Colleen Vanderlinden


There are so many little things you can do around the house that are quick and easy to accomplish, and eco-friendly as well. Whether you're looking for ways to improve your home and garden, or ideas for keeping the kids occupied and yourself looking great, we've got plenty of ideas for you.

Around the House

1. If you have a few stubby ends of candles sitting around, why not melt them down and make your own candles?

2. Planning a trip? Make these easy luggage tags from yogurt containers.

3. Who needs store-bought vases? Reuse aluminum cans as a centerpiece.

4. Spruce up an old chair with stencils.

5. Turn ho-hum towels into something unique with bias tape.

6. Forget about toxic, expensive cleaners. Make your own cleaners and dishwashing detergent from common ingredients.

7. Make filing a little more fun with these pretty fabric covered file folders.

8. Save energy. Caulk something! 9. Displace water in your toilet tank with a bottle of water to save between three and five thousand gallons of water per year. 10. Make a few coasters out of old magazines. 11. Get organized - make a funky and functional license plate memo board. 12. Add insulation to your electrical outlets and light switches to reduce heat loss. 13. Make a snake for the bottom of your doors to reduce heat loss. 14. Install a dimmer switch to save energy. 15. Install a clothes line (anywhere: in your yard, on your balcony, in your basement, laundry room, or bathroom.) 16. Designate one area of your home as a "charging station" for phones, games, and the like. Plug all of the chargers into a power strip, and shut the power strip off when its not in use. 17. Make your own cloth napkins. 18. Don't throw out those t-shirts that are too stained up to donate. Rip them into whatever sizes you want and use them as cleaning cloths. 19. Hack your Swiffer to make it green. 20. Clean slow drains by sprinkling baking soda into them, then pouring a bit of vinegar in. Cover the drain, and let the foaming action do its thing. Rinse the drain out with hot water after about fifteen minutes. With the Kids 21. Kids love playing dress-up. Put together a dress-up trunk, and let their imaginations run wild. 22. Pack a waste-free lunch for school or day care. 23. Designate a spot in your home for donations: old toys, outgrown shoes and clothing, and books that your children don't read anymore can be set aside. Once the bin or box is full, drop it off with your charity of choice. 24. Make birdfeeders from pinecones. 25. Make cereal box book and magazine holders. 26. Make your own play dough. 27. Make your own bubbles. 28. Turn pieces of broken crayons into one mega crayon. Place broken crayon pieces in a paper cup and microwave until they're melted. Don't stir! Let it cool, then peel the paper cup off, and you have a multi-colored crayon that is easy for little fingers to grip. (Compost the paper cup when you're done!) In the Garden 29. If mosquitoes and flies are a nuisance in your garden, try making your own easy citronella candles. 30. If finding the space is one of your composting challenges, consider making this super-simple storage container compost bin. 31. Are yellow jackets ruining another backyard barbecue? Make this super-simple yellow jacket trap. 32. Take care of your slug problem by trapping them with grapefruit rinds. 33. Earwigs eating your seedlings? Trap them with newspaper. 34. Turn broken china into pretty garden plant labels. 35. Use newspaper to make your own pots for starting seeds. 36. Turn a leaky old hose into a soaker hose. 37. Set up a worm bin to start composting food scraps. 38. Making coffee? Dispose of the old grounds right in the garden. 39. After boiling vegetables, let the water cool, then water your outdoor plants with it - there are plenty of nutrients from the veggies in the water. Why let it go to waste? 40. Make a tomato leaf spray to get rid of aphids. 41. Mulch something. Anything. 42. Save seeds from your beans or tomatoes. 43. Make a milk jug olla to water your garden. 44. Scare birds away from your berries by stringing up some of your old cds and cd-ROMs around the plants. 45. Turn old mini-blinds into sturdy plant markers by cutting them to whatever length you want and then writing plant names on them with permanent marker. 46. Make a compost tumbler from a plastic trash can. 47. Make your own container garden from reused materials. 48. Make your own seed mat for easy planting. For Your Pets 49. Is Fido bored? Make him some new toys out of tennis balls. 50. We don't want to leave the cats out. Make your kitty a free, easy cardboard mouse toy. 51. Make this cute pet bed from a vintage suitcase. DIY Fashion and Beauty 52. Have a bunch of old buttons lying around? Turn them into a cute bracelet. 53. Revamp your dingy canvas sneakers by dipping them in dye. 54. Make a fun bracelet with Scrabble letter tiles. 55. Turn an old t-shirt into a headband. 56. Recycle your orphaned earrings: make a necklace from them. 57. Turn some old neckties into a belt. 58. Give some pants new life by turning them into capris. 59. Make a t-shirt tote bag. 60. Make your own simple dry skin salve. 61. Make your own tooth-whitening toothpaste from baking soda and peroxide. 62. Turn plastic cups into earrings. 63. Make a braided bracelet from a t-shirt. 64. Treat yourself by making your own spa products at home. 65. Make an easy, yet very fashionable, fabric scrap necklace. We hope you found a few ideas from this list of simple green DIY projects to try around your home. There's nothing like the sense of accomplishment we get from doing it ourselves!