Live Green and Earn Points


Clean House and Clean Out for Spring

By Kelsey Abbott |

Spring cleaning can be fun, lucrative, and — seriously! — social. Check out our advice for a springtime purge and swap, and learn how to make your springtime scrubbing more eco-friendly.

Originally Published: 04/20/09

Obviously, spring cleaning offers a great opportunity to purge your home of all the stuff you've accumulated but that doesn't make it fun.

Now, what if you could trade in what my great grandmother used to call "crapulences" — she kept a closet full of them — for something better? That may not exactly get you pumped to clean out, but it certainly increases the potential for fun.

Give it a try with our tips for your own springtime purge and swap:

  1. Go through your closet, and then host a clothing swap. Gather your friends, along with their swappable clothes, and have a blast picking out some new-to-you duds and laughing at the must-have fashion trends we all fell for. If you're not the hosting type (or can't convince a pal to host a swap), exchange or sell your clothes online through sites like, eBay, Craigslist, or Freecycle. If you have nearly new women's work clothing, donate it to your local Dress for Success. Career Gear accepts nearly-new business attire for men, and stores like Patagonia gladly accept their clothes back for recycling. Of course, donating used clothing to local charities is always an excellent option, and one that might help you come tax time too.

  2. Clean out the playroom (and your kids' closets) and have a neighborhood-wide toy/kids' clothing swap. While the parents oohh and ahhh over the cutest outfits, the kids will be busy picking out "new" toys. If the chaos of kids and parents and a whole lot of toys sounds like a little more than you'd like to tackle now, head back to your computer. Sites like Swap Baby Goods, Freepeats, and Zwaggle specialize in all things baby, child, and parent-related.

  3. Dust off those old books and give them a second chance, and give yourself yet another excuse for a party, this time as a book swap. If a party is the last thing you need this spring, investigate local and online options. Online book swapping is available through sites like Paperback Swap and Book Mooch. If you'd rather donate your books, check out a local used book store or Better World Books.

  4. Got a box full of old CDs stuffed somewhere? (They're my husband's, I swear.) Sell the CDs to give your wallet a little springtime renewal and your home a little breathing room. Check local used record stores or head online to sites like to trade used CDs, DVDs or books for new electronics or cash.

  5. For those of you planning to tackle a major remodeling project this spring, figure out what you're going to do with any leftover materials, fixtures, furniture, or appliances before you get it out of your house. For instance, try selling your old cabinets on Craigslist, or use Freecycle or contact your local Re-Store to see if they'll accept your donation. If you're dealing with anything that can't have a second life or that you're not sure can be recycled, like paint or old carpet, check Earth911 for recycling options and proper disposal methods. And remember, so many things can be re-used in another way right in your own home — they may just need a little facelift.

  6. Finally, once you've cleaned out, it's time to clean! Look for cleaning products that are better for the environment, or alternatives to those cleaning products (like making your own!). The Green Guide has recipes for tons of DIY cleaners to tackle everything from the toilet bowl to the oven (using different cleaning implements, obviously). Hint: if you're looking for that freshly cleaned smell, try adding a dab of lemon or tea tree oil to your homemade concoctions.

Once you're through, don't forget to get outside and enjoy Spring!



How do you purge your house without adding tons to the landfill? Comment below!

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