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Lighten up with Green Cleaning

It's that time of year when the snow melts away and we wait for plants come to life again. Pastel colors are trending and Easter plans are in the works. It's a season of hope, regrowth, and well cleaning. While you may not love cleaning, this is the time of year when the stale air in your home needs a boot, and your bathrooms need sanitized more than ever. For those of you in the north, it was a dark cold and let's be honest, dreary winter. You don't have to wait for mother nature to officially give the chilly temps a boot and bring out the energizing sun. You can energize yourself and get a jump start on your spring cleaning before it officially arrives. We all know what spring cleaning is about. Out with the old, and in with the new. It's the time to release the last few bursts of germs that are still lingering from your family's never ending colds and viruses. So, while you take on this yearly tradition, let's change the way you do it. This year let's put a twist on cleaning, by going green. I like to refer to this (as do many others) as GREEN CLEANING. According to Wikipedia, GREEN CLEANING uses cleaning methods and products with environmentally friendly ingredients, and are specifically designed to preserve human health and environmental quality. Not only are we going to talk about ways to stay green when you clean (love the rhyming words), but we are also going to take a load off by getting rid of what you don't need.  

Begin by writing down everything that you hope to accomplish within your spring cleaning goals. Section off room by room on your list, and decide what needs to be done in each room. Keep it simple and remind yourself that it doesn't have to all get done in one day. Schedule dates and times with your cleaning plans and then set an end date. To keep this momentum going throughout the year, try this method on a weekly and monthly basis. Keep a daily checklist on your refrigerator and check it off as you go. You can even write these items down in your planner. The idea is to get the chaos out of your mind and onto paper, so you will visually see and better organize what needs to be done. The last part is simple ... To do it. 

Get everyone involved or even ask a friend for help. I know this is easier said than done, but it's worth a shot if you seem overwhelmed. Ask your family to participate. You could assign each kid or your spouse to a particular room. Give each person their own little checklist and then ask them to have everything on the list done by a certain date. My husband and I have resorted to this method in the past, and I have to admit it worked quite well. No one wants to be nagged, so we decided what each person is going to do. We wrote it all out on a dry erase board, and accomplished it on our own time frame. This way we have the freedom to accomplish the task our different ways. If that doesn't work, pick a day to tackle the jobs as a family. Crank up the music and shake while you dust. Feel free to offer everyone a reward or a fun treat once everything is done.

Once you have delegated who gets what room and what needs to be done, then it's time to detox your home. Again, taking one room at a time, get rid of everything you don't need or use. Extra clutter in the home leads to clutter in the mind, which leads to less productivity, and more stress. Less is more. Go through closets, cupboards, and drawers. This is a great way to take a load off and also give to those in need. Find a charity that could use clothing and household items, and donate. It's so therapeutic for the mind, body, and soul. 

We are definitely making progress, and boy does it feel good! Now that everything you don't need is out of your home, it's time to organize. Keeping things tidy is just as good for you as a bowl of leafy greens (in different ways). Can you imagine knowing where everything is? How about opening up your linen closet and feeling good about it? Get a system in place, that will suit you and your family. Consider using mason jars in your kitchen cupboards, baskets in your bathroom cupboards, and color coded bins for your holiday decorations and photos.  By doing this, you will be able to see what you have, and at the same time keep it organized. 

It's all coming together! Next, we want to incorporate the green cleaning method. By now you've heard me talk about eating foods and using products without chemicals and junk. If you are new to our site, let me do a little recap. The easiest way to explain it is to stick with the REAL thing. When it comes to your food, we say consume mostly whole foods. If you are eating something from a package, know what ingredients are used to make it. My standard rule of thumb.. If you can't understand the ingredients, then you shouldn't eat it. The same rule applies to the products you use on your hair and skin. Those products seep into your body within roughly 30 seconds. That brings me to my next point. The cleaning and household products you use in your home play a major role in your health. Those products get on your food, into your skin, and are welcomed into your lungs upon each breath. Look for products that are made without harsh chemicals. According to The Environmental Working Guide (EWG), many consumer products contain ingredients that are known to cause skin and respiratory allergies.  These disorders are lifelong conditions that can range from annoying to disabling. The EWG also believes that any products containing substances that may cause allergies should be properly labeled so that people can avoid them. This includes so-called "natural" ingredients. They also state that some of the substances that trigger allergic reactions are found in natural as well as synthetic fragrances. We know that buying green products can often get pricey. Believe or not, you can actually find some healthy ingredients right in your kitchen pantry. Start using ingredients like white vinegar, baking soda, lemon juice, and essential oils. Tip: Pinterest has a plethora of cleaning recipes using these kitchen staples. 

So this season lighten your load and spring into health with our green cleaning tips and suggestions. Adding these changes could make a big difference in your own and your family's health. 

(Note: All photos used on this blog post came from the internet, not www.JennaLento.com)