Green Cleaning Tips
With so many documents to keep track of, it may be difficult to determine which are safe to throw away and which to hold on to. Here are some helpful tips:
- Bank statements: Okay to destroy after one year, unless you need them for tax purposes. Online Banking can help reduce the paper pile up.
- Utility bills: Throw out (unless needed for tax purposes).
- Tax records: Destroy after six years.
- Insurance records: Keep for the life of your policy.
- Life documents (birth certificate, marriage certificate, diploma, divorce decree, military records): Store your birth or marriage certificates, diploma, divorce decree, or military records in a safe deposit box indefinitely. Check box availability at a nearby North Shore Bank office.
- Homeowner records (deed and title): Do not throw away.
- Receipts for major purchases: Keep as long as you own the item.
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Go Green While You Spring Clean
Tackle spring cleaning from the top down without using harsh chemicals or generating needless waste. Here's how:
Windows: Pour vinegar in a spray bottle. A lint-free washrag works well. Avoid cleaning windows in direct sunlight, because they dry too fast and look streaky.
Sinks: Make your own sink scrub using one part vinegar, four parts baking soda and several drops of your favorite essential oil. Scrub the paste on with a sponge, let sit for a few minutes, then rinse.
Tubs and toilets: Spray with vinegar, then sprinkle on baking soda for all-over natural cleaning power. Scrub with a sponge or toilet brush, then rinse.
Garbage cans: Sprinkle the bottoms with natural mineral borax to prevent mold and fungus, and to keep away insects.
Floors: Whether you have linoleum or ceramic tiles, vinegar -- straight or mixed with water -- is all you need. Use a sturdy mop, natural sponge, or washrags to scrub, then mop up any excess.
Carpets: Before vacuuming, shake baking soda over the carpeting to absorb odors. For spot cleaning, try vinegar. Spray it on, scrub with a washrag and forget about the vinegar smell; it dissipates quickly.