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Clean And Organize Your Car

Have you ever met someone who seemed to be be the cleanest, most organized person in the world? I mean everything from their home to their cubicle at work just always seemed to be clean, kept, and organized? That is, until you saw the inside of their car?!? I know someone like that, and maybe you do too. Or, maybe you are that someone. For some reason, cars seem to accumulate clutter and mess as if out of nowhere, especially if you have kids and/or spend a large amount of time in your car. Thanks to some helpful tips in this article from Enviro Maids, you can make sure you keep your car clean and organized.

Tips for Organizing your Messy Car

Tips for Organizing Your MessyIf you’re like many people, you spend a great deal of time in your car. Even though you may spend more time in your car than in some rooms in your house, it’s common to neglect to keep the car as tidy and organized as the areas inside your home. Not only is a messy car unsightly and embarrassing, it also can be dangerous; lose objects can become projectiles in a crash. If you’ll be driving to your vacation destination this summer, make your trip more pleasurable and safer by de-cluttering the interior of your car. Here are our tips on how to tidy up the interior of your car, a.k.a. your “home on wheels” and keep it that way.

  • Clean out your car, throwing away all old papers you no longer need as well as garbage. Don’t forget the trunk, glove compartment and side pockets. Take this opportunity to wash and vacuum the interior of your car. To clean the tiny crevices, a soft cloth covering the tip of a flat screwdriver helps to get dirt out of the tightest places. A long-bristled artist’s brush lightly sprayed with a natural dust cleaner can be used to remove the dust from air vents.
  • Remove everything you don’t use frequently or need in an emergency. Items such as car cleaners or camping chairs stored inside your trunk, for example, should be stored elsewhere. Seasonal items, like traction aids for the snow, should be stored in the car only when the season demands. Cleaning out your trunk will not only free-up valuable space, the weight you save by shedding excess pounds from your car could be enough to improve both your tire wear and your gas mileage—saving you money in the long run.
  • Keep all important documents together in an expandable file in your glove compartment. Label separate sections for your insurance card and vehicle registration, car manual and mechanical maintenance (oil change receipts, car service records, etc.) If the glove compartment is small, keep the file tucked under your seat.
  • Always have a receptacle available where passengers can easily place their trash. There are many types of trash cans and bags available, such as ones that attach with Velcro or loop around the back of seats, etc. Choose the one you like best and fits your needs. Avoid collecting clutter by getting in the habit of each time you bring something into the car, taking it out when you exit your vehicle.
  • While some vehicles come with storage compartments, they usually aren’t enough for everything you may need, especially on long car rides. If you have kids who carry toys, games and other similar items into the car, invest in organizers that’ll give the kids a place to keep their things in instead of having items rolling around on the floor. Be sure to buy an organizer that anchors to a non-moving part of the car, like the bottom of a seat or the metal part of the head rest. This prevents the organizer itself from becoming a projectile hazard in the event of hard braking or an accident.
  • For extra storage space, consider investing in a trunk organizer. There are many types of customizable and reconfigurable organizers to make your shopping and traveling easier.
  • Keep a box of baby wipes handy for those times when you need to clean up a spill or to use it after eating a meal on the go.

In addition to your proof of insurance and a copy of your registration, the following is a list of what you should have in your car at all times:

  • Cell phone charger
  • Vehicle owner’s manual
  • Tire gauge

For emergencies:

  • Jumper cables, tire patch, flares
  • Spare tire and jack
  • Flashlight and batteries
  • Supply of nonperishable food and water
  • Jacket, hat and blanket (colder months)
  • First aid kit
  • Spare change

Green Product Declaration Myths

In this interesting and informative article from, they discuss the importance of transparency and debunk a few product declaration myths.

4 myths about green product declarations

By Heather Gadonniex

4 myths about green product declarations

In December 2011, I wrote an article called “Clearing Up Transparency.” At the time, transparency tools and product declarations were starting to gain traction in North America. LEED v4, formerly known as LEED 2012, just published the first draft of the updated rating system, and the built environment community was abuzz with acronyms: EPDs, PCRs and LCAs, to name a few.


