Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Living A More Earth Friendly Lifestyle

Hey everyone! I'm Christa and I blog over at Sugarfoot Speaks. When Alison told me about this idea to share some tricks of the trade we've learned, I thought it was awesome! Who doesn't want encouragement in the areas where we're trying new things?! So many times it seems like there are all these rules to follow and the "right" way to do things can be overwhelming. I'm kind of a "read the directions as a last resort" kind of girl, so in some ways it's easy for me to wing my newest endeavors. Other times I am very rigid and want to know all the best ways to achieve the best results and I get all uptight. Not fun. When Alison asked me to share about "earth friendly" ways of living I blushed, got all nervous and self-conscious, then gave myself a 5 second pep talk and agreed! This is something I feel pretty passionate about and love learning new things on this subject. I'm not super extreme, but I've found that altering a few things at a time makes it more doable and less overwhelming. Guess that should be number one on my list, eh? Here we go, then!

Five things I wish I knew when I started trying to live more earth friendly, green, eco-friendly, conscious, whatever you want to call it. :)

1. Go slow. Do one thing at a time. It's too expensive to just chuck everything and start from scratch. Every little bit helps so just start with one small thing and go from there. You don't have to be the green queen from day one. Yes, that was really a bit corny, I know. We started with cloth napkins, which I just blogged about actually. And in this vein, go easy on yourself. Do you hear me all you overachievers?! Try something, see if you like it, tweak it, try again. Find what works best with your family. This doesn't have to be all or nothing.

2. Vinegar, baking soda, and castile soap are your best friends. They can do so much! You can clean your house and your body with them, all without worrying about harming your family or the earth. They really do clean just as well as store bought cleaners without all kind of nasty chemicals in them. They also clean your body and hair just as well as or better than store bought stuff. Plus, they are so cheap! Also, if you're worried about the strong smell of vinegar sticking around, it doesn't. It disappears pretty quickly AND it takes stinky odors with it.

3. If you don't have time or money to build or buy a compost area or bin just start a pile. We wanted something more established in the back yard, but just couldn't do it for awhile so we just started a compost pile. We picked a back corner of our yarn and just started putting our fruit and veggie scraps, egg shells, coffee grinds, grass clippings, etc. into that area. My husband would go back and turn it over every so often and in the end we had compost, which we used when we planted our teeny garden. Since that first pile, he has built us a box like thing that we keep in the same spot, but the compost is more contained. If you live in an apartment or somewhere without a good place to just start a pile, there are ways to have compost, if you're interested.

4. You don't have to be Martha Stewart or Rachel Ray to make your own cleaning supplies and beauty products. Just get a basic recipe and go for it. There are tons of websites and blogs with recipes on them. Oh, and don't let me forget Pinterest. I'm going to include a couple of my favorites below. A lot of recipes do call for essential oils and some are expensive, but they last forever. It's worth getting them. At the same time, a lot of recipes can be made without them. Don't let that stop you from trying with what you have on hand.

5. The sun is one of the best ways to get stains out. Seriously. Especially food based stains and newborn poop. Pen and marker stains, not so much. Growing up, my mom was always armed with a Stain Stick or some other kind of stain fighting chemical. It worked on keeping our clothes clean, but as someone who wants to stay away from chemicals when I can, that's not the best option for me. When I started using cloth diapers I read over and over again about sunning your diapers to get the stains out. I was amazed the first time I did it. Within an hour all the newborn poop stains were gone. Miraculous! I also tried it with the baby clothes and got the same results. Some of these clothes were ones that had sat in storage bins in the attic from my first baby. The multiple washings had not successfully removed the blowout and food stains, but the sun did. I even sunned them on my couch and the stains were gone. It also kills bacteria. The sun is another bff in the eco world. Immediate cold water on a stain also helps, but I'm sure you already knew that.

I hope that you have found these helpful! I've devoted my Thursday posts to a series on green living so stop by and learn more if you're curious. You can also email me if you have any questions or would like some resources. Here's a couple recipes you can get started with.

All purpose cleaner:

You will need: Distilled white vinegar, water, tea tree oil (optional), grapefruit seed extract (optional), spray bottle

Fill half the spray bottle with vinegar.

Add 10-20 drops of tea tree oil (can do more if you are so inclined, but it's strong smelling. mold killer)

Add 20-40 drops of  grapefruit seed extract (a great anti-fungal and anti-bacterial)

Fill the rest of the way with water. Shake and use!

You can always add a few drops of other essential oils like peppermint or lemon or both to give this a fresher fragrance. The drops vary based on the side of your spray bottle, mine is a 24oz bottle, although I fill it past the line. I use this for everything; counters, table top, bathtub, toilet, sink, on my carpets and couch when a little someone has an accident, windows, mirrors, etc. It works really well.

Here's a deodorant recipe that I LOVE. It obviously doesn't stop you from sweating, but my sweat doesn't smell! This blogger also offers a pdf file you can purchase with quite a few fun recipes.

Here's another site that I have found numerous beauty product recipes. I love Crunchy Betty!

Here's a great tub and tile scrubber recipe.

Thanks so much Alison for having me and my long winded self today! I hope you all are having a wonderful Tuesday!



  1. How do you get the print inside the number in your graphic up there? I've been trying to figure this out for weeks!

  2. Christa, these are great ideas! I am so intrigue about the shampooing w/ vinegar and baking soda...I just may try it :) I also want to try making my own cleaners. Thanks for the inspiration!

  3. So helpful! We have been using cloth napkins for about 2 years now. Friends and family are finally not afraid to use them anymore! When they get too yucky I just use them as cleaning rags:)

  4. this is SUCH great info, ladies. thanks! xo

  5. I want to try my hand at making my own all purpose cleaner! I use regular bathroom cleaner now, but I really don't like the chemical smells.

  6. Fantastic tips!! Thank you both so much!!

  7. I'm going to have yo try the cleaner! Do the grapefruit seeds add a grapefruit scent? That would make me beyond happy!

    1. I wish! It's actually a thick, clearish liquid. Just the extract from the seeds. That would be so nice. You could always look for an essential oil that is grapefruit scented!