Decluttering the Eco-Friendly Way: Tips for Environmentally Friendly Cleaning

 

 

Decluttering a home that’s overrun with the flotsam of daily life is an excellent way to create a clean and orderly home environment. Unfortunately, getting rid of junk means introducing it into the natural environment, including loading up landfills, expelling toxic material into the atmosphere, and sapping precious natural resources. Enhanced environmental awareness among homeowners and a renewed appreciation of nature’s gifts have led many people to seek eco-friendly ways of discarding household material. Today, dragging old mattresses to the dump and using bleach and other harmful liquids to clean are giving way to healthier, safer alternatives.

Recycling the Big Stuff

Appliances are a major problem when it comes to disposal because of their size and composition. Unfortunately, people often throw them out because they’re upgrading to a newer, better-looking model, not because they’ve stopped working. This throw-away mentality lies at the root of many environmental issues we’re grappling with today. If that trusty old microwave or refrigerator has looked better, donate it to Goodwill, the Salvation Army, or Habitat for Humanity rather than sending it to the landfill. You can also wait for a community scrap metal drive or post it on a free-exchange website like Freecycle. When it comes to bedding and furniture padding, many people are unaware that these materials can be reused. Look for textile drop-off points in your community, or look for a clothing and textile recycling facility nearest you.

Electronics and “e-waste” represent one of the greatest threats to the environment. Last year, more than 44 million tons of e-waste were discarded, according to the United Nations, but only 20 percent of it was disposed of responsibly and safely. Many of these products contain heavy metals like mercury, lead, and cadmium. Consider donating old cell phones, keyboards, and tablets to a local non-profit or charity or to organizations like Dell Reconnect or the World Computer Exchange, which refurbish and donate electronics to people in developing countries.

Embrace the “Cloud”

Old photos and documents can create a tremendous amount of clutter because they tend to accumulate with alarming rapidity. Fortunately, technology and the storage miracle known as “the cloud” makes it very easy to remove all those loose papers and pictures with a few clicks of your computer mouse. Simply scan photos and documents and upload them to secure digital storage space. That frees you to take it all to a shredder and free up your drawer space. Be sure to consult a tax accountant before you dispose of something you might need to keep a hard copy of.

Green Clean

Cleaning your home with products that contain toxic materials is not only bad for the environment, but it’s also unhealthy for you and your family and can cause problems over time. When people clean using products and methods that are free of toxic or unsafe materials, and that are safe for the environment and human health, it is called green cleaning. There are many environmentally safe, eco-friendly cleaning products on the market today that are as effective as anything you’ve ever used. You can also use natural household materials, like vinegar or baking soda, for a number of cleaning needs. Avoid bleach and ammonia, which emit fumes that can cause respiratory problems and are toxic pollutants. Instead of aerosols, use an essential oil like lavender or lemons to get rid of odors.

Decluttering your home can be a freeing experience that opens up new vistas of practical and aesthetic possibilities. Decluttering the eco-friendly way takes a little extra effort. It’s as much an investment in your health as it is a means of protecting our environment.

 

Image courtesy of Pixabay.com

 

 

 

Anne

I'm a mother of 2 who likes to get involved in too much! Besides writing here I started a non-profit, I'm on the PTO board, very active in my community and volunteer in the school. I enjoy music, reading, cooking, traveling and spending time with my family. We just adopted our 3rd cat and love them all!

More Posts

7 Things You Do for Your Dog That You Wouldn’t Do for Anyone Else

 

 

Dogs, we love them and they love us. If you are a mommy or a daddy to a pet dog then you know you would do certain things for them that you wouldn’t for anybody. Why? Because your dog is cute, and it knows nothing else other than to love you unconditionally.

You Clean up Their Poop:  Can you imagine doing this for anyone else? Millions of dog parents worldwide take their dogs out for walks and happily clean up after them. Maybe not happily, but they do it anyways. Thank god for biodegradable poop bags and poop scoopers.

 

Image

 

You Spend Hours Finding Things for Them on the Internet:  One of the many joys of pet parenting is constantly browsing the net to find discount pet items such as treats and toys. In fact, if you are like most dog parents, this has become a thing that you have grown to love.

You Keep on Making Awful Songs for Them: Your spouse or significant other may appreciate you making songs for them, but all you do is make silly rhymes for your dog. Your dogs may not understand a single word, but they seem mighty happy when they see you sing. They might even join the band by howling along.

You Carry Food in Your Pocket:  Every time you go out with your dog, you prepare a little goodie bag for your dog. By “goodie” we mean dog treats and by “bag” we mean your pocket. While your dog enjoys an occasional outdoor snack, you have to deal with a pocket full of biscuit crumbs. You wouldn’t do it for anyone else.

You Crowd Your Phone’s Memory with Their Photos: Your phone’s memory is a sacred space where only the most deserving apps and photos retain their right to survive. If your phone has limited space, you often need to go on clean-up sprees, deleting everything you find remotely nonessential. Yet you never think of deleting any one of those thousands of doggie photos and selfies that are crowding your phone’s memory. Now, that’s love.

