Woman and boy recycling
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"For both financial and environmental reasons, life is all about making do with what we have," says Sophie Uliano, whose latest book, "Do it Gorgeously," was designed to help even the most DIY-challenged women reduce, reuse, recycle and repair nearly everything. "You'd be surprised how many common household items can help us reduce our impact on the environment, improve our quality of life and even our health."
Going green also goes hand-in-hand with saving money. Uliano offers some advice for doing your part for the environment -- and your pocketbook:
* Create your own furniture polish. Mix 1 cup of olive oil, 1/4 cup of white vinegar, 1/4 teaspoon each of orange and lemon essential oils in a measuring cup and pour the polish into a small squirt bottle, or reuse an old shampoo or conditioner bottle with a flip top.
* Use the vinegar to brighten dingy dishcloths, socks and rags. Just add a cup of vinegar to a large pot of boiling water. Drop in the items, remove the mixture from the heat and allow it to sit overnight.
* Don’t waste rolls of paper towels cleaning up spilled egg or tomato seeds. Sprinkle salt over the spill and then wipe it up. You'll use a lot less cleaning materials.
* “To keep my family's green routine intact, I leave eco-smart messages around my house reminding everyone to turn off the lights or bring reusable bags to the grocery store," says Uliano.
* Get creative with your recycling/repurposing efforts. Find new ways to use items that you might otherwise throw out. For example, instead of disposing of the cardboard tube once the roll of paper towels is done, why not use it to store and protect your child's homework assignments or artwork? Simply roll up the papers, slip them inside the tube, and label the tube according to subject.
* Return to nature when it's time to clean house. Everyday household products like lemons, lemon juice, baking soda and even hydrogen peroxide can help you clean up in an environmentally friendly way. Lemons have many uses, such as cleaning a wooden cutting board by rubbing it with half a cut lemon. Baking soda is a natural odor neutralizer: sprinkle some in your kitchen garbage pail to remove odors before you insert the liner. And hydrogen peroxide, mixed with equal parts of distilled water, is a great general home disinfecting spray.