To celebrate St. Patrick’s Day AND the beginning of spring this coming weekend (yay!!) I spruced up an old post for this blog! I wanted to share some of the small and easy ways our family is going greener this year.
Create a DIY cleaning product
I’ve seen countless tutorials online, but I eventually ended up combining several ideas and making this one! I love the way it cuts grease on the kitchen counters, removes grime from cabinets, and gently cleans my kiddo’s high chair — and all without chemicals or a penny spent!
Save your coffee grounds
Stow them in a recycled plastic container (like a gallon ice cream tub) and when it’s full, throw the grounds onto the soil of your flower or veggie garden! Last year we asked Starbucks for their used grounds one day, came home with a HUGE bag, and it made a ridiculous difference in our tomato production! Since we live way far from a Starbucks, we decided to just save our own coffee grounds — goodness knows we drink enough of it!
Grow one thing you can eat
We love our garden, and over the years we’ve become more and more experimental with veggies. Try regrowing a veggie that you’ve already used from your fridge! Simply save the bottom, stick it in a small cup of water, and it will grow roots! Romaine, green onions and celery work the best for us. Before I had a veggie garden (or knew anything about them) this is what we did, all from our windowsill.
Hang your laundry out to dry
Dryers can be energy suckers! If you don’t have a clothesline, you can create a simple drying rack or use one you have. Sometimes if I have a big load and my clotheslines are full, I get really creative and hang clothes on plastic hangers and attach them to the ceiling fan or a curtain rod near an open window. Bonus — it naturally freshens and brightens your clothes!
Utilize energy saving lights
We recently purchased these and LOVE them. You can choose from a variety of light colors (bright white, soft yellow, etc.), and it truly makes a difference in your energy bill! For us, these only cost $8 a YEAR per light to run all the time — if we never shut them off. Sounds crazy, right? If it’s less energy and less cost, I’m in.
Invest in a French press
Heating water in a teapot and utilizing a French press can save the energy it takes to run your coffeemaker all night on the automatic setting. You may not have your regular cup of sweet caffeine as quick as normal, but coffeemakers are usually one of those silent and forgotten energy suckers when they’re plugged in constantly. Big plus for me is that French Press coffee can steep longer, thus MORE caffeine!
Utilize windows and fans when you can
This may be one of those no-brainers, but I still forget sometimes! The convenience of just leaving our thermostat on all the time is so easy, and I need to remind myself to turn it off when the weather is nice enough. If there’s still a bit of spring chill in the air, a small space heater can use far less energy than heating the whole house.
Walk or Ride a Bike
Going green by walking or biking when you can limits your gasoline usage (and is more budget-friendly.) Vitamin D and exercise are added bonuses! Another great way to go green this spring is to run all your errands at once during the week rather than going out for one errand each day.
Reuse an old scented plug in with your favorite essential oil
Instead of tossing those magical plug-ins, simply take out the wick and refill with fractionated coconut oil (or another carrier oil) and 8 – 10 drops of your favorite aromatherapy essential oil. Check out a great tutorial here! I filled mine with Eucalyptus and Tea Tree oil. For allergy relief, try a blend with lavender, peppermint and lemon. *Before doing this, make sure the oils are safe for you and your family (including pets).
Don’t toss citrus peels
I reuse my orange peels to make my DIY cleaning solution and my lemon peels I freeze into water in ice cube trays — they’re perfect for sending down my garbage disposal for a fresh, clean sink! Check out this great article about using citrus for cleaning, too.
Grocery Shop Locally
I’m a huge fan of shopping locally and seasonally. So when springtime and summer come, I’m ready to hit the farmer’s markets, orchards and local grocers to find all that great produce. Not only is this a better way to invest in your community and live greener, but it also reduces your budget! Fresh produce purchased in my own town, when in season, is ALWAYS cheaper, and we live in an area that’s considered a “food desert” — a place where it’s tough to find affordable food.
Keep up on your car maintenance
Sounds strange at first, right? In the long run, your vehicle will operate more efficiently (use less gas!) and you’ll avoid large costly repairs that could occur from maintenance neglect.
I love living green. It’s easy to be a bit over-ambitious, though. I have to remind myself to keep it simple, and take it one small step at a time. Never feel like the little things don’t matter! If everyone does just one small thing to make this verdant earth God gave us a bit more sustainable and beautiful, I imagine the results would be drastically better.