Ah, another new year… and more resolutions. This time of year, everyone seems to be sharing their tips to “clean up, organize, and reset your life”, but does this annual advice actually help? We all know the stories share one fatal flaw (aside from the fact that they relate to housework). They all encourage you to go out and buy every cleaning agent possible, and even more bins and shelves to hold your stuff. If they’re telling us the same thing every year, can we all agree that it’s NOT working?
Let’s break the cycle this year, and set intentions to develop better habits. Think about cleaning and greening your mind, rather than simply your home – it takes dedicated effort and a conscious choice to change…but the results will make the effort worth it. You’ll be freeing up space (both mental and physical) for new opportunities, challenges and habits.
Following these suggestions will reshape your daily life – each will save you money, save you time, save your health, and will ultimately result in a cleaner and greener home.
Clean up your cleaning act.
Did you know that you can clean every bit of your home with ingredients from your kitchen? By making your own products, you reduce waste and save loads of money. Consider the label, the glue, the packaging and the shipping you avoid! This trumps any “green” cleaner on the market and stops you from guessing if it’s really “eco” or is just marketed that way. This cleaning kit makes it super simple – it will get you on track to the safest, simplest, and most effective clean around (even if you think you are not a DIY type!).
I always get asked about disposing of the conventional, toxic stuff. Toronto offers a remarkable service – free pickup of your Household Hazardous Waste (cleaning chemicals qualify) via the Toronto Toxics Taxi. (Have you ever wondered why stores can sell this stuff to us to clean our homes, but it’s too toxic to throw out?).
Just say no.
Kick your disposable habit. Even if it says biodegradable or compostable, a reusable is still better to swap in for the trashy one. Make the change from:
- Paper napkins to cloth ones
- Paper towels to microfiber cloths
- Water bottles to reusable bottles
- Take Out containers and utensils for Take-Your-Own containers and utensils
- Plastic or paper shopping bags to quality reusable bags (make sure they are washable!)
- Paper cups to reusable mugs
Develop picky eating habits.
If farmers spray their crops with toxic stuff to keep pests and rodents away, why would you eat it?? If you are still shopping at the supermarket instead of farmers’ markets and local health food stores (try those!), shop the outer perimeter of your grocery store, and look for local organics…and, check out the cost of a large container of organic dairy-free yogurt versus individually portioned conventional ones before you decide it’s too expensive. If you keep good food in your kitchen, you’ll eat good food!
Realize that if it’s on you, it’s in you.
Think about all of the ingredients in all of the products you slather on each day. It’s like your own personal laboratory, and there is no reason your body should be the test tube! Remember that the products wash off you down the drains, into our shared water system and inevitably back up our food chain. Given that there are many easily accessible healthy and truly natural options on the market now, choose something responsible. Just make sure to read the label first. If you can’t pronounce it, or don’t know what it is, avoid it.
Become the biggest snob you can be.
Proclaim “not in my cart”. It’s good to be choosy because labels can be deceiving – especially since claims such as natural, eco and green are not regulated. Bright toys with lead paints, toothpaste with pesticides, plastics with hormone disruptors, and foods with toxic chemicals are all reminders that items we consider to be ordinary can be unsafe. With everything you purchase, you are voting with your dollars, so please make the best choice you can (this book can help you!) and you’ll be sending the manufacturers and retailers a clear message about what we want more of.
Our minds are much like our homes. They can both be easily cluttered with our ideas, attitudes and influences, so give them a routine cleaning to rid the old stuff you’re holding onto. They also need an infusion of new, exciting and inspiring ideas and attitudes.
It’s time to get Reshaping, Reducing, Reusing and Recycling…and then help to Remind others they can do the same too.
Lisa Borden, owner of Borden Communications, a BCorp certified company she started in 1994, takes a unique approach to holistically marketing eco-intelligent living, and working. As a self-employed, mother of 3 and eco-advocate, she easily understands the challenges that daily life poses, yet uses it to her benefit to convince everyone that it’s not about balance and perfection, as much as it is about doing the best we can with what we have, that’s defined as “right” by ourselves. Lisa specializes in business development for leading and start-up conscious brands, and personalities, and uses transparent strategies for greenwash-free brand management and socially responsible messaging with proven success. Some of her favourite titles (from a long list) include: Strategist + Catalyst, mother of 3, Enthusiastic Philanthropist, Inspiration Agent, and Wannabe Organic Farmer.