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“Pretty Neat: The Buttoned-Up Way to Get Organized and Let Go of Perfection” Book Review and Giveaway [Closed]

Pretty Neat book I am by no means a “fan” or even a dedicated or avid reader of Heather Armstrong’s blog Dooce, but when she posted pictures of her newly-decorated study, I wanted to travel to Utah for the sole purpose of kicking her in the shins–and then running away as fast as possible because I know she works out regularly and I do not. This is not a poor reflection of Heather Armstrong, or her miraculously-decorated study that I can only hope was completely trashed within 10 minutes after taking those pictures. This is within me and I have very much the same reaction every time I dare to go to HGTV’s website or sucked into any one of their television shows. Instinctively, my mind reverts to “Why doesn’t my house look like that?” Then I go and get all down on myself while at the same time flying off into fits of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder-fueled housekeeping and organization.

I refuse to believe I’m alone here. In fact, I know I’m not after reading “Pretty Neat: The Buttoned-Up Way to Get Organized and Let Go of Perfection”, a book full of stories, anecdotes and flat-out confessions from a myriad of women who have known the feeling of domestic inferiority.

“Pretty Neat” comes from Alicia Rockmore and Sarah Welch, creators of Buttoned Up, a website full of tips and tools for getting imperfectly organized, and line of organizational products. The entire concept of the book is to throw away the expectations you have for your home in terms of perfection and more importantly, in terms of the expectations you have put on yourself because of outside influences.

I was able to apply a lot of aspects of this book to my daily, personal life, starting with the introduction which talks about “org porn.” Yes, org porn, something defined by the authors as “that glossy, airbrushed fantasy world where everything is pristine, serene, and perfectly in order, sort of like Playboy, but with chore charts and name-plated cubbyholes.” My first thought was just about every single show you (and I) have seen thousands of times on HGTV and other, like-minded, make you feel bad about your home and your housekeeping and organizational skills programming. See, I’m not the only one who thinks those television shows are a reincarnated version of the devil!

Another great, big aspect I immediately identified with personally was putting tremendous pressure on myself in terms of housekeeping, organization and the overall presentation of my home while always seeing my grandmother’s face when I notice something happening in my home that she wouldn’t stand in hers. Things like even one dish being left in the kitchen sink until the next morning, an unmade bed and a spotless bathroom. Yes, my grandmother’s bathroom is completely and utterly spotless and it has always been that way. Growing up, me, my father and younger sister lived right next door in a half double home to my grandmother and aunt. I was in her house every single day, multiple times a day and I have never, not once in my life, entered her bathroom to see one thing out of place. With a 33-year-old man, two cats, a litter box that always, always has a small amount of litter at the entrance from the two cats jumping in and out of it, and way too many bath and body products, I cannot imagine my bathroom even remotely resembling a space without something out of place. This in itself has always been enough to send me off into a wild fit of cleaning and organizing, but never following through until the next time I go off into another fit of cleaning and organizing. Maybe that’s the trick. Follow through. Or, as I picked up from this book, simply realizing that every single thing being in place in my bathroom is not something that truly bothers me because it is a personal preference that came solely from me, but from the way my grandmother kept her bathroom, and therefore not something that is worthy of driving myself out of my mind over.

“Pretty Neat” is full of stories, anecdotes and interviews from such a wide variety of (mostly) women who may work in completely different fields, have completely different families and lifestyles, but all have clutter and the feeling of domestic inferiority. It is also full of tips to take control over your home, your clutter and your life. It’s like showing you inside the lives of many different women who aren’t so much unlike yourself and then presenting you with some clarity and helpful tricks to combat each and every clutter-filled aspect of your life. Some of these tricks are even complete shortcuts, giving those who may visit you at your home the illusion of a polished, un-cluttered and completely clean and organized space, but don’t know that you have a pile of mail three weeks old that you still haven’t sifted through inside a desk that you are completely okay with having there. Just as some interviews within the book with women focus on the disorganization in their lives, there are much more that offer helpful tricks to steal and use yourself to create just organized enough spaces.

