There are many simple ways to make your home more eco-friendly, and they often don’t cost a lot of money or take too much of your time. So if you’ve got a weekend to spare, consider some (or all) of these weekend projects to make your home more eco-friendly for good.
How to Make Your Home More Eco-Friendly
Dim and Replace
Changing from conventional bulbs to more eco-friendly lighting will help the environment and may just lower your electrical bills, too. Light up your home with compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs. This weekend, you can make your home more eco-friendly by taking inventory of the number and sizes of the bulbs in your home so you can replace them accordingly.
While you’re at it, consider installing dimmer switches in your home, especially in the darker rooms. Keeping the lights dim uses less energy and avoids waste.
Get out there and plant something! Not only do trees breathe in carbon dioxide, they also suck up some of the harmful gases polluting the air. Yet they only breathe out oxygen, which purifies the air. And the planet sure could use some more clean air right now. Trees can also provide us with fruits, be shade for the hot summer sun, and be a home for birds.
Even if you live in the city, you can still plant a tree! Seriously. A donation to the Arbor Day Foundation means more trees planted. Or just shop at TomatoInk.com. We plants trees through our OneTreePlanted partnership.
Of course, plants and flowers are also eco-friendly, as they produce oxygen too. They can also produce herbs and fruits. Just don’t put any chemical fertilizers or weed killers on them. (You can always use organic products or make your own with essential oils instead.) We’re also going through a massive decline in the bee population due to pesticides and herbicides. This is disturbing since bees pollinate about 80% of flowering plants. Keeping your plants and flowers free of those toxins won’t contribute to the problem. While nobody (well, almost nobody) wants those pesky critters around, our lives actually depend on their existence.
Collect the Rain
Rainwater is nature’s most underutilized and wasted resource. More and more, people are starting to store rainwater, setting up systems on their property to collect it. That rainwater can be used both inside the home as well as to water lawns and gardens. More rainwater collected and used means less from faucets and hoses. Not sure how to do it? There are a ton of different ideas on Pinterest, or you can follow this tutorial for making a rain barrel from HGTV.
With the overwhelming amount of products on the market, we’re quick to replace items instead of repairing them. Yet that mentality is making landfills grow like weeds. Instead, fix items that break, saving you money on a new one and avoiding unnecessary waste. That goes for everything from appliances to leaky faucets — and even clothing or shoes.
Clean Out Your Closets
On the other hand, if there are items you definitely won’t be using anymore, decide what’s best to do with them. Cleaning out your closets and drawers allows you to see what you do have more clearly, which makes for a more organized and efficient home. You can actually make your own home more eco-friendly by donating items to others, and by holding on to any items that you can repurpose. Keep newspapers, magazines, or kids artwork to make wrapping paper. Use fabric to make cloth napkins or rags for cleaning. There are so many creative ways to repurpose your items!
Build a Clothesline
With two trees and a rope, you can make your home more eco-friendly. The clothes dryer is a massive energy suck. An old-fashioned clothesline can be made yourself or purchased as a kit. It will reduce your energy use and save you money too!
Reduce Water Heating Time
What if you could turn on the faucet and get hot water instantly, instead of wasting water and time waiting for it to warm up? Wouldn’t that be lovely? Over time it would save a ton of energy and massively reduce water waste. Well, we can’t ensure instant hot water, but we can certainly save time, money, energy, and waste with a few simple steps.
The first things you should consider are insulating your pipes and putting a blanket over the water heater. Then you can add recirculating pumps. Typically installed under the sink, a recirculating pump quickly sends cold and tepid water back to the water heater before it leaves the tap, rather than flowing out and being wasted. Once the water is hot and ready for use, the pump shuts itself off. Not too shabby, right?
Build to Grow
If you’re feeling ambitious this weekend, build a greenhouse! Yes, you can do this in one weekend, and you can use some materials that you already have at home. This fantastic blog post has over 40 DIY greenhouse ideas to choose from, so you can grow fruits, vegetables, and herbs all year round.
Become a Label Reader
If you don’t have much time this weekend, you can still work at making your home more eco-friendly. Start by looking at the labels on your items. Go from room to room to make things easier, and make a list of what you need to replace. You’ll be amazed at what you might find, such as triclosan, parabens, phthalates, pesticides, and so much more. Of course, it’s always best to look for items that are certified organic and not to be fooled by imposters. Focus on getting rid of products made with the harmful toxins and chemicals that can harm you, your family, your pets, and the environment. If you aren’t sure where to begin, check out the Environmental Working Group’s wealth of resources.
How will you make your home more eco-friendly this weekend? Let us know in the comments below.
Jessica Cohen is a health coach, a greener living enthusiast, and an advocate of social good. On her website, EatSleepBe.com, she provides tips for being kinder to yourself, to others, and to the planet. Additionally, Jessica enjoys consulting with like-minded companies to create site concepts, develop editorial and social media calendars, ghost write, publish press releases, and run successful outreach campaigns. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram at EatSleepBe.