DIY tips for your home: get clean & get creative

Photo credit: Maria Finn/

Did you know that stale bread removes fingerprints and spots from wallpaper? Me either!

Green cleaning products can be great (although do your research – not all “green” products are created equal), but they are often expensive. Make your own. It’s cheaper and you know exactly what is in the product you create. Some of my favorite “how to” sites are here and here.

Are you replacing your old light bulbs with energy efficient CFL lights? Don’t toss the oldies quite yet – you can turn them into a terrarium or a chic vase. To find cheap CFLs in Seattle, visit Seattle City Light’s website for a list of retailers, and get your craft on with the bulbs you replace.

Did you know that even if your computer (or other electronics and appliances) is turned off, it is still using energy if it’s plugged in? In fact, some estimates assert that as much as 15% of in-home energy usage is from standby energy use! Leave it to those smart RISD kids to come up with a creative, ingenious solution for all those el ectronics and appliances that are leeching energy and wasting money. I give you the plug that unplugs itself. Awesome.

And in the spirit of the season (if you observe Lent) you can take this time to discover and practice some more sustainable eating habits. I give you The 40 Day Vegan. If you choose to make this commitment, keep in mind the rules you may normally follow when you’re at the grocery store or co-op: do your best to buy local and seasonal. You can find some great recipes here and here, and a comprehensive list of vegetarian/vegan establishments in Seattle here.

What are your tips for making your home and lifestyle more sustainable?


Creating sustainable homes

The Sierra Club has an awesome site called Green Home. You can calculate your CO2 footprint, find a local bamboo flooring retailer, learn about passive solar options to reduce energy costs and much more! It is a great one-stop resource for finding ways to implement sustainable practices in your home.

The New York Times has a video about the project called Home Green Home: Rich Green, Poor Green. It illustrates examples of luxury apartments with a green roof, solar panels built into the facade, all high-efficiency appliances, and a built in water treatment facility – all the way down to ways in which you can green your old home yourself.

What do you think constitutes a “green” home?