3 Ways Grandma was Green before It Was Hip

The trend today for green living seems like a hip, new idea to some, but it goes back to a time when green living was just the sensible thing to do.

Restore, Recycle, Repurpose - Randy Florke’s new bookRandy Florke in his book, Restore. Recycle. Repurpose. brings us back to thinking frugally like our grandparents and great-grandparents.  In their day “the biggest sin was waste and hand-me-downs were a way of life.  We reused everything, from jars to fabric to the wood from demolished outbuildings.  Glass jars became storage containers in the larder, and the plaid flannel from a favorite shirt lived on in the patches of a crazy quilt on my bed.  Nowadays they call that repurposing; then we called it another day on the farm.”


Today we have more sustainable goods available to us than ever before.  Creating a green, healthy home is something a lot of us would like to strive towards, but the majority of us don’t have the money to invest in creating a green home from scratch.

In his book, Randy gives three basic tenets for green redecorating that will help you to balance budgetary and environmental needs.

#1 Buy used:

If you need something new, from silverware to sofas and from artwork to appliances, buy antique, vintage, or slightly used.  Even if you need to refurbish it, the total cost will still likely be less than what you would pay for a new item.

#2 Buy Smart:

If you must buy something new, then considerations such as energy efficiency, material content, construction process, and carbon footprint should take center stage.

#3 Refuse to Feed the Landfill: 

Minimize the waste stream from your house to the landfill.  Recycle glass, aluminum, paper, computers, batteries, light bulbs, and hangers, even it if takes a little extra effort.  Bigger items that still have life can be donated to thrift stores or charities, sold through craigslist or house and sidewalk sales, or simply offered to friends and neighbors.  Imagine what a difference it would make if our sofas and armchairs found new life rather than spending their next life in the nearest dump.

Now, I don’t think Randy is saying you should save everything because you “might need it someday”.  There needs to be a balance between using what we have and living with less.  When I can repurpose something in my home, I feel good knowing that in doing so I have also helped the environment.  Even the small things can make a big difference.

Feeling a little overwhelmed with “going green”?  Queen B Organizing can help get you started and on your way.  We not only help you clean through and organize, but we also creatively repurpose furniture and items in your home to save you money.  Give us a call and let us help you create a healthy, green home.