Impactful Spring Cleaning – It Doesn’t Have to Be a Chore

The weather may be a trifle unpredictable but the feeling of gloom that pervades winter has finally lifted.  The sun is shining and the birds are singing.  And I feel an uncontrollable urge to clean my apartment.  So, it must be spring.  This year, I wanted to do things differently.  Don’t worry, I still scoured my apartment but it got me thinking … was there a way to clean impactfully?

And I do not just mean by using environmentally friendly cleaning products – like vinegar and lemon or eco cleaners.  I mean by making lifestyle changes.  Although, if for you making an impact is using eco-friendly chemicals then check out Lunzers Mass-Greisslerei.

In our latest tradition of providing you with the tool kits to have impactful holidays (because spring cleaning is a kind of holiday, right?) we wanted to give you some tips on how to have an impactful spring clean and the changes that you can make along the way.

Shared Spaces

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I wonder what it looks like when the window isn’t dirty?

We share our homes with the people we love.  We see them almost every day.  Why not make spring cleaning a day to spend with your partner? Cleaning for a whole day sounds like the worst kind of date.  However, there with little else to focus on except how much sunlight is not getting through the dirty windows, you can focus on your partner for a day. And at the end of it you can admire what you accomplished together.

Breakfast of champions

While you have cleaned weekly all winter we both know that you are planning to tackle a lot more with your spring cleaning.  And it takes a lot of energy – so why not start out with a hearty breakfast. My partner and I made vegan strawberry oat bars for our spring cleaning adventure – they were delicious and filling. If you can get past the profanity on this vegan cooking site you are in for a real treat with these fruit-filled bars.

And who knows, eating more vegan meals might be something that you adopt eventually – because these bars taste really good.

A place for everything and everything in its place

Getting more organized is something for which we all strive – and some of us are more successful than others.  However, organization is not all it’s cracked up to be, according to Tim Harford (and you can catch up on that with this blog post).  So you can use this an excuse if you really do not want to clean.

However, sometimes it is nice to clear away all the clutter.  Sometimes getting organized just means tidying up in a more mindful way (this means remembering where you put things). However, the disorganization of pantries, drawers, and cupboards is enough to drive one crazy (especially, if you are an organization maven). It is hard to create an organized space with different sized packages and boxes that contain sugar, flour, pasta, lentils, and everything else – not to mention terrible for the environment. Fortunately, Lunzers Mass-Greisslerei is here to help you out.

Lunzers sells reusable containers for all the bulk food in the shop.  You can buy a container, fill it with just the right amount for you, and then take it all home with you. When you return the next time, just bring your containers with you and refill them. It is simple. Suddenly, you have an organized cupboard that also has the added benefit of being better for the environment.

Less is more

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The blue and orange clash – that is why I didn’t want your shirt.

As we put away all our winter gear – from the snowboards to the winter jackets – we find ourselves looking at the array of clothing that we may not wear.  Some of it is seasonal (we do live in Austria and that means winter) and some of it you are just don’t wear anymore because you are tired of it.

And you find yourself wondering what to do with the shirt in your hands that you have not worn for a year.  Well, you have a variety of options. You can use the clothing donation bins located conveniently close to the recycling bins in your neighbourhood. You can ask a friend if they want it – but they might not. Or you can come to the next clothing swap at the Impact Hub (and invite your friend who didn’t want your shirt – they might want someone else’s). So, you can refresh your wardrobe by swapping clothing with people here at the hub – get something new to wear and have no change in your ecological footprint while eating snacks and sharing a drink with the hub community.

A penny saved

Often, as I go through my closets and cupboards, I find things that need repair.  My first instinct in the past has been to buy a new thing – whatever it was. However, I find myself repairing things these days. Partially, because I want to figure out how the toaster works but also because I really like that pair of sandals I just took to the shoemaker.

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Road works are a kind or repair.

I am not the only one that has started thinking like this. Sweden is starting to offer tax credits for people who repair rather than buying new.  In Vienna, you can take the item to any number of craftspeople who specialise in whatever you need repaired.  However, there is a new trend hitting the market – the repair café – and Vienna has one. This innovative concept is where you take or thing that needs repair and you work with someone who is an expert to repair it together. It is a community initiative, hoping to bring people together and to prevent waste at the same time.

At the end of the day

It seems that you can accomplish a lot more than a clean home when you set about to clean more impactfully.   From reducing your ecological footprint, creating more vibrant communities, making new lifestyle choices, and spending more time with your loved ones.  It may seem like a chore at the beginning, but the rewards are well worth it in the end (except that I still don’t want to use my kitchen because it took too long to clean).

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Jennifer Cornick Freelance journalist and blogger for various publications in Vienna. When I am not writing, I can generally be found with a book (or anything with words on it - even cereal boxes). Photo Credit: Aneta Pawlik

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