Embrace Spring Cleaning

Toddler washing a window

It has been warm enough that we have windows open during the day—on days when it doesn’t snow. Once the windows and doors are open, it’s time to clean. Spring cleaning, or thorough house cleaning, is a tradition in several cultures with new year or celebrations in the spring. In my family, we clean for Hogmanay (December 31st) as well as in the spring. Since my children and I just spent three full days cleaning our house, I want to share with you what I’ve learned.

List everything you need to do. I get my kids to help me. Usually, we write every major cleaning job on a post-it note and slap it on the wall. While we are cleaning, each of us chooses one note at a time and moves it to the active area. This year, we decided to save on notes. We wrote out the list on a spreadsheet on the laptop that followed us around playing very loud music while we worked. It worked fine, but I miss the quick visual of the colorful post-it notes.

Gather your tools. Make sure you have what you need before you start. Look at your list, look at your cleaning cupboard, and match up job to cleaning solutions, brushes, mops, cloths, and any other tools you have. Do you have what you need? If not, can you make what you need? If not, go shopping.

Nothing takes the wind out of your sails more than optimistically wiping a wall with a water only to find that hand prints just stay there. A couple of weeks ago, I cleaned my house top to bottom. I cleaned walls that had far too much grime at a height suspiciously similar to my son’s height. This built up over time because I was refusing to buy cleaners. I was using water to wipe walls when I needed to cut dirty, greasy marks with a more serious cleaner. I finally bought a d-Limonene cleaner (d-Limonene is an extract from citrus rind that is used as solvent in cleaning products). Getting the walls clean was so easy. I can’t believe how long I stubbornly held out when all I needed was the right cleaner. So, learn from my lesson! Assemble the right tools so you don’t face frustration.

Schedule a block of time. Spending 15 minutes here and there isn’t spring cleaning. That is basic maintenance. You should do that, too, but give yourself enough time that you can get into the corners without the next thing on your list distracting you from finishing. Schedule at least 3 hours at a time for cleaning. It will take more than one 3-hour block to clean a whole house. Spread it out over a week or just do it over a weekend with short breaks. Whatever you do, don’t think you will get to it when you have time. You won’t. Schedule the time now.

Play music. This is essential! Music helps keep spirits up even when you are doing grimy jobs. We set up a playlist of dancing music, and it helps us keep moving. We take turns playing DJ. We also stop here and there to talk about the music and the history around it. When you homeschool, any moment can be a homeschooling moment. If you are asking your children to help, it’s important to keep them motivated. This pays off over time as they associate cleaning with fun.

Celebrate the finish. We were cleaning because we had house guests coming to spend spring break. Our celebration was a delicious dinner on the arrival of our guests. Throw a party. Invite friends over. Just have a special dinner in a room where you don’t usually eat. Make it memorable and unusual. Thank everyone for helping to keep the house clean and tidy.

Are you ready? You can do it! Spring cleaning is exhilarating.

A few articles you might like to read:

Image © Tamara Souchko | Dreamstime.com

5 Steps to Natural Yard Care

Children playing on the lawn

You may be wondering how to care for your yard in the most natural way, especially if you are concerned about the health risks pesticides pose to pets and children who spend a lot of time on your lawn. The King County, Washington, Department of Natural Resources has put together a clear, helpful list of five steps you can take to save time, save money, save the environment, and protect your family’s health.

  1. Build healthy soil
  2. Plant right for your site
  3. Practice smart watering
  4. Think twice before using pesticides
  5. Practice natural lawn care

They have published a guide with details of natural yard care as well as a Buyer’s Guide that helps you know what alternatives you can use instead of the conventional approach.

One practice that helps build healthy soil and keeping soil moist is mulching. My family lives near a lot of pine trees, so we collect pine cones as mulch. As I was weeding over the weekend, I noticed that our soil is still surprising moist under the pine cones. Not only do we have natural mulch, we don’t pay a penny for it. I hand each child a basket, and they return after their collecting adventures.

What you plant and how you plant depends on where you live. Your local garden store, university extension, or local natural resources departments for specific details on your area. The basic guide, though, works for us all.

You can create a safe, healthy yard where you will be happy to have your children and your pets roam freely.

Image © Oksana Belodarova | Dreamstime.com

High Standards: All Natural

Unbleached Indian Prefold Diapers

All Natural high standardsAll Natural
To meet our All Natural standard, products must be 100% natural, made only from pure, natural materials such as cotton, wool, wood, silk or 100% natural ingredients. We only source products without harmful chemicals, formaldehyde finishes and other toxins, but the all-natural label goes a step beyond this ensuring you are purchasing products that contain no synthetic or made-made materials/ingredients.

While we only choose products without harmful chemicals and toxins, we want to recognize those products made only with 100% natural materials. We choose natural materials for a couple of very important reasons.

Natural Materials for Lower Environmental Impact

Natural materials generally don’t externalize costs as often happens with petrochemical-derived products. Those the oil and gas that make our laptop cases or laminated fabrics appear cheap but leave behind shocking social and environmental costs.

The Natural Aesthetic

As we raise our children, we create their context for understanding the world. At bynature.ca, we want to help you teach your children about living nature around them, about the vitality of living things. It makes sense that those who embrace and honor the natural patterns of attachment parenting would also embrace and honor the natural patterns of nature.

All Natural products at bynature.ca

Look for natural toys of wood, organic cotton, and natural rubber. Choose cloth diapering products of cotton and wool and plastic-free feeding and sleeping products. Find great products like the Tres Tria natural rubber booster pillow, 100% wool dryer balls, and an amber teething necklace.

100% Organic Cotton Prefold Diapers
All natural diapers organic cotton prefolds

Our Indian cotton prefolds are high quality, very absorbent, and extra soft. Many diapers have been bleached white, which damages the cotton and causes them to wear out sooner. Organic cotton is void of harmful chemicals in the field and in processing.

Prefold diapers are the original one-size diaper. Many of our customers use the one size from infant to potty training—then they continue to use the diapers as incredibly soft rags.

Organic cotton prefolds are the all natural diapering choice.

This month, we are telling you more about our Safe Family Promise at bynature.ca. To make it easy for you to identify products by their key attributes, look for our standards labels.