The following post is from Emily of Live Renewed:
Whether you’re just beginning to get on board with going green with your family and around your home or you’ve been on the green journey for a while, all of the changes to make, ideas and products to research, and amount of information can just be overwhelming.
Sometimes you just want to do something quick and easy that doesn’t require a lot of thought, a big change in your lifestyle, or a lot of work on your part, but that will still make a positive impact on your family’s health, and on the world.
I’m normally not a big advocate of buying “green” things in order to live a more eco-friendly lifestyle. I like to save money, not spend it, while I’m also saving the planet.
But, sometimes you do have to spend a little money on, or make an investment in, products that will have a green impact on your home, and may also save you some money in the long run.
Here are five items that can help you go a little greener in your home this week:
1. Switch to CFLs.
Most of us have probably made the swap to compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) in at least some of the light fixtures around our house. CFLs use less energy than traditional incandescent bulbs and last longer, saving you money in the long run, even though they are a little more expensive up front.
Although there still seems to be some questions surrounding the use of compact fleurescent lightbulbs (CFLs), right now they are probably the best and most accessible choice for greening the lighting in your home. So check your light fixtures to see if you have any that you still haven’t switched over, and pick up a few CFLs to make this easy change.
2. Get some houseplants.
Growing houseplants can have a big impact on the quality of the air inside your home. The air in our homes is polluted everyday by toxins and chemicals that are released from our furniture, paint, carpet, and from the household cleaners, candles, and air fresheners we use, if we aren’t using safe and non-toxic products. Plants help to filter the air by absorbing the carbon dioxide along with these toxins and chemicals, and by releasing clean oxygen back into the air.
Don’t worry if you don’t think you have a green thumb, many houseplants are easy to care for and relatively hard to kill, just make sure you water them on a regular basis. Bring home a few houseplants this week and start enjoying the benefits of cleaner air inside your home.
3. Use a doormat.
One of the biggest ways that environmental toxins like pesticides, fertilizers, lead, oil and gasoline get into our homes in on our shoes. Wearing your shoes in the house spreads these toxins all across your floor for your family to come into contact with all day long, especially little ones who spend a lot of their time playing, lying, even eating on the floor.
The best way to protect your family from these toxic chemicals entering into your home is to take off your shoes at the door. And the next best thing to do is to have a door mat where all shoes get wiped off before they get taken off. If you don’t have a door mat by your entry doors, or the one you have is past it’s prime, take the time to invest in one this week. Then teach your family to wipe their feet off and keep all those nasty chemicals and toxins out of your home!
4. Get a water filter pitcher.
Drinking lots of water is important for staying healthy and hydrated, especially during these hot summer months. And while tap water is cheap and readily available for most of us, it doesn’t flow through our faucets without it’s own issues.
Regularly using a water filter pitcher can help to improve the quality of the water that you and your family are drinking. There are other (bigger and more expensive) options for filtering your water more thoroughly that you may have read, or heard, about, but they are not always practical or accessible to everyone because of their cost and size. Some water filtering is better than none though, so if you’re currently not using a water filter pitcher at home that is an easy change that you can make this week!
*And a little bonus change: If you drink bottled water at home instead of tap water, pick up a reusable stainless steel bottle while you’re at it and fill it up with your newly filtered water. This small change has a huge impact on the plant, and will help to keep more money in your wallet too.
5. Install a power strip.
You know the blinking red light on your flat-screen TV, or the buttons that light up on your stereo, or DVD player, even when it’s not turned on, or how about your computer that stays plugged in all day, even if you’re not using it? All of these things are called energy vampires, or phantom power users, because they pull electricity from the outlets all the time, even when they’re not in use.
Luckily, there is a quick and easy remedy for these vampires in your home: a basic power strip. Plugging your electronics, appliances, and cell phone chargers into a power strip, and then turning that power strip off overnight, or anytime those items are not in use, will decrease the amount of electricity your household uses, and pays for, in the days, months and years to come. If you don’t have any extra power strips lying around, be sure to grab a couple the next time you’re at the store, and start saving that energy and money.
I admit, I need to install some power strips around my house and get my electronics plugged in to them, and we are in need of a new mat at our front door (although I still need to convince hubs that we need a shoes off policy in our house – that’s another matter!) But those are changes that we can, and should, easily make with just a quick trip to the store.
Which one, or more, of these items could you purchase this week to make a quick and easy green change in your home?
|Emily McClements is passionate about caring for God’s creation while saving money at the same time. She is a blessed wife and mama to two young children, and blogs about her family’s journey toward natural and simple living at Live Renewed.|