Greta

I've been trying to actively avoid any purchases with excessive packaging. Or plastic as part of the packaging / actual product.

It's been difficult, but rewarding.

Recycling is only one aspect of a broader movement to change people's behaviour towards consumption. It's the third, and least important in terms of its ecological impact, instruction in "Reduce, Reuse, Recycle".

It should be viewed as an essential phase of the process to mitigate against the consumption which we have not yet found a sustainable way to remove from our eco-system.

Some ways I have tried are remarkably easy.

Thrift stores are a good option for finding everyday items and as long as you have the patience to sift through the random items that you find you will be fine.

I've asked for a ceramic mugs at coffee shops. The server often looks at me like I have two heads when I request it. Lo and behold, they're usually hiding behind the counter. I sit down for 15 minutes and mindfully enjoy the beverage I just purchased, instead of mindlessly chugging it from a take out cup while I'm driving.

The whole thing has been a chance to change, and it wasn't always easy, but it is fun and it has been rewarding.

The amount of waste that could be recycled but isn't in corporate world is staggering to say the least.

Greta

The problem with plastic is that is very cheap to make, recycling it usually costs more hence deposit/collection fees. Plastic is only one commodity though you can get from an electronic device, look at metals and even cardboard the profit margin is greater.

For example does it make sense to I recycle appliances, if it has refrigerant in it , you as the client will be charged to remove it. Many of the service companies that remove the refrigerant will store it, and then sell the refrigerant and all the clean metals seperately.

If it is a computer there are a lot of aspects to recycling. A lot of people ask the question if they will just be refurbished. And they are, all the time.

The first way for these companies to make money is "reuse", if a computer or laptop comes in, they attempt to repair it, and resell it as a refurbished item. Which is also the most sensible when it comes to recycling. It is efficient, fast, and makes the least amount of waste. Moving forward after this point, if the item cannot be repaired they start breaking a computer down to its raw commodities (plastic, metal, silver, gold, and etc) and they work in such a way it's like the stock market, buy low sell high.

Everything is a commodity, and one man's garbage is another man's gold.

Greta

I like to do preventative cleaning - each evening I spend 15-20mins and go through my house and put things back in their correct place, put clean dishes away, straighten magazines/pillows/whatever. Dishes get done daily, counters get washed with dawn dish soap after each meal, kitchen floor swept (usually) daily. Beds get made daily.

This keeps my place from looking cluttered and messy and saves time when I do my weekly clean:

  • Clean Sinks
  • Bathroom Tiles
  • Wash Floors
  • Dish And Vacuum
  • Wash Sheets
  • Vacuum Couch And Chairs

I use whatever products I can get on sale, although I know a lot of people like to make their own. I love cleaning and have a very neat home so I don't mind spending money. I usually use microfibre clothes which I saw wash and reuse but sometimes use jcloths and paper towels too. I also use a vacuum as well as a little DustBuster type thing in case I spill something small and don't want to dig out the full size one.

Be proactive, not reactive with your cleaning.

Do it frequently enough that it's never a big task, and don't be afraid to experiment with how you organize things to get the most out of the space you have.

Try to do as much laundry during the week and put it away ASAP so it doesn't add up.

Manage the incoming flow of paperwork/gifts/goodie bags etc daily (I have two young kids and a dog). I alternate on the weekends: one weekend I wash floors (vinegar, dawn dish soap and a mop and bucket, the floors get dried with a dry clean towel immediately after washing.

This prevents the water being on the wood too long, further facilitates in cleaning, and maybe polishes them a little). I also vacuum upstairs. Baseboard dusting and/or washing gets included as needed. Same with wall washing except I would do this prior to washing floors and use that water and change it if necessary.

We have white baseboards and I hate when they are dusty.

On the next weekend, I clean bathrooms and wash bedding although the bathrooms get maintained as needed throughout the week with wipes/paper towels. Bedroom/living room, blonds, door frames etc dusting gets done as needed, I use the swiffer generic brands of the hand held duster and the floor broom thing. When I sweep my floors, I will use either the broom or swiffer thing depending on which I want to use. If I don't have a hand held duster, I will use anything such as a sock.

