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Now that it’s officially Spring, the first thing that comes to mind is spring cleaning. I clean by tackling different areas in the home so this week I’m starting with the bedroom. I love when my dresser and closet are organized and de-cluttered of outdated clothes. I also love the feeling of opening my windows on a breezy day and putting on fresh sheets. I know some of you may be cleaning out your closets and doing loads of laundry this week, but these two simple and mundane actions can impact the environment negatively. Luckily, there are easy ways you can help combat this and I’ve summed it up below:

Clothing and Accessories

  • Fast Fact: About 21 billion pounds of textiles (apparel, footwear, bedding, towels, etc.) end up in landfills every year. That represents 5.2% of our landfill!
  • Easy Solutions: Start different piles for resell and donate/recycle. The resell pile includes anything in good condition or high-end that can be sold on eBay or a local consignment or resale shop. I’ve had a lot of luck selling my junk on eBay. Anything else should be donated or recycled. I prefer recycling because most of the time, the Goodwill or Salvation Army does the same thing due to the volume of items they receive. If you don’t have convenient access to local textile recycling programs, check out CR, Community Recycling where they’ll provide you a shipping label to send your clothing and accessories. All you need to do is find a box!
  • Fun SUS Tip: Have a clothing swap with your friends or community! Always complimenting your stylish friends? This is your chance to bond and then take their clothes.
  • SUS Results: There are so many possibilities for recycled textiles – recycled denim is used for home insulation, t-shirts can become wiping cloths, and sweaters can become carpet padding.
  • Future SUS Tip: Buy less and buy smarter. Invest in good quality and timeless pieces that will last years. You’ll have less and less to “throw out” with every spring cleaning!

 Laundry

  • Fast Fact: The average American family washes about 400 loads of laundry per year. It takes about 15-45 gallons of water per load, depending on the type of machine. Multiply that by the amount of people who live in the US…and yeah that’s a lot of water!
  • Easy Solutions:
    • Wash only full loads of laundry. Machines use the same amount of water per load, so think twice if you need 15-45 gallons of water to wash only a few items!
    • Switch to cold water. This helps save energy and keeps your clothes lasting longer. Heat breaks down fabrics easier and causes shrinkage.
    • Switch to biodegradable detergent and green dry cleaners. Many household detergents and dry-cleaners use toxic ingredients that pollute the air and our water streams and can be irritating for our skin.
  • Fun SUS Tip: If you have a backyard or even a little terrace, pretend you’re chic European and line dry your clothes. (I really really wish I could do this! Instead I’ll have to settle for a DIY humidifier from all my wet clothes drying.)
  • SUS Results: Switching from hot to cold water can save up to 1600 pounds of CO2 emissions per year.
  • Future SUS Tip: Make it a habit to follow the easy solutions above. You’ll be saving water, saving energy, and keeping our water systems clean. Some of my favorite brands are Method (I love the pump design!), Seventh Generation, and Honest.

These are really easy considerations for spring cleaning in the bedroom while also protecting the environment. Stay tuned for next week where I’ll be cleaning the kitchen!

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