Alice Robertson began her career in the home organization industry as a professional house cleaner. After cleaning and organizing her clients’ homes for years, she decided to open her own home organization business. Over the years, she has built an impressive client list, helping to make spaces in homes and businesses more functional. She recently created tidyhome.info as a place to share the great cleaning and organizing advice she has developed over the years.
Green Cleaning Tips: Declutter without Adding to the Landfills
Believe it or not, the way you keep your home clean now can affect future generations. Keep reading for tips on how to get your space in top shape without impacting the earth.
Declutter your house for cleaner air and a better quality of life
If you aren’t already aware, you should know that clutter causes stress, can decrease your enjoyment of your home and, left unchecked, may become a potential health issue. Fortunately, eliminating messes and excess stuff isn’t that hard. Budget Dumpster recommends setting goals and creating a sorting system, which will make the task less overwhelming.
Donate or recycle what you don’t need
When you are sorting your belongings, separate them into “keep” and “donate” piles. Many things, such as clothing, gently-worn shoes, and kitchen items, will be welcome at your local homeless shelter. Larger items, such as mattresses, old computers, and appliances, can be recycled or donated for repurposing. In fact, most recycling plants or garbage services can point you toward an organization that will actually pick up your old mattressso you don’t have to lug it to the dump.
The main point of recycling or donating is not to let the big stuff turn into a big problem for the next generation. According to ERI, electronics waste is a major issue. The glass in a smartphone can take up to two million yearsto decompose. All of the metal, batteries, and assorted bits and pieces of our outdated technology tax the environment and can actually lead to significant health conditions for people many years down the road.
Embrace the cloud
While technology has added to the clutter in our landfills, it has also made it easier to avoid trash and trouble. There are very few papers that can’t simply be scanned and stored for later access. Receipts, coupons, and healthcare documents should be recycled instead of allowed to sit around collecting dust. Photos are also easy to store online, and there are numerous cloud-based platforms that make photo storage a streamlined process. In fact, if you are a member of Amazon Prime, you’re entitled to unlimited photo storageand an additional five gigs of free storage for other types of files.
Keep it green and clean
Once your home is neat and tidy and you’ve taken a truckful to the recycling center, keep things clean and healthy by switching to green cleaning products. If you are especially environmentally conscious, a bottle of vinegar and a box of baking soda will clean virtually every surface of your home. These can be washed down the drain without fear of contaminating your local water source. But if you don’t have time to make your own cleaning products, Todaylists the best eco-friendly cleaning suppliesavailable on the mass market.
You may also take the opportunity to assess your current cleaning appliances to consider whether it’s time for an upgrade. Vacuum cleaner upgrades are often neglected - we tend to hold onto our old ones for far too long. If it’s time for a new one, your old model can be donated to an animal shelter or local thrift shop. Pay attention when shopping for a new vacuum, as many are fully adjustableand can easily go from hardwood to carpet, which means you can get rid of a few extra tools in your cleaning supply arsenal.
Get the entire family involved
Unless you live alone, there are other bodies in your house that contribute to the state of your home. Give the entire family an opportunity to help you achieve your green cleaning goals. Children should be supplied with an empty box and encouraged to fill it to the top with toys they no longer need. The garageis another place that shouldn’t be overlooked, and even your outdoor enthusiast husband should be encouraged to let go of excess fishing gear, golf clubs, and lawn care tools he doesn’t use.
Cleaning your home – and keeping it that way – doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. And your household goods and cleaning routine don’t have to hurt the next generation. Reuse when you can, recycle when you can’t, and donate those things that still have plenty of life left.
The Spruce offers more tips on green cleaning.
This year, the Western Design Conference in Jackson Hole, Wyoming is happening September 6th-9th. Many juried artists from around the country, including several outstanding master woodworkers, will be in attendance. If you would enjoy seeing some of the best and most beautiful work, all in one place, this is the show for you.
We were part of the show two years ago. There was so much to see, and we met the most amazing people from all over the world. We can't wait to get there to see some of the woodworkers we met last time. It is such a great feeling to meet people who share the same passion as we have.
This year, Scott is focusing on one of a kind bathroom vanities, featuring another local artist's hand carved granite vessel sinks and tops, and another local granite worker's tops, as well as some of Scott's wooden counter tops. As always, Scott will show his beautiful cabinetry in various forms and styles, some tables, and a few other surprises.
Meanwhile, here are a few photos from our last booth at WDC:
Here is the link, so you can check out the details and make plans. If you come to the show, stop and see us. We would love to see you! https://westerndesignconference.com
Our artist for this month is Samantha Gale. Sam is a local fiber artist, who enjoys working in other media, too. I met Sam at the Lander Art Center, and got to know her a little better at an oil painting class. I love her work, and I know you will, too!
Here is what Sam had to say:
“My grandma taught me to knit when I was eight. Nowadays, I wonder what possessed her to teach an 8-year-old to knit, but it worked. I kept it up intermittently, but never tried anything too challenging. I wanted to learn to crochet, but I could never quite understand it. Eventually, a friend in college taught me, and it finally clicked. Pretty soon I started experimenting with making my own patterns. I really liked the flexibility I had with crochet to make 3D objects. I've been crocheting for about five years and there are still many techniques I have left to explore. My next goal within fiber arts is learning to weave.”
2. Are there other media that you enjoy?
“I enjoy taking classes in other media. It's always fun to learn something new, and sometimes I get ideas of ways I can incorporate other media in my fiber art projects. For example, I make crochet mandalas that I display inside of embroidery hoops. I'm currently experimenting with wood burning designs on the embroidery hoops. I also enjoy watercolor painting as a way to give my hands a rest from crochet while still being creative.”
