Every day, I pen a syndicated column called “Do Just One Thing” that appears in newspapers across the country. Over the past several years, I’ve accumulated thousands of tips that not only help people live a little bit greener each day, but are smart ways to cut waste and save money as well. In each issue of this magazine, I’ll round up my all-time favorite tips. They’re clever, fun, and simple enough that I think you’ll Naturally love to try them. –Danny Seo
1) SPA DAY
Instead of tossing the parsley stems into the compost bin, harness their natural deodorizing properties into a soothing spa treatment. Parsley is loaded with chlorophyll, which is a powerful natural deodorizer with antibacterial properties. While it’s known as a natural breath freshener, it can also be an amazing astringent for your feet. Just fill a shallow bowl with hot water and drop in the parsley stems. Let them steep while you soak your feet for about 15 minutes and they’ll come out refreshed, relaxed, and clean.
2) FLOUR POWER
Do you want your stainless steel sink to shine like new again? All you need is a little elbow grease and some leftover flour. Yes, the same flour you bake into biscuits and cookies will also buff up your sink. It works because the flour dust gets into the small grooves of the stainless steel and absorbs dirt, grime, and grease that basic soap can’t reach. The secret is to start with a very dry sink, because any residual water will turn flour into glue. Simply buff with flour, wipe, rinse, and voilà! Shiny sink.
3) TAKE TWO
Take an aspirin and call me in the morning is a phrase we’ve all heard. But have you given an aspirin to an ailing house-plant? Turns out it can do a world of good for your plants. When plants are stressed, they create something called salicylic acid to help boost their immune system. The active ingredient in aspirin is acetylsalicylic acid, which is a derivative of salicylic acid. So popping a diluted aspirin in water destined for plants can help them stay alive—and thrive!
4) DOUBLE DUTY
When packing a lunch to take to the office or to send off to school with the kids, try this hack for keeping your food chilled: Tuck in a container of frozen yogurt. It basically transforms the package into an ice pack that will keep your yogurt cold until lunchtime. It’s the perfect stuff for the job because, while a frozen juice container or thermos of water may work, they’re slower to thaw out. Dairy items (like yogurt) freeze hard, but thaw quickly. So by lunch, it’ll be the perfect creamy consistency you love.
5) TRASH TO CASH
Has your child outgrown their love of building with Lego pieces? While they are technically recyclable, it can be hard to find a recycler that accepts the blocks. But why recycle when you can convert them into cash? The website Decluttr (decluttr.com) will purchase bags of Legos from you. Just fill a bag and weigh it, then plug in the amount and the site will automatically calculate the trade-in value. The site also trades old CDs, DVDs, video games, and even printed books for cash.