6 Simple Ways to Greenify Your Home

By on February 25, 2013

6 Simple Ways to Greenify Your Home

"We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children." - Ancient Native American proverb

Back in our grandparents' day, being wasteful was looked down upon. People back then used reusable glass milk containers, made their own cleaning agents with baking soda and vinegar, and paid special attention to their energy consumption. They were all about reducing their carbon footprints, using natural products, and keeping the water supply clean, and they didn't mind the extra work they had to put forth. Back then, convenience meant nothing.

Unfortunately, we seem to have lost sight of that philosophy. Today, we don't realize who the earth is really for - our future generations. We're wrecking havoc on Mother Nature by using convenient (but harmful) items like Styrofoam, paper towels, and plastic bags and wasting gas, electricity, and water like never before. We entered the 21st century with the idea that convenience trumps all.

However, there are still some among us who go to great lengths to preserve the environment on a daily basis, and there are many of us who try by recycling, buying organic food, and using compact fluorescent light bulbs.

It all starts at home. If you want to reduce your carbon footprint, start by greenifying your home. Once you have that down pat, you'll start being environmentally conscious everywhere you go before you know it! Here are 6 super easy things you can do to greenify your home.

Eat more cold food.

Microwaves, toaster ovens, crockpots, stoves, and ovens take up a lot of energy. An electric oven at 350 degrees uses up 2 kilowatts an hour. That's enough to power your entire home after a few hours! A gas oven running at 350 degrees for an hour uses up enough gas to take your 20 MPG car for a 2-mile spin. Instead of eating up energy to make a hot meal, why don't you go for something cold? Opt for a salad instead of a hot appetizer. Skip the Panini and have a cold cut sandwich. Make a root bear float instead of baking cookies. The options are endless!

Switch to cloth napkins.

Did you know that the average full-grown tree produces 28,750 paper napkins? That's a little bit more than 143 large packs of paper napkins! With about 115 million households in America, we could save one million trees if each home replaced only one pack of paper napkins with those made of recycled paper. However, imagine how many trees we would save if we stopped buying paper napkins altogether! There are many cloth napkins out there that will last forever. Also, you'll get to spice up your kitchen and adorn your dining table with a bunch of cute and colorful little pieces of cloth!

Clean with old rags.

Paper towels aren't much better than paper napkins. Last year, the Natural Resources Defense Council discovered that if every household in the United States used only one less roll of paper towels, 544,000 trees would be saved from a doomed fate. The average American family uses two rolls of paper towels per week, so if everyone gave up paper towels for a month, we would save a whooping 4.3 million trees! While some people cannot kiss paper towels goodbye, you certainly can! Dry your hands with a kitchen towel. Use old rags to clean up spilled messes. Wipe the windows and mirrors with an old t-shirt. If you do those things over the course of a lifetime, you'll certainly save thousands of trees… single-handedly!

Make an effort to conserve water.

"Someday," my professor in college once said, "there will be a war on water." Some of us thought he was crazy, but as each day passes, his theory is slowly coming true. Some parts of the United States (as well as the rest of the world) have begun to run low on water. Even big cities like Atlanta, Las Vegas, and Los Angeles are dealing with this crisis right now. Want to help slow down the problem? Here are a few things you can do:

Shower smart. Many families in Mexico and other droughted areas like California have adopted a very efficient method of showering that allows for significant conservation of water. What they do is turn the water on, wet their hair and bodies, turn the water off, wash themselves with soap and shampoo, and then turn the water back on to rinse themselves off.

Keep the water off while brushing your teeth. Only turn the water on to pre-rinse and rinse off your toothbrush.

Use the dishwasher wisely. You don't have to run the entire dishwasher each time! Be sure to use options like "bottom rack only" whenever necessary.

Keep the water low when washing the dishes by hand. There's no sense in running the faucet full-blast. Instead, reduce the water stream and allow it to trickle over your dishes while rinsing them off. It takes a bit of time and patience, but you won't believe how much water you'll save by doing this!

Install a two-stage flusher on your toilets. A $20 conversion kit from Home Depot can save you so much water! A two-stage flusher allows you the option to flush using way less water than usual when you can (more specifically, only when you urinate). If there's dirtier business involved, you can flush using the full amount of water necessary to get it all down the toilet.

Use eco-friendly cleaning products.

… Or make your own! A lot of people don't realize how harmful conventional cleaning products are. A study conducted by the Environmental Working Group revealed that 53% of cleaning products contained lung-harming ingredients, as well as carcinogens like chloroform and formaldehyde. Some of the common cleaners featured in EWG's Hall of Shame include Lysol toilet bowl cleaners, Glade air fresheners, and Scrubbing Bubbles bathroom cleaners. Instead of plaguing your body and the environment with conventional household cleaners, opt for green cleaning products or grab some baking soda and vinegar and make your own!

Buy used furniture.

Producing and shipping new furniture takes up a lot of our natural resources. With lots of new furniture being made every minute, we're seeing more and more furniture stores popping up everywhere… among millions of thrift and consignment stores carrying used furniture that might end up at the landfill someday. If more people bought used furniture, we won't be seeing as many brand-new couches, tables, desks, chairs, and other furniture plaguing the nation. Also, with used furniture, you'll have a bit of fun fixing them up and adding your own personal touch to each one!

Is there anything else you do to greenfiy your own home? If so, please let us know in the comments!

Chiara Fucarino
Chiara Fucarino
Contributing Writer at ExcelLiving.com
A proud resident of the pristine High Rockies, Chiara Fucarino happily spends her days writing in front of a breathtaking view of the mountains. When she's not crafting words, Chiara cooks innovative meals, embarks on scenic hikes, travels to exciting new places, hangs out with domesticated animals, and takes her motorcycle out for a spin.

You might also like this

  • http://www.oxifresh.com/ Anna Dawson

    My idea to greenify my home is adding recycling to my spring cleaning routine, Using Eco friendly products, getting my carpets clean with greenest cleaner Oxifresh and many more.

  • http://www.competitivecommercialcarpet.com/indoor-outdoor-carpet/ Banquet Carpet

    Hi this one is great and is really a good post...thanks a lot