I'm a big fan of the Center for American Dream, a consumer organization that promotes frugal, simple and eco-friendly living.
Here's a very green guide to household cleaning. This system works:
"Simple Steps to Green Cleaning: Save Time, Money, and the Environment at the same time
General Household Cleaning:
Clear the Clutter
Time to spend: 15 minutes per room
Make your way around the house with a large laundry basket and remove any misplaced items. This is an excellent tip for simplifying and organizing your house with out using any cleaning products at all, and you will be amazed at how much cleaner it looks once you have removed all the misplaced items. Start room by room and move clockwise around the house to avoid scattering and being overwhelmed.
[Frugal Duchess comment: the website also lists excellent 15-minute and all-day cleaning guides for each room of the house. Very helpful.]
Get rid of all that stuff in the
Time to Spend: A whole day
Have a lot of expired stuff you don't know what to do with? Maybe you have a car battery that's been sitting in the garage for ages, or an old TV that doesn’t work, telephone books from last year, and so on and so on. You feel bad about throwing them away, but don't know what use they could be or who could rescue them. So they just sit and sit and sit. If you’re tired of watching all that stuff gather dust, we may have an answer. A lot of it can be recycled, donated, or reused.
Yard Sale: One man’s trash is another’s man’s treasure. This is an excellent way to clear your house of clutter, and let others benefit from items that you no longer want. You can bask in the warmth of the sun as you get money for your unwanted goods., and you may even be able to donate your proceeds to your favorite non-profit. Another way to do this is to have a virtual garage sale, by posting you unwanted items to be sold on Ebay or giving them away through free cycle.. If you choose to use Ebay, you can even donate a portion of your proceeds to the Center for a New American Dream by selecting donate to a non-profit option when posting your item for sale. .
Donate to Thrift Store: Bring your items to a Salvation Army station, second-hand stores, or school clothing drive.
Regift: Offer old clothing, lawn care items, etc, to a neighbor, friend, or co-worker who may need them.
Recycle: There are ways to recycle almost anything these days, from computers to glass to cell phones to tires to Christmas trees. The trick is finding out where to take them. That’s where the Earth911 website comes in. Just enter your zip code in the form below and you'll be taken to a site that will give you information on all the recycling centers in your area. They'll also tell you what's ok to leave on your curb and what you'll have to take to a center. So pop in your zip code and start clearing out that garage/attic/basement/closet...
To locate your nearest recycling or
Household Hazardous Waste Collection
Center, please contact
1-800-CLEANUP or tap into | www.EARTH911.org"