Decluttering the Earth-Friendly Way

Decluttering the Earth-Friendly Way

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Most people have a tendency to collect and hold onto things long after they love them or even still find them useful. It is a human trait that seems almost universal. However, it can pose a problem, especially if you live in a small home or you value your space because those things we all accumulate can take up a lot of space and become the kind of clutter which can stress us out and make us feel embarrassed about out homes. Such clutter can even prove a health and safety risk, especially if you have children, once it reaches a critical point.

If you’ve reached the point, for whatever reason, where you want to free  yourself and your family from your accumulated clutter, here’s how you can do it without harming the planet unduly:

Take it Room by Room

First of all, if you want to successfully declutter, you need to ensure it’s not too overwhelming. The easiest way to do this is by taking it one room at a time, not trying to do too much at once. Just doing one room on each day of the weekends will ensure you get rid of your clutter pretty quickly, and that you actually get it done.

Recycle Electronics

If you have a lot of old electronics that you want to declutter, please do not throw them in the trashcan, where they will end up at landfill, leaking poisonous chemicals into the land which could harm wildlife and make the future tougher for our children. Recycle them instead. It’s possible to recycle everything from smartphones to batteries, and in some cases, you can even earn money for yourself or a favorite charity by doing so.

Decluttering Old Clothes

If it’s old clothes that you’re wondering what to do with, you have a number of options. If they are still in very good condition, you could sell them on eBay, Craigslist or similar or donate them to a local charity for resale. If they aren’t in the best condition, you could reuse them as cleaning rags or even to create your own rag rugs, sell them to a consignment store or have them recycled. There is no need to ever trash fabrics especially because companies like dirtcheaprubbishremoval.com.au will recycle as much of your rubbish as they can for you. That means, even if there are no textile recycling options available in your local area, your clothes won’t end up in the trash and eventually at the dump where they do absolutely no one any good.

CDs, DVDs, and Books

The best thing to do with these media when you’re recycling is to simply sell them or donate them to a charity dvds4vets.org/donate. Depending on what they are, local libraries or schools may also be happy to have them, and it will keep them from going to landfill.

Medications

If you happen to have a lot of expired medications and supplements that you want to declutter, first check if your local area has a medication take-back program. If it doesn’t, you are going to want to either incinerate them or ask a local pharmacist if they can dispose of them for you because, if you simply throw them in the trash they could be eaten by pets or wildlife, and if you flush them, they will end up in our oceans.

It may take a little more thought to declutter in an earth-friendly way, but it is so worth it for the sakes of our children and our planet,

 

4 Burglar-Deterring Garden Plants

4 Burglar-Deterring Garden Plants

It’s fair to say that the threat of home invasion is a major one for every family. The idea of losing your possessions and having your home be raided by thieves is one that sends a shiver down even the sternest of spines.

Technology has allowed us to make our homes safer than ever, of course. We can all take our time selecting the best from https://homesecuritysystem.co, installing it, then sitting back and feeling more secure in our home. A good home security system is essential, but it needn’t be the only way you keep your home as safe as possible.

Sometimes, the oldest methods for home protection still have a lot to offer in the modern world. For example, the plants we choose for our gardens. If you choose the right plants and shrubs, then a burglar won’t want to tangle with them, instead moving on to other, less-well-protected homes. While these plants cannot replace your overall home security system, they can enhance it.

So which burglar-terrifying plants should you be selecting for your yard?

 

Creeping Juniper

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Also known as Juniperus horizontalis, this progressive and extremely prickly plant is perfect to cover areas that a burglar might see as an entry point — and its green/blue shades look pretty good too. For extra decorative appeal, the female plants produce berries — though you wouldn’t want to eat them!

 

Holly

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Ask anyone to think of a prickly plant they wouldn’t want to wade through, and holly would probably be number one on the list. Holly is synonymous with Christmas, but actually needs to be planted in spring for the best results. If you want berries, you’ll need to plant a female holly close to male bushes — this guide https://www.thespruce.com/ will ensure you can tell them apart. Best of all, any burglar that sees this easily-identifiable plant in their way is going to swiftly change direction.

 

Blackberries

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Not only are blackberries delicious, they also grow on prickly, painful shrubs that are easy to grow. As with holly, another benefit of blackberries is that most of us can recognize a blackberry plant, so any burglars will know they should turn in the opposite direction. Blackberry shrubs usually grow wild, but they’re easy to grow by hand and turn into a garden-protecting force to be reckoned with.

