Tag Archives: eco friendly

  • The Green House Effect: How to Organize Your Home in Earth-Friendly Ways

    Human beings don't typically live in the branches of trees along with birds and squirrels, but there blue-planet-earth_CC_woodleywonderworksare still ways to make your home earth- friendly. Organizing, decorating and cleaning a house while regarding the natural environment will keep the process more focused, will teach your family how to treat the earth well, and will improve the health of everyone who lives in your home.

    Of course, if you are just now building a home or moving into one, it will be easier to incorporate some green ideas into the household. But, if you've lived in one place for years, don't fret - it's still simple to begin some green habits. Approach your decor with love for the planet in mind and everyone wins.

    Knickknacks

    Don't buy a sustainable sofa unless you're going to dress it with green pillows. Pillows stuffed with natural fibers, such as cotton and goose down, are preferable for the environment and ensure better air quality. A great place to obtain earth-friendly decor is at flea markets, farmer's markets and other places where local artisans display their craftsmanship. Try an original painting, or something made by a member of the community from wood or other natural materials. These are great opportunities to keep synthetic items out of the home environment.

    Appliances

    Don't forget the appliances when you go green. Low-flush toilets, kitchen appliances that consume less energy and CFL or LED lights are all good options. In general, appliances that have the Energy Star approval are efficient choices.

    It's not just what you put inside your house that makes it green -- it's how you maintain those belongings, from cleaning to organization.

    Organizing

    Containers If you're stumped about what to use for organizing smaller items in the kitchen and bathroom, try re-purposing old shoe boxes, cans that held soups, and jars that held pickles and spaghetti sauces.

    You can also make your own containers out of products such as zBoard, a nontoxic material that doesn't require nails or tools.

    Paper vs. Online

    Most financial institutions offer you the option of online statements, rather than paper ones, so take them up on it. Get in the habit of paying your bills online. Use an e-reader to enjoy magazines and newspapers. You'll cut down on the amount of paper that gathers in the corners of your home and maintain a greener lifestyle.

    Donations

    When an item is no longer necessary, such as a toy your child has outgrown, make a habit of gathering and donating them to charities so that someone else can enjoy them. You'll be recycling in the best possible way - another family will find a use for your products and your home will be less cluttered.

    Cleaning Household Products

    Instead of buying an all-purpose cleaner at the nearest supermarket, why not make your own products for keeping kitchens and bathrooms clean? It's more fun, and you probably have the things you need in your pantry.

    • Baking soda and water - This solution cleans just about anything, from tiles in the shower to kitchen countertops.

    • Lemon juice and vinegar - If you're dealing with mildew or grease, douse with either lemon juice or vinegar and scrub vigorously with a brush.

    • Soap and tea tree oil - You can make a homemade disinfectant that rivals bleach by combining water, liquid soap and several drops of tea tree oil.

    Garden Products

    Remember, green doesn't stop inside the house. Tend to your flower or vegetable garden with products that are better for nature.

    • Set up a compost bin with vegetable peelings, garden waste, plus newspaper and other fibrous material to create a compost pile.

    • Allow birds that eat garden pests to thrive in your garden. Encourage them with bird feeders.

    • Use acetic acid (about 20% acid, 80% water) or oils made from citrus and clove for earth-friendly weed killing solutions.

    These items might disturb other plants, so use with caution. The process of having a more eco-friendly home environment can take time. But the rewards for your family and for the earth are numerous.

    Garret Stembridge is a member of the Internet marketing team at Extra Space Storage, a leading provider of self storage facilities. Garret often writes about sustainable practices for the home and for businesses. The Self Storage Facility in Philadelphia has been retrofitted to reduce energy consumption.

    130814_Green House Effect and Home Organization

  • Let's Meet Natalie!

    I don't know if you have noticed, but we have had some incredible new pictures of our bookshelves up on our site. This incredible work was done by a New York Photography student name Natalie. Because she is so talented and has such a bright future, we wanted to share more about her here. Remember, you saw her here first!

