Spring has sprung and some people are itching for change. Now is the perfect time to incorporate sustainability into your cleaning routine. It is important to declutter your life, and the best way to do that is to make donations, shop sustainably, recycle correctly and reduce the amount of waste you generate in the process of cleaning. Taking time to clean now can be a positive break as midterms approach, and will reduce the amount of cleaning you'll have to do later on during move-out and finals.
Do you ever find something and wonder, “Why do I even have this?” Start by going through your things and separating them into three categories: keep, get rid of, and maybe. If you have items that are essential to your daily life and the joy they bring outweighs the space they take up, then you should most likely keep them. If the item is not of value to you anymore, separate it into a pile of things you are going to get rid of. This could be a shirt you never wear, a gadget you never use or something you no longer need for whatever reason. A “maybe” is something you have to debate whether to keep or throw away. When you look at your maybe pile, look at things that give you instant joy. If you are still stuck, ask a friend or roommate who can help you navigate the item's importance.
Now that you have items that you've decided you no longer need, you'll need to figure out what to do with them. Clothing items can be donated to local thrift stores. Other reusable, non-clothing items can be donated to other local stores. You can also ask your friends if they'd like some of your items before you donate them.
Now that your space is decluttered, it's time to clean the area. Start by dusting your area - it makes a big difference in the way your space looks, and reduces the amount of allergens, germs and bacteria. Be sure to use a renewable cloth (cotton, hemp, bamboo, etc.) rather than a microfiber or fleece cloth because microfiber and fleece are not biodegradable. Unsure of which cleaning products are sustainable? Check out this list. This article looks at products, eco-friendly practices regarding shipping, microplastic shedding, packaging, recyclability, chemical composition and price points. When considering sustainable shipping, think of products that are compact, lightweight, local and will take fewer resources to transport. Microplastic shedding is when items made of plastic (polyester, for example) shed small pieces of plastic that eventually enter waterways. Because the microplastic is so small, it makes it extremely hard to capture and clean from the environment.
A decluttered space allows you to find order and a stress free environment. Happy cleaning!