If you have been thinking about decluttering your home, you are on the path to making your home more relaxing and stress-free for your entire family. But if you are not careful, your cleaning methods could actually do more harm than good to your loved ones and the environment. Cleaning has the capacity to release toxins and pollutants into the air, land, and water we depend on, so try these greener options for decluttering and cleaning your home:
Dispose of Large Items Responsibly
When you need to replace your appliances, mattresses, and electronics, it can be challenging to know what to do with the old ones. Too often, these objects end up in landfills, where they are left to decompose over what may be decades or centuries. Some materials used to make these household goods may never break down. That is why it is important to find better ways to get rid of your larger belongings. For goods that are in usable condition, donating to a charity or shelter can help you discard them without damaging the environment. For all others, check with local organizations about recycling programs. You may even be able to have your heftier loads picked up for eco-friendly disposal.
Discard Potential Toxins With Care
Sorting through storage areas typically means tossing out expired medications, vitamins, paint and solvents. The common approach is to pour these materials into toilets and drains, but by doing so you are releasing your household hazardous waste into waterways. Many bodies of water in the U.S. are polluted because people pour these harmful substances down the drain. You may be able to take hazardous items such as batteries, oil and pesticides to local disposal facilities. For medications, place pills into containers with cat litter before throwing them out, or bring bottles of pills back to a pharmacy for proper disposal.
Employ Green Cleaning Methods
Cleaning should be part of any decluttering process. Ridding your home of dust, dirt and grime reduces the amount of toxins your family is exposed to and can even make it easier to breathe. But using chemical cleaners can actually put even more toxins into your home. Some of the most popular cleaning brands use harmful chemicals that can cause health issues for those who use them.
Luckily, companies are becoming aware of the demand for cleaner, greener cleaning supplies, so you should be able to find better options easily. Look for products with clear ingredient labels, or try mixing up your own cleaners with simple ingredients from your kitchen. Homemade cleaners tend to be safer, since you know exactly what goes into them and they break down grease and grime just as well as commercial products.
Now that you’ve cleaned and decluttered, you’ll want to make this a habit. Investing in a quality vacuum cleaner is a great option. Many upright vacuums allow you adjust the height, which make them ideal for a variety of hardwood and carpeted floors.
Decrease Your Use of Plastic and Paper
Families tend to have a lot of plastic and paper around their homes. From hundreds of plastic shopping bags to stacks of old photos, these tiny items can add up to a lot of clutter in your home. If you have tons of photos or documents you just cannot find a place for, consider embracing the cloud and scanning them into digital storage. Cloud storage is much more secure and organized than leaving them in boxes to be worn by heat and moisture.
As for plastic, you can take small steps to make major changes in your home and the environment. Take those plastic bags to your grocery store for recycling and commit to using eco-friendly reusable bags from this point forward. If you end up throwing things away, put them in paper bags, rather than plastic garbage bags, or don’t use a bag at all.
Decluttering your home is a wonderful way to diminish stress and bring a sense of calm to your life. By making eco-friendly choices when cleaning up around your home, you are also helping to diminish toxins and pollution in the environment. So keep your home life green and help keep the planet cleaner for generations to come.
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