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Way Basics Blog

  • Easy "how to" organize your spices!

    Guest post from the amazing Natalie Wright, creator of Natalme and Organized Mom!

    It's no secret I love to be organized, but I often forget the correlation between health and organization. I recently just cleaned out my fridge, and yeah... I was definitely hoarding some unhealthy expired food! So I decided to take some time during my week to look through other areas of my kitchen, and not only organize them, but promote healthy eating. My goals are to organize my canned goods, baking necessities, and spices.

    Here's a simple and affordable way to organize your spices. I love this project because not only does it make my seasonings easier to find, but it also forced me to throw out old and expired spices I never use.

    All of my baking and cooking spices I keep in a drawer near my stove. Since the bottles are all difference sizes, they often get jumbled around and the one I need ends up being difficult to find.

    I purchased about twenty of these glass jars at Ikea; four jars for under $4. I also used chalkboard vinyl to create labels or each jar. The great thing about these little babies is that you can adhere your labels to the top or the front of the jars.

    I created scalloped labels with a scrapbook paper punch, but you could easily cut circles or squares by hand.

    After emptying my drawer and throwing away expired spices and seasoning, I inserted a layer of decorative gift wrap, and added a clear plastic drawer liner on top.

    My jars fit perfectly side by side! I was able to fit twenty jars in all.

    With a white chalk marker I labeled all of my seasonings. (Note: A chalk marker is easier to write with versus regular chalk. It does not smear when touched, but easily wipes off with a damp cloth.)  If I ever run out of a spice or decide to try a different seasoning, I can easily erase the chalk and write a new label.

    This is such an easy and quick project that took me less than an hour from start to finish. And I love that it's a much prettier, functional, and healthier way of organizing my seasonings!

    To follow me as I continue to organize other areas of my kitchen and home, be sure to check out my blog at www.natalme.com!

  • 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

  • Kitchen Makeover!

    We saw this amazing shelf makeover DIY on Design Sponge and we thought it would be the perfect way to introduce our NEW floating shelves (and all the amazing things you can do with them!

    Way Basics zBoard floating shelves NEW Espresso zBoard floating shelves

    Don't have enough room in your kitchen for full shelves but want more organizational space?

    Way Basic's new floating shelves are the perfect way to give you that extra space without all the hassle. If you want to mix it up and decorate them DIY style, follow the tutorial below (tutorial from here).

    Shelf Makeover

    here’s what you’ll need:
    -Way Basics zBoard floating shelves (any size!)
    -woven grass cloth (you can also use paper, fabric, vinyl, etc.)
    -tape measure
    -scissors
    -staple gun
    -pencil
    -polycrylic clear sealant
    -wood stain in color of your choosing
    -paint brush
    -rubber gloves
    -spray paint/primer

    Shelf Complete! (Image source: http://www.designsponge.com/2008/03/diy-wednesdays-shelf-makeover.html)

    how-to:
    1. prime or spray paint shelves
    2. lay shelf on top of a piece of grass cloth. wrap cloth around shelf until it overlaps 1/2″ and trim to size. staple cloth to back edge of shelf.
    3. wrap short ends like a present and staple, tucking in all raw edges.
    4. mix 3 parts polycrylic to 1 part stain and brush over cloth covered shelf. wearing your gloves, rub stain into cloth fibers with your hands.
    5. let dry and finish with a coat of clear polycrylic.
    6. hang shelves (tip: you can camouflage the hanging hardware and screws with acrylic paint.)

     

    Thanks for the amazing inspiration Design Sponge!

  • Organizing Keeps You Eating Healthy!

     

    It is so easy to let your healthy eating go when you are busy with school, kids, house, pets, etc! Here are some tips from two amazing bloggers about how they eat healthy and stay organized!

    Brittany  (from Eating Bird Food) "Keep a food and exercise journal. It's extremely helpful to Screen Shot 2013-02-12 at 11.18.20 AMtrack how much you’re eating –- sometimes you don’t realize how many small bites here and there add up. You can keep a hand-written food and exercise journal or go digital and log your food/fitness from your computer or smartphone. MyFitnessPal is a great tool for this. "

     

    Darya From "Summer Tomato"Darya (from Summer Tomato) "Keeping a clean and orderly fridge can help you eat healthier by making cooking at home more appealing. Research has shown that the easier and more enjoyable the healthy habit, the more likely you are to stick with it."

     

     

     

    What do YOU do to stay healthy and organized? Be sure to check out their blogs for more amazing tips, recipes etc!

  • Improve Your Air Quality!