The entire concept here is to get your home–and yourself–in order to create a space that you can be happy with on your own terms because it is what you truly want and not something that someone else may want for you. That is one sentiment that I could not agree with more, not just when it comes to finding peace in your home and tackling clutter whether it’s in the kitchen, the living room, or even in your work area (you’ll also find an entire section within this book dedicated to helping your organize your workspace, desk and even your inbox!), but also when it comes to the choices we make for our lives. Finding peace and happiness in who we are is an amazing and radical step in practicing self-acceptance and that is something that no one can ever take away from you once you have it.

Giveaway

So now that you’ve heard me go on and on about “Pretty Neat”, I should probably tell you that we are also giving away a copy of the book to one lucky Woman Tribune reader.

Required Entry

To enter for a chance to win a copy of “Pretty Neat: The Buttoned-Up Way to Get Organized and Let Go of Perfection” by Alicia Rockmore and Sarah Welch, leave a comment on this post telling us what area of your home or life that has become the biggest source of organizational stress.

Extra Entries

Please leave a comment for each additional entry.

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    Win a copy of “Pretty Neat”, a practical organization book for the masses from @WomanTribune http://ow.ly/4c6M2 ends 3/20

This giveaway ends Sunday, March 20th at 11:59PM EST. This giveaway is open to all U.S. residents over the age of 18 at the time of entry. The winner will be chosen via random.org and contacted by email; they then have 48 hours (2 days) to respond to that email or another winner will be chosen.

Full Contest Disclaimer

This giveaway is now closed, and the winner is:

Pretty Neat giveaway winner

Disclosure: I was provided with a copy of “Pretty Neat: The Buttoned-Up Way to Get Organized and Let Go of Perfection” in return for my review, as well as the opportunity to host this giveaway. All opinions expressed throughout this post are 100% mine. This review and giveaway was made possible through the Global Influence Network.

A Traveling Rule of Thumb: Clean Your House

hotel room This morning is a very busy one. In fact, it’s a bit of a madhouse around here, thinly veiled in a single word of truth that has become my, and I’m willing to bet many others lives–procrastination. You see, in just a few hours my partner and I will begin driving from Northeastern, Pennsylvania to Kent, Ohio. It’s a business trip, although thankfully having nothing to do with my business. I don’t think I could take that kind of pressure after three days of making sure we had the right hotel booked for the right dates, picking up last-minute, needed items for the house, particularly items that ease my mind when it comes to leaving my two cats home for two and a half days by themselves, and making sure every inch of the house resembled something that I would look forward to coming back to.

And there, in a nutshell, is the purpose of this post. You may think that traveling and everything that comes with it has very little to do with housekeeping; especially when you’re running around the last few days prior to your trip, making sure your accommodations are correct, that you have everything you need, that you didn’t accidentally leave something that you should have packed laying out, albeit neatly folded on the bed, and so on. I used to think the same thing, but after traveling out of state a few times and spending those couple of days in a nice, super clean hotel room that in such a short amount of time you trick yourself into thinking resembles your life and how things will look when you walk through your front door when returning home, and then returning home to a lived-in, mildly cluttered house, is a very rude awakening. Very rude.

Now, when I know I’m going out of town for a few days, I make sure my house resembles something that I can really look forward to returning to. Sometimes it isn’t enough to know that your cats are home, probably curled up on your great, big bed that you haven’t laid in in days. So, as a rule of thumb, here’s what I tackle before even packing my bags to leave the house:

  • Light dusting. Living in the sometimes harsh lighting of a hotel room will make it that much more apparent that there is dust collecting on the shelves, entertainment center and other surfaces of your house.
  • Vacuuming. If you have pets, you know that vacuuming is already an everyday or at most, an every-other-day occurrence. Just imagine what you would be walking in to if you let the vacuuming go the day before you left on a trip and returned home a few days later. Hairball and lint central!
  • Make the bed. Just because when you leave a hotel room and return the bed is magically made with fresh linens, does not mean when you return home the same thing will have happened in your bedroom. Take a few minutes and make up your bed, preferably with fresh linens and blankets so the first time you go to sleep after coming home from your trip, it will be the most comfortable and inviting it can be.

