Sometimes we make New Year’s resolutions that are hard to keep, but making a commitment to live a greener lifestyle is easy because there are so many ways to start living a little more eco-friendly. Below is a list of ideas for living green in 2013. Even if you just get into the habit of doing of few of the things suggested below, you’ll be making a positive impact for future generations while protecting our environment.
- Switch to using natural cleaners at home like baking soda, vinegar and lemon juice instead of harsh chemicals. They are better for the environment and your health.
- Turn the thermostat down 5-8 degrees when you are not home and while you’re sleeping during the winter months to save energy and money on your heating bill. In the summertime, do the opposite. Set the thermostat a few degrees higher when you are not home so the air conditioner doesn’t run so much. Also, open the windows when the outdoor temperature is comfortable instead of using the air conditioner.
- Make the most of natural lighting by arranging furniture such as a desk or reading chair near a window and do homework or read by natural light instead of turning on the lamp whenever possible. Open up the blinds during the daylight hours instead of switching on the lights.
- Turn the water off. Whether you are washing your hair or brushing your teeth, turning the shower or faucet off while your scrub and brush will save a precious natural resource – water.
- When doing laundry, only wash a full load of clothes.
- Clean the lint out of the dryer after every load. This makes the dryer more efficient and eliminates a fire hazard.
- Use reusable shopping bags for every shopping trip whether you are headed to the grocery store, shoe store or the mall. This eliminates waste.
- Don’t waste unwanted holiday gifts. Re-gift them or donate to charity.
- Grow your own vegetable garden. You’ll save on your grocery bill, reduce trips to the grocery store and be eating something healthy that you know wasn’t sprayed with harmful pesticides.
- Reduce, reuse, recycle. Set up a recycling station in your home or garage and teach the kids what things can be recycled from aluminum cans and newspapers to glass jars and plastic packaging. Additionally have a yard sale to get rid of any items in your home that you don’t need but are still usable, or donate them to charity.
- Walk or bike to work and other activities whenever possible. Or car pool with friends. This saves you money, while reducing wear and tear on your car and reducing emissions.
- Shop online to reduce fuel emissions.
- Purchase appliances with Energy STAR ratings ensuring the energy efficiency in the kitchen and laundry room.
- Turn off lights and appliances when not in use.
- Connect your kids with nature – appreciation now leads to preservation for future generations. Plan a monthly outing such as a hike at a state park or an afternoon of fishing at a nearby lake.
These are not the only things you can do to live greener in 2013. Maybe our ideas will inspire some of your own.
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This promotion code is not valid with any other promotion codes. It is not valid for blueprint package upgrades. Valid on January 1st, 2013, only.
After the winter holidays have passed you’ll face the enormous task of packing and storing all of your holiday decorations for next year. Below are eight tips that will make the task go more smoothly than before and make it easier to decorate your home next Christmas.
- Christmas tree – The box your artificial tree came in seems like the most logical storage box, but repacking your tree in that box will seem like an impossible task. You’ll have to smash and bend all the branches in order to squeeze the tree back inside it. Also, the cardboard box can deteriorate if subjected to moisture and could also be prone to insect infestation. Instead of using the Christmas tree box, try a Christmas tree bag or a commercially available plastic Christmas tree storage box.
- Christmas lights – Get rid of the tangled mess of light strands you deal with every year. Dispose of any strands of lights that no longer work properly. Then, roll each good strand of lights into a ball and place each ball in a separate plastic bag or empty coffee can. Another option is to wrap each strand of lights around an empty wrapping paper roll or a sturdy piece of cardboard. Then place all of the bags, cans or wrapping paper rolls together in a plastic storage container to prevent moisture damage.
- Decorations that you’ll have to reassemble next year – Before taking down decorations that you had to assemble, take pictures of them the way you set them up so you can remember how to do it next year. Then take everything down in the reverse order of the way you set it all up.
- Christmas candles – Wrap each candle in an old sock, tissue paper or a plastic shopping bag to prevent scratching. Be sure to store away from heat sources such as an attic where heat could melt the candles.
- Holiday wreaths – Most department and home stores sell Christmas wreath storage boxes of various sizes. However, boot boxes often work well for small and medium-sized wreaths. Just remember, whatever you use to store your wreaths must be able to maintain the shape of the wreath until next year.
- Christmas ornaments – Many ornaments come in individual boxes that work well for repacking and storage until next year. Try using other small boxes for homemade ornaments or wrap them in tissue paper and store in a larger box. For small ornaments, use an egg carton.
- Holiday linens – Store each Christmas linen in an individual Zip Lock bag if possible, and then put all of them in a plastic storage container together to prevent moisture damage. Or you might consider dedicating the top shelf of your linen closet to holiday linens, towels, blankets, pillows etc. Place a few dryer sheets in between your items to keep them smelling fresh until next year.
- Label the storage boxes – Tape a detailed list of what is inside each box to the outside of the box so you can quickly determine what is inside when it is time to decorate next year. Clearly number the boxes so you know how many you have (for example, Box 2 of 9). Use the number order to identify which boxes should be unpacked first next winter. Box 1 should be prominently labeled and contain all the things you’ll need at the beginning of the holiday season like your advent calendar and the holiday greeting cards that you’ll be sending to family and friends if you bought them on clearance this year.
With a little planning and effort, you can organize and store your holiday decorations in an efficient manner that will be easy to find and display next year.
Winter is almost here. Now is the time to make yourself aware of winter hazards and the precautions you can take around your home and neighborhood to stay safe this winter. With winter usually come snow and ice hazards. Be very careful during snowy and icy weather. Below are some tips to help you avoid injury due to wintry conditions:
- Stay indoors if possible when snow and ice accumulates.
- If a snow or ice storm strikes during the overnight hours, try to alter your morning schedule. Don’t hurry of to work or school before plowing has been completed.
- Walk slowly and use railings when available during icy weather. If there is no railing, try walking in the snow instead of directly over icy patches on sidewalks, driveways, parking lots and streets.
- If you must go out in the ice and snow where boots with good traction to help you walk safely.
- Be alert for “black ice” on driveways, porches, sidewalks and streets. This is a thin layer of invisible ice that can form on concrete and other flat surfaces. You may think the sidewalk or driveway is clear and then step on black ice and slip. Check for black ice on walking surfaces and pavement if you see or know there was precipitation while experiencing freezing temperatures.
The fall and winter holiday season is quickly approaching. It is a time when homes are filled with neatly decorated trees, twinkling lights, tasty meals and treats, festive decorations and family members and friends. All of us expect this combination to yield happy memories and good times for all, but it also poses a huge risk. For instance, the US Fire Administration reports structure fires increase during the winter holidays and the dollar loss per fire is 34% greater than normal. There are numerous safety tips and informational articles available to help keep your family and home safe throughout the fall and winter holidays. Take some time to review this helpful information, so your Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays are enjoyable and memorable for all.