Aiming to create 2014 a year that you live a bit lighter on the planet and save money, to boot? Consider adopting one or more of those 10 changes for a greener home. In the pleasure (shop vintage) and easy (use more natural light) to the utterly delicious (try organic wines), these resolutions are supposed to benefit the Earth — and raise your quality of life.
1. Savor organic wine. Why not start the year on the ideal foot by selecting organic wine for your New Year’s Eve fete? If you already buy organic produce, perhaps it’s time to start drinking organic, too. Organic wines (and other spirits, for that matter) are getting more common, and there are some excellent bottles on the market. Most well-stocked wine shops will have a lot of choices.
2. Check Craigslist and neighborhood antique stores before buying new. That is a custom that can save you a lot of cash over time and is an incredible boon to the surroundings — buying vintage is the greenest option of all. The difficult part is remembering to take action. I’ve discovered that (especially initially) it can help to leave notes to yourself in places you usually look prior to shopping, like in your notebook, in your wallet and in the car. It is true that patience and determination are rewarded when shopping vintage, so don’t just look once and give up. Keep a running wish list of items, and hunt for them frequently.
3. Swap something from disposable to reusable. You reach for paper towels because they’re convenient, right? But weatherproof fabric towels saves space and money in the landfill — and it is just as easy as using paper as soon as you make it a practice. The key is not to run out, so buy cheap ones from the dozen and buy them everywhere you generally use paper products. You can also wrap your Swiffer-style mop with a small towel and reuse it instead of buying boxes and boxes of disposable pads. And if you don’t have a small laundry basket on your kitchen add one — it’ll make life easier.
Additional ideas for a simple swap: oilcloth bite packs for plastic sandwich bags; cloth shopping bags for paper; travel mug for paper coffee cup.
4. Switch to a natural cleaner. Still spraying on your counters with harsh chemicals? Most daily messes can be fast and easily cleaned with a simple, natural, all-purpose cleaning spray. And should you select one with essential oils, it is going to make your kitchen smell fresh and lovely, not chemical-y. Bonus: Organic cleaners are safe to use around children and pets, and so that is just one less thing to worry about.
Baking Soda: The Amazing All-Natural Cleanser You Own
Three Legged Pig Design
5. Leave shoes at the doorway. All sorts of nasty things, from pesticides to asphalt, comes in on the bottom of our shoes — create your home a cleaner, healthier place by instituting a no-shoes coverage in 2014. Bonus: Your flooring will look cleaner longer, which means you can spend less time together with the vacuum cleaner and mop.
Smith & Vansant Architects PC
6. Rely on natural light during the day. Break the practice of leaving lights in the day, and you’ll find you get accustomed to (and enjoy) living with gentle natural light in your own rooms. This is such an easy change to make, and the energy savings can really accumulate.
Boost Your Energy With Natural Light
7. Decrease takeout containers. Takeout is a lifesaver sometimes but also typically generates unnecessary waste. Planning meals ahead of time will help — particularly in the event that you include some super-quick alternatives for nights you know you will be short on time. Even skipping a takeout meal each week (or month, depending on how often you get it today) can make a positive effect on the entire world — and likely on your wallet and waistline, too.
Water Carafe – $34
8. Give plastic bottles the boot. Do you buy water in plastic bottles? Make 2014 the year you finally kick the habit. If you filter your own water in the home and use glass containers to store it, you can always get fresh, clean, filtered water available with no plastic waste — or the cost — of buying bottled.
Kate Michels Landscape Design
9. Plant a Small garden. A planting box of lettuces on the deck, a pot of peppers on the fire escape, even a window of blossoms in the kitchen — gardening doesn’t have to be a massive investment of time or resources, yet even a small garden patch can improve your life and your wellbeing. Start small and have fun with it picking even 1 thing to grow instead of buy in the store is a great place to start. You can not get more local than your own backyard!
Edible Gardening Guides
10. Learn upcycle and how to reuse. The next time that you will throw something, have a moment to consider whether there’s another use for it. Could you use those small glass jars as bud vases or to store Q-tips in the bathroom? Make that ripped blanket to a cushion cover? Donate that large stack of magazines to a nearby nursing home? Once you start challenging your ideas about what belongs in the waste bin, you are sure to surprise yourself with your own creativity.
Tell us Are you making any green resolutions for 2014?