For awhile now I’ve tried to be as eco-conscious as I can; but this new year I really want to commit, especially in our home. I’ve been using a reusable water bottle for years now, and bought some for everyone in our house; and I was super happy when the ban on plastic bags passed here in California. I would occasionally forget my reusable bags but now I have no choice!
I also purchased this book earlier this year, Make Your Place: Affordable, Sustainable Nesting Skills. It’s all about natural living and remedies. The whole book is handwritten and hand-drawn; it’s really cute. I’d like to adhere to it more this year.
Here are a few ways and items I want to incorporate into living more greenly and some that I already do or use.
REUSABLE BAGS | These bags that fold into a little pouch are great for keeping in your purse. I have one from Amsterdam that I was forced to buy at grocery store because, hey, Europe hasn’t had plastic grocery bags in years. I’d like to get a couple more though; I love these patterned ones. I also have these reusable snack/sandwich bags that I use instead of the conventional sandwich bags.
NATURAL CLEANERS | Sometimes I get around to making my own cleaners and sometimes I just buy the natural stuff at the store. I do make my own shower and mirror/window cleaner. For the natural store-bought ones I like Trader Joe’s “almost Godly cleaner”, all the J.R. Watkins (this company also makes natural beauty/health items), Method, and Mrs. Meyers products. In lieu of fabric softener sheets I like to use these natural wool drying balls – sprinkle some lavender oil on them for scent.
- J.R. Watkins hand soap – I love having this in the kitchen
- J.R. Watkins room spray – my favorite room and bathroom spray
- Mrs. Meyers candles – the “smelliest” candles I’ve ever used
- Method fabric softener – the scents are great and the price not bad
- Bon Ami Cleaner – I like using this for the sinks and tough stains on pots. Here’s a nice review on the Bon Ami products.
- Dr. Bronner Pure Castille Soap – you can really use this for everything. I’ve removed some tough carpet stains with this stuff (mixed with hot water and peppermint essential oil)
- One part vinegar + One part water (optional essential oil like lemon or peppermint – like 20 drops)
Another habit I formed last year was using rags to clean, rather than paper towels. I’ll recycle old kitchen tea towels into cleaning rags and I also use this microfiber cloth set from Target. I love them because they’re labeled for what they’re for.
GARDENING | The best part of our new home is that I have a small back patio area which means I can finally garden. It’s not huge, but big enough where I can grow some vegetables and have some potted fruit trees. Declan has been wanting an “enchanted garden” for a long time now (Mom’s that know Daniel Tiger, you know what I mean haha). I bought him some gloves and this kid’s gardening book and this package of 10,000 seeds. I would also like to get this neat Southern California local foods wheel to help us eat what’s in season and local. Or what to grow with my new seed collection!
COMPOSTING | Along with gardening, I would like to compost our food scraps. I like the idea of using a DIY compost bin like this storage bin with holes drilled into it.
RECYCLING | We currently put recyclables next to the trash can in the kitchen and we walk them out to the recycle bin when we throw the trash out; but this current method isn’t very efficient. We’re guilty of occasionally throwing a recyclable item in the regular trash. I think a sorting bin like this IKEA one can help us recycle more. Maybe I’ll tape a recyclables printable on there and have Declan hold me accountable.
WATER & ELECTRICITY | I want to get this shower timer and switch our light bulbs to LED ones as they go out. The ones in our lamps are currently LED ones – I like the IKEA light bulbs, the price is great. I currently have a battery charger but I’m guilty of not using it as much. This year I’m committing to only rechargeable batteries, especially for all of the battery-operated toys.
OTHER GREEN HABITS & ITEMS
- Glass containers in the kitchen vs. plastic. I love these IKEA ones.
- Walking instead of driving when we can
- Buying used and donating/selling things not used
- Buying items made of recycled items (like these children’s plates made of recycled milk jugs!)
- Air purifying, low maintenance plants
- We use these metal straws instead of disposable ones at home