 

Roses

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Every rose has its thorn, and it’s the thorn that is going to keep burglars away from your home. Most of us know roses for their beauty, but there’s no denying their appeal when it comes to keeping burglars firmly on the outside looking in. A good option is climbing roses which you can train over gates, fences, and even the wall of your home, perfect to prevent burglars from leaping a fence to gain access to your property.

Planting any of the above will guarantee that your house is unattractive to burglars, helping to ensure your house is as safe as it can possibly be — so you and your family can sleep easier.

 

This is a collaborative post with the yourorganicchild.com 

How To Save Money As A Modern Family

How To Save Money As A Modern Family

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Saving money in the 21st century is more important than it’s ever been, keeping in mind how much things cost nowadays it’s important to be able to keep ontop of your finances to make sure that you’re going to be covered incase anything happens. But to do this, you need to know the best ways to keep everything afloat! So if you carry on reading, you’ll not have to wonder about it anymore.

 

Using Coupons

Coupons are the newest way to save when you’re doing the shopping. Coupons are basically discounts, they allow you to get items from a certain retailer for a fraction of the price, provided you have one! This is the problem with coupons, however there is a way to circumvent this drawback. Websites like DontPayFull.com allow you to redeem coupons online from many different retailers, meaning you can spend less of your money and still get the same amount of things, saving you the money you need!

 

Get A Smart Meter

This is an excellent way to chop down on bills that might be creeping up on you! A lot of us spend way too much money on gas and electric bills, and if you want to start saving money you have to cut this down! It can be hard to know how to do this, but if you get a smart meter this gets a lot easier for you. A smart meter allows you to see how much money you’re going to have to pay on your utility bills each month, allowing you to adjust your gas, electric and water use so you can cut everything down! This can be just simple things like not using the heating as often or turning everything off after you’re done with it, but i can save you a lot of money!

 

Cook Everything From Scratch

This may seem slightly odd as a lot of people do this already, but it can save you a lot of money if you’re willing to put the time into it! Cooking food that you’ve not purchased already prepared can save you a lot of money because you’re not paying for the convenience of it being already prepared, you’re doing it all yourself! Some people’s lives are too busy to do this, and though you may think that this is you, but if you give it a try you’ll find that it’s doable! If you’re looking for some ideas to feed the family with that you can do yourself, go no further than thesimpledollar.com.

 

Doing all of these things is going to save you a lot of money, giving you more to save or play with! If you cook your own meals you’ll save a substantial amount on your food bill, you’ll know when to cut down on your water, gas and electricity usage with a smart meter saving you even more money and if you try to shop with online coupons as often as you can you’ll find that you’ll have a surprising amount of money left over!  It can be hard to know what to shop for when getting food as they are seasonal, but if you read this you’ll not have to worry!

 

When Change Does A Family A Lot Of Good

When Change Does A Family A Lot Of Good

No family is perfect. That much we can accept is a universal truth. But that doesn’t mean that there isn’t a lot we can do to change and improve our family. We can be kinder to one another, we can have more fun together, we can help fulfill each other, we can do better for our part in the world. But you have to work to change your family. Here are a few changes that you might have to take the lead on making.

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Appreciate the bright spots

Let’s start by saying that you should never think about changing absolutely everything about your family. There’s a good chance that some shared interests, rituals, or even ways that they help out you, each other, and the community already exist. If that’s the case, make sure you show that you appreciate that behavior. Praise it in your children, be thankful for it in your partner. Focus on those bright spots in the family life and show appreciation for them. Not only is it a way to show the family that you value them, but it’s also a bit of positive reinforcement that gets them on board to get more of the same, which can be a great facilitator for change.

Building family rituals

Bonds are best made by shared experiences and there’s a lot of opportunity to get them in the family. Some of these can become family rituals that are repeated every year or every other year. They might be silly and even a little mundane, like having a family video night or the occasional bowling trip with one another. They are also likely to evolve in time based on interests or what kind of availability the family has as they grow up. Accept those evolutions, but make sure that you always have a ritual or two to come back to. It can form the backbone of warm memories that last a lifetime for your children.

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Finding fun together

A shared hobby can go a lot further than a ritual that the whole family can get involved in. If you have the time, consider finding the hobbies that you can share with individual children. If one of them is sporty, perhaps you can join a tennis or golfing club with them. If one of them is showing a creative streak, then getting into new crafts projects with them can give you the chance to collaboratively express yourselves. If you have a reader in the family, a book club of two can be hugely enriching for both of you. Hobbies are great connecting forces and encouraging shared hobbies between family members can bring everyone a lot tighter together.

