While you are hopping on your social media channels to connect with others in celebration of Social Media Day, we wanted to remind you how social media can (and should!) be used to share our passion for living an eco-friendly lifestyle and help us connect–and get inspiration from–others in our green living communities. If your social media feeds are not feeding your eco-friendly soul, here are some folks you may want to add:
Who to Follow on Pinterest
Described as “a one-stop shop for green news, solutions, and product information.”
Eco Party Time (ecopartytime)
Watch for fun — and doable — eco-friendly party ideas, from weddings to birthdays.
Ecouterre, an online magazine dedicated to all things eco-friendly design and fashion, has a companion Pinterest that offers everything from shoes made from recycled material to “living” fashion.
GreenHouse EcoCleaning (greenhouseeco)
You know we have to include our own Pinterest account! We pin healthy, sustainable recipes, community photos, and DIY projects to help you reuse, recycle, and repurpose household items. And, of course, we also throw in a big dose of eco-friendly cleaning tips!
Who to Follow on Twitter
@ecopolitologist – Tim Hurst is a chief communications officer at the International Renewable Energy Agency. His tweets cover a broad spectrum of green subjects.
@grist– love their Twitter bio: “A nonprofit news org for people who want a planet that doesn’t burn and a future that doesn’t suck.”
@HuffPostGreen – a great mix of eco-friendly content that goes from hard-hitting interviews to green living tips.
@Inhabitat– the popular site and blog tweets about eco-friendly interior design and cool new green technology.
@GreenHouseEco – of course, we have to add a plug for our own Twitter feed. We tweet tips and information about living an eco-friendly lifestyle as well as keeping you up to date on developments within the company.
To find more green tweeters to follow or just to join in a conversation, follow the #EcoMonday hashtag — the environmental equivalent of #FollowFriday.
Organizations to Follow on Facebook
Environmental Advocates of New York – the state’s government watchdog, holding lawmakers and agencies accountable for enacting and enforcing laws that protect our natural resources and safeguard public health. They are the New York affiliate of the National Wildlife Federation.
EcoWatch – EcoWatch’s online news service focuses on the issues of water, air, food, energy, and biodiversity. EcoWatch showcases the insights of world-renowned environmental leaders and promotes ongoing environmental campaigns including climate change, fracking, mountaintop removal, factory farming, sustainable agriculture and renewable energy.
Riverkeeper – a member-supported watchdog organization dedicated to defending the Hudson River and its tributaries and protecting the drinking water supply of nine million New York City and Hudson Valley residents.
Leave it Better – a regeneration Educational Program, youth empowerment, food justice, farming, mobilizing, sustainability, grassroots organizing, activism, civic engagement, nutrition, health, farmers’ markets, environmental stewardship, food & environmental policy.
GreenHouse Eco-Cleaning – a great place to chat with us and share how you’re living a green lifestyle daily. We are building a community of healthy, happy fans of the sustainable lifestyle and we’d love to connect with you there.
Talk to us: Who should we be following on this Social Media Day?
‘Tis the season for the great outdoors and anyone living in NYC knows that having your own place in the sun–from a private patio to a shared rooftop–is the icing on top of your summer cake. Even the tiniest of outdoor spaces can be made into the perfect summer retreat with the right furniture and accessories, but where do you start? Here are our 5 tips for buying eco-friendly outdoor furniture:
Know Your Certification Terms
Do your research before you shop and be prepared to ask questions such as what chemicals your furniture has been treated with or where the wood in your furniture comes from. We recommend getting very familiar with certification terms and labels such as Greenguard and Cradle to Cradle. Click here for a list of eco-labels to consider.
Look for the Right Material
According to Apartment Therapy, there are three types of material that work best for eco-friendly outdoor furniture: hard-wearing, durable woods (look for FSC-certified from sustainably managed forests), recycled plastic, and stainless steel. Click here for great resources that have numerous eco-friendly options.
Take It Apart
OK, not literally, but if the furniture you’re buying can’t be taken apart it’s a sign that it can’t be repaired well. “Good eco-friendly furniture should lend itself to easy repair, disassemblage, and recycling,” writes TreeHugger. “When buying furniture, stay away from ‘monstrous hybrids’, pieces that are an inseparable amalgam of materials.”
Especially when decorating a small space, look for pieces that can be used in multiple ways–such as a small table that can also be used for extra seating. Pieces that literally transform into different types of furniture will allow you to purchase less, take up less patio space, and last longer.
