Green Gifts

green gifts new

Green Gifts for your Eco-Friendly Family and Friends

Green gifts help put the green in Christmas – so why not indulge your eco-friendly family members in a way that suits their conscientious souls? There are so many ways you can sustain the environment while pleasing the earthy-crunchy people in your life, I’ve decided to share a few ideas with you…

1. Edible Green Gifts

Some people do like green eggs and ham, so consider food for a lovely green gift. Whether it’s homemade cookies or a loaf of chocolate cherry sourdough bread, everyone loves food, including your eco-conscious friends. Find a recipe tailored to your gift recipient’s particular likes to make it extra special. Pack it in a glass food canister or some other non-plastic container so it can be repurposed for food storage after your gift is consumed. Homemade granola packed in an oval-sealed storage jar adorned with your favorite ribbon (or twine) makes a lovely holiday presentation.


glass food canister


oval glass canister


Loose leaf tea packed in a basket or jar, combined with a travel tea infuser makes a lovely gift and encourages a little self-indulgence, while a selection of hand-picked bagged tea may be packaged (by you) in this delightful bamboo tea storage box.


green gifts tea infuser


green gifts bamboo tea box


Healthy food gifts presented in planters or small compost pals are a clever way to show you noticed while encouraging their eco-friendly ways. These are only a few edible green ideas to use as a springboard for your own brainstorming.

2. Green Gifts that Take Up Zero Space (for the True Minimalists)

Your minimalist loved ones may not want stuff for holiday gifts. Many prefer experiences: wining, dining, entertainment, sports tickets, etc. Experiences make great green gifts as they do not require maintenance, do not contribute to landfills, and do not require storage space. Think about your gift recipient. Who do they like? What are their causes? Classes in cooking, art, massage, essential oils, and blogging are just a few great ideas for your knowledge-hungry loved ones.

Digital music downloads and other entertainment services are great “experience” gifts that don’t take up physical space. Think subscriptions, online learning and media services (not advocating one here, just putting it out there – you know who they are).

3. Homemade Green Gifts

Homemade green gifts, especially consumable ones, are a great way to show people you care by adding a personal touch. Handmade soaps made from natural ingredients and essential oils make a lovely gift, as do gifts made from recycled goods. Buy some organic shampoo base and blend in their favorite oils for a personal gift tailored just for them. Making your loved one a luxury item goes along with the “experience” gift ideas by giving someone permission to ethically indulge in a soothing, luxurious activity.

4. Green Gifts Galore in the Form of Decor

Whether it’s renewable bamboo or hemp-woven rugs, sustainable decor makes a lovely gift for your favorite tree huggers. Organize-It has a huge selection of Lipper Bamboo products for just about any room or any purpose. Make your own set of office organizers from individual bamboo components, or deck out your loved one’s bath with gorgeous bamboo bath accessories. Fortunately, all of the Lipper bamboo and other products can be found in one convenient location on the Organize-It website.

5. Green Gifts that are Clean Gifts

While cleaning may not seem very exciting for a holiday, cleaning with Caldrea products almost seems like a luxury. Made with biodegradable ingredients with intoxicating essential oil scents, a thoughtfully selected array of Caldrea cleaners would be a welcome addition to most eco-friendly homes.

Caldrea sea salt/neroli-infused counter cleaner is a welcome addition to a vanity. Pair it with their corresponding laundry detergent and package in an attractive stainless steel compost pail, and you have a lovely, sustainable gift.

green gifts caldrea detergent


compost pail

6. Green Gifts you can Grow Yourself

Even in the winter, plants make lovely gifts and serve as a pleasant reminder that the season will actually change, as they always do. These sets of small pails are ideal for planting herbs, but you could also fill them with homemade candies, seed packets or a variety of other items. They come in galvanized or copper finishes and include a deep tray to corral them (which looks great on a windowsill or countertop). Buying seeds is another idea and if you give your gift in a container, you can save the waste of all that wrapping paper (thinking really green).


herb garden container

7. Green Gifts from Recycled Materials

Whether you are buying from artisans or making it yourself, recycling materials is a great way to please both your eco-people and mother nature. Recycle boutiques can be found easily on the internet – or you can roll up your sleeves, haul out the sewing machine, and make a divine mess on your kitchen table. Gift-making can be a great family project, whether your make homemade wrapping paper, ornaments, wreathes or other handcrafted items. How about a crazy quilt from outgrown clothes, or candy tins made from tuna cans and recycled Christmas cards from last year? Or a groovy retro-knit beer cap vest or pantaloons? You’re only limited by your imagination here. Be creative. Go crazy. You have my permission (and I’m sure you were waiting for it).

