Save Money with Green Home Upgrades

The following is a guest post.  No compensation was received. 

Green home improvement is a hot topic these days. With the cost of water rising throughout much of the country and energy policies facing an uncertain future, more homeowners than ever before are showing an interest in energy-saving remodeling projects and upgrades. The following infographic explains energy saving upgrades that will put money back into your pocket within two years.

Natural Bathroom Cleaning Tips

The following is a guest post.  No compensation was received. 

More than 150 chemicals found in your home are connected to allergies, birth defects, cancer and physiological disorders. The majority of these chemicals are used in routine bathroom cleaning. There are many DIY “recipes” that combine household ingredients to create a natural cleaning solution, and eliminate harsh chemicals. For example, you can combine baking soda and vinegar to create a tile cleaner. The following slideshow displays different recipes and methods for cleaning your bathroom without using harmful chemicals. Try these solutions to help clean your house safely.

How to Clean Your Bathroom…Naturally by Modern Bathroom, a company that offers sinks, faucets, and wall-mounted vanities.

 

How to Find Safer Cleaning Products for Your Home

The following is a guest post from Hannah at Wild Mint.  No compensation was received. 

Hello, The Practically Green Mom readers! My name is Hannah Helsabeck and I reached out to Allie recently after finding her blog and falling in love with her “green(ish)” attitude and advice. I couldn’t agree more with her motto of doing the best you can and trying new things when it comes to green living, which really aligns with the inspiration behind my company Wild Mint. I’m obsessed with researching all the ways to live a more toxin-free life and sharing what I learn with others. On Wildmintshop.com, I provide all the information and products that I use to do just that.

Today, Allie was gracious enough to let me share my knowledge about green and natural cleaning products, a big topic for anyone else who is a clean-freak like me! Harmful, chemical-based cleaning products have been the norm for so long that even the most dedicated toxin-free individual can have trouble finding the best types of solutions to use at home. The unfortunate practice of companies “greenwashing” products only adds to this confusion. If you haven’t heard this term before, greenwashing refers to companies claiming to be environmentally friendly by marketing products with misleading information.  These companies can mislead consumers by falsifying claims, using vague terms, and exaggerating green practices, just to name a few.

My team and I at Wild Mint strongly believe in the importance of transparency, awareness, and education so you can make your own informed decisions.  Alongside awareness, we suggest the following tips when looking for safer cleaning products:

  • Be a Label Checker – A good line of defense is to buy products from brands that list all of their ingredients on their label and are transparent both on their website and in their product offerings. A product should clearly state what is and is not used in its production in a way that is easily understood. You should also look out for and avoid products with the following terms listed on the label or packaging:
    • Fatal if inhaled
    • Fatal if swallowed
    • Watch out for terms like “poison,” “danger,” or “fatal”
    • Vague terms like surfactant or solvent
    • Skip phosphate additives
  • Be a Certification Critic – Some companies go above and beyond to certify their products and make their brand even more reputable, with certifications such as USDA Organic, Fair Trade, Cruelty Free (PETA), Energy Star, Green Seal Certified, and so on. Take a look at the certification on a label, and do a quick search on your phone or at home to see if the certification is valid.
  • Vague Terms – A prevalent greenwashing tactic to look out for is “vagueness”. Some common phrases to look out for include Eco Friendly, Environmentally Friendly, Earth Friendly, Environment Safe, Harnessing Nature, and Eco Chemistry. Remember, transparency is key; a company should be able to prove their products are indeed safe.

So what brands can you trust? Well, some of my favorites include Better Life, Dr. Bronners, and Eco-Me, which you can find here.  I use this all purpose cleaner and this multi-area scrubber cleanser by Better Life regularly.  I love that the Better Life products never leave a toxic smell after cleaning (like some chemical cleaners do!), are plant-based, and made without the use of harmful chemicals, making them safe for people, pets, the surfaces in your home, and the environment.

hannah Wild Mint - guest

You can also try your hand at making natural cleaning solutions yourself! Try Allie’s homemade air freshener made with essential oils or a combination of vinegar-based solutions.

Thank you to Allie for letting me guest post today and feel free to send me any of your questions about toxin-free living at hello@wildmintshop.com!