Pay for Quality
Even if your budget is tight, invest in a few high-quality pieces. “Purchasing less and investing a little more money into your furniture will save both you and the environment in the long haul,” says yliving.com.
Now that you have the perfect outdoor space, be sure to call us and set up your summer cleaning service appointments–no need for you to worry about the inside of your home while you are enjoying the outside!
The summer solstice marks a brief moment in time in which the Earth is titled in its greatest inclination toward the sun, providing the longest period between sunrise and sunset. Tomorrow, join past cultures in the historical celebration of the summer solstice. Here’s how:
What better way to celebrate the longest day of the year than to spend it outdoors! For many cultures, the historical celebration of the solstice was a spiritual one. Consider traveling to a location where you feel truly connected to nature and spend the entire day enjoying the outdoors.
Hit the beach
Plan a quintessential summer trip to the beach to celebrate the longest day of the year. Pack a gourmet picnic with lots of water to keep you energized and hydrated all day long. Want to know what to bring in your beach bag? Read “5 Things You Never Thought Belonged in Your Beach Bag” .
Watch the sky
Check with local astronomy clubs or planetariums to learn how they’re celebrating the solstice and what programs or day trips are offered to the public. Remember, protect your peepers—never look directly into the sun.
Get your yoga on
If you regularly practice yoga, you’re familiar with sun salutations, a series of movements and poses that honor the sun. Do yours at home or join the masses in New York’s Times Square. On June 21, yoga enthusiasts will search for solitude in one of the world’s busiest places, in celebration of the year’s longest day.
Throw a party
Looking for a reason to get friends and family together? Consider the solstice! Carry the theme through sunny colored linens, drink refreshing, sparkling cocktails, feast on summer’s bounty and light up the night with paraffin-free candles. And be sure to decorate with just-picked flowers or herbs. Tradition says those picked on the summer solstice have healing energy. For more great eco-friendly outdoor party ideas, read “How to Host an Eco-Friendly Summer Cookout”.
Historically, the summer solstice was an opportunity to set new goals, much like the New Year. Take this time to reflect on where you are and where you’d like to be in your life. Is there something you wish was different? Commit to changing it, outline your plan and start today!
Always short on time? Us, too! The extra daylight is the perfect opportunity to get some exercise, cook at home or finally make a decision you’ve been avoiding.
Fire it up
Many historical solstice celebrations were based on fire. Along those lines, find a local park or beach that allows it and plan a nighttime bonfire to celebrate the tired sun as it finally sets. And don’t forget supplies for s’mores!
Taking stock in your life not only highlights areas you want to change, it sheds light on what’s important. In honor of the summer solstice, start a gratitude journal. Each morning or evening—whichever is easier for you to remember—jot down five things you’re thankful for. You’ll be surprise as you start to cultivate more gratitude each and every day.
Start a tradition
No matter what you do, do something in honor of the summer solstice. It can be as simple as rising together as a family to watch the sunrise, but make a commitment to enjoy this—or something more appropriate for your family—together, every year.
Talk to us: Are you planning to celebrate the solstice this year? If so, how? Do you celebrate the winter solstice as well?
How to Wash Vegetables and Fruits to Make Sure They Are Ready to Eat
Those first fruits (or veggies) from your garden are about ready to be picked. What do you do next? Clean them of course (we are a cleaning company, after all!). Whether you are loading up your kitchen counter with the bounty from your own backyard or the local farmer’s market, here’s how to clean fruits and vegetables to make sure they are ready to eat.
Prepare Your Produce
In addition to removing fruits and vegetables from any packaging, remove any stickers you may find and cut away any damaged or bruised areas of the produce. According to WikiHow, bruises and cuts can allow pathogens to enter the fruit or vegetable.
Clean Your Workspace
Clean your countertop, cutting board and utensils with hot, soapy water. This is especially important if you have peeled your produce without washing it, for bacteria from the outside can be transferred to the inside when it is cut or peeled.
Rinse with Cool Water
Be sure to use cool water instead of warm and consider placing a colander in the sink so you can wash more than one thing at once–this is really useful if you are cleaning “loose” fruits and vegetables such as grapes or peas. If you have produce that is easily crushed (think raspberries), put them directly in the colander and gently spray with water.
