Spring is in full bloom across much of the country, meaning that it’s time for many of us to partake in an annual ritual of the season: spring cleaning.

Spring cleaning presents us with an opportunity to get rid of old junk, dust away cobwebs, and turn our homes (which probably feel a bit stifled after heavy winter use) into clean and clear palaces for the summer.

But despite all its advantages, spring cleaning is not normally associated with eco-friendliness. In fact, if anything, the process of removing old junk from your home is likely to be environmentally wasteful to some degree: most of the old food, clothes, and junk we throw out with inevitably end up in a landfill.

Yet there are ways to make your spring cleaning a green-friendly affair – or, at the very least, to make it more green-conscious.

Here are three ways for accomplishing this:

-Donate your trash. The saying “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure” applies well to spring cleaning. Instead of using junk hauling to bring all unwanted items from your home to the local trash depository, you can instead recycle those items and reduce landfill space by donating anything possible to charity.

-Plan for next year. For many of us, a large part of spring cleaning consists of going through our freezer and throwing out old food that expired months ago. While throwing out food is environmentally-wasteful, the true waste occurred when we let that product expire in the first place. On this note, when cleaning this spring, take note of the type of items – food or otherwise – that you find yourself throwing out. Then, make a note to yourself promising greater responsibility in these areas in the coming year.

-Teach your kids. Spring cleaning offers a great opportunity to teach your kids about recycling, reducing, and reusing. Once you’ve determined all the clothes, food products, or other items that you no longer need, go through this list with your kids and have them help determine what to do next. What can be recycled? Where can we reduce our consumption in the coming year? Is there anything that can be reduced?

Following these tips can help make your cleaning project a greener one this spring. While spring cleaning and eco-friendliness do not naturally go together, with a little effort and ingenuity almost anything can be made more green-conscious than it already is – cleaning included.