8. Green Gift Cards – You Don’t Have to Decide

Buy a gift card and let your green person select their own green gifts. Organize-It sells them here, and we have about 20,000 products (not all green, but all colors and varieties) to select from, including recycling products, kitchen accessories and techie gifts. Gift cards are also great because they are so EASY – no shipping, no packing, no wrapping. Just plug in the email address, pay, and leave the rest to us. It’s all digital, behind-the-scenes magic. Whatever you decide to do to make your holiday green, have a fabulous one!

Love,
Clutter Control Freak

Essential Oils for Stress

essential oils for stressWhether you are de-stressing from the elections, or just from your work day, using essential oils for stress is a safe and natural way to reset your nervous system. There are many oils with stress-reducing chemical properties, but here are a couple quick recipes to get you going.

Note: Be sure before using the oil to test yourself for allergies by placing a drop on your forearm and cover with a bandage overnight. Remove the bandage in the morning. If any redness or lumps appear, do not use it. You can also test with the individual oils to pinpoint the sensitivity. Allergies are rare, but some people do have sensitivities.

Stress Relief Essential Oil Blend #1

  • 10 ml. of carrier oil (such as coconut oil)
  • 3 drops of lavender or chamomile
  • 2 drops of frankincense
  • 2 drops of lemongrass

Stress Relief Essential Oil Blend #2

  • 10 ml. of carrier oil (such as coconut oil)
  • 3 drops of ylang ylang
  • 2 drops of patchouli
  • 3 drops of bergamot
  • 1 drop of geranium

Rose is an emotionally powerful essential oil but also one of the most expensive, so if you happen to have some (or some rose absolute, an inexpensive alternative), it’s well worth experimenting with. Other good oils are orange and neroli (from bitter orange tree blossoms).

Application

Apply to temples, wrists, back of knees, chest, back of neck, and/or behind ears. Alternately, skip the carrier oil and add the essential oils to a diffuser or a warm bath before bed. Add a cup of chamomile for sound sleeping.

Warning: this is an adult dose. For children or pets, please seek out sources for proper dilution.

Using essential oils for stress is a safe alternative to toxins and a great way to pamper yourself and recover from a hard day, week, or election year. See our other post for suggestions for a basic essential oil kit for everyday living.

Love, Clutter Control Freak

You might also like the following, to help you de-stress:

Bath Spa Pillow
bath spa pillow


Bath Caddy Relaxation Center

bath caddy relaxation center


Essential Oils for School

essential oils school

Essential Oils – Tool Kit for Surviving the School Year

Economics. Biology. Cold pigs and half-dissected frogs stuffed in your dorm refrigerator. What to do with them?

Oh, those notes. Where are they? The latest Game of Thrones is on your roommate’s TV and it’s so much more interesting.

Algebra… How many Hillarys divided by two Trumps will it take to fill an orange crate? Oh, the debates are on.

Seventeenth-century painting just got less interesting when the resident advisor started a twerk session during the dorm’s first-Sunday, voluntary-dream therapy breakfast group, but wait, you came here to learn!

Let’s face it, dorms are distracting; as is life. Unless you’re not human, you probably struggle with focus. There are practical things you can do to help yourself, however. Often times, just switching the off button helps tremendously, but it may not be so easy if the switch resides in your head.

Essential Oils for Focus

Amazingly, there are some essential oils that may encourage focus. No, we don’t sell them, but we’re thinking about you and thought we’d share a few tips to help you get through the final leg of your term.

Oils for Concentration

  • Peppermint
  • Clary Sage
  • Rosemary
  • Frankincense
  • Bergamot
  • Juniper Berry

For studying, the best ways to use the oils are either by sniffing directly or using in a diffuser (one engineered for use with oils). The chemicals get to the brain faster when inhaled through your nose. That said, when cut with a carrier oil (such as almond or coconut oil), a topical rub applied to vital points is also very effective. Plus, you can do it in public without rousing suspicion (or risking confiscation or arrest). Rub on wrists, behind ears, around ankles, at temples – or use your intuition. Don’t use the oils straight, they need to be diluted in a carrier oil. One or two drops to two tablespoons should work (or ten drops to 30 ml.).

