“Are You Green?”

That’s the question ModernMotive is asking Etsy sellers (and others) on her blog in the next couple weeks.  From people like me, who look for ways to skip disposable products to people who use only recycled materials to handcraft their wares, it should be interesting to see what creative ways people are helping conserve resources and lessen their impact on the earth.  Be sure to check it out and subscribe to her blog!
Speaking of being green, I thought I’d mention some things my household does that lessens our environmental impact.  And the wonderful thing is, not only are they “green” things to do, but they are financially friendly!  (We’re all feeling the squeeze right now!)  Of course, there are many common and obvious things we do, but I’d like to touch on some that may be new to some people:

~ we use cloth towels instead of paper towels.  More and more you hear the phrase “unpaper towels,” which is basically what we are using.  It does make you think, however, as to where we’ve gotten as a society when towels have become either “paper” or “unpaper,” doesn’t it?  However, paper towels are, to me, so passe, when I realized that it would cost me almost $16 at Sam’s Club for 12 rolls.  Ugh.

I’ve linked to the cloth towels I sell (they also make great burp rags – I’ve used them since day 1 for that) but you can make your own – scour garage sales, clearance after holidays, and thrift stores for any little kitchen towels on the cheap.  I get a lot of mine from my Mother-in-Law, who teaches third grade and can only use so many Santa-embellished dish towels.

~ I use cloth nursing pads, cloth pantyliners, and cloth menstrual pads. Sounds gross?  Well, it is.  But no grosser than using the paper pads.  Since when is our cycle a pretty thing?

Just throw them in the washer and you are done.  Benefits include not paying $8 or more for disposables every month, lighter, less painful periods, fewer infections, and being more comfortable in general.  Another great thing is that they can be made to fit your body.  Every pad designer makes them slightly different, and you can find the brand that’s best for you.  And they are often completely customizable!  So you can buy them or make your own – patterns abound on the internet.

~ And then, since this post is getting long, one more thing: We reuse, reuse, reuse, and then recycle.  (Or the other way around.)  Much of what we own is not new.  Our dining room table is not the one I would have picked out, but it is beautiful and an heirloom.  Contrary to the impression I get from many home decorating magazines (even “green” ones), my house doesn’t have to match perfectly.  There is something about being surrounded by things that you love – things that have a history.  The dining room table belonged originally to my great-aunt’s in-laws and was brought from California to North Carolina and now to Ohio.  The side table in the living room was something I picked out (and haggled for) at an antique shop in Stillwater, Minnesota shortly after I was married.  The memories are precious.  My mom’s Good Housekeeping cookbook sits on the shelf in the kitchen, and it’s rare for me to pick up any other book (not to mention it tells you how to cook things from scratch – another good “green” tip.)

When we are done with something, I try to think if it can serve any other useful purpose for us.  If not, and it’s still good, or if I won’t get around to doing anything with it soon, we give it away.  We get a lot of our things from other people who have gotten their use out of the item.  It’s a great way to reduce packaging, money flow, and trash!

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