Spring Cleaning as an Eco-Friendly Minimalist
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It’s spring, and although I am writing this while there is snow on the ground (northern problems), the weather is about to get warmer and the flowers are about to bloom. And, people are about to get the urge to start spring cleaning.
The warm, fresh air somehow invokes the thought of cleaning within us. Every year, many people get out the cleaning supplies and get to work deep cleaning their lives.
a new season to start fresh on goals
January was full of hopes and goals. Most people quit their resolutions by the end of February, but it’s okay to restart them again. While you are spring cleaning your life, you can choose to use this time as a fresh start.
There are many times when people like to start fresh. Some examples are the beginning of the week, the start of the month, the new year, a new quarter. The start of a new season can be a great refresher as well.
being a minimalist makes spring cleaning a breeze
My cleaning is very quick, easy, and painless. It takes less than 3 hours to deep clean my house. But before I decluttered and got rid of a lot of things, deep cleaning my place would have meant a whole day or a whole weekend.
Let’s take advantage of the new season, get rid of things we don’t need, and deep clean our lives.
spring cleaning guide: 6 steps to the refresh
In this guide, I am giving you 6 steps to spring clean your life like a boss! Not only will it touch on cleaning your house, but it will also touch on other areas to clean up as well like your finances.
Steps to Spring Cleaning your life
- Declutter your things
- Clean your home the green way
- Deep clean your space
- Clear out your digital clutter
- Audit your finances
- Pamper yourself
When you have less stuff, you have less stuff to clean. Clutter is a stressor and it’s a time waster.
If you have things that you are not using, you are wasting your valuable time cleaning it. I suggest you take this time to go through your things.
make it fun
The Minimalists have created two fun ways to go through your things.
- Have a packing party. Pack up your entire space as if you were moving and for a whole month, only unpack what you need at the moment. Then you can truly see what you use frequently.
- Play the minimalism game. Grab some friends (or an online group), pick the start of a month and get rid of a number of items according to the day. For example, no the 1st of the month, you get rid of 1 thing. Then you get rid of 2 things on the 2nd.
Or, grab a snack and a cozy spot to watch Tidying Up on Netflix. Then do the KonMari method in your home. Marie Kondo makes decluttering look fun, hip and trendy!
If you need resources on getting started, check out the guides on Simply Minimal Life. I think the ones on psychical clutter will help you out.
spring cleaning as a minimalist
Getting rid of the things that don’t have any value to you frees up a lot of time. You don’t have to worry about cleaning those things any longer.
No more dusting them, organizing them, storing them or thinking about them. So, while everyone else is going on a huge cleaning mission, you can actually go outside and breathe in the fresh air.
Did you know that simplifying your life doesn’t have to be time-consuming?
Stop being stressed and wishing for a more minimalist life. The free 7-day Decluttering Challenge is meant to give you small, easy challenges that will get you moving in the right direction in no time.
The challenge includes daily tasks to tackle like junk drawers, books, clothes, paper and more!
green spring cleaning
Now it’s time for the cleaning part! You can save a ton of money and lessen your carbon footprint if you choose to clean in an eco-friendly way.
Now there are lots of products that are natural, green and eco-friendly. But often times these products are more pricey than their chemical counterparts.
This is all in the marketing to get you to buy. Higher prices and fancy labels make you believe that a particular brand is the purest of them all.
Not all green products are pricey just to be pricey. There are a couple that I’ll mention that are super cheap AND get the job done.
You don’t need much cleaning supplies. Some people have a different cleaner for every different type of surface in their home when all they need is a good multi-purpose cleaner.
The only cleaning solution I really use is castile soap. I use Dr. Bronner’s castile soap for almost everything.
There are a few different ways to mix it depending on what you want to use it for.
I mainly use it as hand soap, dish soap, mopping solution and an all-purpose cleaner.
For the mopping solution, take 1/2 cup of soap and mix with 3 gallons of water.
For the all-purpose cleaner, take 1/4 cup of soap and mix with 1 quart of water.
An awesome simple air freshener is as easy as a spray bottle, a few drops of essential oils and water. 15 drops of essential oil per 1/2 cup of water.
Spray the air, curtains, furniture or dryer balls. This is very simple and effective!
