Unless you’ve been living under a rock, going green is the new black these days. The benefits to your health, your home, and the environment are numerous and expansive, so I won’t regale you with every reason as to why you should go green. But I will tell you two things that shouldn’t stop you: money and effort.
As a young mom, I’m often stuck between a rock and a hard place – I want to do what’s best for my family, but what’s best (when it comes to green options) is often expensive and complicated, and money or time doesn’t grow on my trees. Also, I need things to be kind of simple because I have a lot going on at any given point in time, so I don’t know about you, but when people start talking about rain barrels and composting, my brain begins chanting I’m just not that crunchy and it pretty much shuts down. I need being green to fit into my lifestyle, and I need my lifestyle to accommodate simple green moves.
So I’m going to share with you the small, cheap and easy ways I’ve worked on making my house far more green than I really ever imagined, room by room. Who doesn’t want to save some money and time while saving Mother Earth?
Before we get started though, here are my tips on finding truly green products for the truly best prices:
Look for brands that have always been green
Since being green is the new “in” thing to do, a great deal of established brands are coming out with “natural” variations. I’m wary of these though, because other than looking for the USDA certification of organic components or reading in-depth ingredient labels, how do you know how truly green they are?
I find it’s best to stick to the brands who have been environmentally friendly from the get-go. Most of the time, since these companies have been devoting their life’s work to their products, so they’ve come close to perfecting them. They are also more likely to come with bonuses like biodegradable ingredients and packaging, have initiatives to support and further other green causes, and generally have pretty awesome customer service if you find yourself needing it. Plus, buying the specifically-green brands lets your local retailers know that you the consumer are indeed interested in green options for your family and home.
Use the internet
Can’t find something you wish existed in the world of green products. One word for you: Amazon. I get most of my green products from Amazon when I know they’re hard-to-track-down items or because simply, Amazon has some of the best green prices out there. Also, if you know the specific thing you’re looking for, try the company’s website.
Many of them offer online stores to make sure everyone has access to green products for the home, and generally have deals on shipping or coupons that you can apply right there to save money on top of the time of driving all over creation looking for one specific thing.
Don’t be afraid to shop around
To get the most green bang for my buck, I totally go to about five different stores to get different items. For example, I know the big-box grocery store I go to has the best deal on organic groceries, but the local grocery store chain is the only one who offers free-range, vegetarian-fed meats (which taste better along with being more environmentally friendly, if I may). And I’m not above comparing prices on other things like paper towels and baby food and trying to bargain with the local stores.
Also, I know the health food stores can be scary places for the non-crunchy person, but often the employees are insanely knowledgeable about their wares and are more than happy to help you find exactly what you’re looking for. I will say though, I usually wait until I need several items from the out-of-the-way stores and for me to be in the area anyway before I make a special trek, that way I save on gas costs and keep from doing unnecessary driving all over Southwest Ohio.
How about you? What are some general rules you employ to help you make your home as green as possible while saving as much green in your wallet as possible? Stick around for the nest segment where I’ll start sharing how I keep my home simply and cheaply green, room by room.
Photo: D’Arcy Norman