We believe that a city becomes great when we love the people we live next to and take pride in our shared spaces. While some of us may enjoy things being neat and tidy a teensy bit more than others, no one enjoys filth. In fact, it can be downright bad for our health. Taking the time to clean our sidewalks, alleys, and streets helps keep us, our kids, and our pets safer, minimizes trash and debris from polluting our sewers and drains, and is just plain good for the environment. More than the physical benefits, clean spaces are more inviting and refreshing than their debris filled counterparts.
Clean the Streets
What does keeping the shared spaces around us neat and tidy have to do with loving your neighbor? Because these spaces matter to everyone. And this challenge is all about doing our part — and not waiting for someone else to do it first. Taking the initiative to take care of what’s around us inspires others to do the same. Better yet, invite neighbors to join you!
ideas for tackling this challenge
Clean your alley.
The street sweeping crew doesn’t normally hit alleys. And come spring they’re typically quite a mess. Head out back to pick up trash, pull weeds, and report graffiti. Here’s a list of items to have available to make clean-up a breeze:
Throw an alley cleaning party.
Want to make alley cleaning fun and get to know your neighbors while doing it? Invite them to an alley cleaning party! While cleaning may not be our favorite family activity, our kids actually love alley cleaning days. Why? We do it with other people and always have donuts when we’re done. Want to throw your own alley cleaning party? Here’s an editable invite to download, print, and hand out to the neighbors that share your alley. You could even invite neighbors over for a treat afterwards!
Pick up the park.
Don’t have an alley or already have one that’s tidy? Head to another shared space in your neighborhood in need of some TLC and pitch in where you can. Whether it’s pulling weeds or picking up trash, there’s usually always a place that could use a little sprucing.
Toss and recycle well.
Clean a storm drain.
Have storm drains with grates? Cities like St. Paul, Minnesota have an Adopt-a-Drain Program to garner volunteers to clean storm drains for cleaner waterways and healthier communities. If there isn’t a program where you live, it doesn’t have to stop you from rolling up your sleeves and taking care of one by you. Not sure how? Read these tips to keep it clean and safe.
Get rid of graffiti.
Find some unwanted “artwork” while cleaning up? Make sure to report it and remove it before it multiplies. Denver offers a guide for reporting and removing graffiti on public and private property, graffiti prevention tips, and access to free materials to remove it from your property. Want help from the city to remove it? Jump over and grab an authorization form.
Include your kids.
If you have kids, bring ’em with you! Teaching kids good stewardship is worth the extra time it takes to do a chore — crazy toddlers included.
- Join Denver’s composting challenge. Did you know organic materials make up more than 50% of what Denver residents send to the landfill every year? Help us turn this “trash” back into dirt by ordering a green bin for the cost of a couple coffees a month. Don’t have enough compost to fill it? Go halfsies with a neighbor to save money and the Earth.
- Adopt a highway. Already have a shiny clean neighborhood? Think bigger! Organize a group to adopt a section of highway to keep clean through Colorado Adopt a Highway or a program in your own state or county.
- Adopt a spot. Want to take care of a particular spot in Denver other than a highway? Check out Denver’s Adopt a Spot Program. Sign up with your school, business, civic group, church, or even your family to maintain a stretch of road, alley, or open area for one year.