This post is alternately titled, “green choices for the lazy and cheap housewife.”
There are a lot of really good reasons that people choose to go green – to save the environment and lessen their carbon footprint, to teach their kids to be kind to the earth, to avoid chemicals, and so-on and so-forth.
So why does the Making It Home household make green choices? Because we’re cheap and lazy. The few bucks we save here and there on disposable products add up and count as little snowflakes towards our debt snowball. Also, I hate having to pack up Fox into the van, fight her into her car seat, get her out once we get somewhere, and repeat to go home or hit the next errand. Errands with a toddler take too dang long – so I’d rather have things I can toss in the washer and reuse than have to buy and store disposable products.
The beauty of going green is that it doesn’t have to be all or nothing – just a little change here and there will make a difference in your pocket book and carbon footprint!
Start by picking one disposable product you’d like to eliminate from your life, and replace it with a reusable one. Get into the habit of using it, then switch something else! It’ll be pretty painless that way.
Here are seven things to swap for reusable products to get you started…
This one is an easy change. Pick up a pack or two bar towels or washcloths to use to pick up spills and a bin, basket, or wet bag to keep them until wash day. I have quite a few of these around and wash them every three days. If you do laundry once a day, you can also just toss them into your daily wash. Replace the used ones at least once a day (as part of your evening routine, perhaps).
Switching out paper napkins or paper towels for cloth napkins seems like an odd change, but it’s really not so weird. Lots of restaurants, such as steak houses, use cloth napkins, and it’s not weird there, is it? Cloth napkins are pretty easy to come by, too! You can make your own from fabric that you have lying around or catch them at good clearance prices at Target, World Market, and other stores.
We love our cloth diapers. These aren’t all or nothing, either – many people use a disposable diaper at night and cloth during the day. Finding a way to make it work for you is key. It’s also never too late to start cloth diapering, even if your baby is already 1! And the best part is that you can reuse your diapers for all of your subsequent children, so you put out a bit of cash at first, but you can save up to thousands of dollars over the course of a few years and children.
Stop buying plastic bottled water and pick up one or two water bottles per person for your family. The grown-ups here use CamelBak Eddy water bottles (affiliate link), and kiddo loves her Nalgene Tritan (affiliate link). The kids’ Tritan is really nice because it doesn’t leak (unless you shake it hard), so we can keep it in bed with Fox in case she gets thirsty at night.
The hardest part about using reusable shopping bags is remembering them, so we have a stash big enough to keep a few in the minivan so I don’t end up without them at the grocery store. Many stores carry these for around $1-$2 per bag, and they’re really nice because you can’t perforate them with sharp corners and spill your groceries all over your driveway.
Plastic sandwich baggies can be easily replaced with cloth ones. I have a tutorial for waterproof sandwich baggies if you want to sew your own, or you can find a wide variety of beautiful handmade ones to fit your style on Etsy.com.
Pads or Tampons
Ladies, maybe consider switching from disposable menstrual products to reusable ones. Mama cloth is easily made and fairly easy to come by online, or you can choose a menstrual cup like a Diva Cup or Sckoon Cup (affiliate links). In addition to being reusable, a lot of women have found that they experience less cramping and discomfort with their periods when they use these reusable options!
There you go, 7 ways to make going green easy! What baby steps have you taken to make your household a little greener? Share in the comments or join in the discussion on Facebook!