By now we all know that it is '??hip to be green.'?? This is not only a concept to conserve energy and preserve our limited natural resources, '??going green'?? at home is a great way to teach our children how to recycle, reuse and reduce by using products that aren'??t made from chemicals, solvents or dyes as well learning how to do their part to help conserve the environment. This doesn'??t happen overnight, but starting slowly by making your own cleaner and becoming an educated consumer are some easy ways to get you on the green path. Here are some of our best green home ideas.
1. Go green with handmade art. We all love the crafts and drawings that our children proudly bring home, so why not decorate your entire home in DIY spirit? Art is expensive and can easily be made at home with some easy techniques. Simple items like old magazines, newspapers, swatches of fabric, old postcards, etc can be re-used to create gorgeous wall art. Simply organize your items and place them in a frame or if you are really crafty you can create a collage with your materials to hang around the house. Add a beautiful frame and you have a personalized and attractive piece of art. This is also a great project for older kids to get involved as they learn about recycling and decorating your home. We love the DIY wall art tips from Plant Green.
2. Become a green cleaning machine. Cleaning is unavoidable but that doesn'??t mean you need to use products that contain harsh solvents and chemicals especially when there are numerous gentle homemade solutions to get your home spic and span. A simple blend of white distilled vinegar and water is great for easy clean-ups (like say for the windows) and a stronger solution of backing soda and a fragrance-free detergent is great to take away grit and stains like in the bathroom or in the oven. For more easy and non-toxic cleaners, check out Care2's cleaning guide.
3. Conserve energy. A simple way to conserve energy is to use energy efficient light bulbs, which generally last about 10 times longer than traditional bulbs. Another way to conserve energy is to actually use less energy '?? meaning less TV watching, time on the computer and turning off the lights when they don'??t need to be on. This will also help you save on your electricity bill '?? not to mention free up some time.
4. Save water. Many plumbing systems are outdated causing over 400 gallons of water to be used by a family of four, according to the EPA. However, systems can be easily updated to make your plumbing work better and conserve water. Look for energy-efficient models such as those with the WaterSense or EnergyStar labels. You can also check your home for leaky facets, drippy showers and runny toilets as way to conserve water.
5. Design your home. Eco-chic homes are a great way to feature modern and functional furniture products while also using sustainable and environmentally friendly design options. Many of these products include bamboo or items made from plastic but you can also '??go green'?? by purchasing furniture from flea markets or yard sales that can be reupholstered or recycled into something completely different.
Serena Norr is a NYC-based writer/editor, soup-maker, and more importantly, a mama. You can read more soup recipes on her blog: seriouslysoupy.blogspot.com.