You Inspect Their Poop for Signs of Intestinal Worms: There are times when pet parents are forced to closely inspect their dogs’ poop. They often do it because vets recommend them to keep an eye out for common intestinal worms such as tapeworms and roundworms. If that wasn’t enough, you might even need to collect the smelly sample and carry it to your vet’s office.

Instantly Forgiving Serious Offenses: From chewing on your expensive leather boots to peeing on important documents, dogs seem to always find new ways to get into trouble. Their curious nature coupled with their mischievous demeanors often causes irrecoverable damages to human property. What follows after something like that happens? You start making a YouTube video of the mess with you saying, “What did you do Max?” Max responds appropriately giving you the guiltiest expression ever. You have no option but to forgive your pet almost instantly.

 

Anne

I'm a mother of 2 who likes to get involved in too much! Besides writing here I started a non-profit, I'm on the PTO board, very active in my community and volunteer in the school. I enjoy music, reading, cooking, traveling and spending time with my family. We just adopted our 3rd cat and love them all!

More Posts

Top Home Improvements for Summer

Photo Credit

 

Summer is officially here. Aside from having some fun in the sun or sipping Margaritas by the pool, it’s time to do some work around the house. You don’t need to go through a major overhaul of your home unless you haven’t done so in decades. Even small improvements can make your crib look completely different and make the neighbors want to keep up with you. Here are the top five things you can do in the following months.

Get Ready for Winter

When the sun is shining the last thing on your mind is the leaky roof. However, as the saying goes, you should prepare for the foul in fair weather. Your top priorities should include insulation, roof fixing, and central heating systems. The good news is that during summertime you can survive a few days without hot water if you need to shut it down for upgrading.

Next, look at the windows and try to find the most energy efficient solutions. Great glass can set you back between $1000-$5000, depending on the size of your home, but you will get in back in time by spending less on heating.

Don’t neglect cleaning and fixing your gutters which could be clogged from springtime.

Upgrade your Backyard and Driveway

Maybe you’ve always dreamed about a gazebo or a patio. Now it’s the perfect time to make it happen. Take some inspiration from this Amish community and invite your neighbors and friends to help you build the picture-perfect backyard. Of course, don’t forget to ask them afterward with their families to enjoy the fruits of the hard work.

 Repave your driveway if you think it needs a breath of fresh air. Not only is the work easier during summertime, but you get better adhering and longer lasting results. Upgrade any walkways while you are at it.

Fix the Bathroom and the Kitchen

You don’t need to break the bank to take your kitchen from the 80’s to present. You can keep the internal structure of wall cabinets and only replace front panels in the kitchen. A modern sink can transform the entire room and make it more contemporary.

For the bathroom, you might want to take a home improvement loan. Replace tiling, fixtures and functional furniture. Try to use bright colors and few items to promote cleanliness. Mix enamel with more natural essences like wood. Bamboo looks luxurious and resists better in a humid environment.

Paint Your Home and Surroundings

This is one of the safest DIY projects.  Sometimes a drop of fresh pain can upcycle and brighten any wall or fence. Make this a fun weekend project with the entire family. Give everyone a brush and a paint mask and let them have fun. In the end, it’s not about being perfect, it’s about time spent together with your loved ones. In a few years, you will remember that time when all of you painted the white picket fence together. If you’re feeling artistic, you can use acrylic paint on cupboards or tables for extra character.

Keep Cool

The most important thing during the summer is to keep cool. Depending on your budget you could install a full HVAC system, or make due with a couple of ceiling fans. If you already have AC installed be sure to clean it regularly at the beginning of each hot season. Dirty AC systems can be a threat to your family’s health due to dangerous bacteria.

 

As you can see, there is a project for every family and every budget. The only rule is to plan before you start so that you don’t feel overwhelmed or run out of money before you finish. Always count in an extra 10-15%.

 

 

 

 

Anne

I'm a mother of 2 who likes to get involved in too much! Besides writing here I started a non-profit, I'm on the PTO board, very active in my community and volunteer in the school. I enjoy music, reading, cooking, traveling and spending time with my family. We just adopted our 3rd cat and love them all!

More Posts

Childproofing 101: Making Your Home a Safe Place for Kids

 

Parents often worry endlessly about how to protect their children from the harmful elements of the outside, such as violence or abduction, that they fail to overlook one huge threat that can befall on their child: their own home. According to statistics, unintentional injury—which may be because of burns, falls, drowning, and poisoning—leads as the cause of morbidity and mortality among American children.

This should encourage people to ask themselves: is their child safe in their own home? If you’re having second thoughts, you can start childproofing your home by applying the following tips.

Take a Baby’s-Eye View

The best first step to take when childproofing your home is to scope out the territory through the perspective of your child. This means you may have to get down on your knees and to see how things look from there. Check out what’s within reach that may fall or which spaces your baby may get into. You’ll have to check every once in a while, as your child grows and starts walking and climbing sooner than later.

