Greener Living

Greener Living

We have been making many changes to make our home, and lifestyle, a little more greener in the Simply Homemade home. I didn’t wake up one morning and just decided to ‘go green’, it has been quite a natural process, though one I wish we’d implemented a lot sooner.

As I have mentioned previously, I have PCOS (PolyCystic Ovarian Syndrome), a condition for which there is no cure so it needs managing via lifestyle changes. I have learned that, for me, natural is best in all areas, natural skin care, natural hair care, natural diet. My son has eczema and, like his Mom, he too responds better to natural products.

This is pretty much where I started, by making changes to the products we were using on our skin, which got me thinking. It didn’t seem logical to be washing, moisturising etc. using natural products and then drying using towels that had been washed in chemicals and putting on clothes that would be against our skin all day having too been washed in chemical laden washing detergent. The next step was to replace the laundry products with more natural eco friendly alternatives.

As a result of these changes I took a look around me, I did some reading, plenty of research. There is so much more we can do to become a little bit greener, to do our bit for our planet and if we all did a little bit, collectively we can make a big difference.

I am learning still, and I will learn so much more, life is like that, we can continuously educate ourselves and we should. In the meantime, here are some tips and some of the things we do do try and live a more sustainable lifestyle.

-You can cut all the flowers, but you cannot keep spring from coming. (1)

In Your Home

  • Use a compost heap/bin for fruit and vegetable scraps – we have a compost heap at the bottom of our garden that we’ve had going for a couple of years now.
  • Recycle everything that can be recycled, taking glass bottles etc to your local bottle bank.
  • Reuse glass jars for storage, this in turn should reduce the need for plastic containers.
  • Turn off electrical items at the wall where you can. Did you know that by turning your microwave off at the wall when it’s not in use can save you €50 per year! (I read that somewhere a couple of years ago – microwave has been off ever since!)
  • Stop buying furniture spray (actually, stop buying all aerosol sprays!) I haven’t bought furniture polish in years, I use a damp cloth for dusting. It’s more effective and doesn’t smell horrid!
  • I recently discovered a couple of teaspoons of bread soda mixed with vinegar gives the sink a wonderful shine. Add lemon juice or an essential oil if you want your sink to smell nice too.
  • When I need to clean the dishwasher I use a mix of bread soda, vinegar and tea tree or orange essential oil in a cup in the top of the dishwasher. I use the same for the washing machine.
  • Upcycle furniture, consider buying second hand when you’re looking for something new. One of my favourite items is my dresser which I bought for €80, put a couple of new handles on it, a new shelf and lined the drawers. It was less than €100 in total!
  • Use energy saving bulbs throughout your home. When we built our house we put in energy saving bulbs, our landing light is on all night for the small children, it was 6 years before we needed to change the light bulb!
  • Most companies now will send e-bills enabling you to go paperless. I am also going to ask my postman to stop giving us junk mail.
  • Use your washing line, now I admit, from October to March, I don’t use mine. There are 7 of us and hanging clothes on the line in the morning that come in still wet in the evening is time wasting for me; but from around March on the line is full everyday and the dryer gets a great rest!
  • I also want to introduce houseplants (family members will laugh at this, I’ve never had much success with houseplants!) My mam used to love her houseplants. She said they were good for the air and helped to keep us well. I will of course research this further but I suspect there’s a lot of truth in it.

In Your Garden

  • Grow your own food. This is something I am only starting. I have herbs, salads, potatoes, beetroot and carrots planted this year. Wish me luck!
  • Stop using weedkiller! We stopped using weedkiller a number of years ago. Yes I have lots of weeds, I’m sure my neighbours despair of us but I have small children, I didn’t want to be spraying chemicals where they were playing. Our garden also attracts a wealth of wildlife, I’m pretty certain weedkiller wouldn’t do the animals any favours either.
  • Plant some wildflower seeds that will attract bees; bees are in danger and we should be doing our little bit to help them. Without the bees, the planet is shagged!

You, Personally

  • Use natural lotions and potions, better still, make your own. I was making face wash regularly, however my processor is on it’s last legs so in order to preserve the life of that a little longer, I’m sticking to edible goods in that!
  • Use csp’s (cloth sanitary pads) or a mooncup, these are not only kinder to the environment but also to you.
  • Let your hair dry naturally, instead of always using the hair dryer.
  • Eat less meat, if you eat meat every day start with one meat free day per week perhaps.
  • Stop buying bottled water, unless you live in an area with a boil water notice, your water should be safe to drink. If you have a water softener, it is recommended that your drinking water is not connected to it.

Out & About

  • Walk more. If where you are going is within walking distance, leave your car in the drive! I regularly walk to my children’s playschool to collect them and then we go on little adventures until Mr. Simply Homemade is finished work. I get a good walk in and it saves an extra car journey.
  • If you regularly buy take out coffee, invest in a keep-cup. I dread to think how many take out coffee cups fill land-fills. This is something that crossed my mind recently when my brother was in hospital; my family and I disposed of many coffee cups in those few weeks.
  • Bring reusable bags when going shopping. I am currently going through the process of gathering cotton/canvas bags to use instead instead of plastic.
  • When buying your own fruit/veg, try and buy loose and avoid those small plastic bags. If you shop online, make a note in the little box at the checkout asking for your fruit/veg to be put together in a brown paper bag and not plastic ones.
  • Bulk buy to save on packaging (and cash!), Amazon Subscribe & Save is a great way to do this – I currently get my coffee in 750g and my laundry detergent in 5 Litres, which is equivalent to 110 washes!

Alot of these ideas may be second nature to some of you, some of them may be new. I would love to hear back from you. What steps have you taken to be a little more green? What further suggestions do you have for me as this is something that is of great interest, as you can possibly tell, to me. I’m really looking forward to hearing from you on this one.

Disclaimer: I was not asked to mention Amazon, this is a service I only started using myself recently.


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10 thoughts on “Greener Living

  1. I was actually considering doing a similar post as I’ve been on a similar “green” journey. So great to see I’m not the only one going in the same direction. Using scraps and cast offs of veg for the base of soups and citrus peels for desserts, another tip.
    Unfortunately we live in an apartment for the time being which even makes recycling difficult (2 recycling bins per 4 normal rubbish means they’re full nearly as the garbage man leaves!) but I’m going to start my herb garden again this year. I’ve only realised when I lived at home I used to run my hands through all the different herbs and it was great for stress and being mindful

    1. Oh you should do one too, it’s great to hear from someone else on a similar journey. It ‘feel’ so much better doesn’t it, if that makes any sense. The gardening end of it is definitely very therapeutic. It’s a journey I could never see myself veer from.
      I look forward to your post!

  2. Great tips Nicola. We grow herbs and some fruit too, have one car, walk /cycle within our village and recycle a lot. I only use the dryer to finish off damp clothes but we are lucky to have a cellar where we have an indoor clothes line. I keep cloth bags in my handbag so that I don’t buy plastic bags. There are so many small and easy changes you can make, aren’t there?

  3. Great tips!Have bookmarked your homemade face wash post. Always on the look out for greener suggestions-we live with way too much chemicals as it is.

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