Archives For Green

 

We’ve been using cloth diapers for nearly 7 years. All of our kids are out of diapers now (our daughter has been out of day time diapers for almost a year) but we’re still using one cloth diaper each night for our daughter.

After being used continuously for 6 years, most of our diapers were in pretty rough condition. Once our youngest potty trained, I went through our stash and pared down to the diapers that were in the best condition to be used as her nighttime diapers and to save for a possible future baby.

What happened to the rest of the diapers?

Swim Diapers

Diaper shells that were leaking due to damaged PUL became swim diapers. I kept two for Cecilia and the rest were passed on to friends.

The bumGenius shells make excellent swim diapers. In my experience, they do a great job keeping in solids (we had a pool for 3 years when our boys were small so I have firsthand experience!)

Cleaning Rags

Cotton prefolds make wonderful cleaning rags. We had several Gerber prefolds that are now my favorite cleaning rag they are great at absorbing spills. They also absorb water really easy which makes them great as a damp cloth for cleaning.

I don’t have any of the thicker prefolds as cleaning rags at this point because I passed on some of these when Cecilia potty trained because they still had quite a bit of life left in them for diapering.

Absorbing and Cleaning Cloths

After being used for nearly 5 years straight, our microfiber inserts still absorbed but smelled horrible after a few wears. It got to where I was stripping nearly every 2 weeks because of microfiber smells. At that point, I replaced all of my microfiber inserts with infant prefolds which took care of the smell issue.

What should you do with all of your microfiber inserts?

They make wonderful cleaning cloths!

My favorite cleaning cloth is the bumGenius newborn insert. When we have a spill, we just place one of these inserts over the spill and it absorbs the liquids up so fast. And, since they’re not being used for diapering, there is no microfiber stink to deal with.

Find a New Home for Useful Diapers

I only suggest upcycling diapers that are no longer useful for diapering babies. If the PUL is still in good condition, the prefolds are not in tatters and your microfiber still has life in it, find a new home for those diapers! Either try to sell them and make back a bit of your investment or just pass them on to another parent who can continue using them.

 

If you cloth diapered, what did you do with your stash once you were finished diapering your babies? 

Living a Frugal Life

Living a frugal life is a fitting way to describe our family. We’ve been frugal since the early days of our marriage.

In many ways we’ve mastered the art of frugal living.  Over the years I’ve couponed, shopped clearance racks, consignment sales, yard sales and thrift stores. I’ve rarely purchased boxed or convenience foods, preferring to cook from scratch, have made many of our own beauty products, our laundry detergent and use very few disposable products, preferring reusables (cloth napkins, rags, diapers, etc.)

We married young, lived in a small campus apartment and had a very modest income. We’ve lived simply and frugally our entire marriage but the reasons why we live the way we do have changed.

In our early days of marriage, we wanted to avoid debt. We were committed to living within the income we had. We saved quite a bit for a house downpayment but we also enjoyed consuming. Now, we weren’t able to go buy the latest and greatest or pay full retail for the things we wanted so we consumed frugally. (One of our favorite activities was browsing the local Goodwill.) We weren’t exactly consumeristic but we did enjoy shopping and bought things just because we liked them and not because they were needed.

Now, we’re still frugal. As a family of five living on one income while trying to pay our home off early, frugality is a necessity. We enjoy stretching our dollars as far as they’ll go. However, the focus of our frugality is not so we can consume as much as we possibly can on as little as we can. The focus of our frugality is to live contentedly on the income we have, focusing on our needs and not so much on our wants.

Many of the frugal things we do now are not simply to save money, we do them for environmental reasons. Saving money is just a bonus!

I try to buy as many things as possible used to avoid buying new products that require new resources to produce. I cook from scratch to avoid the excess packaging that comes with convenience foods. We have cloth diapered our babies because each diaper was used over and over (many of them on all 3 of our babies) and they are not sitting in a landfill after one single use like a disposable diaper. I have reusable menstrual products (DivaCup and cloth pantyliners/pads) to avoid single use disposables (and as a bonus they’re so much more comfortable!)

We live on a planet with finite resources. Many Americans give little thought to the fact that each thing they consume and each single use disposable item that gets ‘thrown away’ is using resources and destroying our planet.

We’ve been having conversations with our kids about landfills, how there is no ‘away’ when you throw things away and how cheaply constructed toys and items break quickly and are a waste of resources as well as money.

