Green Up a (New) Space Challenge {Vlog + Giveaway}

by Nicole

Nicole lives near the beach in Southern California with her husband and three young kiddos. She writes a a lifestyle blog about creativity, family life, community, and all sorts of other fun stuff, and also keeps a homeschool journal called The Bennettar Academy. Her most recent (free!) ebook is about why and how to make more time for reading.

Ahh, spring… a time for new beginnings, new growth and of course, spring cleaning!

It’s also a great time to take a minute to take inventory of your green goals for the year. Maybe now is the time to implement a few small changes that you were considering back in January.

Today, I’m excited to be hosting a great giveaway, along with a little challenge for each of you (and myself!). Take a look at my vlog for more information!

To recap, the ideas I’ve had so far for greening up a particular space in my (new) home are:

  • My floors: natural floor coverings/rugs, and possibly a steam cleaner for the tile floors
  • Backyard composting: a bigger compost pile/bin
  • Trash organization: better cans in kitchen for trash and recycle

Your Challenge:

I’d love for you to join me in finding a spot in your home that you can green up. Remember, these can be small changes that don’t have to cost much, but that contribute to your overall green goals for your home and family. Let us know in the comments (or also over on our Facebook page) what you are hoping to do!

About the sponsor:

Apartment Guide has tips for decorating, healthy living and making the most of your space. It’s helpful information no matter where you live. If you’re ready for a whole new space or are looking to move, Apartment Guide has the photos, floor plans, features and tips to help you find the perfect apartment community.

“Like” Apartment Guide on Facebook or follow them on Twitter (@AptGuide) for real-time tips and updates on making the most of your space.

About the Giveaway:

This giveaway is now closed.

Apartment Guide will be giving away an awesome green home gift pack (pictured above) to one lucky Simple Organic reader!

It’s valued at $100, and includes a sustainable-sawgrass material basket, a variety of green cleaning products, a natural-products candle, at-home composting bags and CFL lightbulbs.

How to enter:

Leave a comment on this post, telling us either what you hope to do in your own home, or offering suggestions on small or easy ways to green up a space in the home (maybe something you’ve already done). Feel free to comment on Nicole’s ideas as well!

Giveaway will end at midnight PST on Saturday, March 26, 2011.

Good luck!

Apartment Guide is owned by Consumer Source, Inc. Apartment Guide partnered with bloggers such as me to participate in its “Green Up a New Space” Blogger Challenge.  As part of that program, I received compensation.  They did not tell me what to purchase or what to say about the products used for the “Green Up a New Space” Blogger Challenge. Apartment Guide and Consumer Source believe that consumers and bloggers are free to form their own opinions and share them in their own words. Consumer Source’s policies align with WOMMA Ethics Code, FTC guidelines and social media engagement recommendations.

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  1. avatar
    Elizabeth R says:

    I need to find a way to green our cleaning products and would love to start composting again. Currently the only green thing we do, we recycle and are using cloth diapers on our daughter.

  2. I make all of my own cleaning products, soap and shampoo as well as using natural skin-care products. We garden and have gotten away from synthetic fertilizers and pesticides – but I would really love to start composting and add a rain barrel to catch gutter run-off this year.

  3. My focus for this year is the first R-Reduce. Reduce our overall consumption is HUGE for our family this year,

  4. I’ve started composting again, since I have planted a massive garden this year. I’m really getting into the real food thing, which has made a HUGE difference in the amount of plastics showing up in our recycling bin. It’s amazing how much packaging comes in from the grocery store. I’m ready to start using green cleaners and personal products like shampoo. I think I will start with making my own laundry detergent, and go on from there.

  5. avatar
    Jennie G says:

    Last year I went green with my cleaning products.

  6. We’re just getting started with out composting!

  7. I am transitioning to green cleaners. We’re moving to a new home and I plan to only use green cleaners there!

  8. Couple things – I have been researching and slowly switching over to green cleaning products. We are replacing all burned out light bulbs with CFLs. I am going to do some container gardening this year (heirloom lettuce, carrots, radishes and pole beans) – I know I should learn how to compost – I’m up for the challenge.

  9. avatar
    maryann joye says:

    We decided that since we are still working that it is the best time to look into rainwater collection. Not just for the outside but to be used inside for flushing toilets and doing laundry. It can be a little pricey but we are at the point in our lives where we are staying put and even if it takes 8 – 10 years to equal the initial investment, we are committed to doing it.

  10. I just started composting a few weeks ago. I also wrote a post yesterday about line drying clothes–better for your clothes, your pocket book, and the environment!

