October has arrived! Fall is my favorite season. The leaves are turning beautiful fiery shades of orange, yellow, and red. We’re setting our sights on all things pumpkin, cinnamon and apple. This is a time for bonfires, hayrides, and walks through the forest to see who can collect the best leaves.

As the temperature starts to drop, we’ll all start spending more time indoors. Maintaining a healthy and sustainable environment inside your home is important this time of year. Below is a checklist to give you a running start.

Day 1. Rid your home of hazardous waste. Franklin County residents can drop off hazardous waste products with SWACO’s permanent collection facility at 645 E. 8th Avenue, Columbus, OH 43201. Accepted waste products include: batteries, flammables, gasoline mixed with oil, oil-based paint, motor oil, stains, thinners, varnishes, bleach, lawn chemicals, insecticides, and more.

Day 2. National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day is October 28, 2017! Drop off your unused, unneeded dry prescription medicines at your local law enforcement locations. Participating locations in Central Ohio are: Dublin Police Department (614-889-1112), Grove City Division of Police (614-277-1710), Reynoldsburg Police Department (614-866-6622), Westerville Division of Police (614-901-6860), Whitehall Division of Police (614-237-6333), and others.

Day 3. Replace your incandescent bulbs with CFL’s. CFL’s are more expensive to purchase up front but are more energy efficient, last longer, and save you more money in the long run.

Day 4. Handle your yard waste responsibly. Ideally, you should leave your fallen leaves on your lawn to decompose naturally over the winter. This allows important nutrients to filter back down into your soil giving your lawn a natural boost come Spring. Fallen leaves will also become winter habitat for wildlife. If you want nutrient rich soil for your garden in the Spring, you may also use leaves and grass clippings to create a compost pile. If you must dispose of your yard waste (brush, grass clippings, leaves, etc.), Kurtz Brothers, City of Columbus Com-Til Facility, and Ohio Mulch offer free drop-off for Franklin County residents.

Day 5. Get that compost heap working for you. An easy, low maintenance way to do it is using an old metal trash can. Check out this article: Composting the Easy Way.

Day 6. Replenish your cleaning supplies with environmentally sound alternatives. You’ll find these are easier on your wallet too! Use reusable containers (spray bottles and used milk jugs) to make your own. A mixture of 1 part vinegar to 1 part water makes an effective glass cleaner. An easy all-purpose cleaner can be made using 2 cups of water, 1/4 c. Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soap (vegetable-based) and 20 drops of essential oil. We like the refreshing effect of mixing 10 drops of orange with 10 drops of peppermint oil.

Day 7. Have a technician out to service your heating and cooling systems now. Don’t wait for winter! Properly functioning systems work more efficiently. Even better yet, shop around for eco-friendly air filters!

Day 8. Bring houseplants indoors, or take some time to select new houseplants that purify your indoor air. Lady Palm, Wax Begonia, Spider Plant, Boston Ferns, and English Ivy are all recognized for these properties!

Day 9. De-clutter. Gently used clothing and household items can be picked up by National Kidney Services of Central Ohio. Call 614-351-2900 to schedule a pickup. Unwanted furniture will be picked up by the Furniture Bank of Central Ohio by calling 614-545-3838.

Day 10. Tackle the allergens. I know the cobwebs and dust bunnies make great Halloween decorations, but….ewww. Use your vacuum attachments or held-held vacuum to rid your home of them. A quick sweep through each room of the house will do the trick! Another allergen-lurking item to tackle is our pillows. Throw 2 of them in the wash at a time with an extra spin and drying cycle.

This short list should go a long way in helping you achieve a cleaner, healthier indoor environment as we head toward our cooler seasons.

Angie

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