We’ve been on a mission to make our home more “green” and eco-friendly ever since we got married. For us, it’s not about being on-trend, it’s about being responsible stewards of Creation, and being frugal with our finances. The benefits of green living are three-fold, at the very least: green living respects the environment, saves you money, and protects your health from toxins.
Just like taking your first steps to a real food diet or simplifying your home, I’m a big advocate of greening your life gradually, one area at a time. That doesn’t mean doing it slowly, if you’re really excited about it and want to jump all in! The key is to follow through on one project before moving on to the next.
To start enjoying results immediately, why not begin with some of the easiest green-living changes? The following projects are some of the simplest, low-cost changes to implement. I’ve highlighted five main areas of green living, and picked one project from each:
5 Simple Ways to Go Green
1. Household Goods: Switch to cloth napkins
Instead of burning through endless packs of paper napkins, buy a few sets of cloth napkins in different colours or patterns. While you can find some pretty sets at World Market or on Amazon, you could be even more frugal and pick some up at the thrift store or an antique shop. Give them a good hot disinfecting wash and you’re good to go!
2. Cleaning: Use white vinegar
Get a pretty glass spray bottle from Grove–or just a cheap plastic one from the Dollar Store and fill it with 2 parts vinegar and 1 part water. You can add a few drops of essential oils for scent and extra cleaning power, if you like. Use this mixture as an all-purpose cleaner on counters, in the bathroom, or to clean up spills and messes. Here are other ways to use white vinegar for cleaning and around the home.
3. Utilities: Turn off lights and unplug cords when not in use
This won’t cost you a thing, but you have to make it a habit! Turn off the lights when you leave a room. Take advantage of natural light during the day, and don’t turn on lights or table lamps unless you need them. When you’re done using a counter top appliance like the toaster or coffee pot, unplug it. Before we leave on a trip, my husband and I unplug as many things as we can (lamps, power strips, etc). It shaves money off our electric bill, and it’s safer.
4. Food: Buy whole foods instead of packaged
Any time you can undress your food and forgo boxes and cans, that’s a win! Instead of canned green beans, buy fresh beans in the produce aisle. Rather than buying a box of dehydrated potato flakes, buy whole potatoes and go from there! Usually, when you buy whole foods you get more for your money, and you’re not paying for the manufacturing costs to produce plastics, metal, coloured ink, and everything else that goes into creating the package. Ditching canned goods and boxed food is often healthier for you, too!
5. Personal Care: Make your own skincare items
There are so many chemicals and strange ingredients packed into most skincare items! Do you really want them getting into your skin or going into the water system when you wash them off? You don’t have to make everything from scratch, but pick one or two simple items that you can make yourself. I enjoy making homemade body scrubs (like this honey-vanilla version or this strawberry lemonade scrub). Instead of a fancy moisturizer, I just use a few drops of jojoba oil or Argan oil from Wilder Supply Co. on my face at night. For more DIY skincare ideas, here’s a great post at The Humbled Homemaker!
For more ideas on going green, you might want to read my post on 15 Ways to Switch from Disposable to Reusable.
I highly recommend the eBook Green Your Life. It’s 250 pages of practical, money-saving ideas and recipes for detoxing your home, being energy-efficient, and living a sustainable life. Pick up a copy HERE.