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Monday, March 5, 2012

The Great Indoors

Ramona Madhosingh-Hector  
Urban Sustainability Agent  

The weather is warming up and we’re more inclined to head outdoors but don’t forget that it’s time to do some indoor work too! As we plan our spring-cleaning adventures in and around our homes, here are a few things to consider -

Declutter your Home
We have so many “things” in our homes and we’re often running from activity to activity that oftentimes we don’t have enough time to dedicate to organizing our homes. For many of us, spring energizes us and we’re more likely to declutter our homes by sorting closets and kitchens. I like to use the following rules when re-organizing -

  • If I haven’t used it in 6 months, do I really need it?

  • If I keep it, will I use it in 6 months?

  • If I don’t want it, will someone else be able to use this item?

This translates easily into the 3Rs – Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. Reduce your unwanted items by donating where possible. Reuse old clothes by turning it into dusting cloths or drop cloths for painting jobs around the home. Recycle old electronics and kitchen appliances. Together these actions will help to lighten your home’s carbon footprint.

Household Cleaning
No spring-cleaning event is complete without the use of some cleaning agent. For a “green” spring cleaning event, consider switching to a green cleaner or making your own cleaners to use around the home. Vinegar and baking soda work wonders in your bathrooms, kitchens and laundry! Natural cleaners do not introduce toxic fumes in your home and, for those of us with allergies, that’s an added bonus. Check out this link on how to make household cleaners.

Go Paperless
As you organize your homes, consider organizing your electronic life as well. Sign up for online banking and bill pay to reduce the amount of paper you receive. Also, if you have the latest e-reader gizmo, consider switching your magazine subscriptions to an electronic format. Don’t forget to remove yourself from mailings that you are no longer interested in! If you have books lying around the house that you’ve already read, donate it to a library or see if you can do a book-swap with your neighbors.

Indoor Air Quality
During the winter months, our homes are kept tightly sealed to conserve warmth but as the weather changes, it’s a good time to promote air exchanges before we head towards the warm summer months. Frequent air exchanges lead to humidity problems so be sure that you check humidity levels before beginning natural ventilation. Check out this article for more great information on indoor air quality and do’s and don’ts when ventilating.

Don’t forget that your landscape also needs cleaning. Check out this recent blog on how to do just that!

Good luck and have fun spring-cleaning your home!

Indoor Air Quality
Pruning Landscape Trees and Shrubs
Where to recycle in Pinellas County?
Yellow Page Opt Out
Green Seal Products
Green Guard


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