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Apartment Living - Turning Your Space Green

Now more than ever, all of us need to become more aware of living green in cities. Whether you live in a home with plenty of space or an apartment, there are numerous ways to live sustainably. In this article, I am focusing on how to green up your apartment.

Apartment Living - Turning Your Space Green

All images in this article are from my own apartment

IN THE KITCHEN

Organise the kitchen

By organising your kitchen, so you don't waste food, you will also benefit from finding things quickly and shopping more wisely. For storage, try and label everything you can for quick reference, especially the items you keep in containers and the fridge. By grouping similar items together will also help you become more organised. Use masking tape and add the use-by date for quick reference and especially for leftover food so you can use it before it spoils. Only buy when you are almost out of a specific item to prevent having double what you need at one time. By doing this, you will also save money in the long run and not have to throw out outdated items. You could also keep a list of things that will need replacing soon on the back of the pantry door.

Compost food scraps

Composting is a great way to recycle food scraps and to feed plants. I use a Bokashi system for composting food scraps, and it supplies me with constant fertiliser for the garden.


Balcony

If you have a balcony, then consider growing your food. I live in an apartment with three terraces, two of them a good size, and I have set up tubs to grow vegetables. I also have an olive tree growing. So far, I'm growing coriander, basil, tomatoes, lettuce, bok choy, lemongrass, mint, Vietnamese mint, chillies, marigolds for salad, apple cucumber, thyme, spring onions, and coloured chard.

grow your own spring onions

I grew my spring onions (scallions) by cutting the white part with roots from shop-bought produce and planting them in the soil. This way, you are not wasting the produce, and you can grow your own scallions for free! I pick the leaves as I need them. Also, my first bunch have gone to seed, so I'm collecting the seeds to plant later.

Bathroom

Saving water is the green key here! Limit showers, always turn the tap off when cleaning teeth, use the half flush on the toilet when appropriate. You can also clean the bathroom with a solution of vinegar and bicarb, and to add a fragrance, add a few drops of your favourite essential oil.

Make a paste using baking soda and water to clean grout, spritz lightly with vinegar, and then scrub. It takes a bit of work, but investing in some power drill cleaning brushes makes it a lot easier if you have a battery power drill.


living sustainably in an apartment

Bedroom

Mosquitos are an annoyance, especially when sleeping. Even with fly screens, they still manage to find themselves indoors. Investing in Mosquito nets is the greenest way to keep them at bay, rather than using toxic insect spray.

lemon and clove fly repellent

Fly Repellant

Fly repellent works wonders; however, it is full of chemicals, and who knows what those chemicals are doing to our bodies in the background.


The good news is that by using a half-lemon and cloves! You can make a natural fly repellant. Cut the lemons in half and place whole cloves into them.

Cleaning

Use natural cleaning products for a safer and greener home. There are plenty of options to make cleaning products that are non-toxic and most likely cheaper in the long run too.

Home Made Base Cleaner

  • 40 drops clove essential oil

  • 35 drops lemon essential oil

  • 20 drops cinnamon bark essential oil

  • 15 drops eucalyptus essential oil

  • 10 drops rosemary essential oil

Add these to a spray bottle of witch hazel. The less toxicity in our home cleaning the better for nature's gifts such as frogs, insects and our waterways.

Non Toxic Oven Cleaner

The most effective natural oven cleaner recipe – no toxic fumes!


Ingredients

Equal amounts of Baking Soda, Coarse Salt, and Dish Soap, then 2-3 drops of citrus essential oil.

Make a paste with the soap, baking soda, and salt, adding a little water if necessary.


Allow sitting for several hours, preferably overnight, on the interior of the oven. Use a sponge or scrubbing brush dipped in warm water to clean the interior. Spray the interior with distilled white vinegar to remove any remaining paste residue.

Dishwasher Tablets

2 cups washing soda (Sodium Carbonate)

1 cup oxygen bleach

1/2 cup citric acid

40-60 drops of essential oil (not necessary but a nice touch)

Combine all of the ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Mix in a food processor for best results.

Place the powder in ice cube trays and firmly press down.


Allow for a 24-72-hour hardening period. If the humidity is low, the moulds may not harden, so transfer the mixture to an airtight jar and use it as dishwasher powder, not tablets. Store the dishwasher tablets in an airtight container out of direct sunlight and heat.

These are small changes, but the impact is enormous if we all do our bit for our beautiful planet.


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