I’ve been looking for a way to use fewer paper towels at home. I’ll rip off the smallest amount possible to clean up a spill, or I’ll use one towel until it can’t take any more. I started doing this for several reasons, one being the exorbitant amount of money it costs to continuously supply a home with paper products. It really adds up! That’s why I love these reusable cloth “paper” towels. Not only is it a more environmentally-friendly solution, it would also save a ton of money in the long run. All you have to do is wash your towels and snap them back together for a new, clean roll of towels. Plus, there are all kinds of cute prints to choose from. Could it get any better?
For the past three days, I have been dog-sitting four affectionate and slobbery Basset Hounds. It has been three days’ worth of floppy ears, thundering howls and melancholy eyes. For the most part, it has been an enjoyable experience, but when I woke up this morning to find the laundry room floor covered in an unmentionable liquid surprise, I was not as delighted as I had once been. After scouring the house to find something to clean with, the only product I could find was vinegar. Because this mess was a particularly icky one, I just wasn’t sure if vinegar would cut it. Needless to say for any of you who have experience cleaning with this particular agent, I was pleasantly surprised. Not only did it thoroughly clean up all remnants of the laundry room disaster, it left the floor sparkling and smelling incredibly clean and fresh. No more will I be a slave to harsh chemicals and expensive labels – vinegar has set me free.
MORE: VINEGAR’S MANY USES >>
PawNation’s Cute Pet of the Day: Hank
I’ve always been a news junkie. I take time out every morning to read the headlines to learn what’s going on in the world. Frankly, I have no patience for anyone who isn’t up-to-date with world events. In my reading this morning, this “Trash Made Into Homes” story from CNN.com caught my eye. It’s a story that captures human ingenuity at its best!
Waste — what to do with it? It’s a worldwide problem that’s mounting. The city of Karachi, Pakistan produces ten thousand tons of waste every day. Much of that is non biodegradable and is burned or goes to landfills. But one local environmentalist thinks she has found the answer.
Nargis Latif is devoting her life to protecting the environment in the most over-populated city in Pakistan (Karachi). Her project, Gul Bahao, deals with two major issues — reducing waste and an increasing need for housing.
Gul Bahao works in conjunction with local factories to collect clean waste that they simply don’t need. The waste is then used to fill up large sacks (or bricks), which are then bound together to form structures. The homes are low in cost and put up in a matter of hours.
Turning your ordinary writing utensils into your favorite pens, the Seven Year Pen greens up your office supplies, writing up to 6.5 feet a day for 7 years (uh, can you say “hand cramp?”). Available in colorful designs and clever graphics, the best part about these pens is that they’re eco-friendly — reducing waste by increasing the barrel size inside each pen up to six times the amount in your everyday BIC.
EXTRA: Eco-Friendly Home Improvement and Building Products >>
Happy Earth Day!
Did you know the average family spends $2,300 per year on energy costs? Think about what you could do with that $2,300. (I, personally, would nab that Gus sectional I’ve been coveting for the past 6+ months.) Matt McGovren, brand manager for Nexia Home Intelligence, shares a few tips and tricks for saving energy and making your home a bit greener. Some are easy changes you can start today, and you’ll instantly see lower bills and more money in your pocket. Plus, each small change makes a great impact on the environment, too.
Maintain Your Interior — About half of energy costs are spent heating or cooling your home. Installing a programmable thermostat that’s compatible with a home automation system can help reduce energy use and save money on those bills each month.
Hit the Lights — Use motion sensors to control both interior and exterior lighting. Using sensors to control lighting is perfect for busy families or anyone who can’t remember (or can’t be bothered) to turn off the lights when they’re not needed.
Don’t Be a Vampire — Appliances that are plugged in but not in use still generate electricity. In fact, vampire power is estimated to account for one percent of global C02 emissions — but it’s an easy habit to kick: just unplug. Schedule your products to only be on when needed using products that control lights and small appliances when you’re at home and away.
Stop Running — Most Americans use between 80 and 100 gallons of water a day. This Earth Day, make a pledge to conserve water by taking shorter showers and turning the tap off when you’re scrubbing your dishes.
Set Reminders — Get email or text alerts when it’s time to change your HVAC filter. Having a fresh filter keeps your system running efficiently, saving you money.
Looking for more tips and ideas? Green your home this spring with energy efficiency updates from HGTV.com.
Christmas lights are one of my favorite things about the holiday season. This year especially, I’ve been known to frantically scream out “Christmas!” every time I see a holiday light display – I’m certain everyone I know is asking Santa for an early present in the form of earplugs.
Light displays may be a warm and cozy staple of the holiday season, but there’s no getting around the fact that they cost a lot to run. If it’s been a couple of years since you replaced your light set you might be wasting energy – and therefore money.
This month, Google lifted the veil off its massive and beautiful data centers. These facilities are typically shrouded in secrecy because they are the brains behind tech companies.
The company has been working on building its data centers for over 10 years. Google’s centers take advantage of renewable energy and are environmentally friendly.
It looks like a child’s playground, doesn’t it?
Perhaps I’ve been influenced by my very Southern mother, or maybe it’s just from spending too much time glued to Pinterest, but I use vinegar for everything. Ev-er-y-thing. I keep all types of vinegar – white, apple cider, red wine, tarragon – stocked in my cabinets. It’s handy for cooking, cleaning, and what most of my friends refer to as “weird voodoo home remedies” (a spoonful of vinegar a day keeps the doctor away!).
Vinegar is not just for salads.
One of the best things about keeping vinegar in your home is that it’s so cheap. You can usually get a big bottle of white vinegar for under a dollar, and not too much more for apple cider vinegar. On top of that, it’s edible – no harsh toxins, no lingering chemical smell – making it the perfect cleaning solution if you have children or pets.
Read the List
You know the drill, you buy a kid a toy and they just want to play with the box. So why not skip a step with Box Play for Kids stickers?
These ingenious (and frankly adorable) stickers allow you to turn your recycling into dozens of new toys, sparking your child’s creativity and lightening your trash load as well. What’s not to love about that?
Is your city or town littered with abandoned storefronts (while new ones are being built every day)? I’m not even a “green” person and this kind of thing drives me nuts. Why can’t retailers take over an already-established storefront now and then?
I got on that soapbox to provide insight as to why this story from Slate Magazine thrilled me. An abandoned Walmart storefront in McAllen, Texas has recently been refurbished into an award-winning public library.
See More Library Photos