It’s springtime – well almost, and this is the best time of year to start observing your carbon footprint. There are many little things you can do each day to begin “going green” in your home. If you have little ones, they’ll thank you AND start good habits early. Read on for tips to simplify, and lesson your footprint around your home. Mother Earth will also thank you.

Thermostat. Begin by turning your thermostat back 3 to 5 degrees each day. With the 70 degree temps we’ve been having, this isn’t too difficult to do. Surprisingly, it isn’t that hard when the weather is colder as well. If you work outside of the home, turn the thermostat back when you leave and raise it to a comfortable level upon returning, keep your sweatshirts and sweaters available throughout spring to warm up this way instead. Once warmer temps arrive for good, open windows instead of running the air conditioning as much as possible.

Lights. Turn off lights when not in use. Replace all standard light bulbs with compact fluorescent light bulbs (cfls). This will cut usage in half, if not more.

Water. Since springtime tends to be a season of rain, set up a rainĀ  barrel or two to catch water. Use the water for houseplants and your new spring garden instead of running water from the faucet. The water is more pure and has many nutrients that regular tap water does not. Your plants will love you for it. When doing laundry, wash in cold instead of hot and use a drying rack whenever possible instead of using the dryer. Skip the bottled water for drinking. Instead buy a water filtration system and save the additional plastic.

Reduce, reuse, recycle. There are far too many items going into the trash these days that can be recycled. Some municipalities offer curbside recycling, and for those that do not, recycle bins are typically within easy traveling distance. Separate and save paper, glass, plastic and aluminum and dispose in recycling bins instead of in the trash. Think before you buy (reduce) and when you are ready for your next furniture purchase, sell your gently used furniture on Craiglist, give it to a friend in need, or donate it to Goodwill or a thriftstore. Your “trash” may be another person’s treasure. Don’t forget about electronic items. Televisions, DVD players, cell phones and more can either be repaired and reused, or recycled. Do not throw them into the trash.

Food. Start a home garden, or a community garden if it will be too tedious to take care of alone. Give a shout out on Facebook about your intention to start a garden and see if any friends want to go along with you. Eating home grown food is amazing and rewarding. It’s a great way to teach kids the value of wholesome nutritious foods. Whether or not you are able to garden, buy local, sustainable food. There are Farmers Markets everywhere starting in about April and running throughout the summer months. There are also local whole food stores that stock items from local farmers instead of shipping them in from Mexico – or Guam.

Celebrate Earth Day this April 22nd, with at least one small change, and commit to doing the same year after year. Soon you’ll be living off the grid. Earth Day is an annual observance which started in the early 70’s to remind the people of Earth of their shared responsibility as environmental stewards

These are just a few ideas to get you started. There are so many things you can do to “go green” and conserve energy and resources. At Connell’s, we know that your home is your castle and we want you to enjoy it to the fullest. That’s why we deliver these tips and tricks to you week after week. Stop by one of our two locations in Mt. Vernon or Newark today to see why we give you the best home furnishings, the best prices and the best customer service around.