Fast forward to now. Transparency is no longer a fleeting trend. All major green building rating systems globally and in North America have incorporated some form of life cycle-based product disclosure into their materials and resources sections. This includes LEED, BREEAM, ESTIDMA, GreenStar and Living Building Challenge.


There is no doubt that transparency is becoming a requirement for doing business. Some would argue it already is a requirement. Yet confusion still surrounds transparency tools and product declarations. Keep reading to explore four common myths and mysteries surrounding product declarations.


Before we dig in, let’s first focus on defining today’s most talked about transparency tools and product declarations.


Four of today's most talked about transparency tools and product declarations. Source: ED+C.


• Life cycle assessment (LCA): LCA is a technique used to measure product or building environmental impacts, such as carbon footprint, throughout its life cycle. Typically, an LCA measures impacts from raw material extraction, transportation, manufacturing, use and end of life. The LCA is the backbone of an environmental product declaration (EPD). LCAs are based on guidelines published by the International Organization of Standards. They are used globally.

• Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs): EPDs are a comprehensive disclosure of a product’s impacts throughout its life cycle. EPDs are also known as Type 3 Eco Labels. Like LCAs and PCRs, EPDs follow the International Organization of Standards guidelines. They are used globally.

• Product Category Rules (PCR): PCRs are like a recipe for producing an LCA and EPD. They establish the methodology that all product manufacturers in a category must follow when creating an EPD. PCRs follow the International Organization of Standards guidelines. They are used globally.

• Declare: The Declare label was created by the International Living Future Institute in support of the stringent materials requirements of the Living Building Challenge. Declare is a simple ingredients label that facilitates communication of transparent material information between suppliers and consumers. Declare is used globally.

• Health Product Declarations (HPDs): HPDs are a standard format for transparent disclosure of building product ingredients and associated hazards. HPDs were created by the Health Product Declaration Collaborative and are mainly used in North America.


Myths and mysteries


Now that we all have a common understanding of the types of transparency tools and product declarations commonly discussed, let’s focus on four common myths and mysteries.


1. All product declarations follow the same standard


It’s a common misconception that LCA, EPDs and HPDs are all created following globally recognized ISO standards and are based on PCRs. Only LCAs and EPDs are created following ISO guidelines, and therefore only LCAs and EPDs are based on PCRs.


HPDs, on the other hand, are created following an open standard format developed by a U.S based-nonprofit organization called the Healthy Product Declaration Collaborative.


As mentioned above, Declare was created by the International Living Future Institute and is based on publicly available criteria.


2. All product declarations address the same issues


The primary function of EPDs is to disclose information about the environmental impact of a product. This includes things such as carbon footprint, embodied energy and ozone depletion potential, among others. EPDs also can disclose product performance information such as indoor air quality test results and recycled content, limited ingredient information and facts about a company’s sustainability commitments.


Health and ingredient disclosure tools such as HPDs and Declare focus on building product content and ingredient disclosure. They also sometimes disclose hazards associated with content and ingredients.


With an HPD, manufacturers can choose to fully disclose all ingredients or only disclose a portion of ingredients. If one does not fully disclose all ingredients in the HPD, they must identify health hazards of remaining portions of product. Declare requires manufacturers to provide their full ingredients list, in addition to basic information about the product such as product source location and lifespan. The Living Futures Institute then assesses the ingredients to determine if any of those ingredients are on the Living Building Challenge red list, a list of 13 of the worst-in-class toxic chemicals and materials commonly found in building materials today. Manufacturers have to publicly disclose at least 99 percent of their ingredients and confirm any remaining ingredients less than 1 percent are not on the Living Building Challenge red list to participate in the program.


3. All product declarations define a product’s greenness


I’ve said it before and I’m sure I will say it again: Product declarations are one tool in the specification toolbox and they don’t tell you if products are green. Product declarations are disclosure tools that allow you to gain the information you need to make more informed, smarter purchasing decisions. They complement other environmental and sustainability performance labels and certifications, and encourage overall improvement in sustainability performance.


