Going green isn’t always the more difficult option. Sometimes it’s the simplest path, if only people could see it more clearly. Here are a few green things I’ve found to be easier than the regular alternatives.
1. Breastfeed rather than bottle feed.
Yes, breastfeeding can be very hard to get started, and for some people it’s impossible. If that’s how it is, absolutely, bottle feed your baby. It’s what’s necessary, and I don’t call that a bad thing.
But for those of us fortunate enough to get breastfeeding going well, it’s by far the easiest way to feed a baby, especially in the middle of the night. No mixing formula or washing bottles. Just pop that baby on the breast, make sure the latch is good, and relax.
2. Cloth diaper rather than disposables.
I know, I know. Lots of people think cloth diapering is this miserable, hard thing. And poops are gross even when they come from baby bottoms, know what I mean? But amazingly enough, I found cloth diapering to be much easier for me than disposables.
The laundry isn’t that much extra work. What’s an extra couple loads when you have a family? Do you have any idea how wonderful it is to not need to run to the store to get more disposable diapers because you didn’t realize you were almost out in time? Not to mention no need to buy more diapers all the time anyhow. They’re right in your house, and if you want cute cloth diapers, you can find cute cloth diapers!
Not to mention how much money you can save using cloth diapers! Just don’t let the cute cloth diaper addiction get out of hand.
3. Homemade cleaners rather than the usual brands.
Some people think that making homemade cleaning supplies is a big deal. It can be a little difficult to make some things; laundry detergent is definitely an effort. Other cleaners, not so much.
Baking soda and vinegar handle most things. You can water down the vinegar and add a little essential oil such as lavender to make it smell better, but it’s quite effective. We keep a prepared squirt bottle of it, same as you would for any other cleaner. Sprinkling baking soda really isn’t that much harder than sprinkling any other powered cleaner.
Some things need a little extra elbow grease, but most times it’s really not that bad. If homemade doesn’t suit, there are some decent cleaners that are more eco friendly.
4. Do less laundry.
Obviously, you want to be careful about this one. You don’t want to wear stinky clothes. That said, towels and such can easily be used several times before they need a wash with most families.
When laundry day rolls around, wash your clothes in cold water whenever possible. I’ve never bought a special detergent for this. Most clothes will come quite nicely clean in cold water.
Line drying isn’t lazy, but if you think of it as exercise, you might just have enough of an excuse to go at it anyhow. On hot enough days, it can be faster than the dryer.
5. Handmedowns for the kids.
Seriously. I love handmedowns for my kids. Do you have any idea how rarely I buy clothing for my children? It’s not often at all. They get handmedowns from cousins, and that takes care of most of their needs, even after the stuff that’s stained or worn out is removed from consideration. I don’t have to take the time or spend the money on shopping, my kids are still happy to get handmedowns, and it’s all better for the environment than buying new.
6. Stay away from stores unless you need to go there.
I’ll admit it. I enjoy wandering stores and seeing all the stuff. The problem is that it’s a temptation I don’t need, and quite frankly the realization of how much waste there is really takes the fun out of browsing.
If you tend to impulse shop, keeping away from stores is a great way to cut that habit down. You can’t buy something on impulse if you never see it. Saves on gas and unnecessary purchases.
7. Replace bottled water with filtered water.
Many people swear they can’t stand their local tap water, and that’s why they buy bottled water. Thing is, many brands of bottled water are simply filtered tap water. Why pay such a premium when you can filter it yourself?
You can even take this water with you when you’re on the go. Get yourself a good quality reusable water bottle. You’ll have your own filtered water ready when you need it.
8. Buy a programmable thermostat.
Installing a programmable thermostat has the potential to save 15-25% on your heating and cooling costs. That’s not a bad deal at all, plus you can set your house to be the right temperature for the time of day, and not have to worry about fiddling with the controls or leaving the heat or air conditioner on all day when you go to work. Just program it and let it run.
9. Choose energy saving electronics and appliances when you replace old.
It’s not terribly eco friendly to go about replacing things that don’t need replacing yet, although there can be a balance as things get old enough. But when the time does come, pick models which are more energy efficient. It will save you time and be better for the environment without any extra effort.
You can also get a smart power strip for your computer or television. This power strip powers down accessories when you shut down the main device. You have to pick carefully, of course, as sometimes you don’t want everything to shut down just because you turned off the TV. Most people don’t want their DVR to shut down at such times, as it may have other shows to record, and if you’re stuck with a cable box, it would need to be on for the sake of the DVR. But it’s nice to have the other electronics shut down because they aren’t in use.