leave a softer footprint on the earth, rather than a massive dent that others will have to learn how to fill in the future.
The great thing about sustainability is that you don’t have to fly to the ends of the earth to make an impact. You can change a few simple things at home, and spring cleaning is an excellent opportunity to do just that. Here are six tips that can get you on the path to sustainability at your house:
Mix Up Your Cleaner
If you’re looking for an all-purpose cleaner, don’t run to the closest supermarket. You can mix up your own DIY cleaning solution at home with a few simple ingredients and a clean spray bottle.
All it takes is:
- 2 cups of white vinegar
- 2 cups of water
- a few drops of essential oils (optional)
If you associate clean with a fresh fragrance, consider adding in a few drops of your favorite essential oils. Great options for spring cleaning are lavender, lemon, and eucalyptus. Just remember that if you use essential oils, it’s best to choose a dark, glass bottle to preserve the potency of the oils.
Use Your Compost Pile
Spring offers an excellent opportunity to make your outdoor space look presentable. If you’ve been composting the past few seasons, you’ve got what many master gardeners refer to as “black gold” for your lawn and garden.
Compost is packed with nutrients that improve the fertility of your soil which creates a healthy environment for your plants. Once your compost is ready to use, consider ditching store-bought mulch for this nutrient-rich substitute. Use it just as you would standard mulch by spreading it around plants, shrubs, and trees about 2 inches thick. If you’re not sure how much mulch you need, you can use a mulch calculator so that you can make sure you have enough compost for the area you are covering.
Ditch the Dryer
We’re not suggesting that you never use a dryer again, but during those warm summer days, using the outdoors to dry your clothes is a great excuse to catch some rays. Not only will you get some much-needed Vitamin C while standing in the sun, but you can also reduce your electric use and save a little cash.
Plant Trees to Save Money
Have you ever considered how much cooler it is when you’re under a big, shady tree compared to sitting in direct sunlight? Planting shade trees in your yard can help you save money on your air conditioning bill and help the environment, too. You can even plant a few over your patio and driveway to give you some cooler spots to enjoy the great outdoors.
Upcycle Your Stuff
You’ll probably find a few buried treasures during your spring cleaning adventures, and you’ll definitely find some junk. Instead of dragging that old dresser out to the curb and sending it to the landfill, consider upcycling it into a new storage space in the family room for the kids’ toys and games. Or, you could turn the drawers from the old dresser into cute and fancy beds for your pets.
On a smaller scale, you can reuse empty containers and jars for a number of things, such as planters for seedlings and succulents, or as handy storage for things like paper clips, hair ties, or screws. When you upcycle, you keep trash out of landfills, which can save our planet.
Upgrade Your Thermostat
It seems almost everything is smart these days. You can use new technology to create an energy-efficient home. Add in a smart thermostat to reduce the amount of energy your home consumes, especially when no one is there. These devices learn your behaviors and can tell when you’re not in the house or are sleeping. During these times, the thermostat keeps your unit working less and can save you a few hundred bucks each year.
Some people love spring cleaning, and others loathe it. No matter where you fall on the spectrum of spring cleaners, using these techniques can make it more fun. You can also rest easy at night knowing you did your share to care for your home and the planet.