Get Ready to Scrub
For produce with thick skin, use a vegetable brush to scrub the peel. In addition to brushing away soil, this process also helps wash away hard-to-remove microbes.
Inspect and Dry
Do one last inspection–looking for specs of dirt or tiny bugs that might still remain. If all is clear, dry everything you have rinsed with a paper towel to remove any lingering bacteria.
For vegetables like broccoli or lettuce, we recommend doing all of the above steps twice.
Talk to us: What is your favorite fruit or vegetable to eat during the summer?
If you think moms are the only experts in housekeeping techniques, think again. In honor of Father’s Day this Sunday, we have gathered some of the best-ever cleaning tips from dads. What tricks of the cleaning trade has your dad taught you?
Tackle the hardest task first
Getting the biggest chore done first not only gives you a big sense of accomplishment but will help you power through the rest of your list.
Use a leaf blower instead of a broom
If you have to sweep off a deck, patio or even the inside of the garage, get out the leaf blower for a quick clean. We highly recommend this task only be used in outdoor spaces.
Literally, rake up the toys
Yes, you read right. Lunchbox Dad recommends using a rake to quickly gather up toys (think Lego’s and small cars) and toss them into the toy bin. Make sure you are using a clean rake.
Always clean the grill after you use it
Matter of fact, scrubbing a warm grill with a wire brush and some olive oil will make the cleaning process easier. A clean grill always ensures good food. Click here for more grill cleaning tips.
Put foil in pans before you bake
This makes clean-up a breeze, especially if the item you are baking is filled with sauces and cheese that may spill over into the pan during the baking process.
Still searching for the perfect Father’s Day gift? This year, give him a gift he can really use–a cleaning service! Use coupon code JUSTFORDAD10 to get 10% off cleaning services ordered by Sunday, June 18th! Click here to get started.
Talk to us: What is one of the best cleaning tips you have learned from your dad?
One of the most frustrating things in life is when you’re wearing your favorite shirt and you accidentally get a pesky, hard to remove stain. It can ruin your day, but it doesn’t have to ruin your shirt! In honor of National Ballpoint Pen Day, we’re here to help you with one of the hardest types of stains to remove. You guessed it… we’re here to talk about ballpoint pen stains.
They’re annoying yet seem to happen way more often than we’d like to admit. That’s why we’ve put together these eco-friendly remedies to get stains out. So next time you accidentally mark up your clothes, give one of these DIY remedies a try instead of rushing to the chemically fuelled dry cleaners.
One of mom’s magical elixirs comes in handy yet again. All you need to do is mix together baking soda and water so that it forms a paste. Then, using a cotton ball, gently apply the paste to your ink stain and dab it lightly. After the stain has lifted, or no more ink is coming off on the cotton ball, simply wipe the paste with a clean, colorless cloth or paper towel. The best part about this isn’t that every household is sure to have baking soda on hand, but that it is safe to use on all of your favorite materials!
Another tried and true natural cleaner and stain remover is white vinegar. It seems to work for everything and doesn’t leave a lingering smell when used. To remove stains, soak your entire article of clothing in a 1:1 solution of white vinegar and cold water. Do not use hot water since hot water tends to set stains. Every 10 or so minutes, gently blot the stain with a colorless cloth but do not remove from the solution. After about 30 minutes, or whenever your stain lifts, take the clothes out and wash as usual! Just like baking soda, white vinegar is safe for all of your clothes. Win-win.
Another way to use white vinegar to clean the stain is to mix it with cornstarch to make a paste. Much like the baking soda paste, spread it over the stain and let it sit for a few hours. Afterward, wash as usual and violà! Stainless clothes.
Okay, so this one is a little less heard of and may seem pretty weird, but it works wonders. Take your stained article of clothing and soak it in a bowl of fresh milk overnight. In order to avoid curdling smells, just keep the bowl in the fridge. When you wake up, wash your clothes regularly and your ink stains should have disappeared.
In addition to these green stain-busting remedies, try switching to eco-friendly cleaners for your home and office. Greenhouse Eco-Cleaning has great products that work well without all of the harmful ingredients. If you have any DIY stain removing remedies make sure to comment below or write on our Facebook page!
While the medicine cabinet is not exactly the first place you think of when it comes to organizing your home, it is one of the most important areas to keep clean and stocked—especially as we head into the summer months. We recommend starting this process by clearing out all products and wiping down the inside and outside of the cabinet with an eco-friendly cleaning solution such as our Ecospirit brand.
