Heavy spring rains have left us feeling damp and dreary—but rest assured, warmer days are on the way, with promises of open windows and fresh-air adventures.
Now’s the time to think about ways you can go green this spring, both indoors and out. We’ve got 10 great suggestions:
Think green indoors. Houseplants make for great design and help keep the air healthy. Spider plants and English ivy make NASA’s list of great air-filtering friends. Aloe plants also make a great addition to the kitchen—not only do the leaves make that great gel for first aid, but according to a recent Huffington Post story, brown spots will appear if there are too many harmful chemicals in the air
Green clean. Skip the bottles of floor and surface cleaners, and grab a big jug of vinegar and a spray bottle. Vinegartips.com has a bunch of great “recipes” for cleaning everything from the garbage disposal to the calcium deposits off faucets. And you’re cutting back on harmful chemicals—winning!
Pedal power. There’s nothing bad about biking—it’s great exercise, family-friendly and better for the environment. Consider pulling out the two-wheeler (and a helmet!) for Bike to School Day Wednesday, May 8.
Blow some hot air. Skip the lighter fluid and use super-heated air to light your charcoal this spring. The Looftlighter eliminates the need for toxic accelerants, reduces your carbon footprint and promises tastier food. Find them local at the Backyard Barbecue, 1147 Greenleaf Ave., Wilmette, 847-251-2272.
Recycle in style. We love these great outdoor Daisy Violet rugs, made from recycled plastic bottles, milk jugs and packaging material. Better yet? The manufacturers promise no mildew. This just may come indoors and into the bathroom.
Get some (dryer) balls. Cut back on chemicals and the cost of laundry when you use dryer balls, like these from Nellie’s, instead of fabric softeners. You should be able to find these locally at retailers including Target and Crate and Barrel.
Call the handyman. There are a few home maintenance issues to consider in the spring. Get an appointment today for an air conditioner checkup and give your insulation the once-over. An efficient HVAC system and fewer air leaks will help keep your energy use at a minimum.
Go solar. Outdoor lighting doesn’t have to include a plug. This year’s designs ensure a festive atmosphere, especially if you have any open houses coming up. You can find a variety of options at local garden and home centers. We like these Jetson String Lights from bambeco.com.
Kick BPA to the curb. We know—easier said than done. The key here is to buy non-packaged or glass-packaged foods, and work to eliminate plastic from your home where you can. Farmer’s markets are ramping up, so start by skipping canned veggies—especially tomatoes, whose acidity causes the BPA in cans to leach more easily. Replace old water bottles, and think about replacing other plastic items like old shower curtains.
Smell the roses. Skip the store-bought air fresheners and throw open your windows for a little fresh air. You can also eliminate odors by simmering a little vinegar on the stovetop, or even citrus zest with cinnamon.
Lead photo: A plant by Bigstock