I don't use Dusting products as I don't like the films they leave. If I need to wash furniture, I would apply same methods as washing floors and walls (dawn dish soap, water, vinegar, dish rag). Windows get washed typically two times a year and as needed. My preference of cleaning products is obviously dawn dish soap, vinegar, any brand toilet bowel cleaner (much have bleach), and a clorox bleach spray bottle.

I like to wipe down surfaces with fresh wet rag/paper towel that received the bleach as I don't like my kids to come into direct contact with harsh chemicals.

When it comes to chemicals and supplies, go with the basics and expand based on your needs. A bottle of windex, a bottle of bleach mixed with water, barkeeper's friend for extra-greasy kitchen messes, some baking soda for removing odors from carpets, and vinegar for sink stank.

When it comes to keeping things smelling fresh, I typically put on a simmer pot with mulling spice. If you need a heavy-hitting odor killer, get the stuff that's made to cover pet smells.

Make sure you have decent drain covers in your kitchen and bathroom. This is less a cleaning tip and more a "only meet plumbers when they're not working" tip. The less junk down your drains, the better. Most drain cleaners damage your pipes, and they're less effective than prevention.

Greta

We all know the baking soda tips and vinegar method of removing oder from carpets and other areas, but there are a lot of other techniques that can be used to rid rooms of smells.

Smells come in a lot of different packages and there are some common ways to identify them. One of the common ways to rid a room if it has moisture smells is to find the source and apply ample ventilation.

If you have condensation on any windows or surfaces you need to mop that with kitchen roll until dry, seal the roll in a bag as it stinks.

Clean all the things, wash surfaces, clothes or clean up what ever rubbish may be the cause.

Ensure all windows in the house are closed, open the smelly room window wide then open a window on the opposite side of the house half as wide to create a through draft. A fan pointed at the open window can help and so can cranking up the heating if its a smelly bedroom.

  • Make sure the area is well-ventilated and get some of those baking soda packets people put in their fridge to ward against smells. I keep two of them in my car when I go on long road trips. Drove 2000 miles to Seattle and back last year and that worked like a charm.
  • Put some vinegar in a pot on the stove and heat it until it's just hot and steaming. Pour it on a couple of saucers or small bowls in the room. It should completely dissipate the smell instead of masking it.
  • Ozium also works very well. My mom used to use it in her classroom art the end of the day (4th graders, recess, hot area). I used it when I was in college because my roommates smoked, and now currently use it on cat boxes when the cats do a ripe one. It's an air sanatizer unlike what you are probably use to, which is an air freshner which covers up smells. One spray of this and it gets rid of almost everything.
Greta

Supermarkets are great places to get them. Having worked at a market in a small town around here, we couldn't get rid of them fast enough.

It saves the store the trouble of having to bale them and such.

If a general floor clerk doesn't have any, check with produce, meat, deli, bakery, any particular department should have tons and tons of the buggers.

Also check with your local fast food restaurants, most have a pretty standard size box for their frozen fries, they hold about 40lbs so they're pretty sturdy and the standard size helps with stacking. I recommend going in, don't call ahead, when they're not busy and just ask them. Most will be happy to give you a bunch.

I have also heard that you should find your local starbucks, and ask what day they get their order. They will have more than enough boxes to give away.

Though I have never tried the last one, though I just might later this year.

Greta

When my husband gets an idea in his head he will stop at nothing to see it through to the end. Edging the sidewalks is one of his peevs and he finally had enough. So what did he do?

He modified our weed eater so it could be used as a trimmer.

Heoften has to struggle to edge the grass along the sidewalk. To help I was looking at edgers, but as we were looking at them it occurred to him that all he really needed was a wheel attached to our trimmer.

For the project he used a three-quarter inch PVC pipe, with threaded connectors. It was ideal sine he had some left over from another project but even if he had to pick some up I think he only needed about a foot or less of pipe. He still need to go to the hardware store to buy a 5 inch mower wheel, along with some bolts, nylon lock nuts, and some washers.

After a little tweaking for theheight he edged all of our sidewalks with one hand and almost no effort.