  11. we just started our first indoor herb garden, and we plan on growing some lettuce and radishes in containers outside.

  12. We’ve been gradually greening our home for a few years now – we compost, use green (mostly homemade) cleaners, dry clothes on a line/drying rack, etc. This year we’re going to use cloth diapers on our soon-to-arrive baby.

  13. I make my own green cleaning products (lots of vinegar and baking soda with some essential oils), and it was a much much easier change than I would have thought. Now we are starting to work on composting for the garden.

  14. I’ve been using plain white vinegar in the rinse part of my dishwasher, and it gets my dishes as sparkling clear and spot-free as well as Cascade rinse did, and is much cheaper too!

  15. I am getting ready to plant a slightly bigger garden this year. I think I am ready to move beyond just growing some herbs.

  16. This isn’t exactly an indoor space, but I’m going to get a tumbling composter for our backyard this spring! I’m so excited about it! As always, focusing on consuming less is always going on in the background too.

  17. avatar
    Stephanie says:

    Oh there are so many wonderful, easy, & money saving things people can do in their homes. I make all my own cleaners and recycle everything possible. I just started a vermicomposting bin last week in my basement using a big Rubbermaid container and red worms. Honestly, I did have a rough start with that one (at least 50 of those little suckers escaped the first night) but I think I’m back on track.

    I hope to add an outdoor composting pile, a rain barrel, growing more organic veggies & fruits in my garden, and consistently shopping at the bulk food store using reusable containers, all by the end of summer. Oh yeah, I started Dave Ramsey in January so the trick is finding AFFORDABLE ways to accomplish these goals!!!

  18. avatar
    Kathy L. says:

    I started my compost about 2 years ago. The last couple of months I have switched to all natural cleaning, deodorizing, fabric softening products. i.e. baking soda & vinegar for cleaning the bathroom along with a homemade cleaning spray for my granite bathroom countertop. I also am now using a homemade liquid dusting spray that I love. I haven’t bought “Pledge” in 4 months and use vinegar as my fabric softener. The 2 girls left in my house (me & my youngest who is 17) have both switched to the “no poo” method for cleaning our hair. I can’t talk my husband into trying this. I have also recently started making our body wash, lotion & body bars! I have the “natural” ingredients for homemade deodorant but haven’t had time to make yet! These changes have really had an impact on my daughter. At 17 she is looking at the ingredients of items and being aware of what comes in contact with her body and the environment. I’m thrilled with all my natural, inexpensive, homemade products. Even though it takes a little extra time and I work full time, it is definitely worth it! Thanks for all the info at Simple Organic!

  19. I’ve started a compost pile this year and we are planting a large garden this year. We recycle what we can and I make my own cleaners. I want to try natural body care next and we are working on using essential oils and herbs for our health. There’s so much we can do, but I’m taking baby steps to make it work better for our family. Thanks!

  20. I’m in the process of getting rid of unsafe cleaning products and will be making my own hand soap, dishwasher and other cleaning products in the next few weeks. I’m SO excited!!!

  21. We just went very green in our household. Because of the huge waste the napkins and papertowels make, we just went paperless! We switched all of our napkins to cloth napkins and our papertowels are now cloth as well. All of my cleaning materials are all home-made and instead of using the easy wipes to clean my home, we use old rags and our cleaning mixture of vinegar and lemon. We have also switched our toilet paper to a more biodegradable product and our trash bags are also made of recycled materials. We also have our composted pill that is starting to contribute to our garden as well as the new trees that we bougt to be more self sufficient in our home. We thought it would be a lot of work going green, but we found it so simple and I feel much better about what my home is giving back to the environment!

  22. We are moving to a house with a garden, so figuring out how to do that green is our next challenge

  23. I would like to start making my own “green” dishwasher detergent.

  24. I want to turn my wasted front yard into a garden. The kids are not allowed in the front yard because of the 10ft + drop to the sidewalk. Guess I better get prepping so I can grow some corn, zukes, and anything else that I want :)

  25. “Reduce” and “reuse” have been big motivators for us this year. We’re learning to consume less and find new uses for what we already have. We’ve also started making the switch to natural cleaning supplies.

  26. avatar
    Christine says:

    I want to green up our cleaners and go natural there. The other thing I’ve been looking at is beauty products. Last but not least, with gardening season starting, I’ll be using egg cartons for seed starters and newspapers for plant bed covers under the mulch.

  27. I want to start a compost! We’ve had a garden for a few years but I want to step it up :) I also want to experiment with homemade cleaners inside the house.