If you feel hyper or scattered, the tree resin (Frankincense) and Juniper Berry are nice grounding oils. Peppermint is a great wakeup oil. Cool and stimulating, it can make you more alert. Try mixing some with your shampoo to get going in the morning (same ratios as with the carrier oil). Don’t apply peppermint near your eyes or other sensitive tissues.

When you’re studying for an exam, try sniffing some rosemary while you’re studying, then smell it again right before you take the test. Smells have a way of recalling memories and information. This a great memory trick and one worthy of sharing.

Essential Oils for Stress

We all have it. Sometimes a little stress is good, but not when it interferes with your concentration, your work, or your studying. The universe gave you lots of safe, aromatic plants to help you feel good. Many splendid oils come from trees, including the roots, resins, bark and blossoms. Ylang ylang is a great de-stresser and you can use it the same way as outlined above. A diffuser is great because you can use it while you’re sleeping – plus it helps relax you for deeper sleep.

Orange or bergamot are other great de-stressing oils and they can help modulate blood pressure – and have lots of other health benefits. Clary sage also has calming properties and it’s good for hormone-induced stress.

Oils for Reducing Stress

  • Ylang ylang
  • Patchouli
  • Chamomile
  • Geranium
  • Bergamot
  • Cedar Wood
  • Lavender
  • Myrrh
  • Frankincense

Lavender also has some amazing physical healing properties – especially for burns. You can find lots of information about essential oil properties online.

Essential Oils for Immunity

When you’re in school, it’s hard to avoid germs, unless of course, you’re doing it remotely or have a private room lined with Lysol-doused aluminum foil. Along with managing stress, it’s important to eat right and get lots of rest so you can feel and perform your best. Should you get sick, and you just might, sitting with all those germified “other people,” here are some great oils to have on hand:

Oils for Colds

  • Lemon
  • Eucalyptus
  • Clove
  • Cinnamon Bark
  • Rosemary

These oils all have amazing individual properties, but combined, they form a powerful anti-inflammatory, anti-viral mix. The blend is especially effective when you use it immediately – just at the onset of the sniffles – on vital points such as the soles of feet, wrists and behind ears. I’m not exaggerating! This is a powerful mix! You can buy it premixed from a number of manufacturers under names similar to “Thieves” but if you mix it yourself, you’ll have leftover oils so you can play amateur alchemist in your dorm room just as soon as you finish dissecting those pigs and complete those impossible math equations.

For “Thieves” proportions, check out this website, and remember the “Thieves” oils are all inexpensive staples that are nice to keep in your medicine cabinet. Please note that before using any essential oils, you should perform an overnight allergy test to detect if you have any sensitivities. Put a drop of pure oil on your skin and cover it with a Bandaid overnight. If you have any redness or swelling, don’t use it.

These suggestions aren’t just for college students, they’ll benefit most anyone and make a great home or travel kit for minor cuts, burns, etc. Please note that the doses recommended in this post are for adults only. Child doses require greater dilution, so please do some research before administering oils to children (or pets). There’s a wealth of free information on the internet about medicinal and other uses for essential oils, including recipes for eco-friendly cleaning products.

Have fun!

Love,
Clutter Control Freak

For two de-stressing essential oil recipes, view our other post.

You might also enjoy this tea storage blog on our sister site, which features a tea storage box that gets repurposed into an essential oil holder. And check out this piece on getting focused at work (which totally translates into school studying habits).

Simple, realistic steps towards a paperless kitchen

The thought of creating a paperless kitchen may seem like a daunting task, but with the help of the right organizational pieces it can be easily done. Any home – small or large, contemporary or traditional – can be reorganized to limit paper products.

instagram_paperlessFirst, it is important to consider your household, the people around you and what level of change is appropriate for your lifestyle. Going paperless doesn’t have to be a black and white choice – any move in the right direction has its impact. It is important to communicate with your family and agree on a plan of action before implementing any large changes in your home.

Before you begin

There are lots of easy ways to make your own kitchen towels on the cheap. For specifics, check our Pinterest board on the same subject. If you’re not the hands-on type, start stocking up on towels when you find them on sale. It’s important to start loading up on towels before riding your home of paper products. You want to be ready to tackle life’s messes sans-paper before you run out of paper towels, napkins, etc. This way you can seamlessly transition from one lifestyle to the next.