My favorite scent for air freshener is lavender.
I have an awesome guide to doing laundry in a cheap, eco-friendly way that you can check out here.
other tips for green cleaning to save money
Here are some quick tips to go green and save a buck while cleaning this spring:
- Use rags or other cloth materials instead of wipes or paper towels/napkins. They’re reusable and machine washable. You can even recycle your old socks.
- Use mops that have a reusable, washable head.
- Check out ways to clean with baking soda and vinegar
deep spring cleaning
Now that we have decluttered and started on green cleaning, let’s dive into the deep cleaning. Some people are not happy just at cleaning surfaces and calling it a day. They want their space EXTRA clean for spring.
So let’s get scrubbing!
start in one room at a time
To not get overwhelmed, deep clean one room at a time.
Make a list of all the rooms in your home. Prioritize them by the ones that really need a deep cleaning.
Do those rooms first in case you get burned out halfway through the list. At least the rooms that needed it the most got cleaned.
If you’re recruiting the family to help out, you can choose to work in the same room together or give everyone their own mission. Either way, more hands means less time cleaning.
refer to deep cleaning checklists
You may have exactly what you want to clean in mind and that’s great! Go get started!
But some of you may be a little overwhelmed, have no clue where to start and only know that you just want everything to have a deep cleaning.
I’m with you there! Cleaning is not my strong suit and it’s really helpful to me if I have a checklist or two.
Flylady.net is an amazing cleaning resource. I have found this system helpful in the past and her bubbly attitude makes it fun!
She has put together a PDF of detailed checklists for a lot of common rooms. These are very helpful when wanting to deep clean! Check it out.
don’t forget the music
As you’re cleaning, make it fun and motivating! Clean with the family, turn the radio up, keep the front door open to let in the spring breeze, open the windows, play your favorite show in the background or listen to an audiobook.
Have fun and then get rewarded with a freshly cleaned space!
clean out your digital clutter
Wow! Your house is totally clean now! Now let’s tackle other areas of your life that need to be refreshed. First up is your digital clutter.
You can refresh your computer by decluttering the desktop, files and bookmarks. Check out this guide on giving your computer a minimalist makeover.
Email sucks! Especially since it never stops flowing in. Use this spring cleaning time to tackle your inbox once and for all.
Head on over to Simply Minimal Life to see how to get to inbox 0.
The best tip though? Unsubscribe to all emails that you can. Most of your emails are marketing emails, newsletters and social media updates. Change your settings and unsubscribe!
Social media is a lot today. You can follow thousands of people, businesses and accounts. You feed can be so saturated that there’s absolutely no way to see all the updates from everyone you follow.
I bet you are following a ton of accounts that you don’t really care for. And I have a challenge to declutter your feed. This is going to sound crazy, but trust me.
Go to your social media accounts. Unfollow, unfriend, unlike and unsubscribe to everyone. Then get away from it for a few days. Take an empowering social media break.
And when you go back to the silent, empty, calming feeds, go follow the accounts you remember and missed during your break.
You will find that you can’t remember every single account you followed. And that’s a good thing because they weren’t important anyway.
Clean up distractions by turning off notifications from all your devices. You may be bothered by dings and pop-ups all day long over every little update and text.
Turn them off! Your mind can relax when it’s not constantly being alerted all the time.
You may have to turn off notifications on each app individually. Doing this is a great time to go through your apps and get rid of ones that are meaningless, wasteful and ones you are not using.
clean up your finances
The next area to clean up is your finances. This is the perfect time to sit down, access your financial situation, review your goals and update your budget.
Look at all your debt, income and expenses and see where you stand. You can also check up on your credit score on Credit Karma for free.
Knowing where you stand in your finances gives you a better understanding and more control over making them better.
Making a budget that will help you achieve your financial goals can be challenging, but rewarding!
You will know exactly where your money should be going. And, you will not have to stress about spending because you got a plan!
delete payment info from websites
Now would be a good time to go through different websites and delete your payment information.
Not only will this keep you from making impulse purchases (finding your debit card and entering all the numbers again is just too much work), but it will lower your risk of identity theft.
Even big, secure companies can be the victim of data hacking. Having your payment information on several websites increases your odds of that information being stolen.
