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Natural Awakenings Richmond

Spring Into a Green Lifestyle!

Feb 27, 2015 01:44PM ● By Karen Soucy

With spring right around the corner, the green season is upon us. Besides the promise of getting outside and the nothing-like-it smell of air-dried sheets, spring can make folks consider new ways to live green by becoming less wasteful and more aligned with natural living.

Parents are often called to lead by example in order to promote a healthy lifestyle and positively influence future generations. There are many simple ways to go green with kids on board and teach them valuable lessons about living more sustainably. Nancy Peplinsky, founder and executive director of the Holistic Moms Network, offers three easy suggestions:

  1. Hang clothes outside. During warmer seasons and sunny days, round up the kids and head outside to save energy by hanging clothes to dry in the sun rather than running the dryer.
  2. Wrap things up creatively. Rather than spending money on wrapping paper for gifts, try being innovative and creative. Wrap up a gift in fabric from old clothes or use brown paper grocery bags turned inside out and decorated with markers, crayons or stickers.
  3. Get growing! Teach kids sustainability by starting a garden in the back yard or, in smaller spaces, by growing seeds in containers on the porch or balcony or planting some windowsill herbs. Let the children pick some seeds to grow themselves and give them a chance to experience gardening from seed to harvest.

Since people spend nearly one-third of their lives in the bedroom, a green and clean sleeping space is very important and can have a huge impact on rest and productivity. “If you want a cleaner bedroom, make it naked,” says Cheryl Hahn, founder and CEO of Environmental Resource Outlet, the parent company of CozyPure, a Norfolk, Virginia-based outlet for organic beds and bedding. Hahn suggests that the bedroom is the perfect space to make some simple green living changes. Her tips include:

  • For window treatments, choose natural fiber curtains, shades, wood blinds or shutters. Avoid heavy draperies that are usually treated with chemicals and harbor dust mites.
  • Bare floors are best. New carpet and adhesives can release gas vapors and other toxic chemicals.
  • Introduce a few plants, such as English ivy and spider plants. They naturally filter the air, add beauty, produce oxygen and absorb chemicals.
  • Select furniture crafted from real wood; avoid pressboard and plywood that contain chemicals and do not last as long.
  • For a healthier night’s sleep, choose mattresses and bedding made from natural and organic materials.

Another way to reflect a green living priority is through one’s wardrobe choices. Starre Vartan, author of The Eco Chick Guide to Life, says, “Green your wardrobe—getting the most out of your clothes is the simplest way to minimize your impact."

One way to do this is by avoiding the temptation to buy based on fads and trends, and instead invest in quality pieces that will last for years. When shopping for new clothes, choose organic, Made-in-the-USA items. Existing clothes can also be altered to make them more fashionable, such as hemming long skirts, turning long-sleeve shirts into sleeveless tops or cutting jeans carefully to create wearable and attractive shorts.

Greener cleaning of garments can help as well. Choose conscious ways to clean by washing clothes in cold water and line dry when possible. If using a dry cleaner, consider selecting one that uses less toxic products and opt for a reusable bag rather than plastic coverings over each item.

With gardening and yard work on the horizon, the perfect place to go green is your back yard. Daphne Dixon, founder of Conscious Decisions, offers the following suggestions:

  • Let your grass grow a little longer. It helps develop stronger roots that require less watering.
  • Choose native plants. They need less water and fertilizer and support native habitats.
  • Purchase an inexpensive leaf mulcher. The mulch created from colorful fall leaves is attractive, beneficial and saves money.

Whether the choice is to eat more organic food, ride bikes to work or take advice from one of the experts here, they all add to the greater good of our planet. And that’s a green step in the right direction.

Karen Soucy is a Brand Advocate at CozyPure, a manufacturer of natural latex mattresses and organic bedding located in Norfolk. For more information, call 800-229-7571 or visit