  28. I make all of my own cleaning products as well as using natural skin-care products.
    right now we try to focus more on reusing and recycling

  29. we try to declutter and if a new item is really necessary, we try to find it second hand and non plastic

  30. avatar
    Christine S says:

    I never thought of the steam mop as green, but it surely is! I would love that! One big project for us is to replace some of our carpet. I’d love to do cork, as it is antimicrobial, sustainable, and pretty, but it is very expensive. I need to change my viewpoints as it is an INVESTMENT. Still working on that…

  31. avatar
    Mandee Jo says:

    I’ve been thinking I need to put a recycling bin in the bathroom. There are always empty bottles and toilet paper rolls that need to be recycled in there. And I always feel like I am picking them out of the trash or they wait on the counter for days before I remember to take them to the recycling bin in the kitchen.

  32. I need to invest more time in making a greener homemade laundry detergent. Also, despite composting and recycling, I feel like we still have a lot of trash. Trying to reduce that amount of trash.

  33. avatar
    Jennifer says:

    I am trying to switch over completely to homemade cleaning products – vinegar, baking soda, olive oil, essential oils. Next up is dishwashing detergent.

  34. We’ve been good about recycling, but I’ve been trying to reduce the amount of waste we create and to reuse things as much as possible…i’d like to compost, but its hard in an apartment! Thanks for the giveaway! :)

  35. I would love to start composting or making my own cleaning products.

  36. Right now my main green attempt is recycling and using items until they fall apart or quit on me. I am getting ready to start a compost bin and organic gardening. Also, am going to start making my own cleaners, shampoo, etc.

  37. I have been working on recycling more…I used to just recycle paper but I am trying to other stuff too. I would like to try a floor steamer too! I have also been focusing on buying greener shampoos and body wash and stuff like that.

  38. I want to start a compost! I created all my own cleaning products, I’ve created all our bath and body products (except for lotion), we brought home some beautiful plants, and I’m trying to declutter more. But I have never had a compost before and I would love to start one. I’d love to have more help greening up other areas of my home as well! :)

  39. My family has been making small green changes. We’ve always recycled but last year we started composting. This winter I switched to baking soda & vinegar for shampoo/conditioner and started using vinegar for some cleaning. My next steps are to go through our health/beauty items and get rid of or replace with greener options. And I want to get a rain barrel set up this summer.

  40. avatar
    Jessie C. says:

    We’ve been doing green for years, would like to start making our own detergent.

  41. I’ve been composting in my backyard for a while now, but I’m looking forward to trying indoor anaerobic composting as well. I am also hoping to repaint the bathroom (and maybe some other rooms as well) with eco-friendly paint this year. In our home, we already use vinegar for most of our cleaning, soap nuts for the laundry, and a steam cleaner on the floors.

  42. I dream of the day when everything goes into the recycling bin and nothing is in the trash can :) Although that dream is far away, I still dream though

  43. Here are some things we’re doing at our house: making “new” curtains by refashioning old ones from the thrift store; making my own cleaning products with baking soda, vinegar and castille soap; using the dish rinse water to give our plants a drink; and using rain barrels for our plants outside. We love re-purposing and re-making!

  44. I’ve been reading about using natural products to clean. I’ve plan on using more vinegar and baking soda to clean my kitchen and bathrooms.

  45. avatar
    Rebecca R says:

    I am trying to start recycling our paper waste and being frugal with our electricity and water usage

  46. I try to stay natural and minimal in our cleaners. For regular messes, I have a spray bottle of vinegar and water. Laundry soap is a concoction of Borax, washing soda, and a natural bar soap. Right now I’m using seventh generation dishwasher detergent, but am looking for a homemade recipe that will save money and hopefully use what I already have!

  47. avatar
    Charissa says:

    We’ve been working on a nursery for our baby on the way, and I’ve done my best with what we have to keep the products I’ve bought green–making my own diaper supplies (like diaper wash) or buying non-toxic versions, putting in heavy duty curtains to keep it cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter, borrowing as many baby supplies and clothes as possible (and keeping things simple in that area), and making my own cleaning products.

  48. I’m in the process of switching to homemade cleaners. Vinegar and baking soda are my new best friends!

  49. Have been using green cleaners for just over 1 year and loving it

  50. We are always looking for ways to green up our home, inside and out. It’s easy (and cheap) to make your own cleaners and laundry soap. I use the clothesline as much as possible, and just made a set of wool dryer balls to help with dryer efficiency in the winter months. A great way to get into new habits is to stop buying products you want to avoid – when they aren’t in the house you quickly find alternatives (this was how we stopped using paper towels.) Buying second-hand, using or repairing what we have instead of buying new, and just buying less, are all parts of our plan.

