Green Spring Cleaning Part I: Bedrooms

Before we continue with our regularly scheduled posts, the Eco Women remind readers to only donate to reliable charities.  Sadly, many people exploit and profit off of disasters.  Click over to InterAction to read a list of the most effective and responsible charities helping our neighbors in Japan.

You’ll spend nearly a third of your life in this room, yet it’s probably not even on your “spring cleaning” list.  Bedrooms tend to be dust traps and clutter traps, those dust bunnies beneath your bed?  Mostly hair and dead skin, believe it or not, and major contributors to allergic reactions.  Lying still in one spot (your bed) for a third of every day means your bedroom is the main spot where you’ll shed dead skin and hair, creating the most dust and dust mite-infested environment in your whole house.  Spring cleaning this room is less about heavy scrubbing and more about heavy lifting.   By “lightening up your bedroom for spring,” you’ll be on pace to enjoy a fresh start for the season.  Setting this space to rights might take few hours, but you’ll have peace of mind while you rest there for the next 2,920 hours in the next year.

You’ll need:

1-2 rags and a spray bottle of vinegar diluted with water

vacuum cleaner and attachments

empty boxes

Enviro Girl’s bedroom before spring cleaning.

1.  Strip your bed and put everything through a hot wash cycle–include dust ruffles, pillow cases and mattress pads.  Line-dry your bedding;  it’ll smell divine when you make your bed up again.  If you have allergies, line dry and then put everything through 7 minutes in a clothes dryer to remove the pollen and other allergens.  (Enviro Girl recommends doing this chore before things begin budding and you won’t have any issues with pollen when you line dry your bedding.)   Using a vacuum attachment, vacuum every inch of your mattress and bed frame.

2.  Vacuum under your bed, around and beneath all other furniture.  Use your vacuum on your window frames and window treatments, too.

3.  Clear off every surface.

4.  Grab a clean rag dampened with the diluted vinegar.  Dust every surface–dressers, headboard, baseboards, windows, mirrors, picture frames and do-dads.  Vacuum all vents, fans and lampshades.  Vacuum the corners of your walls and along the ceiling where cobwebs hang down.  Work from top to bottom, hitting every surface in your room.

5.  Replace the knickknacks you love, put the everything else away.  An uncluttered room will help clear your head when you’re trying to unwind at the end of the day.  Use the boxes for trashing or loading up items to donate to your local thrift shop.  Enviro Girl is terrible about letting clutter accumulate in her bedroom.  It’s where the photos to file, books to read and clothes to repair get piled.  She set up a card table smack in the middle of her bedroom and loaded it up with all of her unfinished projects.  Now those projects sit in one spot up off the floor and Enviro Girl’s terribly inconvenienced by this table smack in the middle of her room, so she’s got an incentive to get after things.  Her pile has shrunk by half in the last two months.  This method may not work for you, but Enviro Girl strongly encourages giving it a go.

6.  Empty out your dresser drawers, one at a time.  If you’ve too many of any item (hunting socks, t-shirts, sweatpants), allocate what you won’t or don’t use to a box.  If you don’t wear items because of size or style, put them in the box.  Refold and organize your clothing while replacing it in the drawers.  Enviro Girl and her husband did this a few months ago–they ended up donating over 3 garbage bags full of clothes to the local thrift shop.  Now it’s easy for them to open and close drawers easily and find what they need at a glance.

7.  Repeat this entire process in your closet.  Vacuum out your entire closet–shelves, baseboards and all–before replacing the clothes/shoes/accessories you decide to keep.  If you’re adding hooks or shelving to your closet, do it while it’s empty.

You know the drill–donate those castaway clothes to your local thrift shop and toss the dirty rags in your laundry basket.   Completing this job earns you a good night’s sleep–and you should sleep well in a clean, uncluttered space.

For some great tips on organizing your closets and drawers, check out Martha Stewart’s site or Readers Digest.


6 thoughts on “Green Spring Cleaning Part I: Bedrooms

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