Living with More Intention Part 2: The Eco Household

Have you ever wished you could do more to adopt a greener lifestyle? It’s never too late to alter one aspect of your household.  Perhaps you want to start saving money while investing in safer cleaning products, or have an immediate answer to the question, “What’s for dinner?”  There are hundreds of ways to live with a more sustainable home!

The Five R’s

We’ve all heard the phrase, “reduce, reuse, and recycle;” yet, did you know there are two additional categories?  One is “refuse” (garbage).  It’s a mindset to choose green living, which implies discarding and no longer buying cleaning agents and plastic sponges that are not biodegradable or end up in the landfill.

Begin Composting

Yard and food scraps make up 25 to 50% of what we throw away.  Just imagine tossing banana and potato peels, coffee grounds, eggshells, newspaper, dog hair, leaves, and grass cuttings into an open or closed bin, which will result in a nutrient and mineral enriched soil.  It watered and turned or fluffed occasionally, you’ll never have to deal with an odor. It covers the fifth “R,” “rot”!

Eco Laundry

Questioning your household products is the first step to seek a greener option.  Fortunately, the Environmental Working Group has a website,, to determine the toxicity of cleaning agents, and aid consumers to become aware of better choices.

In looking at the wide range of options for naturally made laundry soaps, making your own is easy and inexpensive.  One recipe includes individual boxes of super washing soda (also known as soda crystals,) Borax, and baking soda, and three bars of Fels-Naphtha soap (using a cheese grater) or one box of laundry flakes.    After adding one cup of each, mixing thoroughly; the outcome is roughly three cents per load.

Tip:  Similar to other natural products, washing soda has a multi-cleaning use.  Add a half cup to two cups of warm water, allow soda crystals to dissolve, and start using the solution to wipe down any non-aluminum surface.  It’s great for shower curtains, blinds, and cleaning patio furniture.

Meal Planning

Saving time and money could become a winning solution if your family begins planning meals for the week in advance. Involve the family: sit down on Saturday and start discussing a menu, comprising favorite food combinations and foods already stocked in the refrigerator and pantry; then, start planning what ingredients you’ll need to buy.  Older children may enjoy the responsibility for cooking dinner, side dishes or preparing a salad.

  • Consider incorporating one meatless meal per week.
  • Start a routine, including “Taco Tuesday” and “Homemade Pizza Friday.”
  • Looking for variety, use cookbooks with titles such as Five Ingredient Recipes to find simple meals with just a handful of
  • Reach out to friends and ask for family favorites; perhaps, it will be a Shepherd’s pie, Mexican lasagna, homemade chicken and dumplings or chicken pot pie.

Try ordering groceries online to eliminate the nonessential extras!  You’ll end up learning how to make more meals from scratch, while saving substantially each month!

Growing Herbs, Fruits, and Vegetables

The term “gardening” can feel like an overwhelming endeavor.  It requires time, work, and effort; however, you can control the definition by growing only foods your family or you enjoy! Think about what you would like to grow; then, choose an appropriately sized container for width and depth.

  • Carrots and onions require very little room; therefore, choose a small to medium-sized barrel.
  • Five-gallon buckets serve the purpose of growing tomato plants.
  • Hang pots of strawberry plants!
  • Near the house or in the kitchen window, keep pots of your favorite herbs, such as Rosemary, thyme, and Sage!

Join a community garden or connect with a friend who would like to garden for self-reliance, while creating opportunities for therapy, education, and exercise!

Jen Chillingsworth, author of Clean Green, writes, “I believe small steps lead to big changes and every single change can only be a good thing for our wellbeing and the wider environment.”


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