  51. We’ve started switching over to green cleaning products and using more things like vinegar for cleaning as well. Also we hope to start growing some herbs in a container garden.

  52. I need to start composting again and we are saving up for our own set of worms that will live under our sink and compost all of our immediate kitchen scraps. We can’t wait to get our new pets and look forward to getting our compost going again once the snow melts 😉

  53. I am hoping/planning to change all of our cleaners to natural ones. It’s tough to give up on my Scrubbing Bubbles, but I know it will be better for the environment and my family to find alternative (and hopefully inexpensive) cleaners.

  54. I have been wanting to try to make my own cleaning products and have finally bought everything I need to try it!

  55. We’ve made a LOT of changes over the past year, but just this past month, we gave up paper towels. This might sound small, but it was HUGE for us! We have a small child on a feeding tube, which equals frequent leaks/messes on top of the usual toddler daily mishaps. Add in a cat who horks hairballs and occasionally vomits, and we were using a LOT of paper towels. I always felt guilty about it, but every time I thought about giving them up, I balked. I just couldn’t imagine it.

    Here’s what we did: I purchased a couple stacks of “cheap” wash cloths from Target in chocolate brown. A color that won’t show stains so much and happens to match the chocolate brown towels in our master bath. I was always washing a small load of bath towels before, now I can simply add the washcloths! I set a stack of washcloths beside the sink with a medium round basket beside it. We use a cloth as a wipe a few times when we can and just once when it’s something truly “gross” or extra messy. When the cloth is soiled, we simply roll it up & toss it in the round basket. When the basket’s full, I add the cloths to my load of towels. For EXTREMELY messy messes, or ones involving the cat, I have a bucket of “rags” under the laundry room sink that are simply old towels, t-shirts, etc. that are cut up for cleaning purposes.

    The switch has been so effortless and easy that I’m kicking myself that we didn’t do it sooner! I feel so much better now that we’re not contributing our own heaps of Bounty paper towels to the landfill!

    Next on our agenda: eliminating ziploc bags. We don’t use them often, but we’d like to switch to never. =)

  56. Trying to find a good alternative to air fresheners!

  57. We started a compose last fall. We are setting up to recycle everything and canceling our trash service next month. We have replaced all our light bulbs, We have made a huge effort to stop buying bottle water and using our own bottles and our tap water. We keep our furnace at 60 in the winter and our AC at 80 in the summer and try to keep the AC off as long as we possibly can. We are getting much better about buying second hand. We are starting a small veggie garden this Spring. Lastly we are buying bikes and riding them to the store and such (we live in a small town) instead of driving.

  58. One of my green goals this year is to reduce the amount of plastic we use. One way I plan to achieve that is to sew some basic tulle produce bags to take with me to the market.

  59. We have just started our compost bin (two weeks ago). The kids love taking the “green” pail out to the bin to mix it in. I’ve also been trying the “no shampoo” trend. So far, so good.

  60. We are just about ready to start composting, and I would really like to green up our cleaning products!

  61. We are starting a compost bin. Also, we’re moving the washer/dryer to the basement…it’s currently in a closet next to the kitchen, so that will free up more space for our recycling containers.

  62. I make my own cleaning supplies, make my own deodorant, and I threw away all plastic food storage containers and now use glass containers and glass food jars!

  63. I’ve recently done several things to move towards greener living..
    I stopped using almost all chemical cleaners in my home (except the bathroom). In the kitchen I use a mix of vinegar & lemon juice in a spray bottle to clean up and if need be, use it on the floor if there is a particular dirty spot. I also only use hot water on my tile in the kitchen & hallway and they’re beautiful. I started using coconut oil as a deodorant (& yes it works very well most of the time) and I also just got a wonderful rotating compost bin (from Costco) last week so I can be composting all sorts of materials that I just hated to send to the landfills..
    My sweet little backyard woodland garden needs that compost badly!
    Im pretty happy with the things I’ve been doing…

  64. I have so many ideas it’s hard to decide which ones will be top priority when we return to our home in a few weeks. Most things involve a safe environment for our 9 month old, specifically ditching conventional cleaners completely, and gardening. I’m hoping to start our compost pile this year!

  65. I need to green up our cleaning products. I plan to start doing more cleaning with vinegar and buying more earth-friendly products from the store.

