Think Green When You Clean

Use these environmentally friendly tips to organize your urban farm and home.

by Michelle LaBrosse
Green cleaning products

Photo by Stephanie Staton

While reorganizing and straightening, scrub your walls, countertops and other surfaces with eco-friendly cleaning products. To save money, you can even make your own from lemon, vinegar and baking soda.

To get the full benefits from your urban farm, it’s important to keep things clean and tidy. For an easy reminder, use the five S’s of organization: sort, straighten, shine, standardize and sustain. As you go about dusting, sweeping and scrubbing, keep in mind environmentally friendly methods of cleaning.

Clean Green Step 1: Sort

Group like-items in each area of your urban farm and home.

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  • Use environmentally friendly, reusable bags so you reduce the plastic bags that go into landfills.
  • Toss recyclables in the recycling bin. Start a separate pile for non-recyclable items so you can find the appropriate place to dispose of those items later.
  • Donate old but useable electronics, like cell phones, to shelters. Be sure to remove personal information off electronic devices before donating.
  • Return reusable items or those that have special recycling requirements, such as plant containers, to a gardening center.
  • Ask your local recycling center if they accept bulk items such as TVs or refrigerators.
  • Take note of things you buy and are not using. Create a “not-to-do” list of things you’ll no longer buy.
  • Find people who can use items you no longer want. Some things can be donated to Goodwill, a school or a support service such as a shelter.

Clean Green Step 2: Straighten

Rearrange your farming and living spaces to promote a better work-flow. This is especially useful for parents facing the morning rush hour in the kitchen.

  • Purchase a fabric magazine rack, and hang it by the front door to organize mail, school folders and notes, grocery lists, and more.
  • Place a paper-recycling bin beside the magazine rack to immediately dispose of junk mail.
  • Pull from that recycling bin, when possible, and reuse scrap paper to write notes. This will cut down cost and waste for things like memo pads.
  • If you get those infamous clutter piles in your house, sort through them carefully and see what the culprits are.  Usually, these are things that you haven’t given a permanent home. Once you go through your piles, create places to file or store what’s important and to remove the clutter.

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