October 11th, 2013
In a few weeks, I’ll be flying to Seoul, Korea with my parents to celebrate the 70th birthday. Very much looking forward to spending the Fall weeks in one of the most beautiful cities in the world.
But until then, here are 5 tips from my syndicated column Do Just One Thing.
Have a wonderful weekend!
- Are mineral deposits in your showerhead and faucets causing clogs that force them to not function like the first day you installed them? There’s no need to uninstall them or replace them—reach for a freezer bag, rubber band and white vinegar instead. Fill the bag half full with white vinegar and submerge the showerhead in the bag; use the rubber band to secure it to the neck of the showerhead. Leave it for two hours, remove and reuse that same bag filled with vinegar for other showerheads or sink faucets. The mineral deposits will dissolve because the natural acids in vinegar work as a solvent and it’s a non-toxic way to keep them clean.
- Recent reports indicate nearly up to 40% of perfectly fresh and delicious fruits and vegetables are simply thrown away because they are too ugly. Instead of perfectly delicious produce being used to help feed people, it ends up landfilled and totally wasted. Do this one thing: overlook aesthetic beauty when choosing produce and look for the freshest and highest quality instead. When looking at irregularly shaped fruits and veggies, rely on scent to determine if it’s ripe and ready to eat. And touch your produce for skin that is firm and taut to find the tastiest of the ugliest bunch. By buying the ugliest in the bunch, produce won’t go wasted at the supermarket.
- More than $32 billion dollars worth of flower arrangements from over 15,000 local florists are sold every year in the form of congratulatory, thank you or holiday bouquets. From billions of dollars worth of arrangements come millions of glass and ceramic vases that end up stashed under the kitchen sink, in Goodwill donation bins or right into the trash can once the flowers have wilted away. If you want to find a home for your unwanted vessels, think about contacting the local florist who brought you the arrangement. Often they’ll take back the vase and reuse them to create new arrangements. It’s an easy way to reduce waste and support a local business.
- Ever wonder what to do with old metal keys you no longer need? The good news is that they are 100% recyclable since most household keys are comprised of brass with a nickel coating. All you have to do is remove any plastic covers you might have on the key and bring them to any scrap metal or recycling facility in your community and deposit them into the mixed metals bin. Old keys are recycled and melted down to make new metal products. And here’s another idea on what to do with lots of old keys: have a key fundraising drive. Ask everyone to bring old keys from their junk drawer and sell the whole lot of keys to a scrap metal dealer. Local businesses like car dealers and realtors could also done tons of keys to help you raise money, too.
- While antique and vintage furniture is the greenest way to furnish a home, sometimes you can’t find the right piece and want something new. One type of sustainable wood furniture new to market is called mango wood and it’s from the fruit bearing trees of the same name. Mango trees are fast-growing (can grow up to 100 feet in height quickly) and bear fruit for about 15 years. Once the trees stop producing fruit, they are cut down and replaced with new trees by the farmers who cultivate them. In addition to being sustainable, mango wood is stylish: it comes in beautiful natural colors ranging from blonde to a dark brown. And since they come from mango farms that quickly replenish the trees over time, mango wood furniture is affordable, too.
October 10th, 2013
Things are changing and new content, projects, videos and more will be migrating from here to my main website dannyseo.com in a few weeks.
Stay tuned and stay green!
October 7th, 2013
I might have a rug shopping addiction. Starting to realize it.
I’ve been buying rugs and deciding they aren’t right for this house. Most I’ve returned and a few I’ve used in my 1920′s cottage house on the Delaware River where they actually look great and do a fabulous job to cozy up the upstairs bedroom.
This antique kilim rug is a new find: I found it in a quaint store in Lambertville, NJ and loved the deep colors, unusual pattern and fringe ends.
Do we like for this living room? Should it go here (and replace the rug underneath) or go underneath the coffee table by the fireplace?
And I await my rug buying intervention in 3…2…1….