As for as I am concerned, those are the top three things I have never put that much emphasis on before leaving on a trip, but really make a huge difference when you return home from one. Of course, you’re going to want to also make sure that all of your dishes are done, your kitchen counters are wiped down, and all of your garbage and everything resembling garbage is taken out, but they don’t require any further explanation than that.

So there is just some small, friendly advice from me to you and now I’m off to vacuum my living room and pack before embarking on a 7-hour drive. Obviously posting on Woman Tribune will be light today, but I’m sure you all can understand that.

Learn How to Dry Flowers and Make Valentine’s Memories Last

dried roses Receiving a Valentine’s Day bouquet never grows old. As time wears on, however, there’s nothing quite so sad as tossing out that floral memory.

If you know how to dry flowers, however, that special bouquet needn’t end up at the county dump or in your compost bin. The process is simple and can be achieved by air drying or using a microwave. Here’s how.
Continue reading Learn How to Dry Flowers and Make Valentine’s Memories Last

Diane von Furstenberg Launches Home Collection Debuting at Blomingdale’s

Diane von Furstenberg Home Famed fashion designer and icon Diane von Furstenberg has shifted her career focus just a little bit. Instead of new wrap dresses, her bold prints and chic city vibe can also now be worn throughout your home.

Diane von Furstenberg’s Home Collection is debuting at Bloomingdale’s and consists of bedding, pillows, duvets, throws and dinnerware. These pieces feature eye-catching colors and risk-taking prints and each item is available in a wide selection of different colors to choose from. Just at first glance, the “Urban Jungle” bedding (pictured left) caught my eye and is priced at $80 – $335.00.

Check out the entire collection and you’re sure to find a few things you won’t be able to take your eyes off of.

Spruce Up Your Bedroom, Bath or Living Room with Family Dollar for Less — Way Less (Coupon Inside)

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Family Dollar. All opinions are 100% mine.

Family DollarEvery year I notice the same thing around my house; after some very deep cleaning that is always done around the holidays and kept up for a good month after we ring in the new year, by the time February rolls around and we’re hit by multiple snow storms here in Pennsylvania, my house just kind of gets trashed, honestly. Belongings are no longer tucked away nicely in their places, dust has started to accumulate and because my partner and I always wind up rearranging at least two of our rooms a year and that urge always strikes us right after Christmas, those newly-rearranged rooms are already starting to look old and not as exciting as they were just a month before.

I was recently made aware of a sale going on right now at Family Dollar and I’m really glad to have the opportunity to share it with all of you. If you saw a tweet I put out a few hours ago you may already know just a little bit about this sale, so let me expand upon it a little further because really, you’ll want to get all the facts about this sale–it’s a great way to save an abundance of money!

Family Dollar is all but begging you to spruce up your bedroom, bath and/or living spaces with their astoundingly low prices on comforter sets, bath towels and decor items, all launched under their own brand of interior decor, Interiors by Design.
 

For the Bedroom

Interiors by Design comforter sets look great and their 4-piece queen comforter sets are just $38 and their king comforter sets are just $40. With their sets you’ll receive a soft, plush comforter, bed skirt and two matching pillow shams.

Window panels are just $10 a panel and they also have really cute wall accessories, like a starburst mirror that is just $10 and vases that match their comforter sets and decor amazingly, starting at just $6.
 

For the Bath

Interiors by Design have a great collection of durable shower curtains, fabric covered show rings, ceramic toothbrush golders, tumblers and soap dishes. Their matching bath sets include a wastebasket, tumbler, toothbrush holder and soap dish for–get this–just $5.

