Earth Day is long over but hopefully it inspired you to make some changes in your daily routine toward living a little greener. With the kids home in summertime, it’s a great time to teach them about going green and how small changes can add up. Around the house, there’s plenty we can do to live a little smarter and greener.

At Home:

Turn your air conditioner two or three degrees higher than you normally do. You’ll still be cool but save on your electric bill. Use settings that cycle off when a room reaches a certain temperate or a timer to turn air conditioning on before you get home, rather than letting it run all day. Make a pledge that any day under a certain degree, you will not use the air conditioner. Instead open windows or use a ceiling fan. And don’t forget to clean air filters often for maximum efficiency.

Use fewer lights in the house, drawing down shades or blinds where the sun streams in. Try cooking stovetop rather than using the oven. This will keep your house cooler in the hot months.

Go through closets and donate old clothing and toys to local churches or schools. Old books can often be donated to libraries or you can list them online for free pick up (everyone loves a good beach read). Throw a yard sale to make a few dollars and recycle items to others!

Pool towels do not have to be washed every day. Hang dry in the yard and reuse for a few days. After a regular load of laundry, hang your clothes outside to save energy.

Use the water from your dehumidifier to water indoor or outdoor plants or mop floors.

Buy things like yogurt and ice cream in large containers rather than small cups. If you do have individual yogurt cups, wash them and save them for crafts, small painting containers, seed starters,or whatever uses you can find. Another option is to make ice cream and popsicles at home!

Kill weeds in cracks in walkways, patios and sidewalks by putting white vinegar and a few squirts of dish soap in a spray bottle. Spray weeds and they will die within a few days. No chemicals on little feet.

Have a pool? I’ve read to run the filter for 8-12 hours a day. Whatever your setting now, cut it to an hour less a day and see how that works for keeping the water clean. It may not make a difference at all but will save a little on your utility bill over the course of the summer. Make sure it’s on a timer to go off when you are not home.

On the Go:

Summer is the time we often carry water with us. If you choose to use plastic bottles, make sure to recycle them. Your best bet is to carry your refillable water bottle wherever you go.

Carry canvas bags when you head out shopping. Get in the habit of bringing them in to every store and farm stand you go to.

Buy in bulk. Rather than single snacks for kids, buy larger bags and pack in reusable containers. Stash a few snacks in the car weekly, so when you run errands and the kids are starving, you don’t have to buy small bags of chips or snacks. Keeping a cooler in the trunk or back of your car is a great idea.

Instead of taking a ton of short trips, think of where you need to go in the next few days and try to make one trip out. Stop on the way home from your outings to grab things at stores, rather than heading out again. This save you time, mileage and gas money.

When the weather is nice, consider biking or walking to local stores. Can’t beat getting out on a lovely summer day and enjoying some family time, unplugged of course!

Taking simple steps this summer can help you live greener and more environmentally conscious, not to mention save a few dollars too.