When it comes to furnishing a new apartment, putting together a wedding registry, or trying to figure out what to do with some of the old things you have, you might find yourself feeling like you’re facing a lot of unnecessary waste. Whether it’s from the wood of the bed frames, the furs of rugs or the thought of tossing out something still perfectly functional that just doesn’t fit with your lifestyle anymore, attempting to live a greener lifestyle extends further than just where your food or clothing comes from.
Particularly if you’re new into the lifestyle, you may find yourself overwhelmed with the choices out there, wondering if there’s an easier way — and there is, at least in some ways more than others. If you’re not used to building and creating things on your own, it might be time to change your mindset, because creating things with your own hands, with materials of which you know the source, is the best way to make sure everything around you is better accommodating to the earth.
Compost consists of plant scraps, food scraps, and some other natural waste materials, and is designed to break down into a muddy, nutrient-rich sludge of sorts over the course of weeks or months, depending on how much scrap you have piled in one place. This mud is ideal for gardens, inside or outside, though after getting a sniff of it, outside is probably preferred.
Not only is this a natural way to create healthy fertilizer for plants, ensuring everything you grow will be more organic than that you grow using store-bought manure, you’re also recycling uneaten food and other scraps, putting it to better use than just rotting in a landfill!
It’s easy to construct your own compost box, though some people might also prefer to go the store-bought route in this case for one made out of plastic, particularly if they need a little more security around their scraps if wild animals are a concern.
Otherwise, simply building a box out of wood, or even just a designated open-air spot in the back of the yard (if the weather is agreeable) works just as well. The most important thing is that it’s settled out of the way, where it won’t be disturbed or eaten away. All in all, it’s a fairly easygoing addition to your gardening adventures and certainly a plus!
2. Outdoor Fire Pit
When it comes to disposing of trash and other (safely) flammable objects, burning them in a backyard fire pit is another method of keeping more mass out of the already overflowing landfills. Of course, this is on top of keeping warm on cold nights without the need for a gas furnace and a cosy place to spend time with friends and cook treats.
Building your own firepit doesn’t require big machinery, expensive tools, or breaking the budget, either. To create a sustainable, long-term fire pit, here are the basics you need to follow:
- Find a safe place without overhanging trees limbs or house rafters, meaning the flame’s smoke can rise and the area is well ventilated.
- Avoid building the pit near dead grass or weeds, preferably in gravel or open-dirt areas.
- After choosing your place, dig a wide, large hole, deep enough to nestle logs or other kindling without overflowing onto the surface, but not so deep that you have to reach deep down in and risk burning yourself.
- To support the outer walls, stack bricks, large rocks, or another type of solid, natural stone to help retain the shape, as well as protect any roots or other plant bits that might be hiding out in the dirt walls. Should you already have a garden utilizing a stone retaining wall (or have been looking for a reason to install one), using matching stones for both would tie together the look of the backyard so nothing looks like it was thrown it at random.
From there, it’s as easy as choosing what you wish to burn and enjoying the warmth of the fire!
3. Recycling the Small Things
If you’ve spent any time on Pinterest lately, surely you’ve come across the thousands of headboard-palette tutorials, all of which have a certain charm of their own. There’s more to recycled furniture than just what makes your home or apartment look a little most rustic, however, and it can save you money.
For example, if you’re like me, you’re a big fan of open-flame candles that offer a subtle scent to the air. After so long, though, the candle burns down far enough that while wax still remains at the bottom, the wick cannot keep a spark.
The solution is simple: by warming your leftover large glass candle jars in an inch or two of water until the wax is melted, you’re able to combine all of the leftovers into a new container with a new wick, and depending on how many different candles you combine into different layers, the scents can change by the day! Not to mention, the remaining clean glass jar is perfect for storing other small trinkets.
Just by glancing around where you live, chances are there are dozens of other small, overlooked opportunities for similar crafts that not only save money but space and waste. It doesn’t always have to be big projects like palette headboards; even the small things can make a big difference.
4. Breathing New Life Into the Old
Sometimes, fixing up something to fit into your new greener lifestyle, aesthetic, or interior design style is as simple as a reupholstering job, touch up with some paint, and so on. Especially when repurposing older furniture which was built to last a long time, to throw it out would not only be a shame but not taking advantage of the remaining years still in it. By slapping on a new coat of paint, some cute new gold decals, or even a new finish, old furniture can seem like new in only an afternoon, with only the cost of some brushes.
Most people know the basics to a greener lifestyle, whether that be riding a bike to work or taking reusable bags to the grocery store — but when it comes to jazzing up a new space, wanting to incorporate a new hobby, or simply looking for something to fill an afternoon, there’s more around the house that you can do that you might be seeing — all it takes is a little creativity and thinking outside the box!