Matching bath towels are also just $5, hand towels are $3 and washcloths are $2.
 

For the Living Room

Family Dollar’s Interiors by Design lamps are really stylish and colorful, sure to compliment your existing living room color scheme and feel; plus they start at just $6. Mini blinds start at just $3.50 and you can bring your entire room together with fabulous rugs that are between $5 and $10.

By shopping to spruce up your living spaces with Family Dollar, you won’t just receive these phenomenal prices; from now until January 7th you can also get the Family Dollar Home Décor Coupon and save $5 on any purchase of $25 or more.

I see a productive weekend of sprucing up ahead of you.

Visit Sponsor's Site

What’s Better for the Bedroom?

What’s better for the bedroom? Well, the right size bedside lamp of course! We’ve provided the Dos and Don’ts so that when the lights are on, you’ll be happy, too!

If a lamp is too tall, you’ll need a sun visor in bed, and when you’re just beginning to nod off, you’ll have to sit up and struggle over to the light switch to turn it out, reawakening. If it’s too short, you won’t be able to see a thing; not to mention there is then scale and function. It can all be so confusing.

Here’s our MyDesignGuide rule of thumb for selecting bedside lamps with Dos and Don’ts that make it easy.

small bedroom
These lamps are lovely, but a bit too tall.

The bedside lamp switch should be from 21 to 30 inches high, approximately equal to your arm length so that you can easily reach it to turn it off. You might combine a taller lamp and shorter table or the reverse, either way works, but the switch height is key.

white bedroom

Don’t: Thes elamps are gorgeous, as is the bedroom design, but the lamps are too large for the tiny bedside tables. Whether it’s for your bedroom or guests, select lamps that are the right size for the table they sit on. A good rule of thumb is that lamps should be 1/3 the size of the table.

classy bedroom

Do: Notice that the side tables are lower than the bed. While the lamps are on the taller side, they work due to the lower bedside table. Just right for light and reach!

colorful bedroom

Do: These are just right, too. Table is a bit higher, the lamp is a bit shorter, but still at arms length.

country bedroom

Do: If you have a very small space beside the bed, consider hanging a chandelier from the ceiling. It should hang at approximately 26 inches above the bed and is a great way to free up table space. If you want a very custom look, install a switch for each chandelier by the bed, or for a less expensive option, swag the chord over and run it down the wall (don’t forget the chord cover!) so that you can turn them off at bedside.

red and green bedroom

Do: Use a floor lamp as a bedside lamp. Again, great for small spaces and it eliminates the sometimes ‘matchy matchy’ look we get in our bedrooms.

wooden bedroom

What about swing arm lamps on the wall? DO, just keep the 26 inch height in mind. Great for small spaces and to keep the bedside tabletop uncluttered; or you don’t need to have a bedside table at all.

minimal bedroom

Don’t: We see a lot of very small bedside lamps in homes. Remember, your bed, no matter what size, is a large object. It needs lamps and other objects of larger scale in the room to give the room balance. Also, you need enough light to reach the bed, not just the top of the side table.

Looking for some of these great lamps? Look no further:

fillable glass cylinder collector's table lamplite source pepita table lampstacked ball acrylic table lampblack and pearl metal glass table lamps

16 Uses for Nail Polish Remover…Other Than the Obvious

nail polish remover There’s a lot more to nail polish remover than noxious chemicals, a deadly odor and naked nails. This handy house-bound acetone is the WD-40 of the cosmetics world, able to tackle all sorts of nasty jobs without requiring you break out tankards of toxins.

As with all poisons, however, keep nail polish remover out of the reach of children, remove all traces after using and avoid inhaling the fumes. Also remember to apply acetone gently as you don’t want to ruin or remove the finished surface of whatever you’re cleaning.

Without further ado, here are 16 unusual uses for nail polish remover that don’t involve you-know-what.

