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  • 501 Uses for a Cardboard Box (abridged)

    We love our friends over at Movearoo and we got a real kick out of their latest post about 501 different unique ways to re-use a cardboard box. Here are our 10 favorites! uses

    1) Create a cardboard lap desk for the car with a box, tape, some glue, and scissors. (Great for kids!)

    2) Cut out alphabet shapes for spelling words around the house.

    3) Create a fun Chinese parade dragon with a box, some paper, and other miscellaneous decorations.

    4) Cut small squares from a box (decorate them if you’d like) to create cardboard drink coasters.

    5) Use a large box (or multiple boxes cut open and taped together) to create a cardboard igloo for the backyard, for kids to sleep and play in.

    6) Create a puppet theater complete with a stage and paper bags for puppets.

    7) Small boxes can be filled with dry beans and taped closed, then decorated to make maracas

    8) Decorate a single box to create a stuffed animal house for kids.

    9) Even use a box or two as your own recycling bin for managing recyclables.

    10) Use a propped-up box as a simple painting easel.

    Check out the rest of the article here. What other uses do you like?

  • Businesses Going Green & Improving Air Quality

    As a commercial contractor, I’ve seen ways in which businesses are changing their practices to become more eco friendly. The travel industry in particular is constantly changing what they do in order to be LEED certified. While much of it has to do with the materials and practices, its what hotels are doing within the building themselves to improve the experience for their guests. These improvements hotels have made, namely to improving air quality, can also be done right at home.

    Vegas At Night (from http://bit.ly/17xRzT7) Vegas At Night (from http://bit.ly/17xRzT7)

     

    One city in particular seems to be at the forefront of this eco travel trend. Las Vegas contains a booming construction industry and a number of hotels in Las Vegas alone are all trying to become more sustainable. Las Vegas is actually the city that boasts the “Most Eco Friendly Hotel in America”. Beyond the materials, these organizations have realized indoor air quality is an issue and have taken steps to improve it. Many hotels across the country are continuing to eliminate any cause of mold and mildew. By repairing leaks, watching for condensation/wet spots, and maintaining a low indoor humidity hotels are able to achieve this. In addition, they are using higher quality eco friendly cleaners and have eliminated the use of deodorizers.

     

    Many of the practices and techniques hotels take part in can be translated to the homes. Using cleaners that are environmentally friendly, the abrasive chemically potent cleaners while tough on stains, are tough on your lungs. Also, ditching the air fresheners is a good idea as they actually do a number on air quality. The most important tip in my eyes is changing the filter on your furnace or air conditioner every three months. It is a good idea to use high-efficiency filter to keep out a third or more of pollutants.

     

    Businesses are taking giant leaps to improving the air quality within their buildings. Many of these practices can actually be translated back to the homes of the hotel guests. Its great to see the buildings I work on striving for sustainability and improving the experience for their guests and employees.

  • 8 Organizing Tips for Your Move

    We've all been there. We've all wanted to pull our hair out and scream because the moving process is often a frustrating and chaotic event. However, a well-planned move will alleviate most of your anxiety. The eight tips below are proof that the easiest move is an organized one.

    A Moving Binder Pays Off 130620_Move and Organization

    Stay organized throughout with a binder that contains any paperwork relevant to your move--like checklists, invoices, receipts, and important notes. Refer back to the binder at any time during the move and present it to your accountant for potential tax breaks.

    Know Your Home Inventory

    During a move, items get lost in transition. A detailed home inventory list--with pictures included--of all your possessions, helps you keep track of everything. Get started on the list before you pack, so you know where to find everything at the time of your move.

    Track Your Progress with a Moving Checklist

    From cancelling local memberships to informing the IRS of your move, a moving checklist covers the important steps in the process--some obvious and others not so obvious. Follow and check off the list as you go so no stone goes unturned.

    Stock Up by Following a Supplies Checklist

    All the boxes are packed and ready to load; there's just one minor detail missing--why aren't they sealed with packing tape? A supplies checklist covers all of the necessary moving supplies and keeps you on point, so you don't have to go scrambling to the store at the last second.

    Take a Room by Room Approach

    Tackling one room at a time is more time-efficient than sporadically packing with no plan in mind. As you’re packing, take time to de-junk and clean so all that's left is loading the furniture and boxes into the moving truck

    Know What You're Carrying, Label Your Boxes

    Using a color coding system or writing the rooms on every box will keep them organized from the loading to the unloading of the moving van. Aside from labeling what room each box goes to, you'll also want the movers to be aware of which ones hold your priceless antiques.

