With every report of extreme weather, melting ice caps, and greenhouse gas emissions, it’s easy to experience a certain deflation of mind. Part of that lies in knowing that much of this is influenced by big corporations, and not by our neighbors or ourselves, which makes us think we have little control over it. As individuals and homeowners, we cannot completely limit the effects of global warming, but according to Green Match, important actions are available to us to upgrade our home’s systems and make improvements that reflect energy efficiency and environmentally friendly practices such as installing solar panels and energy saving devices.
In addition, our daily habits have a collective and undeniable impact. Consuming less, recycling and keeping items we own in good condition are just a few small behaviors with big consequences when combined with others doing the same. Not only are these choices better for the planet, they are also beneficial to us. Simple Home Simple Life explains that the slow living home design trend uses principles based on sustainable and functional design. The ideas can be adapted to homes already built and include allowing as much light into the interior as possible, tidying up and decorating with meaningful pieces, equipping our kitchens to encourage healthy eating and pursuing sustainable options. As a result, we minimize energy consumption and maximize the feeling of well-being. Below we share 20 home organizing tips that promote an eco-friendly home in addition to eco-friendly habits.
1. Storage in the mudroom or hallway
Place a basket with a lid at the main entrance for reusable shopping bags, donations or returnable bottles. You’ll remember what’s inside when you head out the door, but it’ll be nicely hidden in the meantime. Choose a handwoven dried grass basket instead of plastic for durability and aesthetics.
2. A shoe and boot rack
When entering the house, remove shoes to a tray or tiered rack to prevent dirt and germs from entering. It reduces the need to vacuum and the use of solutions and chemical stain removers. In addition, it reduces scratches caused by pebbles and grit trapped in shoe profiles, making hardwood floors long lasting.
3. Reusable to-go kits
Conveniently store reusable picnic and lunch packs and drink packs for on-the-go storage so that they are easily accessible. This helps eliminate reliance on disposable items such as paper cups, plastic straws and cutlery. In addition, keep laundered cloth bags compressed and ready for a grocery or errand run.
4. A pantry for dry goods
It is environmentally friendly and cheaper to buy dry goods such as beans, grains, pasta and nuts in bulk because there is less packaging. Portion them into upcycled food jars or invest in a storage system. Containers that can be stacked are particularly useful, while glass is a more sustainable option than plastic.
5. Properly stored perishable foods
Being educated on how to properly store perishable items dramatically reduces food waste – a major contributor to the greenhouse gas methane (via the USDA). Find best practices for humidity, temperature, and packaging materials online. Additionally, use a magnetic whiteboard to highlight fresh kid snacks, meal ideas, or soon-to-be-expired foods.
6. Durable wipers
Replace or reduce paper towels with cleaning cloths. Hang several above the kitchen worktop or fold them neatly in a drawer; collect them in an attractive basket for washing. For example, think of color-coded towels, green stripes for drying washed fruits and vegetables, blue for cleaning counters and table tops, and red for bacteria-laden work.
7. Frozen food over fast food
Profiting from local and seasonal products is good for our wallet, health and the planet. But with harvests that coincide and our busy lives, it can be difficult to take advantage of the available abundance. To that end, a stocked freezer offers preservation, storage and an alternative to energy-guzzling fast food.
8. In-house recycling center
A waste and recycling station simplifies the sorting of kitchen and household waste. Even if your municipality offers single-stream recycling, which eliminates the need for separating materials, you may want to isolate newspapers and cardboard for craft projects, as well as food scraps to compost, away from the recyclable materials for return.
9. Low-waste home office
It’s easier than ever to be low-waste and energy-efficient in your home office. Digital applications reduce paper consumption, while the printed material can be recycled later. In addition, you can quickly switch off electronics completely with a power strip and put the computer in sleep mode when it is not needed. Finally, replace traditional incandescent bulbs with LED bulbs.
10. Schedule maintenance
Organize manuals and previous maintenance history so you can properly schedule maintenance on your home throughout the year. This allows budgeting of expenses and timely appointments. In addition, preventive and routine services are generally less expensive than repairing or replacing home systems and major appliances. Use a shared calendar app and invite your roommates.
11. Garment bags
Fast fashion makes an important contribution to greenhouse gases and pollution, notes the Climate Council. Clothing is seen as disposable and is bought in large quantities. Instead, buy less, choose high-quality items, and take good care of them. Fabric garment bags can minimize fading and keep clothes dust-free, resulting in fewer trips to the dry cleaners and longer-lasting pieces.
12. Wooden clothes hangers
Wooden hangers are a win-win. They provide substantial support for garments, give the closet a sleek boutique aesthetic, and reduce the use of plastic if chosen over plastic hangers. For maximum environmental awareness, buy wooden coat hangers certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), which ensures that they are manufactured in accordance with the principles of sustainability and responsible forest management.
13. A place for those who are not yet dirty
We all have clothes that we wear more than once before washing. They are not dirty, but we prefer not to put them in the commode with clean clothes. A special place for these pieces ensures that they can be worn again rather than thrown into the wash prematurely. This helps save water, energy and the integrity of fabrics.
Garments are usually only worn seven times before being thrown away, the Wall Street Journal reports. By donating clothing, it can be worn permanently and the production and consumption of new pieces is prevented. In the closet, the practice provides more storage space and easier organization. Keep a pretty basket to remind you to collect items you’re ready to pass on.
15. Green cleaning
Using green cleaning products and body products can help improve the air quality in your home and reduce personal exposure to toxic chemicals. Shop for low-ingredient items formulated with the environment and well-being in mind. You can also make your own using natural materials, such as castile soap, vinegar, baking soda, and essential oils for fragrance.
16. Extra towel hooks
Install extra hooks in the bathroom so that towels can dry properly after use. They stay smelling cleaner and fresher for longer, allowing more time between washes; The Cleaning Institute recommends three to five applications. If all of your towels are similar, you may want to assign a particular hook for each family member.
17. A laundry sorter
Many fabrics can be washed in cold water, especially delicate fabrics and colors, but whites should be washed warm for the brightest clean, advises Martinizing Dry Cleaning. It takes energy to heat up the water in the washing machine; with a sorting basket you are more likely to wait until you are worth a full load.
18. A laundry key
Following the manufacturer’s washing instructions will make clothes last longer, but it’s not always clear what the symbols mean. A guide displayed in the laundry room can help decipher it. When in doubt, select the cold water setting, which is gentler yet effective on most fabrics with today’s detergents and washing machines.
19. An air drying rack
If you choose to air dry the laundry instead of machine drying, you will use less energy and help reduce your carbon footprint. It’s also better for garments, as it reduces shrinking, fading and stress on fabrics from high temperatures. Indoor racks make it possible when the weather isn’t cooperating, and they come in a variety of freestanding and wall-mounted space-saving models.
20. A garage organizing station
Grab some space in the garage for a recycling station to maintain a tidy interior. Shelving allows the best use of space; if it is convenient, easy on the eyes and organized, it will be more efficient and likely to be used. Think of bins for textile donations, returned goods and recyclable glass, metal, plastic and paper.