As a college student, it might seem difficult to be sustainable in an affordable way. Here are a few things you can start doing to say on track.
When moving into an apartment, don’t forget to reuse things that you already bought for freshman dorms. Things like appliances (mini-fridges, microwaves, etc.) or furniture can easily be used for another year and provide you with more storage space. Other items might be laundry baskets, clothes, books, etc. In trying to be sustainable, one should evaluate past purchases to see if it’s worth buying again or simply reusing, like a backpack. Even if you no longer need it, you can donate or sell it to make sure it’s still useful elsewhere.
During hotter months, using the ceiling fan seems essential. Just before fully relying on the fan, check the direction of the fan blades.
Set them to spin counterclockwise so the cooler air pushes down and reaches you. In the long run, the room will be at a consistent and cooler temperature, meaning you don’t even have to use the air conditioning and more energy.
Check for a switch on the side of the fan base or a pull chain that you can use to change the fan’s direction.
During colder months, still use the fan to save money on your heating bills and save energy. Use the same switches and/or pull chains to set them clockwise. Also, be sure to set the thermostat to a lower temperature and use the fan at a lower speed than in summertime. Since warm air tends to rise, the clockwise motion will redistribute into the rest of the room and keep you warm.
As fall time approaches and for many fall lovers, that means candles. Ones that smell like crisp leaves, pumpkin pie, flannel and all things that make fall the best season. There are a lot of methods to make your candles last longer.
Even though the smell of a new candle is glorious, don’t let it burn only for a few minutes! Make sure a whole layer of melted wax forms (rim to rim). In doing so, you’re making sure the candle doesn’t tunnel down the same path and waste the wax on the sides of the candle. Don’t place burning candles near vents, fans or drafts. This causes uneven burning and carbon particles to escape into the air. Trim the wicks to sustain a brighter flame and less smoke. Cut to one-fourth of an inch only after the candle is completely cool, which takes about two hours. Make sure there’s no debris (wicks, matches, etc.) in the wax pool. Clean it when you trim the wick to avoid uneven burning and the perfume from not distributing throughout the room.
Even if you don’t have a candle, there are a lot of natural and sustainable ways to make your apartment smell better. Consider the following:
Oil and diffuser kits
Even putting a couple drops of essential oil with a jar of cotton balls makes a huge difference.
This is an easy and fun DIY project to reduce waste. Potpourri can be made by drying fruit and herb scraps by baking them in the oven. You can do the same for old flower bouquets too.
Natural room sprays and air fresheners
A nice smelling apartment is great but so is a clean one. Nowadays, it’s easy to find or make eco-friendly cleaning solutions for stain removal, deep cleans, etc.
Distilled white vinegar is also useful and a safer alternative to chlorine bleach. Use to clean washing machines and hardware like faucets and tubs. Baking soda can be used in several sprays, pastes and homemade cleaning products in a pinch. Putting some with laundry loads can help soften fabrics, improve detergent performance and reduce suds after the wash. Lemon or lime juice is also easy to add to various solutions. It also helps clean underarm stains on white clothing.
Speaking of clothes, thrifting and donating are great ways to find great items but also reuse and re-wear other clothes. There are a lot of places in Bloomington where one can stop, shop or drop items:
My Sister’s Closet (414 S. College Ave.)
Bloomington Thrift Shop Inc. (220 S. Madison St.)
The Salvation Army Family Store & Donation Center (115 N. Rogers St.)
Goodwill Store (512 S. College Mall Road or 1284 Liberty Drive)
Plato’s Closet Bloomington (1145 S.College Mall Road)