Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Green & Simple Living, Part 4

So how does green living fit into all of this?  I started trying to do things more naturally when I discovered blogs, and the first ones I started reading were all about green living.  One of the first things I remember learning about was the dangers of chemicals in household cleaners.  I had actually been given a basket of homemade cleaners when I got married, so it was pretty easy for me to start making my own.  My interest in natural living grew when we had our first baby.  Not only was I concerned with things being more healthy for him, but as I mentioned earlier, I was also trying to find ways to save money.  I chose to cloth diaper, which was primarily a financial decision, but since I had learned about the chemicals and toxins that go into disposables, I was excited about it for that reason as well.  I also started making more of our food from scratch, again, as a way to save money, but also because I was learning more about some of the unhealthy things that are added to foods.  So I started making things like bread, tortillas, granola bars.  As I was doing this, I found that not only were we saving money and eating more healthfully, but we also had a lot less garbage.  I was starting to be aware of how much waste we were producing and I was pleased to be lessening that in any way that I could.  This led me to start looking for reusable things as much as I could.  We were already using cloth diapers and wipes, and I stopped using paper towels and used rags for most of my cleaning.  I do still buy some paper towels that I use for cleaning the toilet, but that’s all I use them for, so one roll lasts me a few months.  I also started making my own personal care products, like deodorant, face cleaner, and toothpaste, which, again, not only helped me avoid chemicals, but they also saved me money and produced less garbage.  As I continued to try living more naturally, and as we also started simplifying life, it became really clear how living green was helping us live more simply.  Since I was making so much from scratch, I was buying less.  I was no longer buying a lot of different cleaners and body products, but was instead making most them from food ingredients that I already had.  So, that was less time and effort that I had to spend shopping, and it eliminated a lot of last minutes trips to the store, which is a big deal with little kids!  Because making things from scratch and using reusable products was saving me money, that meant we had more money for other things, like doing something fun as a family, but ultimately, since those things help keep our budget down, what that really means is that Seth doesn’t have to go out and work more, to pay for all of these things, which in turn helps us to pursue the other things that are important to us.  And, now, keeping our bodies healthy and not doing things that harms the environment have become values of ours, that we want to pursue.  So for us, green living goes back to that intentionality of simple living.  I don’t want to be doing things just because that’s the way I’ve always done them, or because that’s what my neighbor is doing, or whatever.  I want to be doing things that I’ve intentionally decided to do.  And for us, that includes things like avoiding toxins and chemicals, reducing our waste, and cutting down on the time we spend running errands.  Living green helps us accomplish those goals.

So for us, living simply and living green has kind of become this big web, where everything we do effects everything else we do.  Doing things naturally is important to us, so that’s something we pursue, but by doing things naturally and a more “green” way, that helps us save money and time that we can then use to pursue other things that are important to us.  Like I said earlier, there are many things that we are still continuing to change and work on, and everything that we do now has been a long, gradual process.  I try to work on just one or two things at a time, and once I have that down, I work on something else that I want to change.  And by doing that, we’ve been able to make a lot of changes over the last several years.  Any change, even little ones can seem like a big deal and even overwhelming when you first start, but if you keep at it, eventually it gets easier and then just becomes part of life.  At least, that’s how it has been for us!  

To be continued...


Jennifer L said...

Have you read the blog Wellness Mama? I found out about elderberries and their flu fighting properties from her. Some of her recipes are too complicated for me, but she seems similarly focused on a simple, healthy lifestyle.

Annaleah said...

I've followed links there a few times, but I haven't read much. I'll have to go and look around! :)