10 Easy Ways to Go Green at Home

Thank you to Direct Energy for sponsoring today’s post and helping me share some of the ways we’re making our home a little more eco-friendly #DEsmarthome.  As always, opinions are 100% my own.

Around our home, we’ve made small changes that make a big difference to the environment and, in turn, our wallets. Growing up in the country created a strong connection to nature for both my husband and I. Our moms were composting long before that became the “cool” thing to do, and reducing, reusing and recycling were just part of farm life. Now, many years later, we embrace being eco-friendly and try our best to leave the smallest footprint on the environment as we can.

Think it’s hard? Not really. It’s about making simple changes both inside and out…

Easy Ways to Go Green at Home

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Decorating My First Apartment {A Look Back}

My son is on Easter Break this week and we’ve been working on registration for his post-secondary classes next year. It seems like not that long ago we were buying kindergarten school supplies, but that’s the way it goes. When I think back to my first year of college, I remember it being an exciting time. I shared a two bedroom apartment with a friend, and I was thrilled to “set up house” for the first time. It’s a memory that’s still so clear to me.

Back then finances were tight, and my decorating budget was basically nothing. If it wasn’t for garage sale fix-ups and a few items purchased by my parents, our living room would’ve been empty. My grandparents even helped out by going through their cupboards and closets, and giving me the stuff they never used (at least that’s what they said). I still have a set of sheets from back then and the odd pot and pan kicking around (some things just aren’t made the way they used to be).

The following years at university continued to test my skills as a decorator, as frugal living became the norm. I bought sheets on a major discount and sewed them into curtains, I painted my own artwork, and recovered a chair or two.

Decorating Your First Apartment- Create Your Own Watercolor Artwork

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I also began to “rescue” furniture from the side of the road and the odd dumpster. I guess I was repurposing and upcycling before I even knew what that meant.

Hanging Vase Made Out of a Lightbulb

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Holiday Countdown Series Recap {Week Three}

How was your week? I really don’t know where October went and I’m feeling the same way about November. Can you believe we’re already on week three of the Holiday Countdown? I’m so glad I’ve been able to stay on track, despite being distracted by so many other things going on in my life right now. I’m finding it hard to wrap my head around my son applying to universities and colleges for next year, and doing all the research and helping him make a decision about what he wants to do in this next stage of his life is a bit overwhelming. I don’t think I’m ready for this! Nevertheless, the fog always seems to clear, and I know he’ll find a good fit.

Holiday Countdown Series on Satori Design for Living

 

This past week, I’ve been busy considering some furniture pieces for our basement (need to order very soon!), as well as getting my craft on with a few small projects for the One Item Project Challenge. On Sunday, my husband put up the Christmas lights, since it was rather lovely outside. We won’t be turning them on until the end of the month or beginning of December, although some of my neighbors have started already.

This year I’ve decided to use the same decorating scheme I did last year- silver, white, smoke and turquoise, but I’m thinking of adding some gold. Of course, I’ll still be mixing in natural materials, such as pine cones, birch, greenery, etc. I love how the natural and glam look side by side, and mixed metals-ooh la la! I can’t wait…

 

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Where I Shop for Home Decor Deals

Over the past few years, I’ve seen the accessibility of designer furniture and accessories increase to the general public. This is especially true for online shopping, which seems to be more popular than ever. Since I introduced E-Design to my list of services starting this past September, I’ve discovered a whole new list of amazing web-based shopping resources.

I still like to get out of my office and shop local stores on a regular basis. I love seeing the unique and interesting ways retailers put displays together and nothing beats being able to see a color in its true form or being able to feel the texture of an item with my own hands. I also like being able to interact with shop associates who can give me the low down on products and upcoming trends, and allow me to bounce ideas off them for projects. However, the flip side is that goods at many retail stores are pricier, can be expensive to ship and require more time to find. As a result, many of the items I use in designs end up coming from an online shop.

I typically reserve my list of resources for clients, but after receiving emails from readers asking where I find my decorative items, I thought I’d share a few of my favorites. Let’s face it, most of us have a budget, but we don’t want to sacrifice quality and design. These online shops are a great balance.

Joss & Main is a daily collection of unique items including wallpaper, area rugs, storage solutions, pillows and so much more at discounted prices.
 
Decorative Pillow at Joss & Main

 

I love their ‘Curator’s Collection’ where they ask designers and bloggers to select a grouping to display for sale.

I Heart Organizing on Joss & Main

 

To shop Joss & Main, it’s as simple as signing up for a free membership. If you’re not already a member, here’s a link to a personal invitation from me to get in on the deals.

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Meal Planning {Everyday Made Easy}

Back in my days as a teacher, there are a few things I added to my weekly routine to keep my home life running smoothly (or at least to keep my sanity). In the early days when I was lucky to keep my head above water, I’d think about what we were going to eat for dinner when I arrived home from work or my son’s hockey practice. Needless to say, out came the hamburger helper, frozen chicken fingers or another less than healthy or desirable option- yuck!

Eventually I grew tired of feeling frazzled at mealtime and eating food that lacked nutrition, variety and great taste. I also noticed that although my pantry was full, there really wasn’t anything to eat. I had fallen into the “oh it’s on sale and I may need it someday” trap. At some point you end up with 13 cans of pineapple chunks!

I decided to finally do something about it and created a meal planning system. It took some tweaking to get it right, but basically I was able to eventually implement something that works for us.

{via Ex Fat Gurl}

In order for meal planning to work the best, you need to spend some time getting your kitchen organized. If your pantry is stacked miles high with no rhyme or reason and you’re not sure what’s at the back of your fridge, you’re going to continue wasting money. Take the time to do it right. If you need some help with this, I wrote a post a few months ago called Organizing 101: The Pantry.

Although my schedule is more flexible now, I haven’t let meal planning fall by the wayside. It takes a small amount of time, but yields very big results. Once you see how easy it is to set up your own system and put it into practice, you’ll find it hard to believe you haven’t been doing it all along. And, best of all, your family will enjoy well-balanced meals that don’t deplete your savings!

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