Today, most people agree that “going green” is beneficial. It’s good for the environment, can be good for our wallets (if you avoid greenwashed products and stick to less consumption and homemade products) and in most cases reflects a simpler life.
That said, if you’re a busy mom juggling a million responsibilities and concerns (ahem, I speak from experience here), it can be hard to actually make some of your aspirations a reality. Personally, I tend to get overwhelmed by a ton of conflicting opinions on a subject, or if I need to make purchases first (like a composting barrel, whether a commercial one or a DIY model).
Today, I’m sharing five easy changes we’ve made in our home, and I’d love for you to add your comments with the changes that have been easy for you to implement as well!
1. Use coconut oil in place of lotions and creams.
We started using coconut oil in the bathroom as an everyday lotion as well as for our girls’ dry cheeks and our youngest’s eczema, and I will never go back to regular lotion. Coconut oil is 100% all-natural, and since it’s safe for consumption, we can rest easy knowing it’s safe on our skin too. Now, when I travel without coconut oil (it’s melting point is 76 degrees, and it can get messy if it leaks in warmer temperatures), I miss slathering it on after my shower!
2. Use rags instead of paper.
Although paper towels are more convenient, we use rags almost exclusively in the kitchen and for cleaning. We started doing this because I hated spending money on paper towels, and I found that rags were much better for cleaning up dirty hands and faces at mealtime. Last year we started using bar towels for greasy foods (like bacon, burgers, etc.) instead of paper towels, and we literally haven’t purchased any paper towels in over a year.
3. Avoid vampire power usage.
Vampire usage, or the amount of power that electronics use even while turned off, can add up over time. Fight vampire usage by powering down computers, stereo systems and other electronics at night rather than putting them in sleep mode. In addition, plug electronics into a power strip so that you can turn off the power strip when they’re not in use.
4. Turn down your heat.
Right now our thermostat is set to 61 degrees. We didn’t just wake up one day and decide to turn down the heat, but we’ve been lowering it for the past few years, a couple of degrees at a time. I’m huddled next to our space heater (turning down the heat doesn’t mean you have to suffer!), but our girls are so acclimated to the colder temperatures that they rarely complain about being cold, which is a benefit unto itself!
5. Make your own baking mixes.
Finally, as odd as it may be for a self-proclaimed kitchen dunce to encourage you to cook from scratch, I’m always amazed by how easy it is to make pancakes, waffles, muffins and other baked goods from scratch. I think we’ve become so used to the boxed mixes that we view baking from scratch as a scary, time-consuming ordeal, but it’s really not that hard.
In fact, I finally found a chocolate chip muffin recipe that meets my family’s approval (I’ll share that soon), and I’ll be mixing up a big batch of the dry ingredients so that all we have to do is measure it out and add the wet ingredients…just like the boxed mix!
How about you? What green changes have been the easiest for you to make?