~ Hannah Helsabeck

President, Wild Mint Shop

Hannah Helsabeck is President and Co-Founder of Wild Mint, an online shop dedicated to helping families find toxin-free and eco-friendly products for healthier lifestyles.  She is passionate about educating others on the benefits of healthy living and the importance of taking small steps towards eliminating exposure to toxins in people’s daily lives.  She also enjoys finding new ways to be eco-conscious and is often found in the kitchen cooking up simple meals with real, whole foods. Hannah is the oldest of six kids, has amazing parents as role models in business as well as life, and currently lives in South Florida with her incredibly supportive husband.

One Word Wednesday: PACKING!!

You may have noticed that I’ve been MIA for a bit here. I kind of alluded to some big news on my Facebook page a while back…

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Yes, we are moving!

(So much for my #OneWord365 this year, right?! lol)

I’ve been hesitant to post about this because…well, there’s just not much to tell right now. Our main objective at this point is to pack up everything we can and move it to a storage unit, so we can stage our house and list it (t-minus 20 days until our planned “on the market” day!) We do have a general area where we are house hunting…a different suburb about 45 mins. away from our current house (closer to my family, easier commute to husband’s work, etc.)

Fingers crossed that this whole process goes as smoothly (and quickly!) as possible. There may not be many updates on the blog until we get settled in to our new home, but I’m always on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!

Little Helpers – Household Chores for Preschoolers

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My little man is in a “helper” stage. He loves to sweep the floor with his “boom” (broom), and “clean up” (wipe a rag over any surface). I figure I should take advantage of his desire to help out now…right?

Such a good little helper - even back when he was 15 months old!  {via Instagram}

Such a good little helper – even back when he was 15 months old! {via Instagram}

I found this article on 10 Household Chores for Preschoolers that had some great ideas on chores that preschoolers can do around the house. Some of the suggestions my not-quite-two-year-old is still a little young for, but I could see him dusting (maybe not anything glass…but end tables and such, which he kind of does already) and washing windows with a spray bottle of white vinegar (I may have to go over them with a rag myself…he’ll probably just like the spraying part of that task!)

For older children, a responsibilities chart like this one from Melissa and Doug might be helpful to keep track of what needs to be done.

via zulily

via zulily

What kind of household chores do your children do? Do you have specific jobs for the younger ones that they enjoy? (I’m eager to pawn off some of my work! lol)

{I am an affiliate blogger for Zulily. This post contains affiliate links that support this blog. Please read my disclosure policy for more information.}

Solution for the Scatterbrained

Now that we’re well into September, I feel like I need a new project to tackle. Before long, the holidays will here and I’ll be knee-deep in decorating, gift giving, and all that fun stuff. Which I love, don’t get me wrong. It’s the most wonderful time of the year…

Ahem…anyway, I’ve been feeling really scatterbrained lately. I have all of these great blog ideas, to-do lists on post-its everywhere…my desk and my purse are a mess! So, I need somewhere to keep track of everything all in one place. Yes, I do have an iPhone, but I’m much more of a pen-to-paper kind of girl.

After looking at blogs and Pinterest for ideas, I narrowed down my choice to a mini-binder and accessories (binder pocket for pens and highlighters, pocket dividers, and a pack of blank paper), and figured out what exactly I’m going to use it for.

  • Weekly calendar
  • To-do list
  • Meal planner & grocery list
  • Blog ideas/post schedule

My next challenge is to find some printables that will actually PRINT on a half-sheet.  I love these from One Tough Mother, but they all want to print full-size on my printer…blerg!

Maybe if I’m lucky, I’ll have this done in time to use in 2013…lol

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EDIT: Got it to print the right size!  Woot!  Sorry, no color printer here…but still functional!

 

{This post contains affiliate links.  Please read my disclosure policy for more information.}

Minimalist Monday – Master Bath

I should have been in birthday party preparedness mode this weekend. (This Saturday can not come fast enough! Next year…not at my house!)

But I kept thinking about Minimalist Monday and the sad state of my master bathroom (since Happy Herbivore talked about it last week!)

So, after putting little man in the “indoor swimming pool” (aka: master bath garden tub) with some new bath toys, I got down to business.

Sorry there are no “before” pics, but it was embarrassing. Trust me on that.

After:

Yes, there is still stuff on the counter, but that’s probably never going to change. lol I need to get another basket (like the one on the far left) for Husband’s everyday stuff.

I plan on getting rid of the blue plastic drawers as soon as I find a decent storage solution for under the sink (which is currently empty!)

Is this truly minimalist? Probably not. But I’m VERY happy with the results! 🙂

Wordless Wednesday – Hung by the chimney with care

stockings

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