When it comes to making our home more of an eco-friendly home, I’m definitely the lead in our family. My husband mostly just puts up with it (and usually ends up thankful in the end), but as I told him, taking a girl who grew up in Austin and then moving her to Seattle, he really should have known this was coming! Going green is something that Austin (and Seattle) have been doing long before it was the cool thing to do, but I’m SO thankful to have grown up in such a “weird” place because it meant that the learning curve for going green once I had my own home was much less steep.
The truth is, a lot of this stuff started out as a way to save our pocketbook a little, but as we got less paycheck-to-paycheck, we had the luxury of making decisions purely because we want to make sure that the planet is as pretty (or prettier) for our kids as it was for us so making our home more eco-friendly just made sense. The great part about these choices, though, is that it really DOES save you money long-term. Because you aren’t paying for refilling paper towels, expensive k-cups, or products that are more likely to cause health issues down the road, you end up spending a little more initially and then saving a TON afterwards.
I know these can be harder to fit into a budget all in the same month if you’re paycheck-to-paycheck like we were, so try making one change every paycheck or each time you need to replace something. For example, as you run out of paper towels, rather than buying more, go grab these microfiber instead. As you use up household cleaning supplies, make some of these instead of buying more. Every little bit helps make your home more eco-friendly!
How to Make Your Home More Eco-Friendly
All Over the Eco-Friendly Home
- Let’s start with something TRULY green: live plants! Not only do they make your house look pretty and add color to any room, but they’re making oxygen and detoxing your air! If you’re one who can’t remember to water a plant to save your (or its?) life, succulents are hands down the best option. If you’re one who kills plants and loves subscription boxes, GET THIS ONE! For $10/month, they ship you two super cute surprise succulents to put around your home. They come in all kinds of colors and shapes and make for really pretty settings on end tables, coffee tables, shelves, or counters.
- Microfiber towels instead of paper towels for ANYTHING other than microwaving something wrapped in it or soaking up grease like from bacon. (If you have a tip for how to change that, too, I’m all ears!)
- I make my own household cleaners using essential oils.
- LED lightbulbs last longer, have better lighting options, and make a much smaller impact on our environment.
- If you’re in a state where you get to pick your electric company (shout out to Texas!), choose an electric company/plan that allows you to use cleaner energy options as part of your package. Some of our electricity comes off of their solar power grid, so we can feel a little better about those times our kids leave lights on (insert eye roll here). Often, these plans cost the same or less than traditional energy, while being better for the environment (without you having to buy and put solar panels on your roof).
- Use a concentrated, eco-friendly laundry detergent (I love doTERRA’s OnGuard laundry detergent for its germ-fighting abilities). More concentrated=less plastic to store it in, plus the formula itself is greener!
Going Green in the Kitchen
- We use glass Pyrex storage containers for anything that stays in the fridge instead of plastic Tupperware.
- I wash my cookie sheets instead of using foil as much as possible (if it’ll be REALLY stuck on, I’ll use foil instead).
- I used refillable K-cups when we had a Keurig. I now have a Ninja Coffee Bar that works a thousand times better so I don’t need to anymore– nor do I need reusable k-cups— but if you do, grab these!
- I save the bones from rotisserie or fried chicken, ribs, etc. (basically anytime there are bones from poultry or beef), along with scraps from carrots and celery to make my own bone broth. Not only does this use every part of the animal (thereby making it the least wasteful possible), but bone broth has incredible benefits. PLUS, you paid for the bones anyway, so why not get bone broth you don’t have to pay for out of them?
In the Bathroom
- I cut up old towels or grab cheap washcloths from Ross or TJ Maxx in the baby section to use for my toner when I wash my face, acetone for removing nail polish, etc.
- A Diva cup instead of tampons has made a world of difference, not just in the amount of waste I produce that goes to sit in a landfill, but it’s also helped immensely with cramps and the length of my period itself. I know, I know– this one is hard to get on board with. It was for me, too, but I’ll NEVER go back to using tampons or pads.
- Aluminum-free deodorant has been proven to be a much safer option (for both you AND the planet) than traditional anti-perspirant because of the risk of breast cancer and other health issues. I use doTERRA’s deodorant with Balance essential oil blend as I’ve found it reacts the least with my skin while working super well, but some other options include Tom’s or Native. Give this a couple of weeks before you give up– your body has to detox the old stuff out of your system before the natural deodorant hits its max effectiveness.
In the Garden (or On Your Windowsill)
- I put literally anything that can be composted into my compost bin (it won’t break down nearly as quickly in a landfill because it’s contained in plastic so this is huge, PLUS you can use it in your garden or flowerpots to supercharge the soil!). I use this bucket for in our kitchen and take it out a couple of times a week. It has a filter in the lid so it doesn’t smell in between! This is the compost bin I use outside.
- I grow my own herbs in pots or my garden so that I don’t have to buy three sprigs contained in a plastic box for $5.
For the Kids in a Green Home
- We use cloth diapers and wipes on our babies/toddlers to save not only the planet, but our wallet, too! This post has a complete how-to if you’re feeling curious or even overwhelmed.
- We buy bulk snacks (Costco-sized bags of Veggie Straws, pretzels, etc. or even nuts, granola, and other snacks out of the bulk foods section at our grocery) and then use plastic Tupperware for our kiddos at school or at the park instead of individually packaged snacks or baggies.
- When I send lunches in for our kids, they’re always in a Bentgo box with a stainless steel water bottle. The Bentgo box is the only one I’ve found that seals well enough that I can put applesauce (again, from a large jar or homemade, not individual) or dips in one of the sections for the fruit or veggies I put in the other sections. They don’t need anything special to drink with meals (otherwise that’s all they’ll consume) so we just do water, but if you WANTED them to have milk or juice, you can put it in the water bottle instead of individual milk/juice boxes.
To Go (Outside of the Eco-Friendly Home)
- Stainless steel straws instead of plastic– even when we’re at a restaurant or Starbucks!
- Yetis (or knockoffs) for all of our beverages– coffee, water, Diet Coke, …spiked… Diet Coke, etc.– and stainless water bottles for our kids so that warm drinks are never an excuse to buy something out that will come in a non-reusable container.
Questions? Comments? Commiseration?
If you have more questions I didn’t answer or just want to chat about accidentally crunchy mom goodness, hit up in the comment section or on my Facebook page or Instagram where I’m sharing all kinds of awesome tips, tricks, and general mom hacks for surviving life with tiny humans ruling your home!