Getting away from it all

One of the most exciting and positive ways to get the family to change is to give them a change of scenery. Sometimes, sticking to a familiar environment exclusively can be something of a catalyst to rising tensions, frustration, or boredom. Having somewhere you can get away to now and then can make a huge difference. Whether that’s taking a road trip, having a favorite camping spot, or looking at a new condo launch to find a vacation home. The change in environment can offer a change in perspective, and it also allows you to get away from many of the mundane challenges of home that can build up and really become an issue for some members of the family. More than anything, it provides another opportunity to build shared memories.

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Making the world better

Perhaps you’re worried that your family isn’t contributing much. You might be worried that they’re not playing an active enough role in being better people, being responsible, and doing better for the world. When it comes to instilling such deep and important values, you have to lead by example and get them learning as soon as possible. Start making green changes to the home and start talking to them about how to be more environmentally ethical. It’s a great idea to show them exactly what you’re hoping to protect with them, as well. A trip to a national park every now and then and the chance to spot natural beauty on any family vacations abroad serve as a better example for younger minds than facts and figures.

Building connections

The community is suffering, and that’s partly because families no longer have the close connections that they used to. However, good friends and the support of people outside the immediate family can be tremendously important to growing up with a healthy sense of connection to the world. To that end, it’s a good idea to find opportunities for you and the kids to get more involved in the community. It might mean joining a local organization doing volunteer work in the area. Perhaps it might involve setting up a book club or finding playdates for them. It’s becoming harder for parents to teach their children how to socialize, so finding those opportunities to make a big difference.

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Having the big talks

Activities, opportunities, and shared experiences are all well and good. But they are no replacement for good communication. The ability to get your child to share (almost) everything with you and the ability to be able to talk to them maturely about important concepts such as money and values can seem like a rare treasure. But it’s not truly all that difficult to build up. You just have to make the time. Ten minutes of uninterrupted talk with each child, where they don’t have video games or homework as a distraction and you’re not trying to push any agenda, can be a huge help. Ask them about their day. Be a good listener. Show empathy if they’re talking about bad or sad feelings by offering a simple touch or a hug. Take time for what they want to communicate, so they know how it’s done when you have something you want to communicate.

The idea of changing the people you love, or even yourself, might sound scary to a lot of people and you shouldn’t try to force change. Rather, you should work to lead the way, inviting the family to join you. Get them excited and collaborative, rather than trying to pressure them.

 

Toxic Chemicals That Could Be Hiding In Your Laundry Detergent

Toxic Chemicals That Could Be Hiding In Your Laundry Detergent

Toxic Chemicals That Could Be Hiding In Your Laundry Detergent

In the past few years, there has been more news coverage about the chemicals that are commonly used in both household cleaning products and personal care products. The most dangerous product in our homes is also one of the most used cleaning products. Laundry products are full of harmful and toxic chemicals that can easily enter your body and the environment. The question of how are these chemicals dangerous and what can you do to limit your exposure to them is an important one.

The Danger of Using Certain Laundry Products

A study conducted by the University of Washington revealed that many popular laundry products have hidden ingredients. This can include over a hundred of chemicals hidden behind ingredients like fragrance. The worst part is that at least one of these hidden chemicals have been classified as hazardous or toxic under federal laws. In the same study, there were almost 100 volatile organic compounds or VOCs found in six products.

Another study that was done in 2011, by the same researchers, found the air that was vented from laundry machines using the top-selling scented laundry detergent and dryer sheets contained high levels of toxic chemicals. The worst part is that even when you stop using these products, the chemicals are still being released for a few loads afterward. The analysis of the captured air from the air vent of the test dryer had over 25 VOCs, which included 7 hazardous pollutants. Two of these chemicals were Benzene and acetaldehyde, which are classified as carcinogens.

Chemicals That You Should Be Avoiding In Your Laundry Products

Most laundry products have long lists of ingredients that are printed in small print because most people never turn the bottle around to read what is in these products. However, turning the bottle around can tell you a lot about a product and how ‘green’ the product really is. Here are just a few of the laundry product ingredients that you should be avoiding for health reasons.

 Fragrance

As stated above, fragrance is one ingredient that can hide hundreds of chemicals. The worst part is that most of them are not used to clean or scent our products. Most times, fragrance is used to trick us into believing that clean clothes need to have a smell.

According to EWG, fragrances are one of the top five allergens in the world and can easily trigger asthma attacks. The Environmental Working Group also revealed that around 75 percent of fragrances have phthalates in them. Phthalates are linked to hormone disruption, obesity, and diabetes. You should also be careful with essential oils and natural fragrances because they could have processed using harmful solvents to save time and money.

