Of course, we’re also going to look just like Victoria Beckham in her Housewife Glamour spread from March 2010, right? Duh.
Anyway…To make your cleaning more efficient, the very first step should be to clear the clutter:
Go through closets, drawers, cabinets, boxes, and get rid anything you don’t need. Not sure if you should toss it? Ask yourself this: have I used this in the past 6 months? If not, there’s a good chance you won’t miss it. The exceptions to this rule, of course, are seasonal items. You can’t have too many Christmas decorations or swim suits, right?
The next step is to organize all your stuff so you can easily find it later. This is particularly important if you don’t have a lot of storage space. Here are some creative organization solutions to inspire you:
Now…what to do with all that junk you found during re-organization? Some items, you can probably try to sell. Clothing, shoes and accessories still in good condition, can be taken to consignment shops. Other items like electronics, old DVDs, collectors items, etc, can be posted on craigslist or ebay. Anything else, you can donate, or, as a very last resort, throw away. But, if you’re like me, you’re more likely to reinvent your old items, into new, useful ones! It’s one, very fun way to go green:
Flower Pot Candles
Melt down the dregs of burned-out candles to make new ones in old flowerpots. You’ll give both items a new lease on life. 1. Scrub the inside of the pot only, leaving the outside aged. 2. Use a coin to cover the drainage hole in the bottom. 3. Insert a ready-made stiff cotton wick (sold at craft stores) or make your own wick out of cotton twine. To hold the wick upright, tie one end loosely to a pencil laid across the top of the pot. 4. Melt chunks of old candles in a pot set over a low flame or in a double boiler. Pour the liquid wax into the flowerpots. 5. Let set overnight and then trim the wick. Cost: about $2
Read more at Wholeliving.com: 25 Eco-Chic Ideas for Your Home
Eco-Friendly Bath Mat
Made by repurposing old towels, this project provides a chic, cozy, one-of-a-kind bathroom accessory…and preserves landfill space! It’s easy and only requires 2 materials: old towels and gridded matting (sometimes called anti-slip matting). Cut the matting to whatever size rug you desire. Next, cut your towels into 3/4″ wide strips of 5-6 inches each. Working across the grid, knot each piece facing the same direction. For a thicker rug, knot along every line – or – knot along every other line for a thinner mat. Once you’ve knotted the whole thing, you’re done.
For more instructions or to see the whole process, check out this video how-to on Fine Craft Guild.
Curbly.com breaks these down for us in detail, so you can find the best one for you and your home. Or, if you REALLY want to go green, the best option is to make your own green cleaning products. Check out these simple solutions from Spark People.
And if you’d like to clean, but don’t have a whole lot of time, Real Simple has some great shortcuts that will still get the job done. For example, cleaning the carpet:
*LA’s Totally Awesome Concentrated Cleaner and Degreaser
Steps for Wall-to-Wall and Area Rugs
1. Scope the joint and determine which areas need the most care (near entryways, where people eat, play spaces).
2. Take a vacuum to the problem areas, going back and forth for about 30 seconds in bad spots. For area rugs, do the top of each rug, then lift and fold back the corners where you can to vacuum the underside.
3. Dampen a cloth with LA’s Totally Awesome cleaner and degreaser (not for sisal, which doesn’t like moisture) and apply it to stains; let sit for five minutes, then blot with a fresh, dry cloth, working from the edges of the stains toward the centers. Blot again with a fresh cloth, this time applying pressure with your foot to get really deep.
4. Use a hair dryer set on high to dry each spot. Open the windows to finish the job.
Time investment: About 10 to 15 minutes for a 15-by-15-foot carpeted room (the same for each area rug); 6 to 10 additional minutes per stain.
For more shortcuts like this, check out realsimple.com
Another great resource, Martha Stewart herself, has a detailed checklist to help you focus in on the projects that need your attention, and the ones you might not have even thought of. The info comes straight from her book: “Martha Stewart’s Homekeeping Handbook” (Clarkson Potter/Publishers; 2006)
Read more at Marthastewart.com: Spring-Cleaning Checklist – Martha Stewart Home and Garden.