10 Ideas for Bringing Earth Day Home

Bring Earth Day inside this year. Let helping the earth’s great resources—land, water and air—motivate you to complete a few spring cleaning chores.

There are plenty of tasks that benefit both the earth AND your home.

Freshen the Air
1.    Purchase new entrance mats.  After months of collecting road salt, mud and garden fertilizers, replacing old doormats prevents trapped toxins from spreading.
2.    Reverse the blades on your ceiling fans to push the fresh spring air back down into the room. Fans efficiently mimic nature’s cooling.
3.    Close the fireplace flue and clean up the ashes. Stop breathing in the charcoal remnants of those cozy winter fires.
4.    Commit to a toxin-free lawn and pest control plan, whether you apply it yourself or not. Local companies like Greenwise Organic Lawn Care offer a wide menu of products.

Conserve Natural Resources
5.    Dial down the thermostat. With warmer weather, most of us forget that it’s even on, and don’t notice it kicking on unnecessarily at un-needed times.
6.    Set a timer on your shower. Reducing the length of a daily shower by just a single minute over a year saves enough water for 22 loads of laundry! Better yet, set one in your teenager’s shower.
7.    Check outdoor faucets and hose bibs for leaks. Ignoring problems literally lets water and money drip away all summer.  Most fixes are simple or let a handyman service like Get Dwell help.

Enjoy Simpler, Greener Days
8.    Plant your favorite herb. If planting a full tree isn’t in your schedule, think potted herb. In just minutes, you can plant something “earthy” that will pay you dividends all summer long.
9.    Skip a day of watering. Studies show 80% of us overwater our lawns and gardens, so you’ll benefit your grass and conserve a precious resource.
10.    Fill one bag with unused toys, equipment and tools from the garage and donate it. Don’t wait until you can clean the entire space. Places like the Winnetka Thrift shop will help keep it out of the landfills.

Once the chores are done, relax and enjoy the benefits of a home and earth that are both healthier and greener. For more inspiration, thumb through Dreaming Green: Eco-Fabulous Homes Designed to Inspire, by Lisa Sharkey.