    Map Out Your New Home for the Movers

    When you show up without a floor plan, you're creating more work for yourself. Have an idea of what goes where before you unload the van. Slap a post-it note on the door of each room or give your movers a quick run-through of your home so everyone goes in the right direction.

    Staying Organized is a Piece of Cake

    Once you've unpacked and arranged everything in orderly fashion, keep it that way! If not, you'll spend more time sifting through clutter than if you actually took the time to maintain it.

    It's Here… Somewhere (by Alice Fulton-Osborne and Pauline Hatch) and Organizing from the Inside Out (by Julie Morgenstern) are two well-thought out books that make home organizing a breeze.

    Put these eight tips to the test and you'll find--from the beginning to the very end of the process--an organized move leads to a stress-free move. If you fight chaos with an organized approach, you'll be relaxing in your home in no time.

    This article was written by the folks at movearoo.com, your #1 resource for home services, moving guides, and expert advice. Visit their resources page for more tips on keeping your move organized and stress free.

  • Spring Organization!

    Spring has definitely sprung and summer is right around the corner. Have you started pulling out your wind chimes, bird feeders or calendar to plan a vacation? Don't forget another key part of the spring, organizing! Horrible, I know. Well, actually I don't quite know because I love organizing! That sense of self purpose when you get a room done. 130521_Spring Organization

    The key is to tackle small manageable tasks one at a time.  That desk? Look at what is preventing you from getting work done and start there? The kitchen? Start with those horrible plastic containers that seem to spill out everywhere. No matter your task, we want to help which is why we created this fun infographic! Look at all our products side by side and mix and match them to decide what is right for YOU! We think organization should be personal and easily customizable. With our fun inforgraphic, you can imagine each space and decide exactly what it needs. The only question you should have left is where do I start?!

     

  • Moving Preparations Checklist

    At Way Basics, we are all about helping you personalize and organize your home. But what do you do if you are moving from one home to the next? Guest blogger, Grace has some tips about how to make the move as smooth as possible! 130413_Moving Out Preparation

    When you have a move ahead, you might think its an easy task that may easily be done in a weekend or two. Well you should stop for a minute and think ahead before you allow things to progress that far. There are plenty of tasks that need to be completed long before the arrival of the moving vehicle. Planning ahead ensures you won't suffer from last minute changes and trouble. Check out the following tips so you can be prepared well ahead of time:

    • Get free estimates

    You will most likely need professional movers to handle heavy lifting and the sheer volume of possessions you need to move when the time arrives. If you put off hiring them for a long time however, you risk not being able to do proper research of the moving companies available in your area. Make sure you begin checking out and calling companies at least a month ahead of time so you'll be able to figure out the best deals, prices and chances to work with them. Calling up and checking as many of them as you can will allow you to even let companies know of better deals offered by their rivals, allowing you to maybe get a better deal yourself.

    • Selecting a mover

    Once you have done this, you need to ensure you understand the agreement you are signing before the contract is finalized. Ask a number of questions that give the best information all around. Know whether the company will charge you by the hour or by weight of the items, whether they will do the packing for you, what type of insurance they offer and so on. Ensure there are no surprise fees or hidden charges and make sure everything you are promised is promised on paper as part of the contract.

    • Prepare plenty of boxes

    Before you begin the packing process you will of course need boxes. You can buy them off a retail store, office supply store or even the moving company itself if they offer such services. The main thing is that you will need a lot of boxes to get the job done. Make sure you pick a wide range of boxes from varying sizes so you'll have no trouble fitting everything you need safely. They have to be strong and possibly reusable. In some cases you can even find boxes for free from a number of sources, such as retail stores, liquor stores and more.

    • Start packing small

    You should focus on rarely used items first, packing them at least a month or two in advance. Most of us keep a staggering amount of personal possessions that accumulate around our homes as the years go by. Begin packing those who are out of season at the moment, starting with clothes, blankets and more, slowly working your way toward the final day. Ensuring that is done early will allow you to deal with the stress of last minute moving troubles.

    • Declutter and minimize

    Moving is the perfect moment to downsize your belongings to a more manageable size. Any items you don't consider vital or that you have not used for a long time should simply go, opening the way for something new or more useful. Although this may seem a bit drastic at first, you should consider the prices involved in moving everything you own. The more you move, the more expensive the final result will be, so making sure you are only moving what you care about is vital to keeping your expenses low and at the same time ensuring a stress-free move.

    • Organize a yard sale or donate unwanted items

    Doing so will either help someone else obtain what they want or you could lessen your moving expenses further by using unwanted items as fuel, so to speak. Put up fliers or even a listing on a classifieds website such as Craigslist to spread the word. Donate your unwanted books to your local library to enrich the community and so on. There is much you can benefit from, both financially and as a philanthropist.