1. China Stains
Company is coming, you pull out your favorite (and only) Limoge plates and find ugly spots. Apply a dab of polish remover, gently rub in with a soft cloth and thoroughly wash and dry. Be very careful, however, not to remove the china’s glaze.

2. Patent-Leather Shoes
Despite all her adventures down the rabbit hole, Alice in Wonderland’s patent-leather shoes always looked pristine. Perhaps that’s because she kept a bottle of acetone with her to buff out scuffs. Dip a cotton swab in the remover, rub very gently so as not to remove the leather texture or paint, wash with soapy water, thoroughly rinse and buff dry.

3. Tile Floors
If your kids refuse to pick up their dang feet when they walk, your tile floors likely end up with unsightly scuffs. Fortunately, a bit of nail acetone removes those scuffs with a minimum of elbow grease. Just apply with a cloth, sponge or cotton swab, cleanse with soapy water and rinse.

4. Permanent Markers
Walls and other flat surfaces haven’t been safe from budding artists since the invention of permanent markers. Don’t panic. Soak a corner of a clean cloth in remover, gently rub the area in a circular motion, clean with soapy water, rinse and buff dry. This method works on everything from appliances and windows to wallpaper and skin.

5. Stickers on Glass and Metal
My beloved Honda Prelude sported the remains of a window price sticker until its dying day because I never figured out how to remove the danged glue residue. If only I’d known polish remover would have eliminated that gummy adhesive from glass or metal. The process is fairly simple: Remove the bulk of the sticker, wipe the area with remover, cleanse with soapy water and rinse. Apply the acetone to polished metals with a gentle hand so you won’t remove the finish.

6. Super Glue
Have you ever stuck two fingers together with super glue? Don’t pry them apart or you could remove some skin. Soak a cotton ball in nail polish remover and apply it directly to the skin’s surface until you feel the glue loosen.

7. Pen Ink
My dad used to tell the worst joke: “Know why we call our pig “ink?” Because he always ran out of the pen.” Yuck, yuck, yuck. Seriously, folks: Leaking pens are yucky enough without punny jokes. If a broken pen stains your skin, take a cotton ball soaked in remover, wipe the marked area and wash with soap and water. While you don’t want to use acetone on most clothes infected with pen ink, it will remove stains from your clothes-dryer drum.

8. Watch Faces
Before cell phones replaced watches as our personal time keepers, you could buy new watch crystals when an old one became too scratched. Now you’re lucky if a jewelry store can even fix your old watch. Don’t despair, however, if scratches are keeping you from using your archaic timepiece. Very gently rub remover over the scratches on a plastic watch face until they vanish. The acetone dissolves the plastic, so the “very gentle” portion is a vital aspect of this instruction.

8. Correction Fluid
Remember correction fluid? Some people still use this stuff on paper documents, but the little white bottles gunk up quite easily because they’re rarely used. Pour a drop or two of nail polish remover into a goop-filled bottle of correction fluid then shake. Test it out then keep adding acetone until you’ve achieved the desired consistency.

9. Computer Keyboards
Dip a cotton swab into remover and lightly rub the computer keys. Rinse thoroughly with a second swab soaked in water. You’ll be amazed at the difference. Make sure, however, that the acetone doesn’t get into the deep cracks between keys.

10. Brass Lacquer
Before you can polish or re-lacquer old brass, you have to remove the original lacquer coating. Pour a small amount of remover on a soft cloth, rub the brass object until the old lacquer lifts off and polish.

11. Paint on Windows
No matter how well you tape windows before a paint job, unnoticed extra paint sneaks onto the glass. Or you may find a previous homeowner missed a few places during their own cleanup. You could break a few nails trying to remove the paint, or use nail polish remover for a small clean-up job. Dab on a bit of acetone, allow it to soak for a few minutes, rub in with a clean, dry cloth and cleanse with a damp cloth.

