Isn’t there something about hiking a mountain, seeing a gushing waterfall, or even simply seeing the sun set over an Illinois cornfield that reminds you of how small you are? And then, in turn, to recognize what a privilege and responsibility we have to live in and care for it well?
For years, we have heard about the importance of becoming more eco-friendly with our homes and lifestyles. When building or renovating a home, we now have many available methods for becoming more green: installing smart thermostats, solar panels, and low-flow showerheads are just a few. All of these are wonderful ways to be more earth-friendly, but today I wanted to highlight some simple, manageable, and essentially costless steps you can take to make your home more eco-friendly today!
- Embrace natural lighting. Choosing to skip flipping the light switch on can really be as simple as consciously allowing more natural light into your home. This may just be a matter of rearranging some furniture or choosing to open your blinds more consistently. Do you have a tall piece of furniture that is partially blocking your natural light flow from the window? Maybe consider rearranging your room to take more advantage of the natural light. Or maybe your work desk is too far from the window to receive adequate lighting from outside? Consider moving it to a different part of the room that is naturally lit. Not only is this simple change good for the environment and good for the wallet, but it’s good for the mood as well! I think we could all use a little more calming natural light in our lives.
- Wash your clothes in cold water. This is another simple daily choice you can make to help your home conserve a little more energy. Not to mention, it’s easier on your clothing! According to Energy Star, up to 90% of the energy used by your washing machine goes to heating up the water, so opting for cold water is a significant cut in expended energy. Of course, there are times when a hot washing cycle may be necessary to help clean tough stains and marks. But your clothing will be thanking you in the long run if your new default setting is a cold washing cycle!
- Clean green. Lastly, consider rethinking the cleaning supplies you use. There are few things I love more than a fresh and sparkling clean home. However, when you think about the toxins and chemicals that our typical cleaning products are releasing into the air and pouring into our water, it does cause some pause. By replacing toxic and sometimes hazardous chemicals that are found in mainstream cleaning supplies, we can help take a step in improving the health of our families, and our environment. There are some really amazing natural cleaning products on the market, but a simple solution is to start making your own natural cleaners very inexpensively with products you probably already keep on hand! For example, vinegar, baking soda, and lemon juice can do wonders in cleaning and disinfecting your home naturally.
- Recycle. This is not a new concept, but one that many still do not do today! Recycling our plastic, cardboard, and more does wonders for our planet. Buying products made out of recycled goods is another way to help our planet!
I’d love to hear what some of your favorite small ways to support the environment are! I love the thought that small changes by lots of people really can make a difference.