    Grace is an expert in the field of real estates and relocation, working on a behalf of SM6 moving firm.

  • The Way Basics "Way"!

    Did You Know?

    How did the name Way Basics come about?

    Paper as we know it today was invented in the ancient Far East, and the character for recycle in Mandarin Chinese is “hui” (pronounced huey). Hui sounds a bit like ‘way’ and thus we get our first word. The second word, basics, represents our fundamental goal in bringing things back to the basics. Our name depicts how we as a company are doing things in a different way, and our products are built for our customers lifestyles… their way. Best of all, we keep everything simple and way basic.

    What does the square logo represent?

    To understand our logo, we need to look again at the “hui” or “recycle” character. Take a look at the the “hui” character in Mandarin Chinese:

    Untitled

    Look familiar?

     

    Notice how the outside square is slightly tilted in our logo. That’s because we are a unique company, as can be seen through our products and the way we do business. We like to do things our way no matter how ‘tilted’ it sounds. If it makes sense, we’ll go for it. You’ll notice that part of the logo is brown which symbolizes nature, strength, and the sustainability of our furniture. Finally, the green inner square represents our heartfelt commitment to doing business the right way. To be proactively conscious in protecting the environment through the way we work and our products.

    Building Possibilities

    Our tagline: “building possibilities” describes all aspects of our business. From helping you “build” your career, to helping a customer “build” a furniture solution, we are always building possibilities. With one look at our products, customers instantly see the possibilities of building Way Basics into their lives. The Cube may be a storage unit to a college student, a stool for a toddler, or a footrest to a musician. This is why we do not categorize our furniture as “children”, “office”, “college” or any kind of furniture. A Cube becomes your cube. Use it how you see fit… build your possibilities.

  • Mommy Greenest's - Importance of seeing the big picture

    Rachel Sarnoff is the brilliant mind behind both Eco Stiletto and Mommy Greenest. Both blogs focus on maintaining a happy and sustainable lifestyle and we are such huge fans of her work.  We were overjoyed when she agreed to write a little something about how she stays happy even when the mess gets too much! What do you do to maintain your sanity when the mess becomes overwhelming? 130226_Mommy Greenest

    "Quote: ""I am an obsessive organizer. I keep a calendar synced to my phone, and a daily paper list as well. But sometimes I feel like my focus on being organized stops me from being truly happy. Yes, I like opening drawers and seeing things neat and tidy. But should it ruin my day if they're not? My husband and kids help me see the big picture. They're totally comfortable with dishes in the sink and towels on the floor, and with the occasional tardy slip. When I get obsessed with something, sometimes I just need to take a deep breath and step back for a moment. The dishes will get done. The towels will just get used again tomorrow. And taking time to talk with my daughter as we walk to school is far more valuable than rushing her through the door in order to get to kindergarten on time.

    --Rachel Lincoln Sarnoff, www.MommyGreenest.com""

  • Montessori High School & their X-terms

    Intrigued yet? What's an X-term you may be asking? X-terms two week experiential learning intensives which take place in January and in May/June. The program in May/June is student led and students must raise the funds, plan the curriculum, and design the entire program. X-terms are based on Maria Montessori's views, and they provide a unique learning experience that cannot be matched. Every year the students choose something different Way Basics donates to X-Termsthat is sure to change their lives for the better. Two years ago, they ventured out to New York City, and spent a week immersed in the startup culture. They worked with Union Square Ventures, Stack Overflow, Stack Exchange, and Coco Foods International.  Cool, huh?

    We love supporting our future generation, especially brilliant go-getters like these kids, so we were thrilled when they contacted us to be apart of their fundraising for this years X-terms! They have some pretty cool prizes including a Nook, Jambox, and Way Basics Cubby Organizer! Be sure to check it out and help them reach their $10,000 goal! After all, all students deserve to be supported and helped to reach their dreams!

  • Let's Accessorize!

    We are starting to drop pictures and information about our awesome new organizational cube, the Box. It is our traditional storage cube on steroids! Especially good for someone who wants something a little bit special and different! WB-BOX-BE_6C_AV3

    Each Box comes with a matching door that you can use to hide your goodies and you can purchase wheels to make the Box more portable (if you wish!) Just like our cubes, you can combine them to create a larger piece, but the Box has been especially designed to connect and align for a sturdier fit!

    That isn't really what we are here to talk about today. Not necessarily the mechanics of the Box, but the awesome ways you can decorate it to make it your own!

    Have you heard of IKEA hacks? Lots of people take their IKEA furniture and "hack" it (modify it) to make it perfect for their home. We think our products are just as good (and more eco friendly) than IKEA so we have written a Way Basics hack for your new Box!

