The headline assumes you’re a fan of “spring cleaning” – I’m convinced this should be a year-round task, but like most people, I find spring-spiration as the weather improves.  You’d think…as we’re spending more time outside, we would care less that our closets and drawers are busting with unnecessary junk, but…

Thanks to Jessica Phan, a San Francisco-based designer for  a purveyor of high-end artificial Christmas Trees for this very unique twist on how to spring clean.  The focus – cleaning with a “green” spirit — green, that is, with an eye on the environment.  Cute – and useful tips!  Enjoy…

As the effects of environmental destruction become more evident each day, it’s high time we contribute to revitalizing nature. Reducing the waste we throw out is a great way to minimize our carbon footprint. Below are five simple steps to make your spring clean a tad more meaningful:

Re-use old items

Cabinets and drawers are a good place to start. Look through your clothes, kitchen wares, books, and other household items. Make cleaning rags out of old and tattered clothing. If you have knack for gardening, transform ceramic bowls and cups into charming pots for small plants. Use worn-out jewelry to make pretty wall decor, frames, or personalized bracelets by mixing and matching beads.

You may even find never-used items that you’ve stored and forgotten about. Be on the lookout for especially lovely items and give these as gifts to delight your friends out of the blue.

Earn from your waste

A yard sale is an excellent way to rid your home of clutter and make money on the side. “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” I have seen smiles on the faces of yard sale hosts where I enjoy scavenging for vintage items.

You can even do away with the hassle of setting up a yard sale via online trading. Sign up for an eBay or Etsy account and do business within the comforts of your own home.

Search for take-back and donation programs

E-waste is one of the largest contributors to trash nowadays. This is because electronic gadgets are always upgraded with newer models and many people are keen on upgrading their stuff as well. Instead of throwing out your old mobile phones or digital cameras, look for buy-back services that will help you get rid of them.

If you want to share your used items for a cause, the best way is through a charity program. Find the nearest Salvation Army store or local charity organization and drop off your donation box.

Recycle and compost your waste

Plastic bottles and old newspapers are best sent to recycling plants. To make this task easier, set up a garbage collection system in your home. Designate a box for each kind of recyclable waste so you can send it for recycling as soon as it fills up. You can also try upcycling, a concept that involves making old items into something of equal or more value. A simple way to upcycle in your home, for example, is to transform old magazines into paper mache vases or even trays.

Reduce the waste you bring home

A simple way to de-clutter your home is by minimizing the waste you bring into the house. We tend to bring in a lot of plastic and Styrofoam packaging when we do the groceries, so start there. Buy items in bulk instead of several smaller packets. Choose fresh items over pre-packaged or canned goods (a healthier option, too). And don’t forget to bring your own tote bag when you go shopping!

Go green this spring and see the benefits of a healthier home and environment!

Editor’s Note:  I love these ideas – useful, creative, and easy!  Thanks so much, Jessica!