Spring is here and so is Humber’s Earth Day Cleanup! This year, the Office of Sustainability is encouraging staff and students to conduct a solo/household outdoor or indoor clean-up, from April 22 to April 25. If you’re participating, remember to connect with us virtually and use the hashtag #HumberGreenClean!

Outdoor Cleanup

As the snow melts and the grass appears, so does everything else that has been covered by the snow all winter long—plastic bags, wrappers, water bottles, cardboard boxes—you get the point.  

You’ve most likely seen this in your own community, and if you’re like me, you’re thinking, ‘As much as this is an eyesore, it’s even worse for the planet. How can I clean up my community safely during this global pandemic?’ 

Whether you’re participating in #HumberGreenClean, or looking for spring cleaning tips, here are four ways you can safely conduct an outdoor cleanup this spring. 

Ensure you’re taking COVID-19 precautions 

Prior to your outdoor cleanup, ensure you’re familiar with your local health and safety guidelines for COVID-19 restrictions or visit Ontario’s COVID-19 public health measures and safety online resource.  

If you’re participating in #HumberGreenClean, don’t forget to review our Earth Day Cleanup Guide that’s been emailed to you.  

Person walking in a forest with their German Shepard (dog).
Photo credit: Canva.com

Look good, feel good!

We recommend you wear a mask and gloves in addition to sunscreen (your skin will thank you for this one), proper footwear and appropriate attire for the weather.

If you’re doing a solo cleanup, it’s a good idea to bring headphones with you so you can listen to music or a podcast on your route. 

Two hands holding up an iPhone with a Map open, showing point A to point B.
Photo credit: Canva.com

Map it out

It’s important to plan your route so that you have enough masks, gloves and collection materials for the distance. Make sure the trash bag(s) you take on your walk will/could hold enough litter.  

It’s best to do your cleanup in the daylight, for safety and the ability to see garbage (especially, small cigarette butts). For extra precautions, if you’re going alone and/or are unfamiliar with the area, tell someone where you’re going. 

Empty plastic water bottle on the ground.
Photo credit: Canva.com

Taking out the trash

You’ll notice that majority of the litter you’re collecting is wet, dirty and contaminated, which means everything you collect must go in the garbage to avoid contaminating the blue bin (recycling).  

Indoor Cleanup

After a dark and gloomy winter, there’s no better feeling than opening the curtains and windows to let in the sunshine and spring breeze—in my opinion! However, doing this typically reveals all the dust, crumbs and dirt hiding around your home.  

Here are three easy steps to an efficient spring clean inside your home

Two piles of clothing, one labelled as donate and the other is labelled as keep.
Photo credit: Canva.com

Step One: De-clutter

Every spring, I like to create four piles (or put out four boxes); keepdonatesellgarbage. The piles are pretty self-explanatory, but this way I can go through my entire closet and identify what I’m keeping and getting rid of.  

Make sure that whatever items you decide to discard can’t be repurposed any more than they already have been. Check out one of our previous posts, Five things you never knew could be repurposed, by Laura Elkind for repurposing inspiration. 

During #HumberEarthMonth2021, we hosted a Repair and Repurpose workshop with the Principal’s Office and Kate Motz taught us unique ways to repurpose our clothing.  

The following donation centres are currently open in select areas:  

Person washing a mirror, with soap and a sponge, while wearing yellow gloves.
Photo credit: Canva.com

Step Two: Clean

Before you clean your surfaces with a liquid substance, always vacuum or dust first. If you don’t, you’ll end up with a bigger mess than when you started—because you’ll be cleaning mud. 

Since this a spring clean, there are no cutting corners; vacuum and wipe every corner of your home! Go Clean Co, a Canadian small business has been my go-to for cleaning tips and reminders. 

Don’t forget to wash all your sheets and towels. Hint: If you can, start your laundry first so that once you’re done cleaning, your laundry will be done too. 

If you store away your winter clothes during the other three seasons, make sure your clothes are washed and folded before putting them in bins or bags. 

A living room set-up with 3 framed paintings on the brick wall, 3 plants in pots and a grey chair with 2 pillows.
Photo credit: Canva.com

Step Three: Tidy

Now that your space is clean, properly tidy your home by organizing your shelves, folding your clothes in your drawers, fluffing your pillows and more. 

Whenever I’ve done a deep clean of my space, I love to wind down with a good Netflix show or book (because if I start a new task, I’ll mess up whatever I’ve just tidied.). If you’re looking for something to watch after your spring clean, here are 20 recommended documentaries about our planet.

At this point, I hope you’re feeling as inspired as I am to close your laptop or put down your device, let the sunshine in and get started!  

Leave us a comment below or direct message (DM) us on social (@SustainHumber), if you have any spring-time rituals or must-do’s. 

If you’re taking part in this year’s Earth Day Cleanup, check out the Office of Sustainability’s Earth Day Cleanup Guide for everything you need to know in advance, including prize details! 

Good luck and have fun. 

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