28 Jan 2015

The Project - Introduction - Family Room Renovation

My daughter and I decided we are going to do a low budget, DIY update to our dark, cluttered family room.  The catch with this reno is that we want to do it green!  Our plan is to reuse or repurpose as much as we can by shopping second hand stores and Kijiji instead of buying new items and we will donate or sell what we no longer need, keeping as much as we can from going to  the landfill. We will also be looking for other ways we can be green in this project.
Come along for the ride as we head into this green adventure we affectionately call "The Project."
staircase, green renovation, TJ's Green Adventure
 Do you have a project you would like to do "green?"

25 Jan 2015

Space mission

purpose:  to increase space by donating/selling stuff that has been hanging around too long
captain:  Toni
co-captain:  Marlee
when:  Dec 8, 2014
where:  basement and spare bedroom
duration:  1 day

Prepare for take-off
  • lots of boxes
  • sharpie for labeling boxes 
  • bag for garbage
  • ipod and dock for motivating music
purging, donate, TJ's green adventure

Over the years, boxes of undealt with stuff has accumulated in a few rooms in our house and it's time to take back the space.  We spent a good part of the day going through boxes and bags in the office in our basement.  I thought we would come up with a lot of things to donate, but it turns out that most of the stuff was recycled.  There was a lot of paper; newsletters, magazines, school work.  There were a couple items that I will put up for sale on Kijiji and only one small bag of garbage.  We found some interesting things, too.  There was a couple bags of school papers that were Marlee's from probably grade 3.  We had some good laughs looking at them.  Then, most of them got recycled.  I think the best find was a Mother's Day activity where Marlee answered questions sharing how she viewed me at that time.  This was a treasure we decided to keep. 

We emptied 10 boxes that day and cleared out the space underneath an 8 ft table that Marlee uses for crafting.  She has space under there now to store her supplies.

We are continuing to work away at dealing with all the stuff.  Since then, we have emptied a couple more boxes and we went through everything in our furnace room.  We came across a kids plastic toy that was no good anymore and needed to be thrown out.  I debated whether to put it in the blue box because I didn't want to contaminate the contents with something that was not recyclable.  I took another look at it in better light and was pleased to find the recycle symbol, so I could put it in the blue box.

Do you have an accumulation of stuff that you need to get rid of?  Will you purge responsibly or send it all to the landfill?

17 Jan 2015

Consumed by consumerism

It seems that the more we have, the more we want.  We have to have the latest and greatest.  BUT, having more stuff  is about more than just having more stuff.  Have you ever thought about what is behind the stuff?  What it takes to get resources to make a product, the resources that are used up, the pollution created to make it and ship it and what happens to it when you don't want it anymore?  The YouTube video Story of Stuff sums it up very well.  Take a look at this video and see what you think.


Does this video change the way you view stuff?

10 Jan 2015

Plants that clean the air

Our homes are full of things that give off volatile organic compounds (VOC's) which are harmful to our health.  Sources of VOC's include furniture, fabrics, cleaning products, paint and carpet.  The good news is that there are houseplants that clean VOC's from the air.

I found this slideshow online that is very informative about different houseplants that clean the air and what substances they remove from the air.  Click the link in the photo caption below to check it out.

15 houseplants for improving indoor air quality 
It's good to know that I already have some of these plants in my home working to clean the air. 

What houseplants do you have in your home that clean the air?


4 Jan 2015

Recycling binders

Staples stores in southwestern Ontario has just announced that you can drop off your old binders for recycling.  This is great news!  I never liked throwing out old binders and now I can recycle them.

Teachers and students can work together to set up collection boxes in their schools.  Offices can too.
Check out this information that I got from the Staples website here!

Binder Recycling Program at Staples®

If you don't know if there's a Staples store in your area, click here to find a Staples store near you! They accept all makes and models of binders.

I am going to look around and see if I still have any of those old binders laying around.  Do you have any binders you will recycle?


3 Jan 2015

Get with the program

Using Less Natural Gas
A while back, I purchased a programmable thermostat and had it installed.  Union Gas had a promotion where they would reimburse you $25 for the purchase.  We bought ours on sale so it ended up costing me under $10. 
programmable thermostat, energy conservation, TJ's Green Adventure

Last year was the first full winter using it.  We bought a 7 day programmable thermostat, which works best for our family because every day we have a different schedule.  As many parts of Canada and the United States experienced this past winter season, we had a long, cold winter, breaking several records for cold temperatures. 
Here’s what we paid for heat with a programmable thermostat:
mid-Dec 2013 to mid-Mar 2014     $465
versus the winter before without a programmable thermostat:
mid-Dec 2012 to mid-Mar 2013     $455                                                           
So, with all that cold weather, the furnace running constantly some days trying hard to warm up the house and some days the house never reaching the temperature it was supposed to, we only paid $10 more this year over what we paid last year. 
Union Gas is still offering the rebate for programmable thermostats purchased between Jan 1, 2015 and Mar 31, 2014.  If you miss this rebate period, check it out anyway.  They may have posted a coupon with a new expiry date.  Here is their link to download the coupon: Union Gas Rebate Coupon
While you’re at it, you can check out their web page to read tips on how to conserve energy.

Do you have a programmable thermostat installed and programmed?