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When my clock radio sprang to life Monday morning and announced that this week would be sunny and warm, I jumped out of bed and swung open the balcony door. One deep breath confirmed it was true: spring was here. The air was fresh, the branches were littered with buds and yes, those were daffodils pushing up through the soil. But when I stepped back in the house, I was confronted by the fusty feel of winter: dim, dusty and stale. Time for a little spring cleaning.

As far as blog topics go, spring cleaning isn't exactly sexy. But it is satisfying. Pulling off wool blankets to dress the bed with crisp linens, unpacking summer fashions from their storage boxes and bringing out the plates for patio season induces a welcome sense of renewal. And if you have a beautiful space dedicated to washing up, like above, make it extra inviting with potted flowers, then stock up on eco-friendly cleansers. Some great new ones have crossed my desk recently that smell amazing and get the job done without damaging the environment.

First up, the Saga line of dish soap, hand soap and lotion. I like the simple minimalist packaging, and the gentle lemongrass scent laced with tropical coconut is delicious enough to make washing up the dinner dishes feel a little less like a chore. The line is made in Canada for Tuliptree & Saga, a favourite shop of mine in Markham, Ontario that's run by the lovely Rita Ahola-Khan and her husband, Saleem. It's a plant-based formula, free of petrochemicals and features natural and organic extracts. Naturally, the bottles are recyclable.

Check out the rest of their shop for more spring cleaning finds, such as compostable dishcloths from Scandinavia and beech wood and horsehair scrub brushes from France.

A few days ago, I received a "bottle" of Seventh Generation's new 4X laundry detergent, which promises to last for 66 loads thanks to its concentrated formula. I use quotes because describing the packaging as a bottle is a bit misleading. The container is actually more like a box. It's made from 70% recycled cardboard and 30% recycled newspapers, making it compostable, and contains a recyclable plastic liner and spout. In total, it boasts 66% less plastic than conventional packaging and uses 25% less energy to make. But I was most taken with the scent, a pretty geranium blossom and vanilla combo derived from whole essential oils that's perfect for spring.

On the topic of laundry, I was able to save my favourite white shirts from icky deodorant stains with Deo-Go. I was skeptical, but it worked. I just sprayed it on, scrubbed the spot with a toothbrush, let it sit and voila! Fresh summer whites. It wasn't as effective on silk, but made a huge difference on cotton and linen.

Things are already looking brighter.

To get you even more excited about spring, browse our Spring Rooms photo gallery.

Photo credits:
1. House & Home April 2007 issue, photography by Angus Fergusson
2-3. Tuliptree & Saga
4. Kimberley Brown
5. Deo-Go

Author: 

Kimberley Brown

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