Clearing out your home and home office can be beneficial spiritually as well as health wise (not to mention a boon to productivity!), but there are a couple of things to keep in mind if you want to do the best possible job.
Pick a nice day
If you have a clear, sunny day to do your spring cleaning, you’ll feel happier about doing it and get more done. Also, importantly, you can leave doors and windows open to allow fresh air to circulate, and take advantage of the sun to dry things on the line.
Wash in hot water where possible, use mild detergent that’s non-toxic and dry items in the sun. These three factors are essential for killing mould, bacteria, germs and dust mites.
A bit of eucalyptus, lavender or tea tree oil will add a nice, subtle smell to your wash and soften your fabrics naturally. These three are also anti-septic, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal, so your clothes, bedding etc. will get a double-whammy.
If you’re storing things over summer (I use quality plastic storage boxes with a good seal), add cedar balls to the box, and perhaps a lavender sachet. If you want to be doubly sure dampness isn’t an issue, scatter some chalk sticks in between the layers of cloth, too. (Wrap these in paper if you’re concerned about the cloth).
If you absolutely must dry clean, hang the clothes or doona on the line to air out before you hang in the wardrobe or pack away. Otherwise, you’re just putting toxic chemicals in with all your other clothes. Be sure to remove the plastic wrap before hanging on the line.
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Walls and floors
You may not want to do these – it’s a big job! However, if you choose to wash these, your home or workplace will feel a lot fresher. Use warm water and a microfibre cloth for washing the walls. You won’t need detergent with a microfibre cloth – they’re designed to pick up dirt without it. Again, a few drops of eucalyptus, lavender or tea-tree oil and the place will smell fresh and clean. Use the same water to do floors – you can buy microfibre mops that work a treat.
Use a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter (high efficiency particulate air filter). If your vacuum doesn’t have one, all it will do is shift the dust around. If you have rugs and not fitted carpet, you can probably take those outside and beat them with a broom handle or similar (just don’t do it near the clean clothes on the line!).
If in doubt, throw it out! At least, that’s what all the books say. If you haven’t used it for the last two years, give some serious thought as to whether you’ll ever use it again… and if the answer is no, sell it or donate it to charity. For serious junk, hire a ute or a skip bin and get it right out of your house or building.
While we all want weeds to disappear, think twice before getting out the weed killer. Anything that isn’t absorbed by the plant is washed down into the soil and/or waterways, potentially doing harm to wildlife, fish and native plants. A bug eating a sick plant is toxic to the bird that eats it… and we all love birds, right?
Although it’s a bit harder, hoeing or pulling weeds out by the roots is the only non-toxic and permanent solution to weeds in the garden.
Once you’ve finished and everything is clean and fresh again, you’ll have earned a reward! Celebrate what a great job you’ve done and know that you’ve not only done a great cleaning job, but if you’ve done this without chemicals, your family (and the environment) will be healthier, too.
Do you consider environmental and health factors when spring cleaning your home office?