spring cleaning, two ways.

March 27, 2017

spring cleaning, two ways | reading my tea leaves

Spring is here, even if it hasn’t quite gotten the memo that that might mean bringing warmer temperatures along with it. (I walked to to work with my socks off last week and nearly froze to death, so you know.) Still, in recognition of the shift in seasons and the accompanying yen for a fresh start, here’s a little post about welcoming Spring with an eye toward being good stewards of our planet and ourselves.

Freshen your sheets, two ways:
+ Consider investing in a new thoughtfully made set
Stick a lavender sachet into the place where you keep what you have. We store our sheet sets in bags and or pillowcases to keep them organized (you might recall), and I recently started tucking lavender sachets into each bag for seriously good smelling sheets.

Clean your fridge, two ways:
+ Examine the shelves on your fridge door. Throw away what’s nasty, keep what you love (and pledge to use it). Add something yummy.
+ For just a week, challenge yourself to buy nothing at the grocery store that comes in a plastic package. See what you come up with and what your stumbling blocks might be. (For me, it’s dairy. Always.)

Wash your face, two ways:
+ Book yourself an appointment at Heyday—or at a place nearby to you—and treat yourself to a clean face, courtesy of an expert.
+ Go through your cosmetics bag and get rid of anything that’s expired, grody, or otherwise unloved. Try something new. (And swap your disposables while you’re at it.)

Scour your sink, two ways:
+ Consider a special sink scrubber set to make the job a little more—dare I say?—fun.
+ Break out the baking soda and a lemon. Coat the kitchen sink in baking soda, douse it with lemon juice, scrub it all into a paste, make yourself some tea, come back later to rinse. Admire the shine.

Brighten your evenings, two ways:
+ Nights are getting shorter, but you still might want to read by lamplight. Try swapping incandescent bulbs for LED ones. I’m curious to try these LED Edison bulbs.
+ Try star gazing instead of phone gazing. Thanks to light pollution, we can only see twelve stars from Faye’s bedroom window but you better believe that we hunt them all out every single night.

Purify your water, two ways:
+ Make sure the stainless steel water bottle you tote everywhere is clean. Let it sit overnight with hot water and baking soda. Scrub in the am and drink cleaner water.
+ If your water’s tasting funky, try a purifying pitcher, or, you know, a hunk of charcoal.

Sweep under your rug, two ways:
+ Roll up your rugs. (Try not to get too grossed out by what you find underneath.) Give them a good beating (or throw them in the wash) and lay them back down on a freshly cleaned floor. 
+ Invest in a moody broom.

Filter your indoor air, two ways:
+ Track your indoor air quality with a fancy new device aimed to teach you more about what you’re breathing in.
+ Get a potted plant—like a snake plant or a peace lily—known for removing indoor air toxins.

Bring in blooms, two ways:
+ Cut a forsythia branch or a cherry branch or a dogwood branch (or any flowering branch you can find), mash up the end of it with a hammer or a pair of clippers, stick it in water so it can drink its full, and watch those buds unfurl over the next few weeks. (City slickers like me can often luck out at the farmers’ market. Head to the fruit sellers to see if they sell their extra shoots.)
+ Rest your head in a flower meadow.

Mind your flower pots, two ways:
+ Prepare your flower pots for a little seasonal planting by taking a scrub brush and hot water to the insides to get rid of last year’s gunk. (If you’re feeling especially ambitious, rinse them with white vinegar and water solution to get them extra sparkly.)
+ If you buy plants in plastic pots from a farmers’ market or nursery, bring the pots back that way after planting. Growers can reuse them (and a lot of municipalities can’t otherwise recycle them).

What about you? Favorite ways to welcome a new (warmer) season?

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  • Reply Camila March 27, 2017 at 10:55 am

    I did some spring cleaning/organizing/decluttering last week. I want to try this lavender sachet. Your tips are always amazing.
    Happy Monday, happy week.


  • Reply Erin March 27, 2017 at 11:05 am

    This year, I am looking forward to cleaning my windows with these new cleaning cloths I got from Mighty Nest. I am also looking forward to new curtains!