4. Product declarations are only marketing tools


This is possibly the most important myth to debunk. Sure, product declarations are a major component of any leading manufacturers marketing mix. However, this is not their most important use. Product declarations are most powerful when they are used as an internal management tool for measuring, monitoring and improving impact reduction. Companies with leading sustainability agendas adopt product declarations to help them understand where to find and reduce the greatest impacts in their product development, production and distribution processes. The information gathered during the product declaration creation process also informs future strategy and R&D decisions. Overall, product declarations are a footprint reduction, cost reduction and risk mitigation tool, just as much as they are a marketing tool.


Final thoughts


Ensuring a project meets its goals means using the best products that align with project requirements. Because of the emphasis on transparency from green building rating systems, understanding the differences among the various product disclosure types will help building teams avoid confusion — and possibly something even worse — down the road.

Organize Your Kids’ Closet

When it comes to getting your kids ready to head out to school, I bet one of the biggest issues in the morning is what they are going to wear. This problem can become easier if their closet is in order. Well, thanks to this article  from our friends at Housekeeping, you can get the kids’ closet organized before they go back to school.

20 Blogs with Tips for Organizing your Kids’ Closet before Sending Them Back to School

While it may seem like summer vacation just started, it’s already time to think about getting the kids ready to go back to school. One way to get your kids ready is by organizing their closets.  Organizing their closets will help you assess what your kids will be able to use going into the new school year and what needs to be replaced when you go back-to-school shopping. These 20 blogs will help you sort through clothes and figure out how to best organize everything.


The first step in any organization project is to assess what you have in the given area that you are working with. To begin tackling closet organization you’ll need to have your child try on all of his clothes; this will help you determine which items you are keeping and which should be donated or discarded. Take a look at these five blog posts to get more tips on sorting through the stuff in your child’s closet.

Define Spaces

All closets are different, so it’s a good idea to take measurements to determine what you have room for before you begin buying shelves and other organizational tools to put in the space. These six blog entries will give you plenty of ideas on how to define the space you have in your child’s closet.

Use Bins and Boxes         

Kids often have trouble folding things and keeping them tidy, so having boxes and bins for toy storage will allow your kids to help put things away without worrying about if it’s neatly in there or not. Check out these six blog articles for more tips on how you can use bins and boxes to organize your kids’ closets.

Label Everything

It can be difficult to remember what’s in each bin or box, especially when they’re above eye level or if you aren’t using clear containers. This is when labeling comes in handy.  Read through these six blog posts for tips on labeling items in the closet to help keep everything organized and accessible.

Back To School Organization

Over the next few weeks children around the country will be getting ready to head back to school. Getting back in the swing of school can be a little rough sometimes for kids and for parents. These helpful little organization tips from our friends at Enviro Maids, will help you with the transition from summer vacation to the upcoming school year.

Back to School Organizing For Your Home

Back to School Organizing For Your HomeAugust is here and that means taking advantage of the last few weeks of summer by spending as much time outdoors and relishing family time with your kids before they head back to

Get on schedule now

The alarm clock probably hasn’t rung since the last day of school and your kids have happily abandoned their “early to bed, early to rise” routine. Help make the early morning transition less grueling by easing them back into a routine. During the last two weeks of summer, re-introduce them to the school year bedtime. Have them go to bed a little earlier each night until they get to the hour they’ll need to rise when school begins. Do the same for the morning; have them wake up earlier each day, so it won’t be as shocking when the alarm goes off on the first day of school.

Keep track of all your activities

Once the school year starts, you’ll be busy juggling everyone’s activities and events. Between parent-teacher conferences, music lessons, sports practice and birthday parties, your head will be spinning as you try to keep everything straight. Calm the chaos by maintaining a centralized family calendar. Find the format that works for your family whether you go digital or use the old-fashioned pen and paper method. Consider using a color-coded system where you use color to identify each family member or type of activity.