October 4th, 2013
Here are five easy ways to go green from my syndicated column Do Just One Thing.
Have a wonderful weekend.
- A flurry of fruit flies in the kitchen can be annoying and they can be hard to get rid of. Instead of reaching for chemical insecticides to spray around the kitchen (because spraying poison where you prepare food is not a good idea), head to your bathroom medicine cabinet instead. Reuse a plastic misting bottle and fill it with rubbing alcohol and mist the air where the fruit flies are flying around. The drying effects of the alcohol will effectively kill them on the spot.
- The Environmental Protection Agency estimates the average American throws away about 70 pounds of textiles every year. While many of us know lightly worn clothes can be easily donated to charities like Goodwill and The Salvation Army, what do you do with old bath towels, worn sheets and blankets? Give them a good wash in the washing machine and donate them to your local animal shelter. Since many pound puppies and cats have to sleep on concrete floors or cold metal cages, any warmth from old bedding, blankets and towels will be put to good use. And while you’re at it, pick up some meat-based baby food at the supermarket: shelters use this food to feed highly malnourished animals in an effort to nurse them back to health.
- USB flash drives have become ubiquitous at the office and at home as a convenient way to carry lots of data on a small device that can work on any computer with a USB port. For many people, flash drives have become a common staple in the at-home junk drawer. Instead of throwing them away, recycle them instead. RecycleUSB (www.recycleusb.com) has partnered with Sugar Labs to collect used flash drives and reprogram them into free portable and interactive learning environments as if they become a full functioning mobile classroom on a small easy-to-carry thumb drive. All you do is send them your old flash drives and they do the rest; children in Peru, Africa and Asia receive the drives that they use on portable computers to learn.
- Thrift stores can be a green way to reuse something old and save money, too. But according to the Consumer Products Safety Commission, there are commonly found items at these stores that should be avoided at all costs from coming into your home. These items include children’s clothing with drawstring, which can cause a choking hazard; outdated hair dryers that do not have adequate protection from electrocution; halogen lamps that can become a fire hazard in the home; and cribs that fail to meet current standards for safety. Use common sense when shopping for thrift store bargains and check cpsc.gov for updated lists on recalled items.
- Instead of reaching for chemical chlorine bleach to kill mold spores in your home, reach for something just as effective but less toxic: hydrogen peroxide. Insert a clean spray nozzle into a bottle of 3% hydrogen peroxide and saturate the moldy surface completely. Allow to sit for around 10-15 minutes and scrub the surface clean and wipe away using a microfiber towel. The natural anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties of hydrogen peroxide are an effective way to kill mold and can work on a variety of surfaces in almost any room of the house. Added tip: add a little baking soda for stubborn mold as an abrasive and then saturate with the hydrogen peroxide spray.
October 3rd, 2013
There’s been a crisp chill in the air here which means weekends are now spent getting the home ready for the Fall and upcoming winter months.
This large metal cart is something I bought almost immediately after I bought this house. I found it online and when the company called me, they wanted to make sure it was really, truly going to home and not a corporate institution. I guess they sell these carts mostly to warehouses and factories, but I think it works quite nicely here at my house. It’s durable, too.
All the firewood has been drying out since last Fall when Hurricane Sandy knocked down a few trees. At least one good thing came out of that storm…sort of.
One other thing to prepare: moving the outdoor furniture back into storage under the house.
I made the mistake of assuming if it’s called outdoor furniture, you can leave it outdoors year round. That’s not that case. Each piece of furniture is scrubbed, washed and dried off with microfiber towels and then brought into the basement where it rests on top of wood blocks. It’s a bit time-consuming, yes, but it’s worth it to protect these investment pieces I’ve been buying from antique stores and auction houses.
Okay, it’s almost the weekend! Which means this weekend I’ll be raking the leaves off the roof of my house. Yes, you read that right…. one of the perils of owning a square box-like home.