5 Simple and Unusual Uses for Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree oil essential oil has long been used to treat acne, cure infections and soothe bug bites. But did you know it can also be used to clean glasses?

If you aren’t already into essential oils, then I highly recommend giving them a try. Essential oils are all natural and thus so much more earth (and health!) friendly than other scented products. They can replace air deodorizers, cleaning supplies, medicinal supplies and more.

I think everyone who uses essential oils has a favourite – and mine is tea tree oil (melaleuca alternifolia). Tea tree oil essential oil has such a clean, fresh smell reminiscent of tree bark and dirt and rain. Maybe others would describe it differently, but it smells like nature to me. And when I wash my face with my tea tree oil soap and breathe in the scent of the earthy suds… oh man. Heaven. In my nostrils.

There are a ton of online resources listing things you can do with tea tree oil. Make cleaning supplies, treat acne, cure infections, soothe bug bites… But instead of reiterating those, I wanted to share a few more unusual tea tree essential oil uses. Most of these uses I just stumbled upon and did no research before trying. But they worked wonders for me! Maybe they will for you too?

5 Harmful Products to Stop Buying Right Now

These five unsustainable products are harmful to both humans and the environment and aren't even necessary when there are so many awesome alternatives.

We can all do with a little less stuff, am I right? So, this year, one of my resolutions is to stop buying unsustainable products. These five common items are harmful to both humans and the environment and aren’t even necessary when awesome alternatives are readily available. These days, there are so many environmentally sustainable products and methods out there, ranging from those used by our grandparents (cleaning with vinegar!) to those we can thank new advancements in technology for (period panties… for real!).

Here are five harmful, unsustainable products I’m not going to buy this year. Join me in the boycott!

Top 5 Of Houses and Trees Posts of 2017

Ah, yearend. A time to stop and reflect on the past 12 months… and reread (or read for the first time) the five most viewed Of Houses and Trees posts of 2017! The last year has been the biggest yet for growing this sustainability blog and I have so very many ideas for 2018… and beyond! I just want to say how much I appreciate every single view, comment, share and subscribe I receive. Truly.

From eco-friendly products and building materials, to healthy vegan eats – 2017 was a green year indeed!

5 Ways to Green the Holidays Without Being a Grinch

Make this year a green Christmas by reusing, recycling and, most importantly, reducing. Here are five ways to do just that!

I hate throwing things away. Many times I’ve caught myself hovering an item over the trash. An item most wouldn’t hesitate to call “garbage,” but that I can’t seem to let go. “Can it be reused? Recycled? Made into a hat?” (I’m convinced that all garbage can somehow be made into a hat.) I’ve been known to rant for tens of minutes about what is and isn’t allowed in our blue bag. “What do you mean you can’t recycle pickle jars? What – I’m just supposed to throw them out?”

For me, no time of the year is this more painful than at Christmas. The wrapping paper, bows, ribbons, the live Christmas trees, the tinsel, the plastic and cardboard packaging on gifts, the leftovers we meant to eat, but then we just couldn’t stomach mashed potatoes for another day. (Okay, maybe I’m reaching here because, really, who throws out mashed potatoes?) Of course, these things come from a well-meaning place – and only grinches bemoan presents, decorations and feasts, right?

Eco-Friendly Holiday Gifts

Green the holidays this year with these eco-friendly Christmas gifts - made by awesome, earth-conscious artisans from around the world.

What? You’re accusing me of creating a holiday gift guide filled with eco-friendly swag I want for myself?! Why I never… Okay. You got me. But just because I’d be super happy to find any of these eco-friendly Christmas gifts under the tree doesn’t mean someone on your list won’t want them too. (And maybe buy a little something for yourself while you’re at it?) The best thing about this gift guide is everything on it is eco-friendly, i.e.: organic, handmade, reusable and so on and so forth!

The second best thing is that I found all of these items on Etsy, meaning made and sold by awesome artisans around the world. Buying from Etsy is next best thing to buying local, but it also allows for the ease and comfort (and fun!) of shopping from your own home. Plus, some of the below items are even one of a kind. Just like your special friends and family members are.

Eco-Friendly Building Material Magnesium Oxide Board

Magnesium oxide board is an eco-friendly drywall alternative made with naturally-occurring materials using an environmentally friendly process.

Aside from Of Houses and Trees, I also write content for a few other architecturally-minded blogs. One subject I’ve written quite a bit about lately is the building material magnesium oxide board (MgO board). If you’ve never heard of it, it’s essentially an eco-friendly drywall alternative. And, of course, as soon as I see the phrase “eco-friendly alternative” I get all giddy and start geeking out. It looks like we’re going to build our Real Life Home next spring. (Fingers crossed!) And I absolutely want to use as many green materials as possible. Not only are environmentally friendly materials good for the planet, but they’re also good for you and your family as they tend to release little to no VOCs (volatile organic compounds) into your home nor other narsty chemicals. (Did you know synthetic drywall contains formaldehyde? Yuck.)

How to Keep Your House (Mostly) Clean with Kids

Have children? Find it impossible to keep your house clean? Me too! But I have figured out how to keep my home "mostly clean." Here are my cleaning tips!

One of my personal mottos is “a clean home equals a clean mind.” I probably ripped that off from some cult leader or something, but if I did – man that’s one persuasive cult leader. Because I cannot function properly when my house is a mess.

Before I had my daughters, I prided myself on a spick and span home. A place where you could confidently eat off the floors. Now that I have children, I pride myself on a clean home even more. Because, dudes, it can be really hard to keep your home clean with kids.

Not that I’m remotely saying individuals without children don’t have busy lives that leave little room for cleaning. But the difference is when you don’t have kids and you clean your home – it tends to stay clean. Sometimes for an ENTIRE DAY.

3 Surprisingly Simple Ways to Save the Planet

Looking for simple ways to help the environment on a day to day basis? Think before you buy, clean with care and eat less meat. That's it!

Much like I was inspired by a few home blogs I follow to do an online Holiday Home Tour, I was almost inspired to do a “Design Resolutions” post. But, you know what? You’ll read about my upcoming design ideas and projects if/when I get around to them. For now, let’s talk about something a little bit bigger. Something we all should be trying to do – every day – and not just as a New Year’s resolution that invariably will fall to the wayside come February. What I’m talking about, my dear friends, is saving the planet.

Can it be done? Some say no. Some say we’re in too deep. We’ve gone too far. To this I say pish posh. Of course, I just so happen to be one of those super annoying idealists who thinks that every little change we make counts and that starting small is the best way to integrate a leaner, meaner and greener way of life into your new year.