One would think that being clean and being green would go hand in hand. Unfortunately, they do not always coincide. I want my house to be a clean and healthy environment for my family, but sometimes I have to choose one or the other. However, I am finding ways that both options can unite together without conflict. I am learning to make or buy green products, conserve what we have, and reuse when necessary.
1. Use green cleaning products that work well. When I was pregnant I abhorred the smell of many of the harsh cleaning products that I normally used. My regular products would give me a headache and cause me to become sick and nauseous. I could not bear to let the house continue to be messy so I searched the internet and found several recipes for how to make cleaning products with everyday household items like, lemon juice, baking soda, vinegar, etc. I also went out and purchased Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps.
2. Reuse water. Reuse any excess water from the sink or shower by using it to clean with or to water your lawn or plants. My husband started placing a small pail in the shower with him to catch runoff water. He uses the water to clean his car, or water the lawn.
3. Reuse bags from the store. I no longer purchase plastic bags to put my trash in; mainly because I don’t agree with purchasing something just to throw it away and clutter up the land-field. Many stores still give bags, so if you are not able to bring your own reuse the bag that you are given.
4. Compost. It’s no secret that food is biodegradable. When your produce goes bad, put it into your compost pile. I got the idea to start composting from WholeFoods. I use to eat there for lunch and one day I noticed a sign that said their lunch containers and food scraps should be dumped into a special bin for their compost pile. I thought it was a great idea so we started composting in our back yard.
5. Recycle paper and junk mail. Old paper that we no need I let my children draw on it and when they are done, I recycle it. I no longer bring most of the junk mail that we receive into my house to clutter it up; instead, I drop it into the recycle bin on my way from the mail box.
6. Use cloth diapers, cloth pull-ups, etc. I am very thankful that my girls are finally going to the potty and I no longer have to purchase diapers. I was so excited when I found cloth pull-ups online. They help save money and time, and give me peace of mind.
7. Hang clothes on the line. I know that it isn’t possible for everyone to have a clothes line because some home owners associations have forbidden it, but if you can, hang your clothes out on the line to dry. We recently had an energy audit done on our home and I was surprised to learn that dryers by nature are not energy efficient.
8. Use your dishwasher. I learned that washing dishes in the sink often uses more water than your dishwasher. Now I wait until I have a full load to wash, which is no problem with two little ones.
9. Sell or give away clothing and other items that others can use. I try as much as possible to donate or sell items that we no longer need; instead of adding more useful things to the trash. We recently sold a desk on craigslist. It was great because I wanted to turn the room into a play room for my kids, but we needed extra space. Instead of putting it on the curb we made a few extra bucks.
10. Don’t purchase items that you don’t see yourself using. I use to buy stuff just because it was on sale and never use it, now I try to only buy items that we need and I see myself using immediately. It was so bad, the closet in our guest room was full of clothes that I envisioned myself wearing when my size changed. When my children were born they took over the guest room and all of those clothes that I couldn’t fit but wasted money on was donated to a thrift store. Our house is a lot less cluttered now that I have disciplined myself.
Once, you start being green you won’t want to go back. I feel so much better about how I am teaching my girls to care about the earth and things that are bigger than they are. The steps I mention are very simple, but being green is life changing. It will not lessen your life but broaden your perspective on the environment and your home.
I wrote this blog post while participating in the TwitterMoms and Mrs. Meyer’s blogging program, making me eligible to get a $30 gift card. For more information on how you can participate, click here.