What to do instead? I have found Privacy.com to be reliable, dependable and FREE. They connect to your bank account and then issue you different card numbers to use when shopping online.
Each “fake” card can be set up with a spending limit that’s either per charge, per month or per year. This is handy for recurring subscriptions.
You can have a different card per subscription. This way if your Spotify card is charged more than your monthly subscription, the transaction gets denied and you get notified immediately.
You can also set up a single-use, throw away card for one-time purchases.
And best yet, you can pause the cards. So if your kid is obsessed with candy crush, you can feel safe knowing that they can’t buy power-ups when the card is paused.
Get $5 when you sign up for Privacy and make your first online purchase.
set up easy ways to save
Make saving money super easy. Setting up systems now will help you save later on when you’re too tired and unmotivated to check for deals.
Ebates is a service that gives you cash back when you shop online. They alert you on websites that they are affiliated with and tell you how much cash back you could get if you make a purchase.
Then every quarter, you’ll get a big fat check in the mail with your cash back. Or you can have them deliver it to your PayPal.
Sign up, spend $25 and then get a free $10 bonus if you use this link.
You’ll download a browser extension that also shows coupon codes for the store you’re visiting.
Do you want to be an overachiever? Combine coupon codes AND get cash back from Ebates to get ultra mega savings!
Set up automatic payments to your savings account every paycheck. Having this task automated keeps you from forgetting, makes the money disappear faster so you don’t have a chance to spend it and it helps to actually grow your savings.
This also helps if your savings account is with a different bank than your main checking account. So it’s not easy to transfer the money back. So budget out an amount to save and have it automated.
reduce your bills
Reducing your bills can save you a boatload of cash throughout the year.
There are two ways to reduce your bills.
- Downgrading services or consuming less (electricity, fuel)
- Eliminating or canceling
Check out my two posts that help you cut your bills down and decide which ones to cancel:
start investing the easy way
Investing sounds scary. It sounds like a lot of work and anxiety. It sounds like gambling. But if you’re thinking investing is waking up in the morning to check stocks and then panicking all day, you’re thinking of the wrong kind of investing.
Yes, people do stock trading where they trade individual stocks and watch trends and buy and sell. They can make a high return this way if they’re good, but it’s risky business. No one truly can predict how the stock market performs.
That’s why you need to be a smart investor. A long-term investor of your future. Plus this way… is the ultimate lazy way. It’s so awesome.
a long term investor
Being a long-term investor means that you are going to be investing for the long haul. You’re not looking for quick profits. You just put money in an account and overtime, almost magically, your money grows.
You let a brokerage do all the nail biting for you. All you have to do is throw money into the account. And then you can see your money grown over time. It’s fun!
start investing with acorns
Acorns is an awesome app that makes investing easy. The whole premise is that you can do roundups as your shopping to make your investing automated.
This means that if you spent $1.50 at a vending machine, Acorns will take $0.50 and add it to your investing account. So instead of spending $1.50 that day, you really spent $2, but fifty cents went towards your future.
These little cents add up over time as you make more purchases.
You can turn that feature off if you want and just add money weekly or monthly. Acorns is really great at seeing your money’s progress with beautiful charts. And you can easily change the composition of your portfolio if you choose. All from within the app.
Sign up, start investing with acorns and get $5! How cool are they?
pamper yo body
At last but not least, let’s do some pampering to bring in the warmer weather. Your body needs to be refreshed just like your home.
Here are some ways to pamper yourself:
- Up your water intake to hydrate yourself.
- Have a whole day or a whole week of clean eating.
- Add in more fruits and vegetables to your life.
- Take a nice relaxing bath.
- Drybrush and exfoliate your body. An easy, green exfoliator is waiting for you in the kitchen. Take sugar and add water until it’s a paste (too much water will make the whole thing goopy and just… sugar water). Then scrub yourself down with this awesome sugar scrub!
While you’re at it, go through your pantry, toss the processed food and replace with healthy alternatives!
and… spring cleaning is DONE!
Now that you have your life together, you can now focus on tackling your to-do list, planting that garden or accomplishing a goal. Remember if you failed at your New Year’s resolutions, that doesn’t mean you can’t pick it back up at the start of the season!
I hope this guide was useful to you. Please take a moment to share it around!
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