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Molly Peach-Yosemite Valley
Molly Peach-Yosemite Valley
Molly Peach / Her Campus
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at George Mason University chapter.

As spring creeps around the corner, cleaning tips are needed for clearing out and removing unused items that no longer hold value. Although such items may not hold value to us, the wasteful actions of discarding unused items hold a negative value for the preservation of our environment. Although one person can’t be the catalyst for immense change, a simple tweak in our actions can be helpful for the removal of negative consequences when we partake in spring cleaning (or cleaning year-round).

1. Composting

It’s important to know that any organic waste — such as cardboard, plant material and plastic bags — can be used in a compost bin. If you are unsure of what’s compostable, a quick Internet search can prove insightful. When cleaning out your pantry, put any expired food in a compost bin instead of throwing it away. If you are sweeping the floors and come across crumbs, hair or bits of paper, those are compostable too! Creating a daily routine for the disposal of compostable items is not only important but also allows nothing to be sent to the landfill that doesn’t need to be there.

2. donating

While some places accept donations for free, others will even take your unwanted textiles and turn them into cash! Locate your closest donation center and be sure to donate any clothes or furniture that you’re thinking of throwing away. Not only will this benefit someone in need, but it’ll go to a new home that can cherish those items that no longer hold value for you. 

3. using energy efficiently

When seasons change, we often don’t know what’s the best thing to do to preserve energy. Opening windows, servicing your air conditioner, cleaning air ducts and setting the thermostat are a few energy-conscious moves we can make. While you are cleaning your home, make sure nothing is plugged unnecessarily into an outlet, and turn off power strips that aren’t in use and don’t need to be turned on. Replacing old light bulbs with LEDs is another great energy saver!  

4. reducing

Switching to reusable towels from paper towels, limiting water usage, and purchasing items with reusable or limited packaging can help you reduce unnecessary waste. Changing lifestyle habits for more efficient ones can keep your home and life clean every day!

5. repurposing

If there are certain items you don’t want to donate or simply aren’t recyclable, you can always repurpose them, which will make them last longer instead of just disposing of them. A few clever ways to do this with common items in your household that may lose value to you are turning old books into floating shelves, bathtubs into couches, or an old piano into a bookshelf. If you need a few ideas for certain items that you’re hoping to repurpose, a search online can prove useful and yield creative results!

6. cleaning consciously

Remaining eco-friendly even when you are cleaning is important! Checking labels to ensure the cleaners you’ve purchased don’t contain toxic chemicals is another way to make sure you’re only using all-natural ingredients certified as “green.” With the many tutorials and informative articles online, you can even create household cleaners yourself, which may lessen the cost of purchasing toxic cleaners from the store! Reducing pollutants in our lives is an easy way to keep the environment clean.

Now, as we dive deep into our spring cleaning, keep these tips in mind and utilize them to make lifestyle changes that will carry on far past the end of your 2022 spring cleaning. Even if you’ve never taken humans’ harmful effects on the environment seriously, it’s never too late to transform your life into a more eco-friendly one.

George Mason Contributor (GMU)

George Mason University '50

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