Posts in Kijiji for the Home

Buying Green: The Ecological Impact of Buying Used Furniture Vs. New

Making an Environmentally Sound Decision

Whether in search of essential, functional, or decorative pieces for the home, determining the ecological impact of any furniture can be a tremendous undertaking. There are many things to take into consideration, from the construction of furniture pieces – including the materials they are crafted from – to aspects of furniture production such as sourcing and shipping. When attempting to make an environmentally sound decision for purchasing furniture items, even more factors come into play.

Carbon Footprint

The most obvious difference between new and used furniture is the carbon footprint of each. The footprint of brand new furniture pieces begins with the process of cutting down the trees to make the product (if it is a wood product) and continues on through the manufacturing, shipping, and storage processes. On average, the overall cost of new furniture equates to about 125 tons of CO2 for every 100 rooms outfitted with new furniture. On the other end of the spectrum, less than two tons of CO2 may be produced in the acquisition of used furniture for a space, even when accounting for processes such as shipping and refinishing of the item if necessary.

Sustainable Materials

One of the best ways to start making environmentally sound choices is to choose those made with sustainable materials such as teak or bamboo furniture. Other options such as sustainable and fast-growing hardwoods such as walnut and hickory can make a great addition to any room.

It is true that buying used furniture ensures that no new trees are cut down for the purposes of crafting a new furniture item. You can further decrease the furniture’s overall environmental impact by using woods certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). The FSC Certification ensures that companies don’t use environmentally harmful methods such as clear cutting in the production of the furniture item.

It also is important to remember that many manufacturers craft great new furniture from reclaimed wood or recycled materials. This can be a great option for the buyer seeking an environmentally sound product with a modern appearance and style.

Sustainable Home Design

Furniture items are among the least recycled and account for upwards of 4% of all household waste. Purchasing used furniture helps reduce the amount of waste from furniture that goes into landfills.

However, whether homeowners purchase new or used furniture, purchasing the furniture and planning their home in a sustainable manner can help to reduce waste overall. Choosing durable materials and avoiding materials such as particleboard ensures the longevity of furniture items. Additionally, multi-functional furniture items such as pull out couches and ottomans with additional storage space can reduce the amount of materials sourced to produce multiple furniture items.

Buy Local When Possible

Whether purchasing new or used furniture items, transporting an item a long way leaves behind a large carbon footprint. Often used furniture incurs lower transportation costs than buying new furniture because people typically purchase used furniture closer to home. Production accounts for almost 3 tons of CO2 on average for every 100 rooms of furniture, and shipping the item to the customer adds another 3 tons of the greenhouse gas.

Conclusion

Shoppers can make environmentally-sound, sustainable decisions with their furniture whether they choose to purchase new or used. In the short term, buying new furniture produces about 1,000 times more CO2 emissions than buying used or refurbished furniture. However, opting to use sustainable materials and to optimize the long-term usage of a furniture item can reduce its environmental impact for years down the road.

Source: http://www.therefinishingtouch.com/impact_env.html

http://life.gaiam.com/article/5-tips-buying-earth-friendly-wood-furniture-and-lumber

Easy Ways to Maximize Closet Space

There are a lot of things in life that never seem to be enough; hours of sleep, long weekends, and extra cash to spend on spontaneous indulgences – just to name a few.

Now, while we here at Kijiji don’t have the power to give you more of these things, we can however share tips that will help you with another scenario where we never seem to have enough of what we need: closet space.

Anyone with more than a few shirts, pants, and other clothing items can probably share horror stories of having to frantically dig through a crammed rack of clothing in the morning with only a few minutes to spare because you have to be out the door and headed to work for an important meeting, and you haven’t even grabbed your cup of coffee yet.

Even with some basic organizing and strategic folding, closet space still seems pretty scarce, and we’re going to go out on a limb and assume that most of us aren’t exactly in the market for a bedroom-sized walk in closet. To make your life easier and your closet seem a little roomier, here are some simple, cost-effective ways to maximize existing closet space.

Condense, Condense, Condense!

The first step is to really evaluate what’s in your closet and be willing to part ways with those old pieces you’re never going to wear again. We know it can be hard to let go of that 10-year-old sweatshirt from high school or that skirt that just might come back in style, but the key to freeing up space is to only have what’s wearable in there. Organize a yard sale or street sale if you want to make a little cash and bond with your neighbors, or do some good in your community- a quick search for local charities or clothing drives will show you all the local groups that could put your belongings to good use!

Make It A Double!

Most closets have a hanging bar already but most of us are all too familiar with how crowded that one bar ends up getting when everything is hung up there. Putting in a second bar somewhere above the first can not only help spread the bulk of the clothing (making it easier to find what you need) but also maximize closet space by using space that otherwise would be empty.

Don’t Forget about Floors and Doors!

