Lean, Mean, Clean & Green!

“Going Green” isn’t just a buzzword for big corporations—it’s a way of life that everyone can embrace. With a few small adjustments, you can make your own home an eco-haven that’s better for the environment—and for you and your family!





It’s Natural.
Harsh chemicals like bleach and ammonia can be rough on your skin, but they’re also not a great bet for the environment, either. Instead, opt for household cleaners with herbal bases, like coconut oil, which are easy to find at your grocery store. Non-chlorine bleach and fragrance/dye-free cleansers are also good options. Don’t forget those tried and true cleaning tricks your mom taught you—lemon juice and vinegar really do work wonders on stains.

Clean Air Act!
Instead of heavy, noisome products, use water-based, solvent-free paints, stains, and glues for your home do-it-yourself projects. Our Art Van formulated care kits for leather, wood, and hard surfaces are water-based, biodegradable, non-hazardous, and non-toxic, so you can breathe easier with that in mind. And when you want a little fragrance in your home, be sure to choose candles with lead-free wicks. Look for soy-based wax, too; it burns longer and stronger!

Lights Out.
You already know to switch off a lamp when you leave a room, but you can cut energy costs in more ways, too. Invest in compact fluorescent light bulbs rather than traditional incandescent ones. Compact fluorescents fit most existing light fixtures, and they use only 20-33% of the power that incandescents do. For items in your home office, like a computer and printer, remember to put them to sleep and plug them into a power strip, which prevents them from pulling an electrical current when not in use.

Small steps are easy to take and can make a big difference! What’s one way you’ve already gone greener in your home?

The New Freshman 15, Part Three

In our last Back-2-School installment, we tie up all the loose ends so that you can have an easier time cutting the apron strings.


Have a back-up plan. This is an especially good idea when it comes to your computer. A travel USB Drive is a great way to ensure all your hard work doesn’t get lost in an instant. It’s a good idea to have a couple drives handy. One for weekly back ups and another for more frequent use.

Play that Funky Music. Keep all your CDs and movies neatly corralled in one location with a multimedia storage tower. Just make sure you properly label all your stuff so you roommate doesn’t try to hijack your copy of Jack Johnson.

Snooze, You Lose. Get up and get moving with an iHome alarm clock or docking station. Our only suggestion is keeping the noise at a respectable level as you get ready for your 8:00 a.m. class.


Say Hello to George. As in George Washington. You know, the guy who’s on the quarter. And you’re going to need lots of his smiling faces for your laundry night. After all, your clothes aren’t going to get magically clean on their own.

Paging Doctor… Unless you’re rooming with the future Dr. House, it’s probably a good idea to have a small first aid kit readily available in your room. Stock it with pain relievers, scissors, burn relief cream, thermometer, anti-diarrheal tablets, flashlight, latex gloves, sterile dressings, tweezers, antibiotic ointment, and an assortment of Band-Aids.

Cleanliness is Next to… Since mom won’t be making the trip to college with you, make sure you bring along some cleaning supplies to take care of the mess in the microwave or wipes to sanitize every possible surface the first time you or your roommate gets a nasty cold.

When you add up all the ingredients on this list, the results are sure to be a sweet room set-up without the calories. Now that’s how you do phat!

The New Freshman 15, Part Two

In our second part discussion of the “Freshman 15,” we tackle the bathrrom and the comforting touches you can add to a dorm room to make it feel more homey.


Who’s Your Caddy? Your living situation will help you determine what style of shower caddy you’ll need. For community showers, you’ll need a caddy you can take back-and-forth. Make sure it holds all your necessary shower items. You don’t want to be all wet and realize you forgot the soap.

If you’re sharing a shower with suite mates, then you can use a caddy that stays in the bathroom. Look for one that either hangs from the shower head or suctions to the wall. It should have enough places for you and your roommate to house all your shower items without getting confused whose shampoo is whose.

Creature Comforts

The Best Part of Waking Up. Perk up with a colorful coffee maker* or other caffeine-inducing contraption so you can hit your first class all bright eyed and busy tailed!

Change Your View. No dorm room would be complete without a futon. Find the one that suits your personality and space, and then sit back and relax.

Pulling Double-Duty. Another space-saving solution is a small ottoman with storage. It’s a seat! It’s a tray. It’s a footrest. It’s a… you get the picture. 

Go long… Xtra Long. Since college students come in all shapes and sizes, most schools equip their dorms with Xtra Long mattresses. And we’ve got you covered with mattresses protectors that guard against stains and whatever else the previous occupant may have left behind. 

Pantry Raid. Yes. Bookcases are great for shelving your required readings, but they’re also a fantastic way to arrange your “pantry.” There will be times when you want a quick snack, the cafeteria isn’t open, and you have exactly 25 cents to your name. Stock up on a few basics like cereal, peanut butter, and the requisite Ramen Noodles for when the late-night cravings come calling.

Our final installment… Hi-tech & a little r-e-s-p-e-c-t.

*Electronics and appliances allowed in dorm rooms vary from school to school. Make sure you check with yours to ensure you are using one that has been approved.

The New Freshman 15, Part One

Everyone who has ever stepped foot on a college campus has been warned about the dreaded “Freshman 15.” In an effort to save its bad reputation, we’re giving it a new meaning. Here is our take on the 15 prerequisites for any college dorm room:


A Place for Everything. Storage cubes are great for organizing your stuff in a jiffy. Look for cubes that stack so you can maximize your space. And if you can add a drawer insert, that’s a bonus. Keep in mind your room colors and buy your cubes accordingly.

Much To-Do. Oh, the freedom of being on your own. But don’t forget about your new friend “responsibility.” Buy a white board or some large, erasable wall planner to help you get acclimated to your hectic class routine, while still finding time to maintain an active social calendar.

My Notes are Here… Somewhere. Keep everything on top of your desk neatly in place with a paper storage box or desktop file.

Up next… the bathroom!

Study Smarts

Fall is fast approaching and that means thousands of college students will be heading back to their “home” for another year of academic excellence. And one of the most essential things they’ll need for making the grade is a room that is organized and functional.

When it’s time to hit the books, give them a little more support with a great desk chair.  The key to successful studying is having a chair that properly supports your body while you’re burning the midnight oil. Look for a chair that has adjustable arms and height features. This will help ensure that the only muscle they strain is their brain. And don’t forget to make sure their space is well lit. Art Van Furniture has fashionable lamps that will keep them from bumping into furniture while also making a style statement. 

Remember, your child is unique and so are their study habits. Make sure they’ve got the right furniture they need to be a success!