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!