HOW TO TRAVEL ‘GREEN’

Ah, the joys of travel.                                  

Not only do we have to deal with the hassles of flying, but other healthy habits such as diet and exercise also often fly out the window, which only adds to our level of frustration and fatigue.

For myself, I have the added challenge of travelling with gluten intolerance and food allergies, so staying ‘Green’ can seems fairly low on the list.

I know it can be very hard to maintain our eco-friendly ways while on the road. We tend to opt for convenience when crunched for time, or when we’re tired and far from home.

Still, it is possible, and needn’t take too much effort.

So here are my tips on How to Travel Green:

Staying Hydrated

Yes, it’s definitely important to stay hydrated while traveling, especially while in the air. But my point here is more about the bottle you drink out of, than your fluid intake.

Yet, how do you do that without going through gallons of water packaged in plastic bottles?

My method isn’t foolproof, but here it is:  I travel with a stainless steel water bottle. I empty it prior to passing through security at the airport, then request a refill at the nearest Starbucks.

A friend of mine gave me this tip a few years ago, and it really works!

Your second option is to buy bottled water, refill the stainless steel bottle, and then recycle the plastic container in the nearest recycle bin.

It may not be possible to find a recycle bin every time you need one, but I think this is more about doing what you can. Every little bit helps!

(more…)

HOW TO NARROW DOWN YOUR CHOICES, PART II

As I see it, the art of making decisions, as referred to in this article, is really about the Art of Removing Clutter and knowing When to Let Go.     

This week, we continue with the theme of Spring cleaning and getting clear, while wading through years of accumulated stuff.

Whether you are dealing with day to day decorating decisions, household clutter, or the mammoth task of downsizing your home, the options listed below will give you a place to start.

Narrow Down Your Choices

This is critical, especially if you are prone to Waffler tendencies. Like Aladdin, if you can narrow down your choices to just two or three, your task will be a lot easier.

While you sort through your possessions, limit yourself to just three piles, or categories:  Keep, Discard and Maybe.

Use large bins, if that will help.

Then be relentless as you work your way through the excess clutter that has overtaken your home.

When you are done, go back through the ‘Maybe’ pile and keep only what you absolutely can’t live without.

Be Realistic

How do you know what you can and can’t live without? Sometimes it can be really hard to decide.

Try asking yourself these questions: Does this item really serve a useful purpose? Does it give me pleasure? How often do I use it? Do I own more than one?

If your answer to the last question is Yes, then you need to ask yourself how many of XYZ do you really need?

Be honest with yourself!

If you are downsizing to a two-bedroom condo, with a small dining area, do you really have room for that 10 foot dining table, complete with extra leaves, that you inherited from Great Aunt Susie?

Probably not.

Give Yourself the Gift of Time

Unless you are in a hurry, why not sit back and take your time sorting through all those years of accumulated stuff?

For example, if you are making plans to move but construction has only just begun on your new residence, then time is certainly on your side.

The act of dealing with unwanted clutter can take many months to wade through, so the sooner you can start, the better.

The important thing is to start now.

The second most important thing is to not stop until you are done.

Take Advantage of Recycling and Local Charities

Many neighborhoods have regular recycling days two or three times a year. These events present the perfect opportunity to unload a lot of stuff.

Rest assured that as long as the items you are parting with are in good condition, someone else could always benefit from your donation.

Plus, it feels so rewarding when you’re done!

Another excellent resource would be charitable organizations that help families get back on their feet after dealing with personal crisis, financial or otherwise.

With charities, used furniture is always in demand, especially if it is in good condition. Check your local government listings to see what is available where you live.

Hire Outside Help

If you are really fearful of making a mistake, then by all means hire  outside help.

The professional interior designer, or professional organizer will save you time, money and the headache of having to deal with everything yourself.

Trust me, this is one of those times when the expense is absolutely worth it. You will keep your sanity, and sail through what could otherwise be a major crisis.