Intentionality is usually the answer to almost any problem.
Every spill, mess, window, mirror and so on seems to be cleaned by either a paper towel or a paper napkin in our house. Wowzers, that's A LOT of paper products! If you can relate to this dilemma then you might be wondering the same thing I was.
How can I use and waste less in my house?
How can I instill realistic and simple zero-waste habits?
How can I be more intentional about helping the Earth?
In order to get some answers I decided to evaluate my daily habits and routines to see just how much I was using and wasting. Then I had to intentionally make changes to adjust our habits to healthier ones for my family and our environment. These changes were an investment but will definitely pay off in the long run.
My goal is to waste less so as to save time and money for more meaningful experiences with my family.
Our house isn't a zero-waste house by any means because perfection is not my goal. It's all about creating realistic, simple and intentional actions that me and my family can take in order to help make this world a little healthier and happier. Below I have listed 10 simple ways to reduce house waste that my family has integrated thus far into our daily routine. I have also shared some product recommendations (I am not affiliated with any of these companies) that we are currently loving. Changing habits takes time and effort, but my family is devoted to helping make our home and our Earth a little bit brighter.
Let's all do a small part in keeping mother nature gorgeous, because a bunch of TINY actions can make a HUGE impact. :)
10 WAYS TO SIMPLIFY HOUSE WASTE
1. Use cloth towels, rags and napkins instead of paper towels and paper napkins. *
That's right, trade in those precious paper products for something a little more environmentally friendly. Keep a drawer in your kitchen specifically for housing rags and towels just for this purpose. To help make this process a little easier you can also designate specific colors or types of rags for different uses. Example: Blue rags are for dishes, red rags are for bathrooms, and yellow rags are for cleaning up kitchen spills.
*To help make this a realistic routine in our house we have a small brown basket sitting on our kitchen island shelf to collect dirty towels and rags. (See above photo) This way we can easily dispose of them once used and wash them weekly with the rest of our usual load of towels. Work smarter, not harder. This basket blends in seamlessly with our kitchen decor so no one would even know there's dirty towels and napkins in there!
2. Invest in glass spray bottles and make your own household cleaners.
In the past I've bought cheap plastic spray bottles from Target. But unfortunately their shape started warping and the spray nozzle was less than impressive. Now I've invested in glass spray bottles that will not only last longer, but they are more attractive too! There are several simple DIY All-Purpose Cleaner recipes out there so experiment with which ones you like best. Making your own cleaner and reusing your spray bottles saves you both time and money- winner- winner!
3. Use reusable bags for buying and bagging produce and groceries.
Every week I purchase lots of produce at the grocery store and often feel guilty using all of those small plastic bags to organize my fruits and vegetables. Now, by making a small change in the bags I use I can use less plastic but still keep all of my produce organized. Investing in small cotton bags for storing produce you buy and using large reusable bags for carrying your groceries home is another simple way to waste less!
We store all of our grocery bags on a hook near our front door so we don't forget to leave the house without them when it's time for food shopping.
4. Use wooden natural bristle brushes.
Sponges aren't recyclable and need to be replaced frequently after they acquire that dirty sponge smell. Wooden brushes last longer and can be tossed into the compost when it finally wears out. Replace your dish sponges, toilet brushes, tub brushes, and brooms with a more Earth friendly product.
5. Use your glass or ceramic plates for everyday use.
Save the paper and plastic plates for large parties and gatherings. But for everyday meals use your beautiful ceramic or glass plates that you probably spent some valuable time picking out. We keep our plates on an accessible open shelf for easy grabbing and stacking.
6. Invest in a silicone baking mat.
The silicone baking mat has saved me tons of money. Instead of buying rolls and rolls of parchment paper and aluminum foil I use this mat instead. This nonstick mat can be used to bake anything from cookies to brussel sprouts. It saves waste and it's super, duper easy to wipe clean.
7. Have a No Food Waste Day!
Pick one day during the week to use everything up that's in your fridge.
Check out what ingredients you have in your refrigerator and create either a hodge- podge meal or enjoy a fun snack-dinner night. I have found it easy to combine random ingredients to make a quick pasta, casserole, egg scramble or frittata dish.
8. Use glass jars instead of plastic containers to store dried goodies in your pantry and leftover food. Steel containers work well for kiddie foods.
Reduce plastic in your house by choosing more glass products instead. Using glass containers keeps our food freshly sealed and allows us to visibly see what's inside our containers as well. You can even label the glassware using a white board marker to write food names and/or dates if needed. This writing can easily be wiped off to be reused for other food goodies. Steel ware may be a better alternative to glass when packing foods for kids.
9. Use old pillowcases or cloth bags as small trash can liners.
Ditch the plastic bags and liners used in small trash cans in your bathroom and bedroom. Instead, try using something more reusable. Pillowcases or cloth bags make a great trash liner alternative. These can easily be cut to fit any size trash can and are washable too. (see photo above) I use a cloth bag and an old pillowcase in both my bathroom trash can and bathroom recyclable basket. I put these in the wash when I do a load of towels and/or sheets so it's no extra work for this mama.
10. Use wool dryer balls.
Stop buying dryer sheets! Wool dryer balls are reusable and last practically forever. They dry clothes, towels and so much more a little faster and more efficiently. You can also add drops of essential oils on the dryer balls to give your clothes and towels a lovely scent.
If you have any simple tips on how you reduce waste in your house please share below!
We all have gifts to share. May we always find ways to use our gifts to help make the world a little healthier and happier.
much health love,