Stabilizers

Stabilizers are a group of chemicals that are used to stabilize the formula of the laundry detergent. Some stabilizers include ethylene oxide and polyethylene oxide, which have both been linked to lung and eye irritation. They can also cause dermatitis.

Bleach

Sodium hypochlorite or household bleach is well-known for having extremely toxic properties. There are people who attribute bleach to more home poisonings than any other cleaning chemical. When bleach reacts with organic materials, it creates chlorinated VOC’s, which can be very toxic and are classified as human carcinogens. When bleach is used in workplaces, OSHA requires gloves and a mask to be worn by the user and people who are working in the area. Scientists also only handle bleach when they have a mask and gloves on and the room is well ventilated. Now think about all the times that you have not used gloves and a mask when using bleach for laundry or cleaning.

Chlorine bleach is commonly used in cleaning products, include laundry soap. It is both highly potent and corrosive. Even breathing the fumes in can cause irritation to the eye and respiratory tract. If it happens to get on skin, it can cause chemical burns and bleached areas. However, it gets worse when you start adding in other chemicals. Depending on the chemicals that are mixed with chlorine bleach, a noxious gas can be created, which can be fatal. Ingesting bleach in any amount can create permanent damage to the mouth and throat, which can also be fatal if left untreated.

Continued bleach exposure is very dangerous because the toxins in the body start building up, so these toxins place stress on the lungs, kidneys, and liver. Most times, exposure to chlorine on its own is linked to the development of breast cancer.

Surfactants

Surfactants are cleaning agents, which are added to formulas to improve the cleaning power of the laundry product. There are many surfactants that are used in laundry detergent, but Naphtha or petroleum distillate is one of the most common because it is made from synthetic crude oil, which is used to dissolve dirt and grease. There is research that links Naphtha to damaged lung and mucous membranes, along with asthma, inflammation, and cancer.

Another common surfactant is phenol. There are people who are sensitive to phenol and experience severe side effects including death. Phenol is absorbed quickly by our skin and spreads quickly throughout the whole body, damaging the kidneys, heart, blood vessels and the nervous system.

NPE

NPE can also be listed as nonylphenol ethoxylates, which is an inexpensive, non-ionic surfactant. This chemical has been banned in both the EU and Canada, but it can still be used and found in products sold in the USA. NPE has a long list of health concerns, which includes damaging fetal development. It has also been shown in research to cause fish and shellfish to develop both sex organs because NPE interfered with the hormones during development.

LAS

LAS is also called linear alkyl benzene sulfonates, which are a type of synthetic petrochemicals. They can also be listed as anionic surfactants in ingredient lists. LAS is a common surfactant that is used in laundry detergents and can take up to 30 percent of the total product weight. LAS is a carcinogen and reproductive toxin. The EWG has classified LAS as a product that causes ‘some level of concern’ for the environment.

Phosphates and EDTA

Phosphates are added to laundry products to make them more effective in hard water. They can remove stains and dirt by softening the washing water and allows more suds to form quickly, which helps the cleaning power of a product. The main issue is that phosphates remain active even once the water enters that waste-water treatment process. These chemicals end up in lakes and rivers and cause increased levels of algae growth. Increased algae growth can kill all types of marine life because it removes the oxygen in the water. Phosphates have been known to be dangerous since the early 1970’s, so most laundry companies have stopped using them.

Today, EDTA or Ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid is used. While it is not as harmful as phosphates, this chemical is still toxic. In lab tests, EDTA has been found to damage DNA and kill cells in lab animals. EDTA matches phosphates ability to withstand water treatments, so it is not normally biodegradable.

 1,4–Dioxane

This chemical can be listed as Dioxane, Diethylene Oxide or 1,4–Dioxane and is a chemical by-product of ethoxylation. This is one of the ways that companies make sudsier, softer detergents, without having to spend a lot of money. Since 1,4–Dioxane is not an intentional ingredient, manufacturers are not legally required to list it, unless they add extra amounts of the chemical in their products. 1,4–Dioxane is a well-known carcinogen.

The problem is that dioxane is very toxic and is currently in over two-thirds of the laundry detergents on the market. Since it is so commonly used in laundry detergent, the United States Environmental Protection Agency has started to consider dioxane an increasing threat to water supplies.

Brighteners

Just about every laundry product on the market advertises that they brighten your clothing but these products are not really brightening your clothing. Instead, there are chemicals that stay on the items and absorb UV light, which makes them ‘appear’ to be brighter. So, when brightening chemicals stay on the clothing, we are exposed to higher amounts of them because our skin absorbs the chemicals. Common brighteners include benzoxazolyl, diaminostilbene disulfonate, and naphthotriazolystilbenes, with many of them being linked to changes to reproductive and developmental processes.