“I think one of the challenges of fiber arts is how slowly you make progress. My experience with other media is that you can see results more immediately. I've worked on some projects for upwards of 10 hours before there's enough progress to tell that the colors aren't working together. Then you have to rip it out and start over or perhaps just start something new. Fiber artists also have to be sure to take days off. It's not uncommon to get repetitive strain injuries in your hands or wrists.”
“Currently my favorite piece is the "yarn painting" I created this summer. It uses freeform crochet techniques to create a larger picture out of many small motifs. I do take commissioned work, but my ability to do so changes with my schedule. At the moment, I am preparing work to sell at Art In The Afternoon, so I likely won't be able to take commissions until after that. The best way to reach me for inquiries is at email@example.com.”
So you want a new look for your kitchen, but your existing cabinets are structurally great. Maybe they have sentimental value, or you just see tearing them out as wasteful. (Though, often, repurposing them is a better choice.)
We have "re-made" a couple of kitchens recently. Scott doesn't do a lot of refacing, because most of his clients just want to start fresh. But, occasionally, we have someone who really just wants new doors and drawers fronts, as well as a few upgrades to hardware, pull-outs, etc, and they have structurally sound cabinet boxes.
If your existing boxes are well made, and have the integrity to put new hardware in (and probably support more weight, since the doors and drawer fronts will be solid wood), it may be possible to get a whole new look without completely demolishing your old one.
Here are a couple of illustrations. In the first kitchen, the cabinets were craftsman-made of Pine. The home was an original cabin in the town of Jackson Hole, WY. The owner really wanted Scott to build custom Rustic Hickory cabinets with antler pulls, but they had these great pine cabinets in a pine kitchen.
The answer was to replace the doors and drawer fronts, and add a few pullouts and other cabinets. Later, the owners had Scott come back and replace some of the Pine trim with Rustic Hickory, too, and cover the new refrigerator in Hickory. Scott stained the Hickory to coordinate nicely with the original Pine and Logs. Check out the results.
.The second kitchen was Pine, too, but the Customer really liked Wormy Maple. The Wormy Maple actually matched the existing stain perfectly. The original cabinet boxes weren't top of the line, but they were still in really good shape. They were strong enough to support the new wood, hardware, and other accessories.
Scott added a few more custom cabinets, new crown, and new end panels, and the finished kitchen was amazing. Take a look!
If you are looking to spruce up your kitchen, keep in mind that a completely custom refacing job isn't necessarily going to save a lot of money in cabinets (Though it saves it in the other areas of remodeling.) Most of the labor in hand made cabinets is in building the doors, drawer fronts, drawer boxes and pull-outs, as well as end panels and tongue and groove. There are distinct advantages though.
First, it is possible to have gorgeous, one of a kind, top of the line quality, without tearing your entire kitchen apart. That means, less time waiting to use your kitchen. Installation is much quicker, and there is much less labor in tear outs for you or your contractor.
Second, there is less waste, so you aren't putting cabinet boxes in the landfill when it isn't necessary.
Third, it is possible to change species of wood, without changing everything.
Is this for everyone? No, but what is? If you are in a hurry, don't want to tear out your whole kitchen or put it in the landfill, or have cabinets that are of sentimental value to you, this could be a consideration for you. Most of our customers are building completely custom kitchens, so we don't do a lot of refacing. But, those cabinets that we have redone are spectacular!
I am beginning a series on local artists. I think it is pretty obvious that most artists approach life a little bit differently than others. Having a strong creative side (and sometimes a “way too big” imagination), I want to celebrate how artists think and what inspires them!
I enjoy talking about Scott’s work, but I’d like to take the opportunity to share stories about some other artists once in a while. This month, we are featuring Lander woodworker, John Applegate. John builds with reclaimed wood from pallets, and his work is outstanding! I asked John a few questions, and this is how he responded:
“I could give a sentimental answer related to my father’s passion for woodworking, but to be quite honest, it started out of necessity. One summer, 3 years ago, I needed an outside table and bench set for my annual wedding anniversary/4th of July celebration. I didn’t want to spend $2,000 on a plastic and glass patio set with a giant umbrella that would blow away as soon as I turned my back.
I started to think of materials that were abundant and easily obtained, such as pallets (which seem to be everywhere in our area and local businesses can’t even give them away.) So, I went to the local owners, asked permission to grab some pallets, took them home, tore them apart and just built the vision I had in my head. After that, the level of satisfaction and pleasure I got from causing a vision in my head to materialize in front of me and take on a characteristic of its own, well, was simply mind blowing…..I was hooked from that point forward.”
“Taking old material and making a work of art that is practical, beautiful and functional and of course, watching shows such as “Barn Wood Builders” or “Salvage Dawgs”. “
3. Do you have a favorite among all of your projects? What do you love about it?
” Yeah, it would have to be a Coffee table I made my first-year woodworking. I loved that it was unique in build and the wood was rich and deep in color.” *See Pics*
4. Talk to me about your process for selling your work. I realize this is not your full-time job, so how does a person get on your waiting list?
” My process is simple; once I finish a build I put it inside my house and set it up as I would any new piece of furniture I would buy for my home. I take pictures with my IPhone, and then post it to Wyoming Facebook buy and selling groups (usually 4 to 5 large groups). If someone is after a custom build it’s just a matter of reaching out to me via email: ( firstname.lastname@example.org ) or Txt/Call 307-335-5859. My building time is subject to weather since I mainly build outside in my driveway, but typically I can produce 1-2 builds per month."