Whether it's the change in weather, the cosmos or our collective human psyche, the spring season always has a way of inspiring us to get rid of the heavy winter stuff weighing us down—from clothing to books, bedding and more.
Though it'll be tempting to rip through each room and start chucking things into big, Hefty trash bags, think twice. All of that garbage will only find a new home piled up in a dump. And that's definitely not the way to help de-clutter Mama Earth—especially this Earth Month.
Here are seven simple ways to spring clean with zero-waste?so you can at once liberate your living space?and the landfills.
1. Take-Back Programs Many services provide ways to trade in old cell phones and miscellaneous electronics so you can avoid contributing to e-waste. Radio Shack for instance offers a program where you can bring in used mobile phones, MP3 players, gaming systems, GPS receivers, and digital cameras and after appraisal, they'll give you a RadioShack gift card in return. I'm psyched to turn in my old cell phones for an iTunes gift card!
2. Yard Sales In urban Park Slope, Brooklyn, stoop sales are all the rage. You round up all the stuff you don't want, pick a nice, sunny weekend, and put it out on your front stoop for display. I love to make it fun by coordinating with a friend so we can swap stories about our stuff over beer, meet neighbors and people watch. Surburban-dwellers can of course do the equivalent yard/tag/garage sale.
3. Donations As a kid, I loved sifting through Salvation Army's store in my suburban CT hometown?finding quirky clothes items and chotchkies that would help me stand out among my super preppy town. Now, as I try to live minimally as an eco-obsessed adult, their free pick-up service in NYC is priceless. It?s a convenient way to get rid of still usable furniture, bedding, and clothes without needing a car. Check out the website for details.
4. Clothing Swaps For many, spring shopping is a pipe dream during this recession season. What better a reason to host a clothing/beauty swap? Pile up all of the clothing articles, accessories and unopened sample cosmetics you've accumulated and pick a date to trade stuff with friends. You never know if last year's trash will be somebody's treasure. Serve up a side of spring by offering a spread of farm-fresh crudités veggies and dip to munch on and an organic spritzer to sip.
5. Upcycled Paper Bills, taxes, receipts, old magazines and newspapers all have a way of weighing us down. Figure out which ones you need to file away, and as for the rest—get clever. Recycling is good, but upcycling is better. Decoupage a piece of furniture with newspaper, arrange an origami flower bouquet, or make a recycled paper scratch pad that will come in handy for grocery lists and phone messages.
6.Crafts Give new life to old stuff by getting crafty. An old scrabble board can take up less space as a hip wall art. Chipped teacups can be turned into fashionable bangles. And an old cupboard door can be made into a romantic vintage serving tray—perfect for breakfast in bed.
7.Green Cleaning Products Once you've cleared away the clutter, there are ways to dust and scrub without leaving waste behind. Replace paper towel with old, tattered t-shirts to clean off surfaces and windows. Use pantry items like vinegar and baking soda to create package-free all-purpose cleansers or seek out biodegradable plant-based cleaning products like Clorox's Green Works cleaning wipes. When you're done with them, you can toss them into the compost where they'll biodegrade.