Saturday, April 21, 2012

My Greener Life

Over the past year, I have bit by bit changed some things in my life/household/family that has enabled us to live more resourcefully and frugally.  I was felt concerned about the waste in my life, and caring for our planet, which God has given to us stewardship over and while I'm sure I have plenty of room for improvement, I just thought I'd write about some of the changes we've made and how the adjustment has been.

Susie in a Econobum diaper -- so cute!
1. Cloth diapering -- this is probably the biggest step I've taken.  Last year I had $30 free to spend at a local little store that sells a small variety of diapers because of a Living Social deal, so I figured it was a no-loss venture!  If I didn't like them, I could resell them or pass them on, and not lose any money.  Well, I liked them better than disposables right away!  I had one bumGenius and 1 pack of Econobum (which is a cover that comes with 3 prefolds) so I could try out a couple different styles.  It wasn't long before I invested a bit of money in 2 more Econobum 3 packs (they were only $11.95!) and then a friend shared some extra prefolds and made me another cover, and suddenly I was cloth diapering Susie full time.  The adjustment was not hard at all.  I imagined that she wouldn't fit her clothes anymore because of the CD booty she now had, but actually that wasn't a problem, and she wore more skirts and bloomer-type shorts as summer came.  By the end of the summer, Chip was big enough to wear cloth diapers as well, and so I had 2 in CD!  The main problem (for me) was how/where/when to wash them.  We don't have a w/d in our home, which is one reason I had shied away from trying CD earlier.  My kind friend Sarah (who had lent me some extra prefolds) lets me wash them at her house weekly.  It's not as easy as if I could do them at home, but she does live nearby, and often lets me throw them in with her diapers.  She even stripped them for me!  I never would have guessed how much I prefer cloth diapers to disposables, but I really do!  I love how much money I've saved, I love reusing them over and over and feeling like I'm putting $ in the bank each time I put one on, and I LOVE my kiddos CD booties in them. :)  Susie pretty much self-potty trained, and I do think CD was a huge part of that -- she had learned to hold it so she didn't feel the wet.  I could go on and on about cloth diapers, but I'll draw the line there.
2. Switching to Norwex -- for sure the 2nd biggest change in our greener life is using Norwex products.  6 months ago I hosted a party for my friend who just started selling Norwex, and earned quite a few products for free, and I am HOOKED!  This company sells household and personal care products that aren't made from chemicals.  Among other things. I have several microfiber cloths that I use with water to clean the house with, and I use their detergent for our laundry.  My other favorite product is a mattress cleaner I spray on our beds/pillows/upholstered furniture that has greatly improved our sleep because we aren't coughing and sneezing from the dust and dust mites anymore!  I really think switching to Norwex has helped Chip's eczema because it's reduced the allergens in his environment.  I do not have to buy paper towels or household cleaners anymore and I'm SO glad I don't have a cabinet full of poisons for my kids to discover.

3. Natural personal products -- my friend and I made our own deodorant which I think works pretty well.  I use coconut oil to moisturize (I just started using it for Chip, but borrow it myself too!) most of the time -- though I do still enjoy Bath and Body works lotions!  I use the Norwex toothbrush and Tom's of Maine toothpaste -- but I think I may try making my own toothpaste as well before too long.  These things are all cutting down on the chemicals in our house and also are really cost-effective!

4. Sewing/upcycling/reusing -- I'm a pretty novice sewer, but I did make a set of cloth napkins out of a bedsheet to expand what we already had.  Now we use cloth napkins almost exclusively!  I'm trying out a few more sewing projects because I do like making things with my own hands rather than buying disposable items (like birthday banners and tablecloths for my kids birthday parties -- they are special and reusable!). I also sewed myself several sets of nursing pads.  Probably the biggest reusable part of our life is the kid's clothing.  The majority of what they wear are either hand-me-downs, from our church's Essentials room where I can get free second hand clothes or if they are purchased by me, I frequently buy them at consignment sales.  Obviously this is a big money saver!  I find I'm pretty picky about the new clothing I buy because I know I can usually find at least SOMETHING usable for free!  I only buy a few special items or necessities.
Got these second hand for Susie and now Chip wears them

Do you have any greener life ideas for me to take on next?

1 comment:

Cami said...

YAY Gretchen! So happy to be able to learn from you. I'm excited to CD and I love Norwex. Something I am just getting into is using reusable sandwich/snack bags. I got the LivingSocial for Re-Pac bags and am excited to try it out. Can you share your napkin tutorial with me?