Guest post by Mark Russell of Apartment Guys
These days we all want to go green. It is no longer a trend followed only by the tree huggers and the hippies – it is a fully fledged movement with C.E.O.’s and world leaders singing its anthems. Living an environmentally friendly, eco-conscious lifestyle is not just good for the planet; it is also good for your finances. When you use less energy, for example, you also spend less on your energy bills – makes sense, right? So there are a number of reasons besides plain old environmentalism to go green. Every person, though, needs to find ways to adapt their particular lifestyle to be greener, using less energy, and creating less waste. There are a number of ways to achieve these goals, no matter where you live or what you do.
Living in a small space presents a number of its own unique challenges. Where do you keep all of your things? How do you cook without a full kitchen? But going green is not hard to do in a small apartment or loft. Actually, you might find that it makes your life easier. Below are some tips for living green in a small space.
TIP #1 – It’s time to do some spring cleaning. Before you do anything else, you need to really clean house. Make five piles: keep, store, donate, recycle, trash. Go through everything you own and put it into one of these categories. Emptying your apartment of your belongings will make it cleaner, keep your air fresher, and even make your life less stressful. Donate everything you don’t want but someone else can use. Recycle things like broken or old electronics. Trash only the things that can’t be put in the other piles.
TIP #2 – Use only green cleaning supplies. While you are cleaning, make sure you are using only environmentally friendly cleaning supplies. Avoid things like the chemical heavy bleach and instead use more natural products.
TIP #3 – Get stackable trash and recycling bins. Part of the problem with recycling is that it takes up a lot of space. If you don’t have the room to spare, finding space to keep separate recycling bins can be a challenge. Stackable trash and recycling bins are all the rage right now with the environmentalist crowds. They save space and the environment at the same time!
TIP #4 – Add some plant life. Now that you have gotten rid of all of your excess belongings, start adding a little bit of new décor. Plants are the perfect thing to put in your apartment. Especially in small spaces, a hanging plant can do wonders for a room. Plants can also be used in spaces that are not otherwise usable. They add fresh oxygen to the air and take out toxic carbon dioxide. They literally breathe fresh life into your apartment!
TIP #5 – Repaint with eco-friendly products. You might be surprised by how much a change in your wall color can really open up a space. The right color can transform a room and even make it feel more spacious. But if you are going to repaint a wall or two then you need to make sure you are using eco-friendly paint products. The conventional kind are filled with toxic chemicals that are dangerous both to the environment and the people living with it. There are plenty of great environmentally friendly brands and colors so you won’t sacrifice quality or selection.
TIP #6 – Cook more of your own meals instead of eating takeout. When you live in a small space it can be easy to fall into the habit of ordering takeout. Small kitchens are challenging to cook in and especially difficult if you are trying to experiment. But you might find that it is more intimidating than it should be. Once you get used to cooking in a small space, you will stop being scared of it! Cooking is more environmentally friendly than eating takeout for a number of reasons. It reduces all the waste that you make when you order takeout – all of those bags, containers, and disposable utensils add up! Cooking for yourself also allows you to choose better ingredients, save money, and eat healthier than eating from a restaurant.
TIP #7 – Take the stairs! If you live in an apartment building with an elevator, consider taking the stairs from now on. You will save energy this way and you will also get great exercise. You will probably find your jeans fit you better than ever after just a couple of weeks.