14 April 2015

The Ultimate Eco-friendly Easter Gift Guide

Time flies by pretty quickly these days, and before you know it, it’s Easter again, everyone is on public holidays, the shops are shut and you’re empty-handed and red-faced. Now is a great time to stock up on some great Easter gifts that you can have on hand. And if you’re going to the effort of being so prepared, you might as well make the ethical choice and choose eco-friendly gifts. Check out Biome for a huge range of ideas to make even your most environmentally-conscientious friends happy.

Help them rehydrate

If Easter is a time for overindulging in chocolate, help out your friends by gifting them something to encourage some healthy alternatives. BPA-free water bottles can be a great idea, as they are super useful, encourage water intake, and usually have really cool designs. You could even get them a matching ice cube tray so your friends don’t have to drink room-temperature water (because that’s completely plebeian, ok).

Wrap them up

It doesn't matter what part of the world you’re in. A scarf is always welcome! If you’re feeling particularly crafty, you can knit one yourself – the recipient will know that you spent hours making something just for them, and they will feel extra special each time. If you don’t have the time (or the skills – let’s be honest), visit a store that uses recycled materials and support their business. Then you will have even more choice – summer or winter, colors, styles, fabrics and feel.

You can still be the fun adult

At Easter time, most children want chocolate. But parents will still be grateful if you don’t show up to their house with even more chocolate. Instead, bring an eco-friendly children’s toy with you. Most children will actually prefer something longer-lasting, and they will probably already have enough chocolate already. From puzzles to toys to outdoor activity sets, there are plenty of options that won’t make you feel guilty that children will also love.

Don’t leave the office out

Is your office the type of place where people exchange gifts at Easter? If so, yay for you – extra gifts! But it also means that you’ll need to consider what to get your colleague that they won’t hate, and that won’t make you feel like you’re wrecking the earth. You can actually find an entire range of eco-friendly corporate gifts from different suppliers, ranging from desk supplies to office-appropriate wall hangings. They are often made from recycled, low impact resources so you will feel good every time you walk past it at work.

These are just a few ideas of great, eco-friendly gifts that are great to have on hand around Easter time. They could certainly be applied to other times of year, though, so don’t feel that you can’t pull something out early when needed. Start your eco-friendly gift search now, and your hidden gift compartment in your linen closet will look so much better! What eco-friendly gift have you received that was super-useful?

10 April 2015

The Top 4 Most Hated Household Chores

Do you enjoy cleaning? Or do you hate it with a passion? You can probably guess which answer is the most common! Whether its nasty odours, nauseating mess or just the sheer effort, certain household chores are worse than others. These are four of the most hated household chores people gladly put off for as long as possible.

1. Disinfecting the Toilet

Cleaning the toilet has to be one of the most universally hated activities in the world. Just the thought of scrubbing a toilet is enough to disgust some people – no wonder it’s a commonly neglected household chore. Be warned though: the longer you leave your toilet to its own devices, the worse it will be when you eventually get around to cleaning it. Despite its reputation as one of the filthiest household items, cleaning your toilet doesn’t have to be an ordeal. There is a range of specially made toilet cleaning products available, and if germs really freak you out, try donning some rubber gloves. All you’ll need to get your toilet looking sparkling clean is a toilet brush and a little toilet cleaner. On the bright side, your toilet only needs to be cleaned around once a week to keep it nice and hygienic.

2. Cleaning the Floor

This household chore is especially hateable if your floors are white or cream coloured. No matter how small, every little stain and spec of dust will stand out, meaning you’ll have to put twice as much effort into your cleaning. It can be extremely tiring and frustrating, especially if your floors end up looking filthy again just a few days later. You can feel as though all your hard work was for nothing. Rather than struggle to get the dust and grime off your floors by yourself, you might consider hiring a professional cleaning service, such as Absolute Domestics Cleaning, to take care of this arduous task for you.

3. Scrubbing out the Oven

Oven cleaning is detested because of the persistent nature of oven grease, which can be very difficult to remove once it has been exposed to high temperatures over a long period of time. The only way to get rid of that layer of black, sticky grime is with potent cleaning products and plenty of vigorous scrubbing. It’s the kind of job you need to devote a couple of hours to, especially if you are doing it without professional help. Be sure to follow the instructions on oven cleaners very carefully, as some of them can contain strong chemicals.

4. Dusting

Dusting is one of those time-consuming household chores that gets pushed to bottom of your priority list and forgotten. Before you know it, your entire house can be absolutely covered in dust, from the windows right down to the skirting boards. Dust has a habit of settling on literally any kind of surface, making it difficult to get at in some cases. But there is a variety of different dusters on the market to cater for those hard-to-reach places.

Cleaning can be a loathsome task, but just imagine the sense of satisfaction you’ll have once all of those nasty jobs have been done. What are some of your most hated household chores? Share your tips or cleaning horror stories in the comments below.

11 March 2015

Top 4 Space-Saving Furniture Pieces

Getting the most out of the space you have available in your home is important, especially if you are limited on square footage. By choosing the right furniture, you can double up on functionality and save as much extra space as possible. While there are many different options to choose from, the following pieces are some of the best choices for owners of smaller homes. When coming up with an interior design scheme, consider a few space-saving pieces to improve your home's efficiency.