Create a filing system

If you’ve spent too many mornings searching the house for the missing permission slip, create a filing system to keep everything tucked away in one spot. Create three files: an “action” file, a “completed” file, and an “information” file. Use the “action” file to store time sensitive paperwork that requires action on your part, such as permission slips, immunization forms, etc. The “completed” file should hold the paperwork that has been filled out or signed and ready to go. Finally, the “information” file should keep important information you may need to reference throughout the year, such as the school handbook, school contacts, volunteer schedule, etc.

Another idea is to assign a large binder to each child. You can divide the binder into the same sections mentioned above as well as including a section for homework assignments, class notes, artwork and report cards.

Backpack space

Get your children out of the habit of dumping their backpacks on the floor as soon as they walk through the door. Instead of cluttering the entry area of your house, create cubby spaces where each child can store their backpacks, school supplies and shoes. You can go as fancy as using built-in units in the mud room or as simple as using a few decorative bins and hooks near the door. Each night, have your child pack his or her backpack and place it in their assigned area along with any supplies or sports gear they need to bring to school the next day.

What to wear

Mornings are hectic enough without having you or your child stand in front of their closet each morning wondering what they’ll wear. Put aside a bit of time on the weekend to pick out an outfit for each day of the coming week. Hang each outfit on a separate hanger (for each day) and hang them in the closet so they’ll be ready each morning.

Green Gadgets

Going green is all about making changes in our lives to ensure a better future for the environment and for ourselves. In this article from Living Green Magazine, you are shown a few products that look like they are right out of Star Trek. So it just goes to show ya, the future is looking green.

Crazy Eco Cleaning Gadgets

The concept of Eco-Cleaning is a current trend with people looking to move away from chemicals and toward more natural innovative solutions.

This article highlights some highly innovation cleaning devices that may become part of every house in the future—and some that you can buy now to tackle life chores with a lower environmental impact.

 Futuristic Washing Machine

The Renew, designed by Louis Filosa for Electrolux, makes use of RFID and infrared scanners that detect deficiencies in the fabric (fade, tears, etc) and suggests new clothing options as well.  The smart home appliance also includes an OLED touchscreen interface, and Wi-Fi allows for easy navigation and updating. All you need to do is swipe your dirty clothes between the two steam blades, like a credit card, and get ready-to-wear clothes within no time.  (Source)


Door Handle with Self-Sterilization System

With door handles and knobs being bacteria breeding grounds for microscopic germs to live, in residential and commercial properties, this product sees to eradicate them with UV light.  Using UV light instead of chemicals is eco-friendly and allows for sterilisation throughout the day, reducing common communicable diseases.  How many door handles have you touched today?  (Source)

Eco-Friendly Cardboard Vacuum Cleaner

Designed by Jake Tyler a UK student, the eco-friendly vacuum cleaner is constructed from its own packaging, including the wheels!  Jack gave the following insight into creating the eco-friendly vacuum cleaner:   “Environmental stability was in at forefront of the design and that is why I used cardboard. Most consumer electrics need to be taken to a landfill site, my idea was to have something recyclable and you can build it yourself, so you feel part of the product.” (Source)




Integrated System

The Washup washing machine-toilet was designed by Sevin Coskun.  With space becoming limited and more uses being found for grey water (water that is not clean enough for human consumption) this gadget uses the grey water from the washing machine to flush the toilet. Saving space , water and cleaning this product ticks 3 Eco boxes! (Source)






Orbital Washing

Using two individual washing containers the orbital splits the washing into colours and whites. The ball filled with dirty clothes is then placed into the washing machine to be washed.

Once the drum is inserted into the machine the drive rotates the drum and the weight of the clothes spinning would then rotate the orbital ball around in another directions. As the drum rotates in all directions a centrifugal force is acting on the drum. As the drum spins it forces the clothes to stick to the inner sides of the drum allowing the water to pass through and efficiently washes the clothes.