Once everything is out of the cabinet, you need to begin sorting through what you need, organizing what you have and purchasing what you may be missing. Here are some tips:
Out With The Old (And Smelly)
Are items outdated, old or smelly? They need to be thrown out, even if they’re not empty. Expired items will no longer be effective and may even be hazardous to your health. Before you toss products into the trash, check out these tips from the FDA on how to properly dispose of unused medicine. In addition to looking at dates on medicine, be sure to also look for cosmetics that may have expired—if the consistency and/or smell of the product has changed considerably, throw it out.
Add Warm Weather Medicines
There are certain items you should always have in your medicine cabinet regardless of the season such as basic pain relievers and products that relieve mild digestive ailments (here is a great checklist from Real Simple). However, in the summer months, you will want to add allergy medicines, hydrocortisone cream, and eyedrops. We also recommend having children’s versions of medicines available. Even if you don’t have children of your own, you never know when a tiny houseguest might need some immediate relief.
Do you have three of each item crowding your cabinet? Move the extra items to another area such as a linen closet or kitchen pantry. You can continue to keep them organized by creating small bins labeled by type of product (i.e. “Lotions”, “Digestion”). Keep in mind that some medications and cosmetic products become less effective when stored in areas of high humidity or heat and you should always keep items out of reach of children.
Re-stock First Aid Kit
You probably use your first aid kit more during the warmer weather months, so make sure it is stocked and ready. Your at-home emergency kit should include Band-Aids, sterile wash for cleansing wounds, ointment, gauze and burn relief. We also recommend adding extra sunscreen and aloe vera gel for unexpected sunburns. The Red Cross gives you a complete list of items to include. It’s always better to take the time to make sure you’re prepared before an emergency actually happens.
Make it Pretty
You may not think “medicine cabinet” and “pretty” should be used in the same sentence, but we know that the more attractive an area is, the more likely you are to keep it organized. HGTV.com suggests purchasing glass jars for cotton balls or bandages, using small plastic organizers for tweezers and combs and taking advantage of the removable shelves to organize items by size.
Talk to us: What is the most used item in your medicine cabinet?
Richard Louv, author of “The Nature Principle,” coined a term that we should all have in our vocabulary. He calls it “nature-deficit disorder” and it revolves around the aspect that when we stop spending time in nature, our health, spiritual and physical well-being and other areas of life start to hinder. He attributes spending time in nature to the general association of feeling alive and stresses the importance of taking the time to get outside.
Unfortunately for some of us, especially those who live in large cities like New York, it can be quite difficult to make time to connect with nature. That’s why we’ve put together a few ideas to get your inner-Earth loving spirit flowing.
Spend a Weekend in Central Park
If you live in New York City, you have one benefit that most city dwellers lack: access to Central Park. Central Park is an oasis in the midst of one of the busiest cities in America. Its design was intended to create a unique experience for the inhabitants of New York and is still one of the most popular ways for New Yorkers (and surrounding metropolitan cities) to connect with nature. From miles of bike paths to giant rolling hills and beautifully lined walking paths, there is never a shortage of things to do. Head outside and spend a few days in Central Park to forget about the big city that surrounds you.
Connect with The Nature Conservancy
If you want to connect with nature while making a difference, check out The Nature Conservancy. They have locations and operations all over America, including big cities like New York. With a mission to protect the Earth that we live on, they work to make sure that people will be able to connect with nature for years to come. The Nature Conservancy has dozens of preserves and protected places across New York that you can visit or volunteer at. This is definitely a great way to connect with nature and make you feel truly alive.
Bring Some Nature Indoors
If you have trouble getting outside and want to make sure that you are still connecting with nature on a daily basis, bring some indoors! There are tons of plants that bring you both mental and physical benefits from having them in your home. Some of these include the spider plant, peace lily, aloe vera and even dandelions. All of them will help bring you closer to nature day-in and day-out… just remember to take care of them!
At the end of the day, it is important to connect with nature. If you’re not convinced, World Environment Day has put together this awesome fact sheet to help demonstrate the vast benefits that arise from being one with nature.
Another way to make sure you are connecting with nature every day is by opting for eco-friendly cleaners in your home and office. Check out some of Greenhouse Eco-Cleaning’s products for a great alternative to the harmful products on the market. As always, if you have any other creative ways to connect with nature, comment below or write on our Facebook page!