We all want to be better patrons to our planet, and Earth Day is a great reminder to be more conscious in our day-to-day activities. Since it falls in the midst of spring cleaning, the event represents a great time to green up our storage, organization and decorating practices. If you'd like to reduce your impact on the environment as you spruce your space for the season, try any of these ecofriendly strategies.
Open up your pantry door and you'll likely find a ton of plastic containers. While convenient for storing dry goods, the process of making plastic is extremely harmful to the environment. Consider switching to glass and reusing jam and pasta jars to store rice, nuts, popcorn and the like. Not only is this a cost-effective solution, it's also an aesthetic one; your pantry will never look prettier!
Did you hear? Tin cans are the new mason jars when it comes to home decor trends. Instead of tossing that empty can of whole tomatoes or green beans into the recycling bin, repurpose it into a vase with a little spray paint. Check out this article from Apartment Therapy for recommendations on low-VOC and eco-friendly paint that will help keep things green.
If only spring cleaning was truly limited to a single season! The process of keeping things neat and tidy is surprisingly wasteful. Americans use 13 billion pounds of paper towels every year, which requires 60 million gallons of water and over 50,000 trees to produce. Reduce your paper towel usage by substituting rags and microfiber towels when cleaning up. Simply toss these rags in the laundry and reuse!
4. Pest Control
Nothing stops you in your tracks faster than rodent droppings in cupboards or spiders in window corners. Instead of loading up on harsh chemicals and pesticides, spray baseboards and window sills with a water-peppermint oil mix to deter spiders and rodents naturally. Check out this video from AOL DailyFinance for more information on this combination, and drop harmful chemicals for good.
Transition your storage habits from paper to digital by scanning important documents and saving them "in the cloud" using free services like Dropbox. If you must print, look for ink cartridges through sites like InkjetWilly.com, where you can find compatible and remanufactured brands that work with your printer. By using remanufactured toner, Americans can save 38,000 tons of plastic and metal from being dumped in landfills.
Kendal Perez is a frugal blogger who helps fellow shopaholics find hassle-free ways to save money. As the Marketing Manager for Kinoli Inc., site manager for a family of money-saving websites, Kendal has the resources to be an extreme couponer but prefers a less complicated approach to staying in-budget. Kendal has been quoted in such media outlets as Woman's Day, People StyleWatch, FOX, TIME Business & Money and Kiplinger's Personal Finance. For savings tips and more information, visit HassleFreeSavings.com or follow Kendal on Twitter.