While we enjoy the sunshine all year long in California, there is something about springtime that brings out that natural desire to refurb and refresh our homes. While we may desire that the dust be dominated and the filth be flushed out, it doesn’t have to come at the expense of the environment. While we may desire to replace the old with the new, we could just as well make the old new again. Here are three tips that will guide you in keeping mother nature in mind while you haul out your home.

 Blueland Bottles

1. Use Eco-Friendly Cleaning Products

Finally dusting under the bed? Getting the dirt out of your grout? Make sure that you are using products that get the job done with minimal impact on the planet. Many of our store bought cleaning products come in plastic bottles, to combat this, you can get traditional and make your own following these amazing Good Housekeeping recipes. Sometimes life is busy and you don’t have the time to DIY, we understand. Blueland, Grove Collaborative, and Clean Cult all make refillable solutions that can be shipped right to your door. Feeling reclusive from being cooped up cleaning your home? Head out into your local community to find your cleaning products. Prostainable in Woodland Hills and Granada Hills, The Well in Topanga, Sustain LA in Highland Park, and The Refillery LA’s mobile refill station all offer zero waste cleaning products and refills, allowing you to bring your own old jars for liquids.  

Sherman Oaks Library
2. Donate What You Can

We get it, sometimes you have just worn that t-shirt so many times that you don’t want to even look at it again, or maybe the old record player that your ex swore to use is still getting in your way. When we are completely done with something but that scrap of our life still has life left, donate it to someone who has the space for it - mentally and physically. Sadly, a lot of what we donate to donation centers gets thrown out because they are overwhelmed with stuff. While still a very good option, they should be your last resort. Try to find a more targeted need. Extra books? Reach out to your local library. Professional clothing? Keep your eyes peeled for a Dress for Success donation event or other charities in your area that get these directly to those in need. Extensive VHS collection or random what-nots? Join a Facebook “Buy Nothing” group for your neighborhood and make a post - you might have just what someone has been looking for. 

Candle Holders holding bathroom products

3. Make the Old New

Before you throw out or donate an old item, ask yourself, can I repurpose this for something I will make space for? If you’re crafty, you might be able to tie-dye some old clothes, reupholster a chair, or make a lazy susan out of scratched vinyls. For the rest of us, there are some very basic up-cycles to get us into the habit and to solve some of our other spring cleaning problems. Need a storage box? Use an old amazon or shoe box that fits well in your space and make it look like the ones at TJMaxx or Micheals by covering the outside with colorful contact or wrapping paper. Keep buying excess goods because you can’t see into the back of a deep cabinet? These boxes can act as an easy way to make basic, renter friendly drawers. Burned up candles lying around? The excess wax can be utilized on a wax warmer and the canisters can be cleaned and reused as storage and decoration. When you buy candles, keep this in mind and look for ones where the exterior is as much your taste as the scent itself. And of course, a final tip that we have all heard from an older family member before - unmatched socks make the best cleaning rags. Alas, it’s true, and you’ll be saving some trees too. 

Now that your house is clear and cleansed, switch some focus from the reusing and recycling to the reducing. You don’t need to find waste solutions for items that you didn’t buy in the first place. When shopping, ask yourself if you really need something and how long it will last you. Ask yourself if it will continue to “spark joy” before you pull out your wallet, so that next spring will require even less tidying up.