We often see the floor as just the surface our feet walk upon, but when it comes to closet space, floors are a perfect place to put different types of storage containers. There are a whole variety of storage baskets and boxes available that also range in materials, (flexible or sturdy), depending on what it is you have to store. Hats, scarves, handbags, accessories, and other miscellaneous items can be easily stored and accessed in these handy dandy containers. In the same vein, doors are also usually overlooked but they actually can serve as the perfect backdrop for hanging racks and storage pouches to store whatever knick knacks, accessories, or clothing.

When In Doubt, Add Some Light!

We know what you’re thinking. Adding light to a closet can help us maximize space? Well, the thing is, closets are notoriously dark, especially when you burrow into the deep corners where you’ve folded or hung various articles of clothing. By adding a pot light or two, you open the space up visually and chances are you’re going to be able to utilize more space since you can actually see it now!

Get Creative With Hangers!

Gone are the days where hangers hang merely one piece of clothing. These days, single hangers can come with attachments or contain some variation that allow multiple pieces of clothing to hang separately in a way that saves space and is easy to take from. Hangers now also vary in length and size depending on the type of clothing you want to hang, so if you use your imagination, you can definitely get creative with mixing and match, and in the end, you’ll be shocked at how much space gets freed up.

Buying Green: The Ecological Impact of Buying Used HVAC Units vs. New

The Basics of Buying Green

In many instances, purchasing used appliances and other items for the home is a very logical solution. After all, buying used saves on the production of new materials and products while keeping existing items out of landfills. However, when it comes to heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems, buying green may not be so simple.

HVAC technology has made huge advancements over the past decade. The newest HVAC systems on the market operate with much greater efficiency than their predecessors, and they utilise smart technologies that save overall energy consumption. While it still can be a smart move to purchase certain components of an HVAC system used, the forward-thinking, energy-efficient technologies of the more recent HVAC models often make them a preferable choice for a more environmentally friendly home.

Smart Technology

When most people think of smart HVAC technology, a programmable thermostat is the first thing that comes to mind. Programmable thermostats, which allow you to set when the HVAC system will run and what temperature it will maintain in the house (and some can even set different temperatures in different areas of your house at different times), can offer savings of anywhere from 5 to 15 percent on energy costs.

You can buy a used thermostat to lower both the ecological impact and your costs. Regardless of whether you are purchasing new or used thermostats, however, opting for a programmable one is the most ecologically responsible choice.

Looking for programmable thermostats and other smart HVAC technologies can be an excellent beneficial step towards designing a green HVAC system. Most smart technologies can only be found in newer or more recent models, though some used options may be available with a little searching.

Can I Buy Newer HVAC Models Used?

To achieve your ecological goals for your green home, one of the best things you can do is purchase a used version of a more recent HVAC model. That way you and your home can benefit from the recent energy-efficiencies and smart technologies without the carbon footprint and negative environmental impact of manufacturing a new product and all its components.

Doing research on the most energy-efficient HVAC system components can help you find both new and used items for your home. Remember that while used items keep these components out of landfills, the newer energy-efficient technologies have lower impact on the environment, so if you cannot find a used version of a recent model, it might be best to buy a new one to create the most ecologically-friendly home.

Other Environmentally Friendly HVAC Technologies

If you are not able to purchase a new HVAC system or a used recent model, there are some HVAC technologies that have been around for a while that offer incredible efficiency that they may be perfect for a green home. For example, furnaces that run on biomass (logs, wood pellets, and other similar materials) are simple to use, and they can be found used in great condition.

Because biomass is a renewable resource and it burns clean, its environmental impact is tremendously lower than fuels such as propane and coal. Additionally, biomass can often be found for free, and using it for fuel keeps it out of landfills. Currently, only four percent of energy consumption is through biomass, but fortunately this number has grown in recent years.

What HVAC Components Can Be Bought Used?

An HVAC system is made up of many parts, and while opting for newer components is best in a number of cases, there are many parts of an HVAC system that can be acquired used.

For example, used HVAC ducts that are in good condition (don’t have excessive signs of wear or damage) can serve your home every bit as efficiently as new ones. Various mechanical components, such as fans, also can be purchased used. If you install used components such as these, be sure to verify that the entire HVAC system is working properly and efficiently, as the efficiency of the entire system will make a greater positive ecological impact than the efficiency of a few separate components.

While shopping for parts for the HVAC system, another way to improve your environmental profile is to look for materials to improve insulation and to seal up other parts of your home, such as the windows, to better maintain temperatures within your living space.

Sources:

http://energy.gov/energysaver/articles/thermostats

http://www.explainthatstuff.com/how-biomass-boilers-work.html

At Home DIY Tricks to Remove Rust and Corrosion From Metals

Everything looks great when it’s shiny and new, but as time takes its toll, unwanted buildup begins to collect and rust can start to take over surface areas that were once gleaming and sparkling. Whether you have bought some awesome copper pots and pans that need to be cleaned up, or you want to get your atomic chrome items looking their best to get top dollar when you sell, there are lots of simple tricks to get the most out of vintage metal items. Here are a few methods to effectively remove rust from various metals.

