Get an on-faucet water filter
If you don’t mind tap water, stick with that. If you don’t like the taste of tap water, or if you’re concerned about potential pollutants, you have some choices. You can buy bottled water, but that means lots of expense and extra recycling trips, as well as valuable storage space. (You’ll also note that bottled water is often just tap water – be careful!) You’re better off with a water filter. There are some great carafe filters, but if you’ve got a small refrigerator or countertop, get and attach an on-faucet water filter. You’ll need to buy filters to keep the water clean, but they’ll more than pay for themselves by comparison to buying bottled water.
About those potential pollutants: much has been written about the myriad of pharmaceuticals that sometimes find their way into city water supplies. The bigger danger is from the fact that nearly all municipalities (including Boston) use chlorine to remove bacteria and other harmful organisms from water. When certain organic compounds are present in the water, chlorine can combine with them to form harmful byproducts like trihalomethanes and haloacetic acids. For homes and buildings with older plumbing, lead can also be an issue.
Boston’s municipal water supply is treated using a sophisticated sequence of treatments including both ozone and chlorine; you can read more hereabout it. That said, if you’re concerned about it you can get a relatively inexpensive water home testing kit that will let you know if you’ve got an issue. Next
Sell (or donate) your stuff
It may break your heart to part with that sweater…until you realize that people will pay good money for it. But posting stuff on eBay or Craigslist is hard, right? Not so much. Here are some handy guides for selling on eBay and Craigslist. Bear in mind that depending on where you live you may need to deal with state sales taxes or similar – here’s a helpful resource for dealing with that. Also, remember that you need to be extremely careful when selling (and buying) on these sites. Remember to protect your person and your personal information!
Get a device that streams content to your TV
Assuming you have internet in your home, with a Chromecast, Roku box, Apple TV, Slingbox or similar device you can stream live or recorded content to your TV. Combine it with a Netflix or Amazon Prime subscription, and kiss your old movies and DVDs (and CDs, if you still have any) goodbye. You can also get rid of premium cable channels, though obviously there will be content you’ll miss out on. (Don’t worry; you can catch Wahlburgers on Amazon Prime!) You can even get rid of cable TV entirely, though in some cases it’s actually cheaper to have basic cable plus internet than to just have internet.
While you’re at it, here are some tips on getting a good deal on internet in your home.
Libraries are better at keeping books than you are
Boston’s public library system is one of the very best in the nation (and the second-largest in the country, behind the Library of Congress). Use it. You can borrow hard-copy books if you don’t like reading on your Kindle or iPad. The Boston Public Library also lends ebooks, digital videos and music. But either way, don’t forget to return them! Once you’re set up to borrow, you can donate books, CDs and DVDs to your local public library branch (make sure to request appropriate tax documentation). Also consider donating to nearby public schools, especially if you’ve got age-appropriate materials (e.g., children’s books). Next
Why so many different cleaning supplies?
Very few things actually need purpose-designed cleaning solutions. You can make many varieties of effective cleaners out of things like baking soda and vinegar. See here for some ideas. Also, it’s much easier to make all-natural cleaning solutions this way – here’s a pretty comprehensive list of ideas. This goes for personal care products as well; you can get some ideas on that front here and here. Back to the beginning
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