12. Plastic Bags on Metal
Hot metal toasters and plastic bread bags are not a good match. Once melded together, you could live with a permanent memory of that Wonder Bread bag or unplug the toaster and set to work. Once the metal is cool, pour a little nail polish remover on a soft cloth, gently rub over the damaged area (being careful not to remove the metal finish), wipe with a damp cloth and dry with a paper towel. By the way, this also works for melted plastic on curling and flat irons.

13. Metal Sanitizer
Acetone is a very effective disinfectant for straight-edge razors, tweezers and other personal metal implements. Simply buff with a cotton swab, cleanse with soapy water, rinse and dry.

14. Welding Plastic
Bet you didn’t know acetone fuses most plastics. Just apply a drop to one of the surfaces and hold the other surface in place until it dries. There are other, better chemicals for this (methylene chloride, for example) but acetone works in a pinch, say when you want to create a two-headed Barbie.

15. Glue Cap Loosener
To loosen stubborn glue lids, dip a cotton swab into nail polish remover and rub around the bottom of the cap. Voila!

16. Remove Leeches
How many times has this happened to you: You’re enjoying a leisurely soak in the sun when a child starts screaming, “Leech, leech!!” Naturally, you have a bottle of nail polish remover in your bag because everyone does their nails at the beach, lake or local swamp. This is your chance to play lifeguard; well, leech guard, anyway. Pour the acetone over the disgusting bloodsucker and it’ll peel right off, demonstrating exactly why this stuff should never be imbibed.

For more intriguing ways to use standard household products, see “13 Ways to Repurpose Empty Coffee Cans” and “60 Ways to Green Clean With Household Products.”

This is a guest post from FreeShipping.org, a website dedicated to digging up all of the best free shipping codes from your favorite stores.

Do the Reuse Challenge: Make an Impact by Giving Up Disposables for 30 Days

This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of Aladdin. All opinions are 100% mine.

Do the Reuse Challenge

Disposable products like water bottles, coffee cups and food containers have become staples in the every day lives of families everywhere. Unfortunately, something that may seem super convenient, like walking into a store and purchasing a bottle of water, getting a cup of coffee at your local cafe, or ordering take out, has a pretty negative impact on your finances, not to mention the environment.

In recent years we’ve heard a lot of talk about the importance of living a little greener and we’ve seen a lot of families take the initiative to reduce, reuse and recycle when they can, but there’s still a lot more that we can collectively be doing every day to minimize the amount of waste we produce. Aladdin, creators of reusable and portable travel coffee mugs, water bottles and food containers, have created an awesome way to inspire more people to do away with their frequently used disposable products with the Do The Reuse Challenge.

Do The Reuse Challenge asks people everywhere to make a commitment to give up their disposable paper cups, water bottles and/or food containers for 30 days. A whole month of giving up one or all of these disposable products may seem like a bit much, especially if you have a routine where you stop at the same cafe every day for your morning cup of coffee or order from the same restaurant every day for your lunch break, but it’s such a small amount of time and it will make a significant impact on your wallet and the environment, which is a win/win all around.

The impact just one person can make by reusing is beyond substantial; I was beyond surprised by the statistics I read about how much really goes in to these disposable products and how much we, as an entire country, use them. In the United States, 50 billion disposable water bottles are consumed per year; that’s 137,000 every single day that are clogging up landfills. When you purchase your morning coffee from a cafe every day it will cost about $636, but if you brew your own at home, it will only wind up costing you about $165 a year; that is such a tremendous savings alone!

What I like most about Aladdin’s Do The Reuse Challenge is that there are nine families who have agreed to take this challenge head-on and also blog all about their experience, the impact they’re having on the environment, how much money they’re saving and how their lives are changing overall. These are just regular, every day people who have signed on to make an impact in the world and for their families and I really like how Aladdin is making it their mission to spread the word and also prove through these people that the importance of recycling and sustaining isn’t just liberal propaganda.

