How are you guys doing so far? Are your nether regions getting accustomed to recycled toilet paper? Are your lunch boxes ziploc-free? Have you gone down the rabbit hole of eco-friendly sex toys (pun sort of intended)? I’d love to hear how things are going – leave me a note in the comments!
And here we are, into week five – the living room! That place that used to be classy and calm, and now maaaybe looks like it rained kids toys, socks, and eight plates hidden under the couch! Huzzah!
Let’s get down to business, suckas.
What to Phase Out: Okay, first of all, let’s ditch the disposable sweepers. This is another one of those areas where we can interrupt the cycle of buying things just to throw them out – it creates so much waste! Instead, pick up a micro-fibre cloth or two and cut it down to fit into your floor sweeper. The cloths work really well on dirt, debris and dog hair, and can be tossed in the laundry after you’re done with them, instead of being thrown in the garbage!
Also, I know I covered this in the bathroom post, but air fresheners. This is one time I might advocate just tossing them before using them up. Just get rid of them entirely! It’s OK for your house to smell like a house, instead of a Spring Breeze. I mean, it’s spring! Open a window!
What to Bring In: Plants! Plaaaants! Not a crazy-plant-person amount of plants, with spider plants draped over every available surface, but at least two or three. Plants make a room feel alive and filled with growth, and they also do a great job of cleaning the air for you. I provided a list of the best air-purifying plants in my book, but I recently found this awesome chart put out by none other than NASA, detailing exactly which toxins are removed from the air by which plants. Fascinating! I have a big ole peace lily on my mantle, and a few ferns around too, and I love them. It’s Olive’s job to water them, which she really enjoys.
Recipes: If you are an obedient sort and you diligently tossed all your air fresheners, but you still miss that little scent of something, put a few drops of essential oil in your vacuum bag/canister before you get going. It’s a great way to gently scent your space without overpowering fragrance or creepy chemical compounds.
Hardwood Floor Cleaner:
This is one of the best ways I have found to clean real hardwood floors – especially the really worn, battered kind like I have now. If you have newer floors and you find that this recipe leaves streaks or residue, decrease the amount of tea.
In a saucepan, boil 4-6 cups of water. Remove from heat and add 4 black teabags, allow to steep for 10-15 minutes. Transfer to a spray bottle or use in a mop bucket. The slight acidity of the tea lifts dirt and the tea’s natural tannins help heal any nicks or scratches in the wood. Plus if you use something like Earl Grey (my favourite tea!) your house smells amazingly cozy afterward.
Extra Credit: Get rid of the TV. I know. This is a big one. And, you say, how the hell is this Eco-friendly? Hear me out!
Try something for me. Take a week and catalogue how much time you spend watching TV. Literally chart it. Then sit down and look at that number and think about all the things you say you don’t have time for. Gardening, hanging laundry, making your own lotion, calling old friends, writing letters, watching free lecture series, reading books. There is so much life out there! There is whole world waiting to be explored and discovered and absorbed! It all sounds so cheesy, but there’s something to be said for the time you gain by letting go. Not to mention the advertising you lose.
Every single ad out there is trying to make you feel bad about yourself so that you buy something to fill that hole. They create a problem, and then they sell you a solution. Fear and desire, my friends. Fear and desire. If you shut that out – literally turn it off- you free yourself from that voice, that insistent nagging voice telling you your teeth aren’t white enough, your car isn’t new enough, your kids aren’t stimulated enough, your house isn’t clean enough.
You are enough. And by getting rid of your TV, or even just drastically cutting down the amount of TV you watch, or finding some sort of happy medium where you watch Netflix or an online series with no commercials…however you choose to do it, ignoring that insidious voice asking you to feel empty and then fill that hole with crap will have a marked impact on the richness of your life.
Three stars, Louie? Still pretty generous, I think.