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Spring cleaning gone green
green deh spring cleaning art
This year, think green when spring cleaning. - photo by COURTESY PHOTO

Throwing open the windows on the first warm day of the year is a great feeling. Many people also find the urge to give their house a good once over, getting rid of all the dust, dirt and clutter that have accumulated over the winter. This year, it will be easy to keep your annual scrub-down as green as possible with these tips:
1. Reduce – The first step to fighting messes is getting rid of all that stuff you never use. Go through all the places where it accumulates – try closets, junk drawers, out-of-reach shelves, attics and basements, and any other place where you’re inclined to toss stuff. Separate out what you really will use someday from what you never will.
2. Reuse – Now you have a pile that you’re ready to get rid of, but don’t just trash it. First, go through and see if any of those items could serve a purpose you haven’t thought of before: Can you take the frames off those paintings and use them elsewhere? See if any of what you have can save you from buying something else.
3. Donate – Once you’ve taken stock of what you can use, separate out items that someone else might need. This includes dishes, kitchen gadgets, clothes, books, magazines, toys and home décor. All of these items could find a second life and can be donated to your local Goodwill or Salvation Army store. Your house will be less cluttered and someone else will appreciate the item.
4. Recycle – Once you’ve exhausted all the other options, it’s time to recycle. Take a second look at your trash. Did you clean out the fridge? Find a compost pile. Get rid of old electronics, from cell phones to VCRs to ancient computers, by passing them off to retailers with a recycling program or to an electronics recycler. Metal, such as old shelving or cans can be recycled. Check to see if any plastic in your pile could be recycled. You can find places to take all these items at Kansas Recycles.
5. Make your own household cleaning supplies – Cleaning products are loaded with strong, artificial colors and fragrances and harsh cleansing agents like bleach, ammonia and acids. These chemicals can produce indoor air pollution by off-gassing toxic fumes that can irritate eyes and lungs, especially in children and pets. Try some simple D-I-Y recipes.
6. Aim for a no-waste clean – No matter how green your sprays and scrubs may be, if you use an entire roll of paper towels to scrub your bathroom, that is not exactly eco-friendly cleaning. And when you’re looking at a project as big as this one, you’ll want to leave little to no waste in your wake. Trade paper towels for reusable microfiber cloths or sponges.
7. Plan ahead – If you keep these tips in mind all year, then your 2013 spring cleaning will be that much easier. Don’t let stuff accumulate in your home; don’t buy things you don’t need; and don’t be shy about returning gifts you won’t ever use. Take advantage of the seasons to edit your collections and donate or sell goods. Thinking green throughout the year will put you ahead of the game come next spring.
Information provided by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. For more, contact the Bureau of Waste Management at