I’ve been slowly trying to make our home more green for a couple of years now. It’s about time to add another green thing to my list, so when I saw this post by FreeSpirit Writer I knew I’d get some great ideas. Elastagirl also wrote about it here.

Like any change you want to make in your life, it’s a matter of establishing new habits. And the best way to start a new habit is to do one thing for a month. Once that habit is established, add another one for a month. FreeSpirit Writer has seven great ideas that you can start doing today. In fact, I’m already doing four of them! Recycling is easy – many towns have recycling policies that allow you to mix cans, glass and plastic – this is way easier than when you had to separate everything. But even if you do have to separate, it’s not a big deal and worth the effort. Having reusable water bottles is also easier than ever – they sell them everywhere now, even my local food store has them. I keep them filled in the fridge all the time, and it encourages me to drink more water. Speaking of my local food store, they may chuckle when I walk in with 12 reusable shopping bags, but those bags hold more and the straps don’t cut off my circulation while I’m carrying them into the house. Using CFL bulbs (yeah, those funny spiral ones) has definitely made a difference in my house. With old-fashioned bulbs, it seemed we were changing one at least once a week. The CFL bulbs are a little more expensive but I’ve got bulbs that I haven’t changed in years. I invested in a case from the local home improvement store and I just kept using those every time an incandescent one blew out. Except for a closet, I think we’re totally CFL now.

There are a few ideas in the post that I’m not doing, and while I don’t think I’m going to start composting any time soon I do think I can switch to cloth napkins fairly easily, and I’ll try to figure a way to easily unplug appliances we’re not using (I already do this with any appliance that generates heat – I learned that from a fireman.Yah.).

Here are a couple other painless things I’ve been doing:
Wash your clothes in cold water, use far less detergent than the label says, and use a clothesline. Aside from sheets and towels (which I wash in warm with a cold rinse), all your clothes can be washed in cold water. Trust me, they come out perfectly clean and the cold water is actually more gentle (ok, if you have a job that gets you really grimy this probably doesn’t work for you). I recently learned that we only need half the detergent that the detergent companies say we do, and to test this you should try washing some clean towels with no detergent. Check it mid-wash cycle. If you see suds you’re using  too much detergent. A clothesline… well, that is self-explanatory. Chalk it up to one more thing that Grandma knew best.
I have used vinegar to clean my house for a couple of years now. The day I almost passed out choking on chemical fumes while cleaning my bathroom, I knew there had to be a better way. There are lots of products out there that are non-toxic and “green”, but they cost a fortune. A quick Google search proved that you can clean anything in your house with vinegar, baking soda, and lemon. And guess what? The vinegar smell dissipates faster than the chemical smell.
Organics – and not just food. While organic food is definitely better for you, it’s really expensive. Some foods are worth it, like if the skin is thin (tomato) while some are not (bananas). Check the internet for a list of which foods are worth the cost. Organic cotton feels great on your skin and is better for the environment than bleached, processed cotton, but it’s not so great for your wallet. I’ve been selective – I have one set of organic sheets, and a t-shirt.

Kermit said, “It’s not easy being green”.  Maybe that was true in 1972, but it’s pretty easy to be a greenie in 2010.

Advertisements