Many people believe that they are not exposed to enough of these chemicals to have any adverse side effects. However, the average family in the US washes about 80 pounds of laundry every week. That is a huge amount of laundry and chemicals that you are being exposed to. The budget concerns about switching to natural laundry products are a concern, but there are ways that you can limit your exposure without spending excessive amounts of money.

Wear Gloves and a Mask

If you have to use harsh laundry products like bleach or other whitening products, you should make sure that you are at least wearing gloves. It would be a better option to also wear a mask, but this is not always an option. So, ventilating the rooms can limit the exposure. If there are not any gloves available, you should make sure to wash your hands afterward to remove any chemicals that may have gotten on your skin.

Buy the Safest Option that You Can

If you are not a huge fan of making your own laundry products or do not have the time, there are safer laundry products. The EWG has a great guide for laundry products and scores most brands using an easy ranking system. There is also an app that makes shopping easy since you can scan the bar code to find out more about a product.

Clean Your Washing Machine Regularly

Along with chemicals and soap scum, your washing machine can be a breeding ground for bacteria. The easiest way of cleaning out your washing machine is to add white vinegar to your machine and run on the hottest cycle. This should be done once every month, but if anyone has allergies, it should be done more often to help combat excess bacteria in the home.

No More Dryer Sheets

If you want to limit the number of chemicals in your laundry, but still want to reduce the amount of static cling, using a dryer ball is a great option. You can make your own or you can buy some online. You can easily add scent to your clothing because you can add some essentials oils to a damp rag and put it in with your laundry for drying.

Remove Stains Naturally

Instead of using harsh chemical stain removers, you can easily remove stains by creating a pre-treatment using baking soda, washing soda, and water.

For Softer Clothing

Adding a simple half-cup of vinegar to a rinse cycle has the same results as commercial fabric softeners, without the chemicals. This also is cheaper than most commercial fabric softeners, so you can save a huge amount of money on your laundry bill.

The number of chemicals that we expose ourselves to regularly to have ‘clean’ clothes is insane. Many of the chemicals that are still used today are known to be toxic. However, we are not even sure how toxic many products are because many of them are hiding ingredients behind terms like ‘Fragrance’ or are by-products of other chemicals being mixed together. This is a concern since there are limited laws about what chemicals can and cannot be used in household cleaning products. Even ‘green’ products and companies have been found to be using toxic chemicals.

While we cannot stop washing our clothing, we can make the decisions about the brands that we are going to be supporting. EWG makes it easier to find safe products because they rank most products available on the market. This ranking system also includes clear information about the chemicals and their side effects on their website and apps. No matter what choice you make, you should understand the risks that many commonly used chemicals in commercial laundry products are toxic, especially when combined with other chemicals. So, you also have the option of making your own laundry products to reduce the possibility of toxic chemicals when doing your laundry.

 

These are safe options in laundry detergent. Click pictures for more info

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The Dangers of Dental Sealants

The Dangers of Dental Sealants

I just read an article saying that dental sealants are dangerous. This was an eye opener considering I just had sealants put on my son’s 6 year molars. After reading the article, I called the dentist and asked if they can be removed and told them why. Of course,I was told that they never heard of this. They are supposed to call me back to let me know if they can remove them. Sealants contain BPA. The same chemical that was once in baby bottles and was removed. Recent studies have further detailed the health impact of this substance, reported on at News Inferno:

The latest research, the first large BPA study in humans, published last month by the prestigious Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), found a “significant relationship” between exposure to the ubiquitous estrogenic chemical and heart disease, diabetes, and liver problems. Long-standing research points to hormonal disturbances and a variety of cancers and neurological and behavioral problems in adults and children. Also, the National Toxicology Program, part of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), has raised concerns about BPA. Of particular concern is childhood exposure BPA that leaches from polycarbonate baby bottles and the linings of infant formula cans. The 2003-4 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found detectable levels of BPA in 93 percent of urine samples collected from more than 2,500 adults and children over the age of six. BPA may accelerate puberty and raise a potential risk of cancer and, this month, the journal Environmental Health Perspectives reported that BPA might interfere with chemotherapy treatment.”

I can’t believe that dentists are using a chemical like this in sealants. I know to avoid fluoride but I didn’t know anything about sealants. If you or your child has these sealants I would encourage you to call your dentist to see if they can be removed. I was told that sealants wear off after a while and would need to be put on again. If they wear off that means that your are swallowing the substance. This is scary considering what the effects can be.

sources:

BPA information source www.newinferno.com