As we head into the new year, I hope you take a few minutes to consider ways to get healthy, go green, and simplify your life in the months ahead. I just wanted to give you a ‘food for thought’ post on ways you can change your lifestyle without noticing it too much. These greener home improvements will be relatively easy to make and will help you reduce your carbon footprint in the coming year. Green choices are not always cheap so I have tried to include ways you can save money at the same time. Save up your pennies and investigate solar panel installation next year. Don’t forget, we only have one planet and one body…let’s take care of them!
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Greener Home Improvements to Tackle This Year
Green Bathroom Tips
- Install low-flow shower heads and toilets (you will save money on water bills!)
- Buy bamboo or organic cotton towels
- Use cleaners that are eco-friendly (make some from scratch…baking soda and vinegar are cheap and easy cleaners!)
- Look at your beauty products and find earth friendly, biodegradable, natural products to replace them with. You can often find sales and coupons to save money…it just takes a little research!
- Consider large scale greener home improvements when you remodel. Using natural paints, stone tiles, or repurposed items will give a unique look to your new bathroom.
Eco friendly kitchen tips
- Look in your pantry…the more processed the food, the more packaging it involves. Buy real food like fruits, veggies, and meats (organic, local, and/or farm-raised whenever available)
- Start buying in bulk whenever possible
- Cook from scratch. (it saves you money and is better for you and the planet!)
- Skip anything packaged in individual serving sizes (beverages, snacks, etc). Put snacks in reusable containers. (this is cheaper and produces much less waste)
- Learn to compost and recycle EVERYTHING you can to reduce trash output.
- Learn to garden. Put your composted kitchen scraps to good use and grow your own food. Frugal and better for you and the environment!
- Make your own kitchen cleaners (cheap!) or use coupons to buy eco-friendly cleaners.
- Install low flow faucets
- Use only energy star certified kitchen appliances.
Tips for a Green Bedroom
- Check out your wardrobe. Pull out the things you don’t wear and donate to charity.
- Need new clothes? Check out thrift stores or Goodwill. Buying used is cheaper, involves less impact on the environment and you can find some really good deals. I frequently find things with the tags still on them!
- Consider buying clothes from nontraditional materials like bamboo, hemp, or organic cotton. Buy a few key pieces that can be mixed and matched because they are not cheap.
- Consider ditching the bedroom carpet for wood or tile floor. Carpets require cleaning with some nasty chemicals and wood and tile floors can be cleaned with just water and vinegar! ($ much cheaper in the long run!)
- You can also find a number of bedding companies that use bamboo, hemp, and organic cotton.
- Greener home improvements can also include installing a ceiling fan for improved heating and air conditioning as well as eco-friendly paints, second-hand furniture, etc.
Living Room Decor and Improvements
- All those TVs, DVD players, Wii’s, and stereos are sucking up power even when you are not using them! Check out Best Buy for green power strips that actually turn the power OFF when you turn the machine off. They are not cheap but will save you money in the long run!
- Is anyone actually IN the living room? Is the light still ON? This goes for all over the house…turn off lights when not in use. Use energy efficient bulbs whenever possible. You will save money in the long run on electricity bills!
- Planning a living room makeover this year? Look into eco-friendly paints (easily found now at most large hardware stores) and tile or wood floors. Low maintenance flooring means less work for you and fewer chemicals in our water supply!
- Install a programmable thermostat to help control heating costs.
There are tons of other eco-friendly solutions for your house like energy efficient appliances, low water usage washing machines and hanging clothes to dry. Some ideas are expensive (energy efficient windows cost a fortune!) and some are not (a box of baking soda to clean the sink is pretty cheap!) Do what you can and don’t stress over the rest! Baby steps, people! Baby Steps!
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The one thing I want everyone to understand is that it doesn’t have to be all or nothing! Every little step you take to improve yourself and the world around you matters so decide now which steps you want to take this year!
I hope you continue to follow my blog this year and find some money saving tips and great new products to help you go green, get healthy, and simplify your life!
Have any other greener home improvements to share?
Diane has a Bachelor’s degree in Microbiology with a Minor in Health Management and Policy. She spent many years working in cancer research, academics, and biotechnology. Concern over the growing incidence of human disease and the birth of her children led her to begin living a more natural life. She quickly realized that the information she was learning along the way could be beneficial to many others and started blogging as a way to share this knowledge with others. While passionate about health and the environment she can’t quite give up her favorite Cheetos and Diet Coke! Learn more about her HERE.