In a conventional washing machine a large amount of energy is needed to drive the drum through the water, however in orbital the water is pumped through and sprayed out on to the drum through a shower which surrounds the tub. The drum would require less energy to spin through the water and less water is needed as it is being continually pumped around and sprayed. (Source)

Air Clean Balls

The Air Clean ball purifies the air around the device by using a form of ionisation.  This ionisation is in the form of a photocatalyst complex, which sterilises the air particles.  This does not freshen the air by releasing chemicals, but uses the internal filter to purify, removing viruses and bacteria.  This could be the fruit bowl of the future.  (Source)


Naturally Take Care Of Wax And Wine Stains

Whether you are having a holiday party with your family, a dinner party with friends, or a romantic evening with your significant other, nothing sets the mood quite like candles and wine. Candles can make your home look festive during the holidays or create nice lighting for an intimate dinner party, and let’s face it, everything is better with a little bit of wine! Unfortunately, when you’re dealing with wax candles and a bottle of red, you also have to be prepared for a little wax on your table or floor and perhaps a little spilled wine on your rug. Luckily, the good people at Enviro Maids, have the answer to this problem. In this article they give you tips on how to naturally remove wax and wine stains.

Natural Ways to Get Out Difficult Stains

Back to School Organizing For Your HomeWe’ve all stared in disbelief at a wine stain soaking the carpet, or dried drips of wax stuck to the hardwood floor. While certain spills and stains require little effort to remove, other stains require a little more work. Some stains such as wine, wax and gum are notorious for being particularly stubborn. Here are some natural ways to remove these unwanted stains. With the help of these tips you don’t have to “cry over spilled milk” or spilled wine anymore.

Candles provide a relaxing backdrop for a dinner party and set a festive mood during the holidays. When the guests have left and the festivities are over, however, the dried wax stains are nothing to cheer about. According to the experts at Beeswax Candle Company, the best way to remove wax from table linen is to melt it out from the fabric. Start by scraping off as much of the dried wax as you can with a dull knife. Place a brown paper bag on either side of the wax stain. Run a warm iron over the paper that is covering the stain. The wax will melt into the paper. Laundering as usual should remove any remaining residue.

Carpeting: Remove wax from carpeting the same way you would from fabric — using the warm iron and paper bag method. You can also use a clean cloth. If greasy residue remains, sprinkle baking soda on the area and let sit overnight before vacuuming to remove the residue.

Wood Surfaces: To remove candle wax spills from wood furniture or wood floors, first soften the wax with a hairdryer set to medium heat. When the wax starts to melt wipe it off with a soft cloth. Finish by wiping the area with a mild vinegar/water solution and polish as normal.

If you accidentally spill red wine on your crisp, white shirt or favorite tablecloth, don’t panic! As the experts at Real Simple contend, the key with all wine spills is to act fast. Start by draping the stained fabric over a bowl and blot using a clean, dry cloth to absorb excess liquid. Rinse out the stain with cool water, followed by covering it completely with a generous amount of salt and let stand for several minutes. Next, carefully pour boiling water over the stain to rinse away the salt and the stain. For stubborn stains, soak the fabric in a solution of one part vinegar to two parts water; Launder as usual after the stain has lightened significantly.

Rug spills: There are a few methods to remove red wine spills from carpets. One way is using cold water and baking soda. Immediately blot as much of the wine you can with a white cloth. After you finish blotting, pour some cold water directly onto the wine stain to dilute it. Continue blotting until most of the stain comes out. To completely remove the stain, make a baking soda paste by mixing three parts water to one part baking soda and applying it to the area. Vacuum once the paste has dried.

Another method uses vinegar. In a small bowl add one tablespoon of white vinegar and one tablespoon dishwashing liquid to two cups of warm water. Dip a sponge into the bowl and begin applying the solution directly onto the wine stain. Continue blotting until the stain has lifted.