It can be a challenge to fit a dining table in a small area, especially when you want to be able to seat a few people. Small kitchens can be really crowded, but installing a table that folds down from the wall can be a great solution. If you only have a couple of people living in your home, you can choose a small table that is compact, but you can also go with a larger size and have the ability to fit a larger group in a small space.

Bunk Beds

If you have multiple children in your home and limited bedrooms, you may wonder what you can do to fit them all in one area. The most common choice is a bunk bed. This allows you to sleep twice as many kids in one small space. If you have enough room, you may want to use two bunk beds, giving you the option to sleep four in a room where only two twin-sized beds would normally fit.

Storage Cubes

Living room space can be a valuable commodity as well, and if you have a lot of things that you want to store, but minimal closet space, you need a piece that can do double duty. A storage cube is a multi-functional product that you can use for both d├ęcor and storage. One or two of them can be used as a coffee table, while also holding blankets, movies and other items you want out of sight.

Mobile Islands

If you spend a lot of time in your kitchen, you are probably on the lookout for any extra workspace you can use. Mobile islands give you a lot of options for use. You can roll them into the middle of the room for food prep and cooking, then you can roll them out of the way when you need space for other people to have access to your kitchen.

Take advantage of the space that you do have by filling it with pieces that can utilize unused areas or double up on functionality.

03 February 2015

Eco-friendly Toilets Are a Great Way to Go Green

Everybody wants to contribute to the protection of the environment. Using renewable resources is extremely important as is cutting down on your waste. However, one of the most overlooked areas of protecting the environment is conservation, and a good place to start is with water.

Protecting the water supply

So often, people take their water supply for granted. If you want water, you simply turn on the faucet, but the truth is that clean water is becoming a bigger problem across the nation. Those living in western states have already felt the effects of drought. The price of water is rising, and conservation is now more important than ever. You can make a great contribution to conserving water simply by conserving it in your home. 

The highest usage of water is your toilet

The traditional flush toilet uses an average of six gallons every time it is flushed. If one person were to flush it four times a day, this is 24 gallons a day. When multiplied by 365 days, an individual is using 8,760 gallons a year, but this is only for one person. For a family of four, this equals 35,040 gallons a year. This is an enormous amount of water, and if every household could find a way to reduce this usage, the conservation of the nation’s water supply would be tremendous. 

How to reduce water usage in the toilet

Although there have been attempts at saving water, the basic limitation is the design of the flush toilet. The attempts at conservation have centered on the toilet tank and how much water it holds. If the tank does not fill up with the usual amount of water, then less water will be used. Unfortunately, the toilet will not flush very well, and people end up flushing a second time, so there is no savings in water. Using less water in a traditional flush toilet design can also lead to stoppages. The solution is to use a modern eco-friendly toilet that is designed to flush efficiently with less water. 

Water conserving toilets are designed to use as much as 50 percent less water than a traditional toilet. This means an individual can save well over 4,000 gallons a year. There are several companies that offer these types of water saving flush toilets. An example of these toilets can be found at https://www.decorplanet.com/eco-friendly-toilets.

Saving Energy At Home

If you're like most people, you are trying to find ways to conserve as much energy at home as possible. This is not only something good for the wallet, but it's also good for the environment. There are some easy ways to save energy that you don't even have to think about while you're at home. 

One of the easiest ways that you can save energy at home is to unplug the items that you don't use. These are called phantom appliances. They take up space, and they also take up energy. When you need them, plug them in the wall. There are energy efficient appliances that you can purchase, many of which have a tax credit that you can file for at the end of the year. Some companies will buy your older appliances so that you have a little extra money to get energy efficient ones. 

You might think that the light bulbs in your home aren't using a lot of energy, but when you add up all of the bulbs in the home, you will see that they are using a lot of watts. Fluorescent bulbs might cost a little more, but they use less energy. They also reduce the mercury emissions that are seen with standard bulbs. Some of them are brighter as well, and they often last longer. A thermostat that you can program is something to look at as well. You set the thermostat at one temperature, and you won't be able to move it unless you go in an re-program the system. This will allow you to find a comfortable setting for the entire house thorough the year. When the heat or air isn't coming on frequently through the day or night, you will see that the electric bill will go down. If it's not hot outside, turn off the air conditioning unit, and turn on the ceiling fans. This will get the air flowing through the home so that it's not stagnant. Open the windows as well. In the winter, consider using wood heat if possible. You might have to install the stove and the proper ventilation, but not running a heater in the winter will save a great deal of money, especially if you live in an area that sees old winters. 

Find any air leaks and seal them because this is letting all of the heat and air outside of the home. It's a waste of money. You can also look into getting energy efficient windows. These will provide better insulation, especially when it's cold outside. This is also a time to look at the other areas of insulation in the home. If there is a basement or attic that you don't use, then block it off so that air and heat don't get to areas where they aren't needed. Monitor your energy usage, and try to find new ways each month to save more energy than the month before. Make it a game so that the entire family can be involved. Companies like Sentry Energy have more tips on saving energy.