Green Neighbors Program

The Clark County Green Neighbors Program was developed and is maintained by Clark County Solid Waste and Environmental Outreach to assist citizens with developing more sustainable lifestyles and building a strong environmental community in Clark County. Solid waste regional planning and programs are a cooperative effort of Battle Ground, Camas, Clark County, La Center, Ridgefield, Vancouver, Washougal, and Yacolt. Funding for this project provided by a grant from the Washington State Department of Ecology.

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Greening Spring Cleaning

What's your plan for household spring cleaning? If you don't have a plan yet, here are some of my suggestions, from one Green Neighbor to another.

  1. Gather your tools
    Get all your dirt, grime and dust-fighting weapons prepped and ready. Are you running out of paper towels? Consider making the switch to reusable towels or rags! Are you running out of an expensive and potentially unsafe cleanser? Make your own cleansers from clean, green ingredients! Once you get together all your basic cleaning implements and accessories, it's time to get down to business.
  2. Clean the obvious...
    Begin your spring cleaning with your ordinary household chores: dusting, sweeping, vacuuming, scrubbing and mopping.
  3. ...and get to the less obvious
    Get the hard-to-reach or seldom-cleaned areas, like the drapes, behind the furniture and the oven.
  4. Now what? Organize!
    Now that you've finished the "easy" part, it's time to really roll up your sleeves. That's right—it's organization time.
  5. Room by room
    Don't flit around room to room organizing one small part at a time. Set your sights on organizing one room in its entirety before moving on to other rooms. This way, you'll see results faster and you'll be less likely to get overwhelmed.
  6. Start small, make goals
    When starting a big project such as home organization, it's important to make small, concrete, achievable goals. For example: "today I will set aside two hours to organize and clean the junk drawer," or "tomorrow I will take 30 minutes to organize the top of my desk," and so on. Set up lots of little goals and action items that will accumulate into accomplishing your big goals like "decluttering the bathroom" and "organizing all the closets." Before you know it, the whole house will be done!
  7. To keep or not to keep
    When determining whether to keep something, [realistically] answer a couple questions: "Have I used this in the last year and will I use this in the near future?" If you answer "no" to both, you know what you must do.
  8. Piles of piles
    You might find that your clutter can go into one of a few piles. There's the "Keep" pile and the "Keep Somewhere Else" pile (read: storage, another place to organize). But there's also a big "Don't Keep" pile which needs to be divided into other piles.
  9. Valuable
    Some of your "Don't Keep" clutter still has value. Is it something that has sentimental value? Is it something that your friends or family may want? Offer up this pile to your loved ones. If they don't want it or can't use it, consider putting it up for consignment or giving it to your favorite [or the most appropriate] charity.
  10. Recycle, landfill
    If your "Don't Keep" clutter has value in its parts, make sure to recycle it appropriately. Find out the best way to recycle each item by visiting our all-inclusive recycling guide. Finally, as a last resort, the items can go to the landfill.

Good luck with your spring cleaning!
2015 Recycled Arts Festival
Springtime in Clark County

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