    Natalie is currently a photography major at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts in my freshman year.

     

    She first became interested in photography around middle school. She started off with basic digital cameras, but switched to film because of multiple technical complications. (Wow!)

     

    She says that ,"it was a hobby that I never expected to amount to much, but it became a passion for me and I've been shooting since then. I'm not certain what I want to do in the future in terms of specific fields of photography because I enjoy shooting in very different styles (fine art, fashion, portraiture, weddings, etc.). I'm hoping that my time at NYU will help me to grow and eventually prepare me for where I need to be."

     

    We so applaud all your hard work and talent, Natalie! We think you have an amazing photography future and we are so happy to be apart of your hobby turned career. Check out more of her amazing work here: http://www.nataliefong.com/

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  • How Paper Can Make a Difference

    Have you heard of Shigeru Ban? Maybe you have been lucky enough to watch his Ted talk or see some of his inspiring work in person. He is an architect. The only architect in the world making buildings out of paper. Ban began experimenting with paper buildings in 1994 after he discovered how much more architecturally sound it was that everyone thought. He also loved the idea that you can get paper anywhere in the world and it is therefore a universal building material.

    Due to this universality, he has been commissioned after natural disasters for buildings around the world to help bring shelter people who have lost their homes.

    slide09 After the 2008 Sichuan earthquake killed 70,000 people in China, he built a school so the children could keep learning. They constructed 9 classrooms in just one month
    After the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, Ban constructed 50 shelters for the people in need After the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, Ban constructed 50 shelters for the people in need
    anderson_mg_5524 Christchurch Cardboard Cathedral constructed after the Christchurch earthquake

    "I like to build monuments that are beloved by people," Ban says. He obviously has a deep connection to his work and to the people that he helps around the world. He is an inspiration to architects and people everywhere in his exploration of how common items such as paper have so much more use than what they were made for. Just like our zBoard, taking one product and recycling it into something that is so much more. We commend you Shigeru Ban and recommend everyone learn more about this incredible man.

  • 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

  • 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!

  • A Holiday Card From Way Basics

    This year we celebrate 5 years!  This is all because of your belief in us and in what we are doing to help the world and keep each other organized!

    Thanks for all your amazing support. We look forward to a new year of innovation and building possibilities and communities with Way Basics!

    Happy Holidays!

     

  • Retailer Highlight: Vine.com

    We are proud to announce our partnership with the amazing Vine.com.  Vine is an online destination for natural, organic and sustainably-made products. Of course we were overjoyed to help them stock their online shelves with our zBoard products. 121003_Vine

    Described directly from their PR team, "Featuring everything from paraben-free skincare and gluten-free snacks to reclaimed wood furnishings and solar-powered electronics, Vine.com makes life easier for consumers who want to access to green products and shop for them in one place. Customers receive free 1-2 day delivery on orders of $49 or more." Best of all, all items are backed by Vine.com’s 365-day guarantee return policy.

    We are so excited to partner with them and join the ranks of other amazing brands such as Seventh Generation, Inhabit, Method, Happy Baby and more! Be sure to check them out and let us know what amazing new eco-friendly products you find (comment below!).

  • Helping Students Go Green

    We love partnering with organizations that have goals and values that align with others. Like Way Basics, Project Green Dorm, is all about taking simple steps in our every day life to help take care of the planet for generations to come. Project Green Dorm (PGD) is a back-to-school resource to help students move from "conventional to conscious living" in their every day choices. At Way Basics, we are proud to announce that we have helped college student, Amanda, reach her goal of greening her dorm room.Screen Shot from video

    Way Basics donated some of our green storage cubes to the cause and are overjoyed to help Amanda, and Project Green Dorm, spread their message of sustainability for the future. Check out the awesome video of this project Going Green in College Dorms and keep spreading the word about the importance of safety and sustainability in our homes and planet!