Copper

Removing rust from copper can be done relatively easily. Three DIY methods that can be done with common household ingredients include:

  • Table salt and vinegar: Combine vinegar with salt and then scrub with a soft brush or firm cloth followed by a quick rinse and dry.
  • Lemon or lime and salt: Cut 2 lemons or 2 limes in half and use them as a scrubber. For added potency, sprinkle salt onto the surface of the lemon/lime first and then finish the process off with a rinse and dry.
  • Ketchup: Coat the rusted surface with a layer of ketchup and let it sink in for a few minutes. After, rinse and scrub with a soft brush.
  • Cast Iron

    Usually, cast iron in the home comes in the form of skillets and pans. Cleaning the rust off is a 2 part task. First, you have to clean off the rust and then you’ll have to “season” it in order to ensure it’s going to stay rust-free for a longer period of time.

    For the cleaning step, you’ll need to first use fine steel wool to scrub the areas with rust. Next, use warm water and gentle dish soap while scrubbing the cast iron again.

    After the washing and drying are done, it’s time for the “seasoning” which is really just a funny term that involves coating the now clean cast iron with a small portion of oil (any cooking oil works). Once it’s covered with a thin layer of the oil, simply put the cast iron upside down into the oven and bake for an hour at 350 degrees. (It is definitely a good idea to place a sheet of foil at the bottom to catch any drippings.) After the hour is up, turn the heat off and wait for the cast iron to cool down.

    Chrome

    With chrome, it’s often safest to use specialized chrome cleaner first and then apply chrome polish after to the rusted area(s). Rub extra polish with steel wool and be sure that when you’re rubbing the rusted area, you consistently make sure the area does not get dry. (The steel wool will scratch the surface if there isn’t some moisture there.) Avoid any instinctual urge to scrub the area too aggressively- this will damage the chrome surface. Once you’re finished, rinse the chrome with clean water and you should be good to go!

    If you’re feeling adventurous, Coke has also been known to be effective against rust on chrome. Depending on the surface, either soak the chrome in coke for 15 minutes and then rinse and dry off, or if it’s a large surface, wet a piece of aluminum foil with coke and rub the rusted area with the foil. (Again, like with the steel wool, always keep whatever you’re rubbing with moistened or you will get scratches.)

    Aluminum

    Cleaning off rust from aluminum can be done a few different ways. For a more natural approach, try either lemon and vinegar or boiing tomatoes in a pot and then using the liquid to scrub the aluminum. For both these methods, the key is the acidity from the liquids. Once the aluminum is scrubbed down with the solutions, the discoloured aluminum should brighten up instantly.

    If the rust is of the persistent nature, you may need to try commercial cleaners that are targeted specifically for rust. Steel wool plus the cleaner will usually do the trick!

    DIY Home Repairs: Replacing an Overhead Fixture

    Many home repairs can seem like too big of a DIY project to take on, but this isn’t always the case. While you probably shouldn’t climb up on your roof today to fix those loose shingles by yourself or attempt to re-tile one of the rooms in your home, one common home repair you can handle without calling in a professional is re-wiring a ceiling light. There are thousands of interesting light fixtures at great prices on Kijiji, and switching your overhead light is an easy and fast way to make a big impact on a room. The right lighting can really take your interior design to the next level!

    Let there be light: how to change a light fixture

    1. Get A Partner!

    You’ll want someone there to hold onto the screws and bolts, hand you parts you need, and as a general safety precaution, just someone to help make sure you’re following the steps and everything’s going smoothly. Chances are you’ll be up on a ladder, and having a buddy there to spot you is always a good idea when working on something up high.

    2. Speaking of Safety…

    The first step is to turn off the source that powers this lighting circuit – working on live wires with power still surging through them is a bad idea. Just the light switch is not enough – go to the fuse box and turn off the entire room or floor (make sure you have a flashlight handy). Obviously, if you have a natural light source, doing this during daylight hours is preferable to night time. Once the power is off, take off the cover of the light and remove the light bulb.

    3. Take It Apart

    Once the cover of the light is off, you’ll see the screws or nuts that connect the fixture to the gang box on the ceiling. At this point, loosen the screws while keeping a hand on the base (so it doesn’t fall off) so you can get a better look at the wires.

    4. Evaluate

    Look closely at the wires. You don’t want your wires to be frayed or to be loose from its insulation. If you see either of these issues, you know it’s time for re-wiring. If the insulation itself on the wire still looks good and there is no visible breakage in the wiring, then proceed to the next step.

    If the wires themselves don’t look salvageable, it may take more than re-wiring to fix your light fixture. At this point, it might be a good idea to consult an expert.

    5. The Next Step

    If the wiring was still intact and it’s just a simple re-wiring that’s needed, all you have to do it clean up the ends of the wire making sure there isn’t any leftover insulation or tape.

    6. Match Everything Up

    Connect the wires according to colour. There are only 3 wires you need to worry about: a coloured wire that’s usually black, a white wire, and a green ground wire. All that’s needed for this step is to connect the wires to their matching colour with wire nuts. It’s a good idea to secure it with electrical tape for some added stability.

    After this, put in the new bulb or bulbs, place the cover back on, turn on the power source and hopefully…let there be light!