    WB-BOX-BE_AV21) Love the color, but want to make one wall different, or the inside different than the outside? Look at craft stores like Michaels or Hobby Lobby for awesome contact paper!

    2) Flip through the contact paper to your heart's content and find something that suits

    3) Make sure you have enough contact paper to cover as many walls as you wish!

    4) Measure the walls, cut, and stick!

    5) Stand back and admire your handiwork!

    What patterns would you like to add to your Box?

  • Eco Child's Play - Green Home

    Our home is our sanctuary.  It is where we return to again and again for comfort, solace, rest, nourishment, etc.  Whether you have children or not, your home should be a healthy place.  You may not spend the majority of your woken hours there, but toxins, even while you sleep, contribute to both physical and mental health problems.

     

    If you are building a new home, it is pretty simple to go green.  Many alternatives now exist.  From safer paints to wool carpeting, you don't have to rely on synthetic, toxic materials.  Although it may cost more to go the eco-friendly route, it is worth it in the long run for both your health and the planet's

     

    Remodeling an existing home can be a bit trickier than new construction, as extra precaution should be used when removing toxic building materials like asbestos tiles and fiberglass insulation.  Most of us are not going to go to this extent and you don't have to tear apart your home or install an alternative energy system to build a safer home for your family.  Start with small, simple steps.  Eventually you will get to the bigger stuff.

     

    My own home is a mixture of eco-friendly and more traditional elements.   We did build our home from salvage timber.  We did use only eco-friendly paints on the interior walls.  Some of our insulation is made from recycled cotton.   We do live off-the-grid.  What I think matters more than these green architectural features is how you fill your home.

     

    One of the most basic places to start building a safer home for your family are your cleaning supplies.  When my house is clean, I feel good.  Unfortunately, most products used to clean our homes are highly toxic, perhaps the most dangerous chemicals in your house.  That pine fresh scent isn't a good thing!

     

    It's pretty simple to make your own cleaning supplies.  Healthy Child Healthy World has great recipes making your own cleaners. All you really need is vinegar, baking soda, and lemon juice, although I find plain water works great too.  If you feel you need some soap, Dr. Bronner's is a safe, good multi-purpose cleaner.   If you feel you need specific products, like for cleaning toilets or windows, there are a lot of eco-friendly products available now at health food stores and many mainstream grocery stores from brands such as Seventh Generation.  Of course, don't forget the laundry.  Choosing an eco-friendly, natural laundry detergent is also essential in keeping your home safe.

     

    Beyond the products you use to clean your home, the interior of your home is another place to consider.  Only use paint that is non-toxic and low in VOCs  Typical household paint may contain upwards of 300 known toxic chemicals.

     

    Consider purchasing eco-friendly furniture, especially mattresses.   Think of how much time you spend in your bed, then consider that each mattress has at least five pounds of chemicals!  The Wool Bed Company explains:

     

    These nasty chemicals you’ll find in your traditional, mass produced mattress include Boric Acid (also known as roach killer), Antimony (similar to arsenic), and Decabromodiphenyl Oxide, or DBDPO. These chemicals have been known to cause reproductive and developmental issues, heart, lung, and kidney damage, and even cancer. Inhaling these chemicals on a regular basis is extremely toxic to our bodies and will cause health issues until we resolve the problem.

     

    Just last fall, the mainstream media featured stories on toxic chemicals found in couches  From your couch to your bed, toxic flame retardants enter our bloodstream.  They are even present in breast milk.

     

    In my home, all of our mattresses are eco-friendly, but our couches are not.  I don't advise families throw out all of their furniture. That would not be very eco-friendly.  I do advise that when you are purchasing new furniture, you use chemical-free as a criteria.  New carpeting and couches are notorious for making people ill.  Anything with a "new" smell should be avoided.

     

    Finally, you cannot build a safer, eco-friendly home for your family without considering the kitchen.   Non-stick cookware should be tossed out immediately.  A majority of the food in your cupboards and refrigerator should be organically grown.  Less chemicals means a greener home and  a healthier family.

     

    It can feel overwhelming at times when you start to look around your home at all of the toxins.  There are simple steps you can take immediately, such as using houseplants to improve indoor air quality and switching to green cleaning products.  You don't need to take out a second mortgage and completely gut your home to create a safer environment, just seek out greener products when replacing your old ones.  Step by step this will lead you to a healthier home.

    This guest post was written by the founder & editor of ecochildsplay, Jennifer Lance. Thanks for your amazing advice Jennifer! Screen Shot 2013-02-20 at 7.13.07 AM

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I like to get organized. I like things simple.
I like to build possibilities.

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