  • Way Basics Story

    "Over the years, I've been steadily running out of room. I've reorganized, hemmed, hawed, and even moved hundreds of books into boxes for storage, a travesty to my viewing and collecting pleasure. This past summer, I replaced nearly all my bookshelves with a solution that's given me more room in the same footprint. Its allowed me to put nearly all my books back on display, whilst still giving me room to grow.

    The "Before": Never enough room                                        The "After": Floor to ceiling!

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Cube storage is a go!

    These are Way Basics cube storage: six individual Storage Cubes and one Storage Cube Plus create a column that rises to about an inch and a half from my ceiling. Though they don't lock together for stacking, wedging something into the remaining space provides enough stability that I've no fears about jumping four- or six-year-olds. (I'm not kidding, either - that was actually part of my stress-testing.)

    The cubes are made out of recycled cardboard, which makes them quite light at 4.4 pounds each. You build a cube by sticking the pieces together with double-sided adhesive tape from 3M. You might be saying "cardboard?! adhesive?!", and you wouldn't be alone. But, besides the weight, they seem indistinguishable from the standard MDF or particleboard shelves you can buy cheaply nowadays. The colored laminate hides any indication they're made of cardboard and, when they're properly built and have rested for 24 hours, they're quite sturdy. I've moved around cubes full of heavy books without mishap (and by supporting the required backboard, of course).

    More inches with the same foot

    If you look at my "before" pictures, you'll see the standard department store shelves I've had for years, with lots of wasted vertical space above the book tops. This is both because you only get a certain number of shelves (one of which is hardwired near the middle for stability) and because there tends to be only one optimal way to place them. A single shelf gives you 26.75 inches (″) of horizontal space. For a three shelf unit, that's a total of 80.25″, or 133.75″ for a five shelf unit.

    With the Way Basics cubes, I can get four shelves in the same space as a three shelf unit. A single cube offers 11.75″ of space. For the bedroom's side wall, which had two three shelf units, I had 160.5″ of horizontal space. Replacing those shelves with cubes gave me 188″. Since the cubes fit into tinier nooks than the full-blown shelves, I was also able to fit a fifth column on the side, bringing my total up to 235″, nearly 5½ feet of extra horizontal space in the same footprint.

    For floor to ceiling columns, something I could never do with department store bookshelves, the extra space gained is even larger. With six regular cubes and one plus-sized cube per column, I maximize the height for most of the books I own, while still allowing room for the various oversized items I have. You can see the Plus-sized cubes in the first or second rows of the floor to ceiling photos.

    Other conclusions and a happy-faced Morbus

    The fact that there are more "walls" to cube storage is actually a benefit in disguise: with most cheap bookshelves, your shelves will start to sag over time. It was a habit of mine to flip my shelves, like a mattress, every six months or so. With cubes, every horizontal shelf is reinforced either by the floor or the top of the cube beneath it. I haven't had them long enough to notice any sagging, but my guess is that it won't be a problem. No more mattress flipping!

    Way Basics storage cubes come in a variety of colors, and I spent many an hour drafting up cute little patterns and schemes in a drawing program. After building a 5 x 7 pattern (for the bedroom's main wall), I found that you don't really notice the pattern unless you actively look for it. I switched over to single colors per column (for the office walls), and they become a bit more noticeable. If color isn't your thing, they also offer black, white, and a few wood grains.

    I've looked into storage cubes before, but always found them to be too expensive (locking wooden crates that cost a ton to ship), too bookshelve-y (a single unit with nine cubicles defeats a lot of the advantages of cube storage), or too flimsy (full plastic walls that weren't sturdy enough, milk crates that didn't have enough flat surfaces, etc.). The Way Basics cubes have none of these problems, and after two months of testing and three months of completion, I'm quite thrilled with the result!"

    - written and reprinted with the permission of Morbus Iff (click here to see original post)

    What's YOUR story? Email us to share! (press@waybasics.com)

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

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