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Five ways to go green in your new home

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Want to green with home improvements in your new home? What's a good place to start? Before you go out and buy new windows, a programmable thermostat and the whole nine yards, why not step back? Give it some thought. Your parents and grandparents took years to get their homes in tip top shape. Back then, waste not want not was the best go green policy. It still can be. Here's five ecofriendly ideas for fixing up your home that will save you money and make your parents proud.

Just breathe.

Give yourself time to settle into your new home before you start fixing it up. You may decide you actually like some of the things you were planning on discarding and replacing. Nothing is greener than avoiding unnecessary waste. Our new house has tile counter-tops. Guess what? We actually found they suit us. No renovation waste. Instead of buying energy efficient windows, we covered them with plastic for the winter. As for the thermostat, we keep it turned down, wear sweaters and turn it off on warm days. Green and frugal is the way to go.

Use what you have.

Once you do start making improvements, try to use items you already have to fix up your new home. Adopt a waste not want not attitude. Why spend all kinds of money upfront to decorate your new house? Wouldn't that money go further applied to the principle of your loan? Once you get that interest down the extra cash will allow you to make wise green choices when decorating and updating. Remember, like your folks, your house doesn't have to be picture perfect right away.

Wait for surprising finds.

I can't tell you how many useful items we've come across while doing basic maintenance on our new home. We found dry-wall in the basement. This was used to finish off a new area for one of my grand-daughters. We even found some folding doors and lumber. We used it to make a faux-wall and saloon style door for her room. A couple days ago, in the backyard, I found forty stepping stones buried in the dirt. I was digging a garden plot. Perfect! Now I don't have to buy stepping stones for the garden. Curbing expenditures is the first step in going green for this frugal family.

Get it for free.

What's a better way to go green than using up-cycled or recycled items to fix up your new home? Sometimes a friend might have what you need just lying around going to waste. Keep your eyes open. Look for things you can re-paint or re-finish. Check websites such as Craigslist for construction leftovers. Browse the yard sale ads too. Sometimes exhausted yard salers will give away unsold goods the day after the sale. Some estate sale venues have a crazy sale on the last day. You save money and go green by buying used rather than new.

Sell or give away unwanted materials.

Don't forget to return the favor (when you do decide to remodel your home). Replacing kitchen cabinets? Go green by avoiding waste. Sell your used cabinets rather than throwing them away. Better yet, use them in the garage or basement. Better still? Why not give them away to someone who can't afford new materials? However you decide to re-model your new home, going green with a waste not want not policy can help.

Portions of this article were previously published by this author on a now closed Yahoo property.

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