    Let's make this short and sweet. For ways to get rid of those nasty toxins and breathe in clean air, follow some of the tips below! 130206_Improving Air Quality

    1. Suck, Wipe and Prevent! - In general terms: vacuum it up, Mop what is left, and put a mat by all entrances so people don't track in allergen-causing dirt!

    2. Open windows! (Enough said)

    3. Bring plants indoors! It is amazing what these little suckers can do for air quality.

    4. Ditch the air fresheners - Air fresheners usually contain petroleum products which are no good for the lungs (or any other part of your body).

    5. Kill the mildew - Keep your home at a good level of humidity. Science terms are between 30-50% but some good pointers are: open a window after/ during showering, use air conditioners in the summer and humidifiers during the winter.

    6. NO smoking indoors

    7. Animals - love the little furry guys but be sure to clean up their fur on a regular basis.

    8. Test your home for radon - new or old, your home could contain radon which is a colorless, odorless gas that can cause lung cancer. Check out this website for how to test: http://www.epa.gov/radon/pubs/citguide.html

    9. Cut down on the fertilizer in your garden. Try compost instead! Much better smelling and better to inhale!

    10. Smile. Not really an air quality improver but it does improve the mood of a home!

    Any tips to add to the bunch?

  • Indoor Air Pollution Can Kill!

    According to the DailyGreen.com, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that indoor air pollution can be 2 - 5 times more polluted than the air outside. Mind numbing, isn't it?! Our homes are supposed to be a safe haven and yet they can cause allergies, asthma attacks and other respiratory conditions. At Way Basics, we would like to help you cleanse your home so it truly can be a place of solitude and health! Here are some of the most common causes of indoor pollution and what you can do to combat the dangers! 130203_Indoor Air Pollution

    1. Smoking - Sort of a "duh" moment there but think about how dangerous second hand smoke is in the outside world, and then trap all those carcinogens into an enclosed space. Even after cleaning, cigarette smoke sinks into everything. Suggestion: Make a designated outside smoking area. I know, I know, it isyourhome but think of your guests and family members, children, pets etc.

    2. Paint - It sure is pretty but also extremely toxic. Of course lead isn't an ingredient in paint anymore, but there are still other toxins that are released many days or months after an area has been painted. Suggestion: Ventilate, Ventilate, Ventilate!  Also look for low VOC or no-VOC paints (VOC is the organic compound that is toxic).  If you are getting a professional to paint for you, specify what you want because the toxic compound stays in your house long after they are gone!

    3. Dirt - Another no brainer, but dirt on the floor and furniture is the perfect breeding ground for allergens. Suggestion: This is a no fun one, but necessary, get your vacuum out and use it! Put on some music, pretend it is a mic, whatever it takes to suck those dust bunnies up!

    4. Household Cleaners - As they wage battle against the dirt in your home, they also attack your lungs and brain (metaphorically of course... sorta). Chemical cleaners are extremely dangerous especially for children and women who may be pregnant. You know that tip about processed food? Look at the label and if you don't understand the ingredients, don't eat it. Same sorta thing, if you don't know what is in the cleaners, chances are there are toxins that are killing the dirt and your brain cells. Suggestion: Buy or make non-toxic cleaners. Check out our Facebook tomorrow for our top suggestions (or Google "Home Made Non-Toxic Cleaners"!

    5. Formaldehyde - This is the one that we especially wage war on! Formaldehyde is just as dangerous as asbestos and mold and yet it is found in most of your furniture! Formaldehyde is used widely in the manufacturing of chipboard/ particle board (the stuff that all IKEA furniture is made out of). This stuff is extremely hazardous as it continues to release toxic gas into your household for as long as you own it. Scary, huh?! Suggestion: Buy furniture products that do not contain PCB or formaldehyde. Example, all of our zBoard products (ie. Storage Cubes) are completely non-toxic. Pretty cool, huh? zBoard storage shelves look and are in the same price range as IKEA bookshelves and yet are not releasing toxins into your home!

    Phew, that was a long one. I think I should go open a window and let in some fresh air while I let all this learning sink in (ps. opening windows in your home- KEY to decreasing pollution). This is just the start of our Healthy Home Campaign. Check our Facebook/ Google + tomorrow for some non-toxic cleaning product suggestions! 

    PS. I, Deborah, am the Marketing Manager for Way Basics and coordinating this month of Healthy activities! See me here ----> 

    and contact me through Facebook or by commenting below for any questions and suggestions!

  • Healthy Home Campaign: Schedule of Events!

    Schedule of Events-02

    Questions? Comments? Want more information about when a topic is airing?

    Let us know in the comments below! Let's get this discussion going!

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