There are plenty of small ways to help your home be greener. And just because they’re small doesn’t mean they aren’t mighty. Plus, small things can add up pretty quickly. So, follow our easy tips to make your home greener.
5 Tips for a Greener Home
Go Outside: Having a garden can not only be very rewarding (wait until you pick your first tomato!) but can save you money at the grocery store. The bigger your garden, the more you will save. Cut herbs as they grow and dry them for future use. Puree basil with olive oil and freeze in ice cube trays to use all year round in soups and pasta dishes. Can tomatoes for fresh spaghetti sauce (or gravy – depending on what you call it!) and tomato soup whenever you want it. Pickle green beans, carrots, cucumbers, radishes, etc. to use on sandwiches, as a nice side, or to add to dressings for a tangy kick. All these tips can be done with just one successful garden year! You can even include plants in and around your garden that can repel mosquitoes – giving them double duty as beautifiers and repellents. If you aren’t able or don’t have the room for a garden, be sure to buy local. Besides supporting the local economy, you will be less likely to buy from the large companies that are purchasing unnecessary plastic and will be more likely to offer greener, more organic options. Even better, visit farmer’s markets with your reusable bags! Even if you don’t have room for a large-scale garden, pots of herbs sitting in the kitchen window take up very little room. You can also start composting very easily. This is a great way to use up those scraps of food and at the same time create extremely rich soil for your new garden. Check out the ultimate beginner’s guide to composting.
Be Energy Conscious: Not only can going green help the environment (and make you feel like you’re doing your part) but it can also help your energy bill! Leaving a room? Switch the light off. Appliances, even when not in use, can draw on power, so unplug appliances until you need them. LED lightbulbs are more expensive to buy initially but last longer and will save both energy and money over time. When looking to replace an appliance, that’s the perfect time to replace it with a far more energy-efficient one. When the weather is warm enough, use a clothesline to hang your clothes out to dry in the sun. Use fabric softener during the wash cycle will help it from getting that stiff feeling and clothes dried outside have a fresh smell you just can’t (and don’t want to) duplicate with chemicals. And you may not be thinking of it right now but replacing your insulation with energy-efficient attic insulation will help you save on your energy bill and keep your home warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer. All these energy tips will not only help the environment by putting less strain on the grid, but they will save you money on your energy bill.
Do It Yourself: There are plenty of DIY projects that are not only fun but are green! If you’re looking to not only save money but also know exactly what it is in the products you’re using, you can make your own, greener version of many everyday items. Combine coconut oil, shea butter, vitamin E, and your choice of essential oil in a mixer and you’ve got your very own moisturizer. Lemon juice, white vinegar, and baking soda can clean just about anything in your home (check before using on wood flooring and some fabrics), are all organic, and can sanitize with the best of them. There are recipes to make your own clothes washing powders, your own bars of soap, your own liquid soaps, etc. You just have to look it up. Most of the time the ingredients overlap so the upfront cost is spread across many different types of products and even if they don’t, the cost to purchase the ingredients will be way cheaper than buying the products themselves. Just be sure to store them in reusable bottles. That will save on plastic waste, too.
Use Reusable: We all know those plastic water bottles are clogging up oceans, landfills, and garbage dumps. The companies will still make them, but you don’t have to buy them! A good filtration system on your faucet will help clean up any impurities in your tap water so that you can use reusable water bottles. Just fill and go! Always have reusable cloth shopping bags with you. It doesn’t matter if you’re buying a t-shirt, a bar of soap, or a head of lettuce, put it in a reusable bag. Rinse them out and hang them out to dry after each use. Always use a reusable lunch bag, utensils, and containers. Even if you’re treating yourself to takeout, bring them along. The place you’re buying from would probably be happy to put your lunch in your own container instead of using yet another to-go container. It saves them money, too. Also, get yourself a fun, reusable coffee cup. Great for on the go or sitting at home, you can wash them out and reuse them every day. Even if you buy a couple so you always have one ready to go, it’s better than the disposable cups that you toss every time you’re done. There are some really beautiful ones to really fun ones to choose from. You can even get custom ones made! Who says going green has to be boring?
Ask for Help: Being green at home is great, but you can’t do it all yourself. Have a plumber come in to check for leaky faucets and pipes. That conserves water and helps the water bill stay down. Have a handyman or contractor come in to check around windows and screens. Fewer drafts mean you can also save money but reducing the temperature on your thermostat. Draft-proofing is one of the easiest ways to save on your energy bill. Filling in cracks and crevices and repairing tears will not only keep drafts out but will also help keep pests out. Speaking of pests, make sure the pest control company you’re using at your home is using green products and as many Integrated Pest Management (IPM) strategies as possible. IPM has been used in commercial settings for years and more and more of those tactics are being employed in homes. It’s the practice of relying more on education, traps, and exclusion techniques rather than relying on products and sprays.
There are plenty more ways to go green at home. These are just the tip of the iceberg! But starting small can be a much more digestible way to get going. Turn your happy home into a happier, green home by taking just one tip and doing it today. You may be surprised by how easy it is.