  66. I am always trying, but REALLY struggle with this! HOwever, just did start making our own yogurt to save teh trash of all those throw-away containers! Thanks for the chance – I would LOVE to have a greener home!

  67. We have been trying to find new ways to green up our home and are finding that it helps us save money, too! I sewed cloth napkins for us to use and with three children, that saves a lot. We use homemade or green cleaning products, grow food in our garden, use CFL lightbulbs, recycle, shop at thrift stores. I’d like to start composting but right now we just get a truckload of free compost from the city dump. I would also like to find a green dishwasher detergent that helps us deal with our hard water.

  68. I shop for my clothes at the thrift. I made napkins from men shirts. I make our cleaners. I want to compost

  69. avatar
    Natalie Arnold says:

    We recycle, compost, garden, make cleaning products, and use organic/company responsible skin products. Light bulbs, reusable batteries, and shower heads have been a long time improvement in our home. My plans for the future are a bigger producing garden and a rain barrel.

  70. We use CFL’s, reusable grocery bags, we compost, wash in cold water, and use vinegar and baking soda everywhere!

  71. I’m in the process of greening our cleaning products, relying more and more on homemade – as Tracy said, I’m all about the vinegar and baking soda! Also, after our house remodel is complete later this year, we plan to re-paint all the interiors with zero-VOC paints to keep our inside air healthy.

  72. great post, and giveaway! We save all veggie trimmings and chicken bones to make delicious and healthy stock, we cloth diaper our little one to reduce waste, we clean with vinegar and baking soda. I know there are more things to be done and i’m excited to start working on a vermicomposter for our apartment next!

  73. Last year I made a real effort to green my cleaning supplies and switch most of our light bulbs to CFLs. This year I want to focus more on reusing and re-purposing what I have instead of buying something new, for instance taking a gently used shirt that does not fit right and making it into a sun dress for my daughter or repainting a dresser instead of buying a new one.

  74. avatar
    Amy Spicer says:

    I made the switch a few months ago to all natural cleaning. I use vinegar, hydrogen peroxide, baking soda and lemon juice to do all my cleaning.

  75. I want to start using a green laundry detergent. I already make my own baby and household wipes.

  76. I am making my own homemade cleaners and showing others how simple and easy it is (and cheaper). I would like to start an outdoor compost pile and bring my own bags to get groceries more often.

  77. Add a recycling can next to the trash can. By it as easy as tossing something in the trashcan, you can really maximize the amount you recycle.

  78. I recently started “green cleaning” our apartment (especially the bathroom) and love that I don’t have those nasty fumes (made my throat hurt…why did I keep using them?) or worry about what drips where – it’s all safe – vingar, baking soda, hydrogen peroxide, and a home-made multi-purpose cleaner! My husband and I have also started looking into buying our first home and I’m building up a mental list of how to seriously clean up before we move in and then maintian our house in a healthy way!

  79. avatar
    Kiersten H. says:

    A steam cleaner. My husband is always begging for one but we have not had the extra money. Maybe it is time to invest in one.

  80. We make our own cleaning products, have a garden for veggies and herbs and we buy a lot of second hand clothing.

  81. I purchased a compose bin at the end of last year, but haven’t set it up yet. I really hope to get this up and running this Spring!!

  82. avatar
    meredith says:

    Ive been reducing – taking lots of stuff to the local goodwill and trying to buy things that I can either recycle or reuse!

  83. Would love to try out these new products. We’re cleaning green!

  84. avatar
    Naomi Jones says:

    I’ve started replacing all the products we run out of with homemade ones.

  85. I love to green my home. I have stopped using paper towels (as much) and have been reusing old worn out washcloths as rags. I have started making my own cleansers too. My mom and I have even started making our laundry detergent with natural ingredients.

    I would love to win more greening gear!

  86. avatar
    Sherisse says:

    I am trying to be greener by not buying anything new, but always looking to see if it can be found second hand first. Plus not purchasing products with heavy packaging, and reusing the packaging that I do buy such as produce and bulk bin bags.

  87. We use green cleaners, we recycle and garden, and a few other things. But, I’d really like to reduce the amount of paper we use… paper for work (both of us are teachers), paper in the kitchen, papers from receipts, etc. Most of it is recycled, but it’d be nice not to use it in the first place!

    Thanks for this opportunity!

  88. Got rid of my large trash can and put in two small ones – one for trash and one for recycling. Now that we don’t have to take recycling to the garage there’s no excuse for not recycling! So much less in the trash now – this week we only had one bag!

  89. As I use up my old cleaners this year, I’m replacing them with green cleaners.