Keep or lock away any hazard substances and objects, such as cleaning products, medications, or cutlery, far from your baby’s reach. Even seemingly harmless substances like beads, paper clips, or coins should be off any table or furniture, as your baby can easily choke on them. Once you see your home the way your child does, you will be surprised to discover more things that can potentially be harmful to your little one.

Cover Electrical Outlets

Make sure to protect your child from electrocution by covering all electrical outlets at home. However, don’t rely on removable plug-in caps as they can easily be swallowed by your child. In this case, you can use a safer alternative, such as ones that have a sliding safety latch.

There are different ways that you can childproof your outlets, but you can also just block off any access to them by covering them with furniture. This way, you can protect your child from harm even when an outlet is used.

Be Careful with Furniture

You’ll want to be careful with the placement of fixtures and furniture around your home, though. Many children’s injuries are caused by furniture and appliances falling on them. To keep your kids safe, push back any appliances away from the edge of furniture, and secure them well.

Also, place heavier items on bottom shelves or drawers to keep your furniture less heavy on the top and less prone to falling over. Position floor lamps so that they are behind furniture to keep your babies from easily knocking them over. Moreover, cover all sharp corners in your furniture with child-safe bumpers as additional precaution.

Making the Bathroom Safe

Bath time is often an enjoyable time for your child, which is why it is highly important that this space is safe for him. Aside from installing safety latches on your medicine cabinets and drawers, you can childproof your bathroom by installing toilet locks to keep the lids closed. Children can drown even with one inch of water, and since they are more top-heavy than adults are, they can easily fall into the toilet when they happen to lean on it.

Meanwhile, older kids, who are curious about everything, can get something stuck in your toilet more often. This can cause the water to stagnate (emit foul odor) and eventually overflow, and children may slip while walking into the bathroom.

If you don’t have any know-how about plumbing, you can have a macerating upflush toilet installed instead. This type of toilet spares you the hassle of complex demolition or plumbing, and can be installed in just a few hours. Toilet waste will be ground into a pulp, so you won’t have to worry about clogging.

Always Think of Safety

Don’t wait until your baby learns to crawl and climb before ensuring that they are protected within your home. These might just be simple pieces of advice, but they can mean a lot to your child’s safety.

Photo URL: https://unsplash.com/photos/j0hEqRoTywo

Anne

I'm a mother of 2 who likes to get involved in too much! Besides writing here I started a non-profit, I'm on the PTO board, very active in my community and volunteer in the school. I enjoy music, reading, cooking, traveling and spending time with my family. We just adopted our 3rd cat and love them all!

More Posts

How To Throw A Kid’s Party On A Budget

 

 

Throwing a party for your child’s birthday is not going to be inexpensive these days. They always want to do something a little more interesting, something a little different, and with 30 or more children to invite, that interesting and different thing can become costly. Here are some useful tips for throwing a kid’s party on a budget.

 

Get The Timing Right

If you can get the timing of the party just right, you won’t need to provide much food; you’ll just need to give everyone a snack rather than a proper meal. That can save a lot of cash. Book the party for between 2pm and 5pm, and that way the children will already have had lunch at home before coming out, and they’re likely to have dinner waiting for them later on, so a few nibbles will suffice.

 

Plan Early

When you know that your kid wants to have a party, start planning as early as possible. That way, not only will you secure the venue or event that you want, but you’ll have more time to pay as well. Book early enough, and you’ll only need to pay a deposit and you’ll have months to save up to pay the rest. You can also spread the cost of other things such as table linens and decorations, buying just a few each month. Although in the end you may have paid the same as you would if you had bought it all at the last minute, you will be paying less each month, making cash flow better.

 

Make Your Own Invitations

Rather than buying readymade invitations or having a printer make them for you, you can find printable birthday invitations online that you can personalize and send out. Not only will this save you plenty of money, but you and your child can design them together, making them totally unique. It’s a good way to get them involved in the early stages and can be a fun and exciting thing to do.

 

Make It A Joint Party

Is there another child in your kid’s class who has a birthday around the same time? If so, what about having a joint party? You and the other parents can then split the cost, halving how much you would need to pay – you’ll only need one venue, for example, and one set of decorations. Remember, though, that you’ll want to get each child their own cake to be fair, and there is no point in doubling up with someone who your own child doesn’t like, as that won’t be much fun for either of them.

 

Bake Your Own Cake

You don’t need to be an expert baker to make a lovely cake for your child’s birthday party. If you feel confident to do it, then go ahead and enjoy the process. It’s true that your cake may not look as professional as it would if you bought it from someone who specializes in that sort of thing, but the love and care that has gone into it will more than makeup for that.

 

Anne

I'm a mother of 2 who likes to get involved in too much! Besides writing here I started a non-profit, I'm on the PTO board, very active in my community and volunteer in the school. I enjoy music, reading, cooking, traveling and spending time with my family. We just adopted our 3rd cat and love them all!

More Posts