Green living is often considered a hassle. Today’s fast-paced society is primed for disposability, and our thinking usually goes that the easiest option is the best one.
Why should I bring my own takeaway mug to the coffee shop, when I can just use and toss the paper ones they provide? Can’t I just recycle those plastic shampoo bottles when they’re empty? Why should I invest in handmade clothing, when there are cheaper, trendier options available?
Questions like these are common, and they aren’t always easy to answer. Even eco-warriors may tire of justifying their choices when asked.
Don’t give up yet. These six simple organizing swaps will make running your green home way easier. They’re all courtesy of MakeSpace, a full-service alternative to self-storage units in NYC, DC, Chicago, and Los Angeles.
Implement these, and save yourself some energy for fighting the good fight.
- Bulk buy your cleaning products
The problem: You want to avoid the earth- and health-threatening toxins so rampant in conventional cleaners. But you also want to make sure your home gets as clean as possible.
The solution: Replace any single-use wipes and plastic bottle sprays with reusable cloths and natural cleaners. Vinegar, for example, works just as effectively for common household problems as bleach does, without running the risk of infiltrating your home with waste and toxins.
Plus, if you’re the type of person who tosses an entire bottle when it’s close to empty, you’ll be cutting down your personal waste. Instead of recycling plastic bottles, refill them.
As for organizing the products? Fillaree cleaning products are pretty enough to keep out on display. Leave them on a sink-side cruet, like Megan from Honey We’re Home does, to make dishwashing feel all the more glamorous.
- Bulk buy for the bathroom, too
Store your reusable bottles in a hanging caddy, just as you would with disposable bottles. A caddy is the perfect nook for your shampoo, conditioner, and moisturizing body wash. You can also store your bath salts there, to keep the jar dry between uses.
- Tweak your kitchen to eliminate food waste
The average American family wastes almost half of the food it purchases. To cut down your family’s own “foodprint,” consider these three sustainable alternatives:
- Reusable containers: Leftovers are always better the next day, anyway. No need to purchase new Tupperware – reuse any glass jars you have lying around (even for freezer storage).
To prevent your pantry from turning into an all-too-familiar jumble of containers and lids, you can DIY a pull-out pegboard drawer.
Dish soap in a reusable bottle is also good for you, your loved ones, your dishes, and the planet.
- Compost: Don’t just trash food scraps like eggshells and produce. Direct those compostables to a bin or pail ready for pickup by CompostNow.
Or, want to build your own compost bin? Here’s how.
- Ferment: It’s the ancient way to preserve fruits and veggies, and it’s crazy good for your gut, too. If you overbought radishes or have some extra cabbage in your CSA box, set up a fermentation station in your kitchen. Here are some pointers on how to ferment vegetables.
Oh, and move your fridge and freezer out of direct sunlight. Otherwise, according to HuffPost, both appliances will have to work harder (and consume more energy) to keep cool.
- And tweak your kitchen to produce food, too
Via Julie Blanner
The only thing better than homemade pesto? Homemade pesto that’s been whipped up with … some homegrown basil.
You might need to declutter your counter to make room for the garden. Thinking about those delicious mint juleps and oregano-infused pasta sauces you’ll soon concoct, along with the surprising ways clutter can ruin your life, should be incentive enough.
- Set up a handy, accessible “reuse bin”
Here’s how it works:
“Create a drop-off zone in your home for items you want to reuse, whether by donating, repurposing, or upcycling them. You can toss in clothes, shoes, books, stationary containers, candle jars, mint tins, jewelry boxes, or anything else you think could be given a second life.
Just remember: The reuse bin is supposed to help you stay organized. At least once a month, make a date with yourself to sort through the bin and decide what to do with each item.”
Which brings us to #6 …
- Declutter, upcycle, and free your space
Think twice before sending items that you no longer have the need, or space for, in your home to the landfill.
After decluttering, you could hold a yard sale, or sell stuff online with an app like OfferUp. Or donate each item to the appropriate charity.
Consider upcycling, too. Here are 19 surprisingly creative ways to upcycle items you were about to toss.
It ain’t easy being green, but it doesn’t have to be impossible. With these simple swaps, you’ll relieve some of the pressure for yourself and the planet.