Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Green Your Spring

Since we were in San Diego for my cousin's wedding this weekend, I haven't had a chance to venture back into the bathroom to work on the next steps of the remodel. We're still sleeping off the festivities and catching up at work. When I get home I've just been collapsing on the couch! And the laundry? Still in a crumpled pile on the guest bed :)

Since my mind's consumed with work, I thought I'd share some information I gathered at work that will help your house stay a little more organized and healthy. I work as a sustainability specialist and often compile "Green Tips" for our employees. From tips for spring cleaning to local sources of fresh veges, these ideas will motivate you to do a little spring cleaning, healthy eating, and will help you reduce the environmental footprint of your home (now my work voice is coming out - aaah!).

Pic from http://thevividedge.com/
 To tackle spring cleaning in an environmentally friendly way, check out these 10 tips for Green Spring Cleaning from the Sierra Trading Post. These are especially useful if you're worried about chemicals around young kids. Their tips include using vinegar (nature's cleaning miracle) as a cleaning agent and sprinkling baking soda on the carpet before you vacuum to eliminate any odors. And really, I'll take tips from anyone who will say that buying fresh flowers for our house is the "green" way of freshening the air :)

Pic from the Garland Store

If you're not interested in making your own cleaning products (or just too lazy/busy/tired like me), I recommend Earth Friendly Products.
Pic from Earth Friendly Products

Their lemongrass handsoap is my favorite, and they make all kinds of cleaning products for every room of your home. I was We were lucky enough to get a gift certificate as a wedding present to try some of these great products. The hand soap lathers up nicely, smells great, and I know I'm not sending a bad chemical down the drain.

Another product that's made spring cleaning more bearable is our new Bionaire steam mop. Usually, I hate mopping. Its the chore my husband and I both groan about so we probably don't do it as much as we should.

Recently our floors have been cleaner because the steam mop is so easy to use. It was another wedding gift (really gotta love the wedding gifts!) that I've used a lot. I even used it to clean our kitchen cupboards (picture me very awkwardly holding a full-sized mop sideways in a smallll kitchen). A great perk of the steam mop compared to the traditional mop and bucket (or Swiffer) is that you don't need any chemicals. This is environmentally friendly and will save you money in the long run since you won't have to buy any cleaners.

Pic from Local Harvest
When you're finished cleaning, you can focus on the most important part of your day - eating :)  My new favorite way to get fresh, local fruits and vegetables is to subscribe to a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) program. Local Harvest has a directory of CSA programs around the country.

Most CSA programs have convenient pick up locations where you go once a week to get a box of fresh produce. The one we signed up for last year was 20 weeks long. I was skeptical at first. What kinds of food would we get? Would we eat it all? Would I know what to do with it?

Pic from www.crossfitinvictus.com

I was very pleasantly surprised. In addition to the vegetables I expected, we got tons of berries and fruit. Once we even got a homemade pie! There were a few staples in the box (lettuce every week), but mostly we got anything that was in season. The farm sent weekly emails with recipes and coupons for other things sold at the farm. It was so fun - the fruit and veges were so fresh and I was forced to got to experiment in the kitchen with produce I've never used before. Who knew rhubarb was so good?

Our one complaint is that the food didn't last a super long time. I think part of this was because of the very mild (read: rainy) summer Portland had last year, and the fact that there was just so much darn food. Most boxes are packed full of so much food Matt and I would never eat it all. We shared a box with my brother- and sister-in-law. I highly recommend this idea if there are only two of you. It also cuts the cost in half!

These are just a few of the green tips for your home. Do you have any tips to green your spring?

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  1. I am so glad that you joined a CSA! And freshening the air with real flowers is a cool idea!

    Tammy :)


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