Category Archives: Going Green

‘Tis a gift to be simple

In the past six months or so, I have become a blog addict. (My favorite blogs are over on the right-hand side, if you want to check them out.) At first I was looking for green blogs, but that slowly emerged into green/housemaking blogs, and then into housemaking blogs. But no matter what the focus is of these blogs, one thing is characteristic of all: they stress the need for simplicity. Whether in cleaning, in eating, or in decorating, these blogs all focus on how important it is to live simply and enjoy life without all the EXTRA stuff. 

Needless to say, I have become really inspired by these women and their blogging. I love the idea of living simply and thriftily but not in an uptight, out-of-control way (for example, because you are constantly stressing about money all the time), but rather in a way that reflects the thoughts of “I don’t need all the extra clutter in my life. I don’t need to spend money on things I don’t need. Yes, I can have nice things, but there are different ways to go about that.”

For example, cleaning products. I am really trying to streamline my cleaning products. Right now I use on a regular basis vinegar, baking soda, Mr. Clean magic erasers, Lysol (for those really gross things, usually related to dogs) (although I’m still experimenting with floor cleaners – haven’t found an environmentally friendly one yet that I like). I really like the simplicity of using some microfiber cloths, and vinegar/water combo to clean almost everything. It just seems so simple and so . . . fresh. Simple cooking is another aspect. I love the idea of cooking with few, fresh, wholesome ingredients. Now, due to lifestyle, sometimes that is not always possible, but when it does happen, it feels really good.

Buying products is another thing. I have found myself become very interested in antiques and second-hand items. I am starting to love the look of vintage items, but I don’t just want the LOOK, but the actuality of it too. It seems silly and wasteful to me to purchase a brand-new product when you can get the original one (and often for less!). Plus, there seems to be something rewarding in finding a “treasure” when you are at antique stores and second-hand shops. 

I am going to try to live my life a little bit more simply now – perhaps less “noise,” less “clutter,” less “junk.” I still want to have a beautiful home, but hey, if I don’t need something I should get rid of it – but not throw it out! Donate it or regift it (!). It seems like a lifestyle that really makes a lot of sense to me, and, I got to admit, perhaps those Shakers knew what they are singing about.

P.S. I updated my links with some of the new blogs I just discovered – check them out!

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Jumping back on the eco-friendly wagon

Over the summer, I was a – as I called it – “lean, green, eco-friendly machine.” I spent my lazy summer days visiting green blogs, green websites, and green message boards. I became obsessed with cloth diapering for our future children, using only environmentally friendly cleaning products, and buying fresh, local produce. I was living in a literally (since it was summer) and figuratively green heaven.

Then school started and real world set in, and, for some reason, environmentally friendly cleaning and cooking went out the window. As the cold months set in, my favorite produce stands shut down, and it was impossible to get local produce. And, in an attempt to make my cleaning efforts last longer, I decided that I needed something stronger than vinegar and baking soda, and starting buying Mop ‘n’ Glo, Mr. Clean, and Lysol by the gallon. While J and I still recycled, and while I was still doing some green things like using microfiber cloths to clean, rather than disposable paper towels, the truth was, being environmentally friendly took a back seat.

However, I didn’t stop reading some of my favorite green blogs, although I did stop the green message boards. And then one day, as I was reading my favorite blog (valleygirlhasbabygoescrunchy.blogspot.com – check it out), I realized that buying commercial cleaners with harsh chemical products was 1) not saving me any more time,  2) was costing more money, and 3) was doing more harm to my environment than I wanted. Three strikes – and they’re out.

So I have decided to rethink my cleaning process and am planning to wean out all my old, harmful cleaning products. This means that once I am done with a bottle of something, I am not going to replace it – rather, I am going to use an eco-friendly substitute. I am going to try this with everything – floor cleaners, glass cleaners, dusting tools, bathroom cleaners, even disinfectants. While I don’t think I can give up keeping a bottle of Lysol around (just in case), for the most part, I want to rid our home of harsh chemicals and keep it clean and green.

I also realize that going back to this will save us a lot of money. For example, I had bought a swiffer wet jet  back in the fall and was using the wet jet solution for our kitchen floors. However, the solution didn’t really work that well to begin with, was costing us $4 a week just to replace, plus, I was using the swiffer wet jet pads that were also $8 for a small pack and going right into the landfills. So then I started cleaning our floors with a good old fashioned rag mop, bucket of warm water, vinegar, and a drop of dish soap – and ta da! This works better than the swiffer and is much more eco-friendly. Plus, water is free (well, relatively), we always have dish soap in our house (and now it’s an Palm’s eco friendly kind), and vinegar runs less than $2 a gallon! Voila! Much smarter decision. Plus, vinegar can be used for a variety of purposes (check out http://www.vinegartips.com for more).

So anyway, my new resolve is to make my green-ness a lifestyle and not just a short-fused habit. Perhaps this can be seen as my New Year’s Resolution #2. Book reading and a clean, environmentally friendly home – what could be better?

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