Storage

Once you have stocked up on dish and hand towels as well as fabric napkins, it is time to find a storage solution that works for you. A lot of organizers love utilizing glass candy jars to keep clean towels at the ready. This allows you to keep towels near the sink or on the counter top without compromising neatness or décor. paperless_rags

For dish towels or other rags that may not be as pretty to display, consider re-purposing a plastic bag recycler. These handy bins are hidden under kitchen counters to create out-of-sight storage. Fill them with clean kitchen rags and easily access a towel whenever you need it.

Use and cleaning

Once it is time to throw towels in the dirty laundry, it’s necessary to have a receptacle in the kitchen. Utilize an over the cabinet waste bin to collect dirty towels. This small, stylish trash bin hangs over cabinet doors; you can hang them to sit either inside or outside the door. Doing this limits the need to do laundry more frequently, and keeping it tucked under the counter keeps any odors or stains out of sight.

Not all towels are ready to toss in the laundry after one use though. To allow them to dry properly and keep them at hand for another use, add extra areas to hang them. Over the door towel racks are the perfect way to create more storage without compromising wall space or creating permanent structures. These handy rods simply slid over kitchen cabinet doors without hardware or tools – plus, they’re padded to protect wood from scratches and signs of wear. These racks are also perfect for the bathroom!

Once you have these simple organizational hacks conquered, a paperless kitchen will be just another aspect of your everyday life. And then you can work to utilize it throughout the rest of the house!

Find these products and more like them at StacksandStacks.com.

Go back to school with healthy packed lunches

Ready or not, here comes another school year. As the homework piles up, it’s important to keep your attention to detail. There’s no denying it, some days it is just easier to have the kids grab lunch in the cafeteria, but today’s lunchrooms are chock full of sugary drinks and salty snacks that begin a lifetime of unhealthy habits.

Utilize these handy pieces to create quick, easy and healthy lunches every day:

lunch1Japanese style lunch box

Let lunch get creative with this Bento Box style lunch box. Bento Boxes are a traditional boxed meal in Japanese culture. They typically have separate containers for rice, protein and veggies. Modern twists on this style create an easy way to pack a well-balanced, healthy lunch for work or school. This specific design features a nesting container with three cubbies and a lid – perfect for packing and separating items without using disposable plastic bags.

Reusable lunch wrap

lunch2If you or your kids or more of just the plain ol’ sandwich type, this reusable wrap is for you. You can pack any kind of sandwich without using plastic wrap.

Snack dipperlunch4lunch3

Snacking doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Packing healthy snacks is super easy thanks to this cool double compartment container. This piece is designed to accommodate your favorite dips and sides, like hummus with carrots, celery with peanut butter and more. This case is awesome for lunches but is great for a quick study break snack you can throw in your purse, backpack, briefcase and more.

Salad container with dressing holder

The ultimate in healthy lunches: a simple salad. Not so simple to pack though.  Well that has changed. This handy container is made to pack your favorite salad, complete with a side of salad dressing. The leak proof container is also ideal for stir-f
ry, pasta and other dishes. It comes with a detachable ice pack so it’s super easy to keep foods cool during the day – this container can sit in your locker before lunch and stay fresh.

Feeling inspired? Check us out on Pinterest for lunch ideas. 
Find these products and more like them at StacksandStacks.com.

Spruce Up Your Garden!

Happy Spring! Preparation for your garden should begin with cleaning up the space, eliminating old leaves and and debris, and checking the soil, then let the planting begin! Once your gardening has begun, here are some ideas to make the rest of this season a little bit easier on you and to make your garden space a little more fun!

 

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Countdown to Fall…Tools to Make Yardwork A Breeze

Let’s Get Serious about Fall! Just 11 days away and one of our favorite seasons, there’s just something about fall. And there are leaves. Lots and lots of leaves. And other yardwork to do during this transition to winter. Here are some of the best fall yardwork tools to help you make the most of your work time spent out in the yard this season:

GutterBrush Rain Gutter Guard
Prevention is key when dealing with gutters. Not only does the GutterBrush Rain Gutter Guard save you time spent cleaning out those gutters down the road, it keeps your rain gutters in better condition, reducing rust issues for longer use. Like other gutter guards, this one keeps leaves and pine needles out but allows water to pass through. It remains hidden, however, fully inside the gutter for a neat and tidy look. Read more