Keep Your Lawn Looking Good During The Dog Days Of Summer

BLOG-LAWNNow that it is August we have officially entered the “dog days” of the summer. This is usually the time when your lawn begins to suffer the hot dry heat which can actually burn it, making it look dried out and brown. This article from Gertens, gives you a few tips on how to maintain your grass for as long as you can during this hot, dry time of year.

How to Keep Your Lawn Green in Hot, Dry Weather


Water your lawn in the morning when it is cool to allow more water to soak into the ground rather than evaporate. A significant amount of water is lost by people watering in the hot afternoon. Avoid watering in the evening to prevent fungus and disease. Make sure you have functional and easy to use watering equipment to make the process fool-proof.


Newly sprouted grass can be protected with a thin layer of mulching straw. One or two bales will cover 1,000 square feet. The straw can be removed about three weeks after germination.

A layer of grass clippings kept on the lawn retains soil moisture and fertilizes the grass. Make sure not to leave too much though or you will have problems with excessive thatch. Mulching lawns with clippings works best if the grass has been mowed regularly and not allowed to grow too long. Clippings that are wet or long tend to become soggy clumps that eventually smother the grass beneath them and can cause disease.

Keep the Grass Longer in Summer

A lawn is comprised of millions of individual grass plants. Grass, just like other plants, has a crown from which new growth emerges. If you keep the lawn longer in the summer, the blades shade the crown and protect it from burning.

Different grasses for Different Climates

Keep in mind that there are cool-season and warm-season grasses. Cool-season grasses thrive in northern areas, including Canada, and in higher elevations further south. Their main growth is in spring and fall when the soil temperatures are 50 to 65 F, and the air temperature is 60 to 75 F. Come high summer, they usually go dormant unless they are watered regularly. Kentucky bluegrass, bentgrass, ryegrass and fescues are examples of cool-season grasses.

Warm-season grasses grow best in southern regions and rev up their growth along with the increasing heat of summer. Warm-season grasses, such as Bermuda, St. Augustine, and zoysia, grow strongly when soil temperatures are between 70 and 90 F and the air reaches a balmy 80 to 95 F. They go dormant when the weather gets cooler.

Your choice depends on the region in which you live and when you want your grass to look its best. If you don’t care if your lawn takes longer to

get started in the spring, but will stay green through the summer, go for a warm-season grass. However, grass hardiness varies with the type. So consider all of these factors when choosing grass seed.


The Best Green Cleaners

Many people are now starting to realize that green cleaners are as effective and far less harmful than traditional cleaners. Unfortunately, not everyone knows which green cleaners are the best to buy. In this article from Parents, they list seven of the best green cleaning products available. Hopefully this list will help you in making the switch to green.



7 Best Green Cleaners for Your HomeNatural Household Cleaners

Natural Household Cleaners


Sure, baking soda and vinegar will do the trick. But if you’re not up to playing chemist in your kitchen, these store-bought green cleaning products can help around the house.

Dave by Eco-Me All Floor Cleaner

Safe to use on tile, sealed wood, vinyl, and more, the Dave by Eco-Me All Floor Cleaner eliminates bacteria without harsh chemicals.

Method Antibacterial Toilet Cleaner

Squirt Method’s antibacterial toilet cleaner under the rim and the citric acid-based formula kills 99.9 percent of germs

J.R. Watkins Home Care All-Purpose Cleaner

Behind the pretty packaging is a grapefruity all-purpose spray for any room in your house.

Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day Surface Scrub

Skip the elbow grease. A few shakes of Mrs. Meyer’s Surface Scrub are all you need to tackle hard-to-clean spots in the kitchen or bathroom, and it’s safe to use on stainless steel.

Green Works Compostable Cleaning Wipes

Biodegradable, plantbased cleaning agents make these compostable wipes ideal for quick cleanups.

iQ The Smarter Cleaner

Fill the iQ Glass Cleaner bottle with water, then screw in the replaceable cartridge to release a concentrated cleaning fluid.

Vaska Spotoff Spot Remover

The color-safe, botanical surfactants in Spotoff make it the perfect pre-treatment for spills on rugs, curtains, and clothes.