Transform Recycled & Recyclable Travel Coffee Mug from Aladdin I drink a ton of coffee and really love being able to bring it with me when I have to run out instead of picking up a coffee at a local cafe or chain coffee shop where I’ll be left with a disposable paper cup. For over a year now I have had but one good reusable travel coffee mug and it was getting pretty worn out, so you can just imagine my excitement when I was sent the Transform Recycled & Recyclable travel coffee mug from Aladdin.

This travel coffee mug is made from recycled plastics–97% recycled food grade polypropylene containing 25% post consumer content–and it is also recyclable wherever plastic is collected. The mug is super high quality, soft and really stylish. It’s green and I love the color green, so that gave me a little thrill and the clasp on the top makes it so you can completely close the mug so if you’re driving with it, you can put it safely in the car cup and not have to worry about anything spilling out of it. On the side of the Transform travel coffee mug is the text and logo from the Do the Reuse Challenge, but it isn’t totally obstructive; it’s done stylishly and with just enough of a ‘I have a message to spread’ attitude. At $9.99 I don’t see how you cannot want one of these mugs; in fact, I have seen many places sell travel coffee mugs that aren’t as high quality as this for a much higher price.

Will you take Aladdin up on their challenge to ditch your disposables for 30 days (or more)? Check out the Do The Reuse Challenge and sign up for the challenge you think could benefit your family the most. Also, check out Aladdin on Facebook to stay up to date with eco-consciousness in the news around the country, as well as how people are being impacted by this challenge. If you’re thinking about hopping on board with this challenge, you may also want to check out Aladdin’s selection of reusable food containers, travel mugs, water bottles and more. Not only are they reusable, they’re also really stylish!

Visit my sponsor: Aladdin

How to Start Your Own Hydroponic Herb Garden

Spring is definitely a time where we start to rely on slow cookers and comfort food less and less and start implementing more fresh vegetables into our diets; it seems like as soon as we start seeing nature getting back its green, we start getting it back on our plates as well. But fresh produce can become a little costly, especially if you’re looking for organically-grown goods and don’t have a local fresh farmer’s market in town.

More and more people are starting their own gardens for the convenience of not having to run to the grocery store every few days and the peace of mind in knowing that there were no hard, damaging chemicals used on their produce. But we don’t all have big yards with perfect gardening space; as a woman who is living the apartment life, I know that sometimes, we don’t even have yard at all. So when I stumbled upon this awesome video from Becky Stern for Craftzine on how to set up your own hydroponic herb garden.

hydroponic herb garden

Above is an in-process picture of Becky setting up her hydroponic herb garden. A DIY system is the best way to go about starting your own hydroponic herb garden, especially if you’re a complete beginner. In the video, Becky used the Rainforest 318 system made by General Hydroponics.

In all, you will need:

  • A light-tight container
  • Nutrient solution
  • A water pump and tubing (available at most pet stores)
  • Small plant-sized containers
  • Expanded clay pebbles or other growing medium

Head on over to Craftzine for the complete how-to.

Donate or Recycle Your Old Mattress

What did you do with your last mattress after you bought a new one? Haul it out to the trash and let the garbage truck take it away to a landfill? If you’re like most people, then you did and when most people are throwing away their mattresses, landfills are filling up with everyone’s dirty mattresses. About 20 million mattresses are thrown away every year just in the United States and for every 10,000 people that either donate or recycle their mattresses, it would save eight feed of landfill space–An entire American football field.

In some places, throwing out your mattress is illegal requiring people to donate their mattresses where recyclers can separate the fiber, foam, steel, and wood for remanufacturing and can make new mattresses.

There are a few options for you if you’re looking to get rid of a mattress. You can either donate it to either a crisis center, halfway house, Craig’s List or Freecycle. Make sure you clean your mattress before donating it! For instructions on how to properly clean a mattress, check out Instructables.

To recycle your old mattress, go to Earth 911, type in “mattress” in the start recycling “what do you have?” field and your zip code in the “where are you?” field for a recycling drop off sight near you.