It’s hard to start fresh in the same old, cluttered space. So, with the sparkling dust of the holidays settled, the champagne popped and poured, and those lofty resolutions pledged, why not make refreshing your home your first agenda item for 2024? Embracing a refreshed home can be just what’s needed to kick the year off on a positive note. A clean, organized living space will help you establish routines to maintain your home all year long. And with your living area taken care of, you can enjoy much-needed time to disconnect and recharge. Where to start? Glad you asked. Read on for how you can give your home a green, clean start as you prepare for the year ahead.
Tackle the clutter
Before you clean, clear the clutter. Why wait for spring cleaning? Post-holidays, it’s the ideal time to donate belongings you no longer need or want. So, scan your closet and purge the clothes you know you’ll never wear again. Clean out the bathroom and kitchen of appliances, utensils, and products that are either too old or simply now go unused. And now’s the perfect time to sort through your mail and see what bills and other correspondence you can go paperless with.
Set goals for yourself
Did you make a New Year’s resolution — or several of them? Set yourself up for success by creating a living and work space that will support your goals. For example, if you want to get fit in 2024, organize your fridge so it makes reaching for healthy foods easier.
Switch to eco-friendly cleaning products
Upgrade your routine by switching to eco-friendly cleaning supplies that are biodegradable and non-toxic. You can create your own cleaning alternatives using natural ingredients like vinegar, baking soda, and lemon or by researching the best eco-friendly cleaning products. Homemade solutions not only save money but also reduce exposure to toxins found in commercial cleaners.
For your laundry routine, consider ditching regular liquid and powder detergents for SaltyLama’s eco-friendly laundry detergent sheets. These sheets are pre-measured, mess-free, and provide a powerful, effective clean without any of the harsh chemicals found in traditional products.
Be resourceful, not wasteful
Maybe you have an old, ripped T-shirt you’re about to throw in the trash. But wait — before tossing out old items, consider how they might be repurposed or reused. For example, any worn-down towels or clothing can find a new role as cleaning rags, reducing the need for disposable wipes or paper towels.
Glass jars and bottles, which are often not accepted for recycling, can serve as excellent storage containers for homemade cleaning solutions. Reusing these glasses further cuts down on the need for single-use plastics. If you’re not making your own cleaning solutions, save glasses to add an aesthetic touch after you’ve finished your New Year’s cleaning. Paint the jars and use them for decorative storage, reuse wine bottles as vases, or save glasses to use at a zero-waste store to fill up on anything from oats to almonds.
Plan your cleaning schedule
Cleaning is a chore that, if you don’t plan for it, can easily be forgotten or set aside. So, whatever your daily or weekly routine, set up a schedule that suits your lifestyle. One tip: invite people over frequently. After all, if you want an excuse to regularly clean, having people over provides terrific motivation.
Seek out sustainable supplies
Once the supplies you have are used up, invest in more sustainable cleaning supplies. Alternatives could include using bamboo scrub brushes over synthetic or reusable cloths instead of paper towels. These alternatives are durable, efficient, and minimize waste. When you choose longer-lasting, eco-friendly options, you reduce your waste — as well as the need for constant replacements. That in turn will save you money — a year’s supply of paper towels isn’t cheap.
Be energy-efficient in your cleaning habits
Maximize your energy efficiency by cleaning smartly. From adjusting your laundry routine to loading the dishwasher, there are numerous ways to do this. For example, hot water isn’t necessary for an effective clean. Washing laundry in cold water can be just as effective while saving energy. Whenever possible, you can also line dry clothes or use a drying rack to save electricity. When using your dishwasher, only turn it on when it is fully loaded to minimize water and energy waste.
Avoid wasting excess water in the kitchen
Speaking of dishwashing, safeguard your water resources by being mindful when washing up. Begin by scraping off food scraps instead of rinsing dishes before loading them into the dishwasher. Use an energy-efficient dishwasher, if possible, running full loads exclusively. When handwashing, use both sinks — one for soapy water and another for rinsing — instead of letting the tap run continuously. Installing a faucet aerator will moderate water flow while soaking tough stains.
Be mindful of your trash
Break out the recycling bins! If you want to kickstart an eco-friendly 2024, start disposing of waste responsibly. When tidying up around the house, don’t just toss everything into one bin. Instead, separate your disposables into separate categories — trash, recycling, and compost.
Keep a bucket under the sink for food scraps to be composted, place a recycling bin right beside the trash for convenience, and only throw out what can’t be reused. For items that can’t be put into the recycling, like large electronics, ensure proper disposal according to local guidelines. Following these steps, you’ll reduce both your stress and your environmental impact.
Keep your cleaning supplies in good shape
Part of sustainable living is taking care of what you have, for longevity’s sake. Regularly clean vacuum filters, change and launder mop heads, and maintain your cleaning equipment to ensure they remain efficient. The less often you need to buy products, the more eco-conscious your cleaning habits are. Plus, giving a little extra care to your cleaning supplies will save you money over time.