    My daughter and I bought a bunch of new (colorful) plants for our kitchen bay window! And a camilla plant may or may not have made its way onto my sun porch this weekend. So beautiful. Makes me so happy.

  • Reply Audrey March 27, 2017 at 11:35 am

    The fridge challenge is a good one. There are SO MANY products wrapped in plastic at the grocery store… even lettuce! Thank goodness farmers market season is around the corner! And thanks for the tips!

    • Reply Rachael March 27, 2017 at 6:08 pm

      I don’t know if I could do that! I live in a semi-rural area and only have one grocery store that has a bulk section, and they don’t allow customers to bring our own containers! They tolerate my mesh reusable produce bags, but they don’t allow glass jars or reusable bags for the bulk bins–you have to use their plastic bags and ties. I ask the manager every few months, but…no dice. It’s LESS plastic, though, so

      • Reply Jen March 27, 2017 at 9:29 pm

        I carry a little stash of those same little plastic bags in my backpack from previous visits for this reason. If you’re picking up dried goods, there’s not much cross-contamination to worry about when reusing them.

        • Reply Rachael March 28, 2017 at 5:53 pm

          That never occurred to me…Thanks!

  • Reply Caroline March 27, 2017 at 11:37 am

    I love these! Especially the baking soda + lemon sink attack, and the looking at the stars one. London is also not a great place to see stars. We have been watching the waxing and waning of the moon lately and I find it curiously exciting, the way it’s a different size everyday. Something that I have always known but never taken the time to notice.

    • Reply ERIN BOYLE March 27, 2017 at 11:40 am

      That’s lovely! The orientation of our apartment (and surrounding buildings) means we can never see the moon from our windows, but I love this idea!

  • Reply Virginia March 27, 2017 at 11:51 am

    Love the incorporation of the zero waste shopping! As always your tips are simple and fabulous! Would love to see a post on how you grocery shop, maybe the sorts of things you buy, what sort of meals you make with your zero waste ingredients throughout the week? Thanks for the tips

  • Reply Caitlin | Our Natural Heritage March 27, 2017 at 12:45 pm

    I didn’t know that LED Edison Bulbs existed, but we were fixing up our bedroom and bathroom and bought some at the store. I LOVE THEM! I can be really picky about the “warmth” of the light, and they are definitely warm and cozy enough for me. Let me know if you have any questions or want me to send along a photo 🙂

  • Reply Jess March 27, 2017 at 1:23 pm

    After enjoying your book & the simple reorganization tips you provide, I looked up similar titles/subject matter at the library and have been adding more techniques to my decluttering arsenal. Particularly loving the book New Order, geared toward ‘creative folks,’ it’s a great way to help spring cleaning stick around a little longer.

  • Reply Emily March 27, 2017 at 1:51 pm

    Love this! Would you be able to share your tips for making the lavender sachets?

  • Reply Kim B. March 27, 2017 at 2:57 pm

    It’s funny- I live in Europe, where incandescent bulbs were outlawed a few years ago. I forget that they are still an option back home!!

  • Reply Kate March 27, 2017 at 3:38 pm

    As much as I am an enthusiastic convert to LED bulbs…the one LED edison I bought was unusable. Paradoxically, the entire bulb was too dim, while the individual LED “filaments” were so blindingly bright and glary that they hurt your eyes if you looked directly at it.
    Full confession: I then tried to fix one shopping mistake with another, and bought chrome paint to turn it into a chrome-dipped bulb. It improved the usefulness of bulb, but the paint fumes were horrible. Please no one repeat my mistakes. Environmentalist fail.
    I haven’t tried Tala bulbs yet, so if you like them, you’ll have to let us know 🙂

  • Reply Mary March 27, 2017 at 4:19 pm

    I used the lemon + baking soda trick on my sink this morning. Oh the heavenly smell and sparking surface.

    Speaking of spring cleaning, does anyone reading here have a suggestion for a good eco-friendly floor wash solution and mop? My mop finally bit the dust. It is a sad plastic one that I’ve soldiered on with until it really properly died and would no longer squirt the vinegar and water solution I have been using. I find it doesn’t clean the wood floors and I wasn’t sure if it was the solution or the mop.

