Full of Boys

Finding the adventure in the blues, greens and grays of life!

WFMW – Going Green in a Busy House September 17, 2008

Filed under: Works For Me Wednesday — fullofboys @ 7:24 am
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While having lunch with a friend yesterday our conversation wandered from being moms to politics to grocery bills to the idea of ‘going green’. First, let me say it is a wonderful thing to spend time with someone that when you walk away they somehow challenge and encourage you. Those friends are priceless! Slowly, I am finding myself more and more drawn to the idea of ‘living green’. I must admit to you that it is a little daunting. It easy for me to look at someone and use them as a measuring stick for me…and then I just fail. The fact is, I am mom with three boys under three. I run errands and take my children to school and juggle the wife, PTO volunteer, church volunteer and family responsibilities all week long. How on earth can I add ‘live green’ to my list of things to do? I really did operate in that mentality for the last few years. Then my sister sent a book for me to read…I am still reading it and it is changing my mindset (more to come later on that!). However, I still think to myself, I am so busy. The idea of grinding my grain or making my own bread seems overwhelming. Thus, I make the excuse I have no time (please tell me you do it too!). So decided to make some small changes. Small enough that I can manage and keep up with them…and then add to them in the future. Here is my top 5 list of what works for me to ‘live green’.

1. Recycle – we just started with cardboard and paper. The problem for me was that I would let it pile up until I could not lift the box…then I would just add more. Now I work in a trip to recycle each week. This frees up space to add more to the recycle box…cans, bottles or even foam containers. If you have a Publix, look for trashcans that are specific for recycling. If you do not recycle, you will be surprised how little trash you have after recycling!
2. Reusable bags – I posted here about them. I love them. They save me from having a dozen or more plastic bags around the house. I also saw that someone suggested using them for gift bags. At Kroger and Publix these bags only cost $0.99…hard to get a gift bag for that!
3. Plan your trips – this one sounds so simple but as a mom of three it is not that easy. Planning my trips takes effort and time. I plan out my day and errands and write them down. Otherwise, I will miss a store and have to turn around to go back. I try to do all my errands on two days a week (while the younger boys are in preschool). This gives me the time at home on the other days.
4. Cold water wit my laundry – now let me say that when I had an infant, I always used warm water…seemed to get the stains out better. But now, I use cold water. I also use a couple tablespoons of baking soda mixed with my detergent. Believe me, my boys can stain and stink up some clothes around here. The baking soda works wonders! Smells are gone. I always have some spray n wash around if there is a tough stain but otherwise the baking soda works great!
5. Don’t overbuy – this goes for food, clothes or anything else you bring into your house. I am careful to buy what we need (sometimes what we want) and know the shelf life of each item. I will stock up on vegetables or soups or cereals as they last a good while when they are on sale. They last a while and will not ruin in my pantry if they are not consumed in a week’s time. Clothes are the same way. When the boys need clothes I go through all the clothes they do have and then make a list of what is needed. Last spring this saved us a huge amount of money because I found pajamas and shorts for my second son that I did not know we had!

If anything, I am learning it is possible to live a lifestyle that is ‘green’ and not feel overwhelmed. Who knows, one day I might grind my own grain too! It works for me…what works for you?

Tell me your tips!


8 Responses to “WFMW – Going Green in a Busy House”

  1. that’s how i’ve had success too… taking small baby steps. great suggestions. 1-4 i’m good, number 5… i’m working on! 🙂

  2. Wow….you are THE MOM of the THE YEAR!!

    Why don’t I have the “drive” to do that stuff…???

  3. Frugal Carol Says:

    I have been trying to go green too. It is a slow process but every little bit helps.

  4. Lori Says:

    This is great, as we’re trying to take baby steps and “go green” ourselves. We’re starting with just recycling paper. It’s amazing how much junk mail piles up that we can recycle instead of tossing in the trash!

  5. Andi Says:

    We made a huge step this year in our house & eliminated almost all paper towel use. My husband uses TONS of paper towels. I bought a stack of cheap white wash clothes from Target & we use those instead for almost everything. I still use some paper towels for certain bathroom areas, but mostly we use cloth now. This was a huge change for us, but once we started, it’s been really easy. We’re saving money (we’re still using the same roll of paper towels that we had when we started almost 5 months ago) and generating less waste.

    I also use castille soap & baking soda for a lot of my cleaning.

  6. Robyn Says:

    I started small too, by buying organic milk and eggs. Then it kind of led to, “Hmm..what else can I do?” So you take it one thing at a time and before you know it, you’re really doing a lot.
    #5 is my newest thing. It feels so good to be green, and thrifty!
    Keep up the good work!

  7. Kate Says:

    That is definitely the best way to eat an elephant! Good for you. Even doing one small thing is better than doing nothing, right? (that’s what I tell myself at least!

  8. 'Becca Says:

    Hello! I followed your link from WFMW. You’re off to a great start!

    I’ve been doing the “green” thing for a long time, motivated partly by stewardship for God’s Creation and partly by the fact that “green” choices often save money and/or save time and/or turn out to be much more aesthetically pleasant than the typical alternative–for example, I used cloth diapers on my son, and when he did wind up in disposables a few times I was amazed at how horrible they smell!!!

    I have a lot of environmental how-to articles that I hope will be inspiring rather than overwhelming to you! The one I linked to is about stuff that can be reused.

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