with author Guest Contributor
30 seconds to a new summer home
Elisa All and all of our Friends of Ricki at 30 Second Mom show us how to maximize the summer season and give your home (and yourself!) a makeover – in 30 seconds or less, of course!
Purge and Donate Kaira Rouda suggests donating unwanted treasures to a nonprofit thrift store or other charitable organization. A great form of recycling (and also a tax deduction), donating provides affordable clothes and household items to those who need them. Plus, donation centers divert more than 2 billion pounds from landfills. Teach your kids about the benefits of donating by talking about the next happy child enjoying their outgrown nursery lamp. That's soul lightening!
Co-op (erate) Samantha Kemp-Jackson is all about the green – going green and saving green. “Kids go through clothes quickly! It's an ongoing challenge to keep them outfitted in well-fitting (as well as reasonably-priced) items. Your friends with kids are likely going through the same thing, so why not start a clothing co-op with them? Gently-used hand-me-downs can be shared with fellow parents, saving all who are in the group money. It's also a "green" way of making the most of each clothing item. Connect with other parents and help both the environment and your bank account!”
Take it Outside “A kids' yard sale generates money, organization & fun,” says Holly Budde. Her daughter -- a born entrepreneur – is constantly coming up with ways to earn money, her latest idea – selling old items at a yard sale. “At first I was completely against it, Holly says, “then I decided to let her try it, as long as I got to see everything she was "selling" before it went out.” She set up the sale with a friend, passed out flyers to neighborhood kids and set up signs in allowable places. “Her shoppers were mostly neighborhood kids and I think they exchanged more than they sold. But it was a good exercise for her (not to mention helped me de-clutter)!”
Throw a Garden Party “Gardening is fun and educational for kids, and it has a great end result - food they can eat,” shares Elisa All. If you have some space in the yard, give them their own little plot of land to care for. Take them to a garden center and let them choose the fruits and vegetables they want to plant. Then, help them decide where the seeds or plants should go. Next, have them tend their little garden by watering their plants and checking progress. Later, they can harvest the fruits of their labor, and best of all, eat them!”
DIY Compost Bin Composting is a great way to reduce waste and help our environment, but you may be unsure how to do it.Carrie Wells has an easy-breezy way to get started. “Take a large plastic container and drill six large holes in the lid and six large holes in the bottom. Fill it with 50 percent "brown" items, like cardboard, twigs and dead leaves, and 50 percent "green" items, like banana peels, coffee grinds and rotten vegetables. Raise the bin on a few bricks so it's off the ground, and place it in your yard in an area that gets sun and rain. The result? Nutrient-rich soil for your garden!”
Let the Sunshine In Clean windows lets you make the most of summertime sunshine. Christie Gosch recommends concocting your own window cleaner. “Start by using spray bottles instead of buckets that can spread dirt with each dip,” Gosch says. “Next, make your own economical green cleaning products by combining 32 ounces of water with 4 to 5 drops of organic dish detergent in one spray bottle, then mixing three parts white vinegar to one part water in another spray bottle. Mist the glass with the detergent mixture, to break down surface grease, then immediately follow with a mist of the vinegar mixture. Wipe the window dry using a flour-sack cloth and bask in the sun!”
Cleanse Yourself For most of us, summer includes a few chores between trips to the beach and tossing dinner on the grill. April Bowers suggests we take the cleansing one step further. “Spring is the perfect time to do a 7-day fruit/veggie cleanse; no costly plans needed. Start your morning with warm lemon water, eat as many organic veggies as you'd like during the day (raw or lightly steamed) and limit to 2 servings of fruit. Drink lots of water, veggie broth and herbal tea. Get plenty of rest and you may feel fresh and rejuvenated by end of the week! You may even lose a few pounds, too!”
Take Baby Steps “Sometimes being green is easier if you break it into smaller things you can do each day,” says Jan Mostrom. “For example, you can add a recycling container or two upstairs in your house. Teach your kids to drop in empty toilet paper rolls, Kleenex boxes and all empty containers. Turn the water off when you brush your teeth. Make sure the men in your home don’t continuously run the water when they shave. If you have a newer water-efficient dishwasher, scrape your dishes and rinse them in the dishwasher. It takes much less water than doing it yourself. Small changes can make a big difference!”
A Walk with a Twist “Early summer is the perfect time to take the family on a nature walk,” says Margaret Steck. “If you’ve ever taken a walk in the woods or a park and you wondered what kind of flowers, plants or birds you’ve seen, now you can identify them easily with an app on your smartphone! There are dozens of apps for identifying plants, trees, birds - even insects. It’s a great way to turn a nature walk into a wonderful learning experience (and photo session) for the whole family.“
One of the Founding Friends of Ricki, Elisa All is the founder of 30 Second Mom and the mom of three cool kids.