Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Cleaning Your Shower the Quick, Easy, Green Way!

Green cleaning is rarely equated with quick and easy, but I recently stumbled upon the best tip for cleaning the bathroom, EVER.

Grab one of those dish sponges, the kind with the handle that you fill with dish soap to clean the dishes.  Fill it with vinegar, and you have a powerful tool for cleaning the shower.  Add a few drops of tea tree oil or lavendar oil to help disinfect and to give it a fresh and pleasant odour.

The one I have been using has just straight vinegar in it and I keep it in the shower.  I give the shower a quick scrub down before I get out.  I hadn't cleaned the shower in a while and it cut through soap scum like nothing else!   Surprisingly, I didn't notice a harsh vinegar smell.  Not even a little bit! 

 Other Tips:

Buy a good quality dish sponge.  They are designed to hold dish soap, not vinegar, so cheaper ones will leak more.  I keep it hanging handle-down on my shower caddy and doesn't seem to leak.  I also bought one that has a rougher scrubber on the end.  I knew that a straight sponge wasn't going to be effective to really give my shower the deep clean it needed. 

Add dish soap.  If your sponge leaks, consider adding some dish soap to the vinegar.  It will make it a little thicker.  My guess is you may have to be prepared to give surfaces a rinse after though.  When I use straight vinegar, I don't bother rinsing. 

I am going to keep one under the sink in each bathroom, and by the kitchen sink.  That way I can do do quick, cleaning on the fly in about 10 seconds flat.  Ah!  Now that is green cleaning for the 21st century!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

The 2000 lb Challenge

If you've got clutter, more stuff than you have room, or are at all inspired by a minimalist lifestyle but are nowhere near realizing it, then welcome to the The 2000 lb Challenge

The basic idea is to get ride of (give away, recycle, or dispose of) 2000 lbs of the stuff you already own in 365 days.  

It will help you to reduce your clutter and reduce the burden that your stuff imposes on you.  It can be quite liberating!  If it enters your home since taking on the challenge it doesn't count; it has to be stuff you already own.

Mathematically speaking, to get rid of 2000 lbs of stuff in one year's time means you need to purge 5 1/2 pounds of stuff everyday.  Make it your mission to take 60 seconds each day to find 5 1/2 pounds of your belongings you can part with.

Good luck!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Keep Your Christmas Organized and Safe

Try storing your christmas ornaments in egg cartons.  Its inexpensive, and environmentally friendly, and they will stay nice and safe without the use of tissue paper, bubble wrap, or expensive bins and containers. 

Simply put one ornament in each egg cup and close the carton for storage. 

Keep Berries Fresh for Longer

If berries are a part of your daily diet (and they should be!), then you have probably reached for a handful of berries only to find that they've already turned?  is that berries go bad quickly.  If don't want to freeze them to keep them fresh, try this little trick to keep them fresh for longer:

Wash your berries in a mixture of 1 part apple cider vinegar and 10 parts water.  After bathing them in the mixture for a short time, drain them and store them in the fridge.  Berries should last twice as long or longer!

If you don't have apple cider vinegar, regular white vinegar will also work.  If you are worried about a vinegar taste you can rinse them with water afterwards. 

The vinegar works to kill bacteria and spores that cause them to go moldy. 

Berries are a great power food.  Eat them everyday!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Make Room for the Things You Want in Life

Nature does like a vacuum.  In other words, if there is a void, or an empty space, it will be filled.  

I can certainly believe this to be true.  I just have to look at the baskets I buy on whim at the dollarstore, that get filled before I know it.

In this case, it has just brought more clutter and more "stuff", but I think this principle can be used to benefit us rather than take away.  So if there is something you want, today or in life in general, make room for it.  Create a vacuum that will need to be filled.  It seems like a very simple thing, but I can see this being an agent for change.

It could be making room in your heart for a better relationship with someone you love, or room in your closet for a new clothes a size smaller, or room in your fridge for really healthy food.  It could be anything.

Once you've created that vacuum, don't allow the empty space to be filled by anything other than that which you truly desire. 

Saturday, June 25, 2011

How to Prevent and Get Rid of Fruit Flies in Your Compost Bin

When it comes to getting rid of fruit flies in our compost bin, here are the solutions that worked for us...
  1. Cover.  Snap the lid of your compost container shut every time, immediately after opening whenever possible.
  2. Dry.  Dry out your compost bin a little bit.  Often, fruit flies are a problem in compost bins that are too wet.  When it comes to your counter-top or backyard container, be sure that paper products (news print, paper, shredded or otherwise) are the first in you bin, and are layered over any "wet" compost (fruit and veg).  Consider "saving" any dry compost to add when it is needed.  For those participating in their city's compost program, you have a lot more flexibility when it comes to the wet-dry ratio  because your compost is being added to the compost collected by residents all over the city.  The ratio of your bin alone isn't nearly as important as someone who is doing the composting themself.  Line the bottom with recycled paper material, and regularly layer on paper or other dry products.  If you get an infestation of fruit flies "drown" them with ample dry biodegradable compost.
  3. Wrap.  We line a tin tray with wax paper or newsprint and toss our compost in the tray as we prepare meals.  The compostable waste is wrapped tightly in the dry material and brought to our larger, outdoor container within hours.  We've not had a fruit fly problem inside in the two years we've been living here (fingers crossed!). 
We've managed to escape a fruit fly problem inside our house, but I was recently swarmed by a bunch when I took the dinner compost to the bin.  I added all the paper waste we had collected in the last couple of days and there were only 2 o3 3  that flew up to greet me even just an hour later.  While this isn't an option for those doing their own composting, keeping your your bin on the drier side will help to prevent fruit flies, and minimize the ones you do have.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Reduce Clutter and Make Tidying a Snap

Here is an organizational tip that only takes a minute or two every day, and between 5 and 15 minutes once a week:

Keep a basket in a convenient location on each floor. For a mere 60 seconds each day, toss items in the basket that do not belong in the space they are in. Once a week, or whenever the basket gets full, empty the basket returning all of it's contents to it's rightful place.

Alternatively, you can have a basket for each member of the family. For a couple of minutes each day, have family members collect personal belongings that are left out and toss them into the basket. At regular intervals have family members return the items in their basket to their rightful place.

Keeps clutter to a minimum, and saves you from running around the house randomly putting items away as you find them. Instead you will be doing it all at once.

Wicker baskets with material lining are a beautiful choice for highly-visible areas, or plastic bins in primary colours can be used as well, and are available at the DollarStore.