It’s that time of year to get spring cleaning – to go through all the cupboards and corners and get rid of junk, as well as time to give everything around your house a good scrub and polish. But when you declutter and clean out junk in your attic or garage, don’t just blindly thrown things out into the rubbish to go to the local landfill. The planet needs to be kept clean as well as your house. This doesn’t mean that you’ll be left with heaps of junk that might be useful some day. Instead, you might just be able to find a good use for everyday rubbish that is handy and will help you keep a clean house and a clean environment.
* Old sheets, towels and t-shirts can be torn up and used as cleaning rags. You will save more than a few pennies if you use reusable rags for cleaning, polishing and dusting rather than paper towels. Old socks also have their uses (and not just as glove puppets for small children to make on a rainy afternoon). Old socks can be fitted over brooms to remove cobwebs, or just keep a thick old pair for polishing the floor without getting down on your hands and knees – after applying polish to the floor, buff it to a shine by putting the old socks on your bare feet and slithering all over the floor. You get a great workout and puts a bit of fun back into cleaning floors. Old socks and pantyhose are also good for storing soap scraps to be melted down for soap gel.
* Glass jars are ideal for storing dry goods in your kitchen. Use big ones for flour, rice, oats, sugar and the like, while smaller ones can be used for spices, cocoa, instant coffee and the like. Glass jars wash easily, are vermin-proof and airtight, and let you see what’s in your pantry straight away.
* Plastic bottles that have handles can be sliced in half on the diagonal and used as scoops for flour and sugar (in the kitchen), detergent powder (in the laundry) and fertiliser (in the garden). This helps to prevent messy spills.
* Old newspapers have a multitude of uses. Try scrunching them up to clean glass and mirrors. (Use them to polish off any window cleaning product you have used – the ink seems to act as a polish, although I’m not sure about this 100%. It works though!) As newspapers are very absorbent, they can also be used to clean grease out of frying pans or off a barbecue, for picking up cat or dog poop if they’ve misbehaved on the carpet, and for absorbing spills. You can also shred them for pet bedding, especially for mice, guinea pigs and rabbits.
* Collect paper that’s blank on the back and make jotter pads for shopping lists and telephone messages. All sorts of bits of paper can be used this way, ranging from old envelopes to the insides of paper shopping bags as well as more obvious bits of paper like the backs of old form letters and junk mail. Use magnets or thumb tacks on a pinboard rather than sticky notes and save a few pennies.