I'd like to start keeping a "greener" house, but it's an overwhelming prospect and I don't even know where to start. Currently in our house, we just sort our trash and recyclables and have started a compost heap. Luckily, Circle of Moms members who already have green homes are willing to share some easy ways to start keeping a greener house.
1. Clean with vinegar. According to green moms, there a number of ways to use vinegar around the house, and using it as a cleaning product cuts down on the chemicals you'll put into your home and landfills.
2. Swap paper for cloth. Shelli C. says the only time she uses paper towels anymore is when she's frying food. Otherwise, she uses kitchen towels to clean up spills, wipe hands, or anything else that needs to be done in the kitchen.
3. Hang a clothesline. Shelli also says that after those towels are washed, she air-dries them on her clothesline to reduce electricity usage. Similarly, Sally B. says in the months she can air-dry her clothes outdoors, her electric bill drops a whopping $40 a month!
4. Invest in reusable shopping bags. This is one little change I have already made in my house. Many green moms say buying reusable grocery bags is a good investment. Not only are they better for the environment, but they also are a lot sturdier than paper or plastic.
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5. Install a dual-flush toilet. Our house may be greener than I think, because when I saw this tip from mom Amie T. I realized we have one of these, too. The dual-flush toilet allows you to choose how much water pressure you need to flush, depending on what needs to be flushed.
6. Use rechargeable batteries. A few green moms pointed out that old batteries often end up in landfills and the chemicals can leach out into the ground, so they've gone to rechargeable ones instead.
7. Make your house more energy-efficient. Nora Z. says she realizes it's not practical to start from scratch and that "not trashing an older house is more environmentally friendly," but she points you can do little things like installing CFL lights, insulating, and keeping your thermostat down.
8. Organize a clothing swap. I really like this idea from mom Lindsay L. Basically, you get together with a bunch of families you know and swap hand me-downs. It cuts down on buying new clothes and it can give your children a taste of someone else's style, too!
9. Buy less. This one may sound a little silly, but it's really not when you stop to think about it. As a Circle of Moms member named Shannon commented, we often buy things we just don't need. She says she's working on being more conscious about that and getting better at telling her kids "no" when they don't really need what they want to buy.
10. Do your best. OK, so this isn't really a "green" tip, but it's a good reminder that every little bit counts. Mom Traci reminds you not to feel guilty about what you're not doing and to feel good about what you are doing. She says start with this: "Don't be wasteful, don't litter, conserve water."