  • Reply Cynthia March 27, 2017 at 4:44 pm

    On the first warmish day of Spring I like to turn off the heat and fling open my doors and windows for a good airing out. Clears out the winter fireplace smell and just seems to bring spring in! I have a big garden and there’s nothing that sings SPRING as much as a flowering branch or a big jug of shiny magnolia leaves. Thanks for your always good ideas!

  • Reply Haley March 27, 2017 at 5:02 pm

    Where did you get your sachets? I’ve been looking for some and all the ones I’ve ordered so far are too thick (they work great for bulk foods though!).

  • Reply Greta March 27, 2017 at 6:39 pm

    That sink brush set is gorgeous. It may inspire me to actually clean ha!

    – Greta

  • Reply Beth March 27, 2017 at 7:37 pm

    Just attacked my sink, only subbed vinegar for the lemon. I’m sure the lemon version probably smells nicer!

  • Reply Samantha March 27, 2017 at 8:58 pm

    I love this! And I’m so pleased to see how many of these items I’ve already tackled.
    Any tips for cleaning up a rusty planter?

  • Reply laura March 28, 2017 at 10:00 am

    Forcing forsythia like it’s our job over here! Also, I’ve been using the EWG’s latest spring cleaning guide to make sure all the cleaners we do buy for our home are as green as can be. Great resource.

  • Reply Laura March 28, 2017 at 11:46 am

    Looove spring cleaning so much, even though I`m quite lazy about starting it, but when I do, it`s just like a pure, fresh start <3 Lovely post!

  • Reply Sophie March 28, 2017 at 3:47 pm

    Thanks for all of these lovely reminders that spring cleaning (or just freshening up) need not be a seasonal mission! I especially like the tip for cleaning stainless steel water bottles – I really can’t remember how long it’s been since I last washed mine!

  • Reply Erin S March 29, 2017 at 12:08 pm

    I truly enjoy these “two ways” posts, Erin! I appreciate that you include options that focus on experiences and using what you have rather than *solely* relying on buying something new. I feel like you extend this balanced mindset to your entire blog and I applaud you for it! It is so fun to see your blog/business grow and still maintain your lovely spirit and voice!

  • Reply Rachel March 29, 2017 at 1:43 pm

    Wonderful tips, thank you! I have a ton of dried lavender I cut from my yard last year, and now I’m wondering why I never thought to tuck it in with my sheets.

    So far I’ve been welcoming spring by cleaning up my indoor plants (I wrote a post on my tips: http://diyinpdx.com/2017/03/09/spring-cleaning-for-your-plants/ ), dusting and restyling my open shelves, and reconfiguring and reorganizing my closets. A little bit of restyling can do wonders!

    Also, regarding the plastic packaging, have you considered simply giving up dairy? I have been doing that this year, and it’s been a lot easier than I thought it would be. As a longtime vegetarian who ate a lot of cheese and yogurt, I thought it would be more difficult, but the only real challenge has been eating out, and accidentally eating a few things I forgot to check for dairy ingredients. My cat definitely misses cheese more than I do (her diet isn’t vegetarian at all, so I might give in and buy her some feta…) The climate footprint of dairy is huge, and the abuses in the dairy industry are rife, so giving it up feels right. You might want to consider it!

    • Reply ERIN BOYLE March 29, 2017 at 1:50 pm

      Ha, never! I love dairy (and happy cows!).

  • Reply G. Norton March 30, 2017 at 8:15 am

    Amazing tips! I like your challenges, I will try it this week when I make spring cleaning at my home.

  • Reply Carla( April 4, 2017 at 2:20 pm


  • Reply Mary April 7, 2017 at 4:59 pm

    Lovely that you’re back! Hope it all went well.

  • Reply littleblackdomicile blogger April 10, 2017 at 1:24 pm

    Nothing is better in our decor than clean! We always advise to start with a good cleaning, even rearranging before you make purchase. Many times a good designer can show you how to use what you have to feel fresh and new!-Laurel Bledsoe

  • Reply Sammy April 10, 2017 at 4:32 pm

    I love your two-pronged approach to spring cleaning, I will definitely try the supermarket trick but I will also struggle with dairy!

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