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Think Green When You Clean

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Clean Green Step 3: Shine

Keep gardening equipment and household items clean and in “like-new” condition. If you cannot immediately fix something, consider donating it or recycling it.

  • Use vinegar, lemon and baking soda to create natural cleaning products that are environmentally friendly and good for your budget, too.
  • Find another function for old items you no longer use.
  • Repurpose clothing for crafts and projects. Use old, oversize shirts as a painting smock or make a scarecrow from outdated outfits.
  • Use old sheets and blankets for camping or picnics, or keep them in your car’s trunk as part of an emergency kit.
  • Transform an old bathtub into a planter.

Clean Green Step 4: Standardize

  • Use labels, color coding and organization supplies to outline where things and cut down on the chaos and mess.
  • Set up separate containers for garbage, paper or plastic. This cuts down mess and allows you to easily separate materials for recycling.
  • Set up and label donation bins in your home. As you clean, you may find a toy that’s never played with, a dress with its tags still attached and outdated mobile devices. When you come across these items, put them in the appropriate bin and, once a month, donate them. This will save time collecting items and save gas driving the items to their new homes.

Clean Green Step 5: Sustain

Once you have your own personal recycling system set up, you simply must maintain it. Take care not to allow a gradual decline back to the old ways of operating — this is the toughest part. It’s like sticking to a diet or a new exercise regime — you have to commit.

One way to stay on track is to practice “creative visualization.” Pick a time where your mind is completely your own and you have peace and quiet to practice this art. Everyday, imagine yourself going through the same actions and then reaching your desired results. By visualizing it over and over, you’ll find that your mind and body will follow suit and eventually, it will be come naturally.

Getting greener doesn’t require additional effort. It’s just important to give order to the chaos in our lives through decisions that help the environment at the same time.

About the Authors: Michelle LaBrosse, founder of Cheetah Power, was recognized by the Project Management Institute as one of the top 25 most influential women in project management worldwide. Erica Edmond, an intern with Cheetah’s Green Team, studies organizational communication at the University of Portland.

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