We’ve been working on reducing our waste by buying less, trying to avoid items with excess packaging (I saw single bell peppers at the grocery store wrapped in plastic!?!), recycling and reusing things we can.

We’ve been only buying things we need (we keep a running needs list) and we’re not shopping as a leisure activity (even when thrifting, I go with a list).

We’re focusing more on needs than wants and as a result, we’re living more frugally than ever.

Related post: 10 Ways to Change Consumption Habits

*Disclosure – There are affiliate links in this post.

Living a Frugal Life - Square

It is my plan to start sharing a more personal post each week, giving you a glimpse into how we live an intentionally simple life. I’ll be sharing a photos of the boys, glimpses into our home/routines, updates on raising produce/chickens and more.

A glimpse into last week:

Snack Time

Last week we moved the little table back into the dining room. Back in December, we rearranged rooms and put it in Weston’s room, it was rarely used in there. We moved it back and already it’s been used almost daily for snacks and art time. Little Weston looks like such a big boy sitting at a table!

Baby Chicks

Our baby chicks are growing. Their wing feathers are really developing, it has been fun watching them change almost daily.

Clearing Brush

We’ve made quite a bit of progress on clearing the brush between the fences since last week. John David has taken off a few trailer loads of brush already and the space is looking great. (The trailer was borrowed, so thankful for friends who let us borrow big items so we don’t have to rent/purchase them!)

Floor Bed

John David’s dad came to visit this weekend and help with a project. Since rearranging the boys rooms, our former guest bed is now Paxton’s bed. Whenever we have guests, Paxton gets to sleep on a floor bed. He loves having guests not only because it’s exciting having family/friends in our home but also because he gets to sleep in his ‘little bed’. We typically place his bed in our bedroom floor, right beside the bookshelf which holds the majority of our children’s books, the little bookworm loves sleeping beside the bookshelf.

Not much work was done outside during the week, but once Friday arrived we got to work. Friday was beautiful and I was able to get outside and do some planting. (The rest of the weekend was chilly, so I stayed inside with Weston!)
Strawberry Plants
We purchased a few more strawberry plants and now the raised bed lining our sidewalk is full of strawberries.

Planting Onions

We also purchased some onion sets and got them in the ground. Since snapping this photo, the bed has been covered in a wood chip mulch/compost mixture, we recently watched the documentary Back to Eden and are applying some of the concepts shared in that film in our garden.

(The wooden dividers are in the bed to help us mark off the squares for our square foot gardening. I’m simply using them as a planting grid to keep things even!)

The big project of the weekend, and the reason Papaw came to visit, was building a chicken coop.

The men (including Paxton), started building on Friday morning and by Sunday afternoon were 90% finished. The coop was constructed using salvaged/reclaimed wood and materials (except for a box of new nails!)

Brothers in the Chicken Coop

The boys enjoyed playing in the new coop. I’m sure it will be a fun place space for them until our hens move in!Boreing MenOur new chicken coop and the 3 generations who built it together. (I plan to share more details on the materials/construction of the coop soon!)

And, my husband is one talented man, he designed this coop and then was able to build it.

That’s a glimpse into life last week!

Linked to: Homestead Barn Hop

Reusable-Shopping-Bag

I was first introduced to reusable shopping bags 4 years ago when my mother-in-law gave me a couple. Back then, my grocery store was taking $.04 off per bag which was a nice little incentive to remember to bring the bags. Now, my grocery store no longer gives any credit for bringing your own bag but I still do!

I’ve tried out a few different types of reusable bags over the years, from the reusable bags most stores carry to canvas tote bags to compact bags. The compact bags that fold up really small make having reusable bags easy. 

I always have a compact bag or two in my diaper bag/purse and I keep a few in my car. Having them with me means I frequently refuse plastic bags. It’s also nice to just pull out a bag when I need one.

Benefits of compact reusable shopping bags:

  • Take up very little space so it’s easy to carry one (or a few).
  • You don’t use plastic bags!
  • Since you’re using reusable bags, you don’t have to worry about recycling plastic bags.
  • They can be convenient. I frequently use mine at the library to carry our armload of books. (Paxton loves books so we check our limit out!)
  • You’re helping cut down costs for retailers. I really love refusing bags at my favorite local stores – I want to see them thrive and with small businesses, every penny helps!

 

One of my favorite reusable bags is the reuseit Workhorse hemp bag. It’s made of hemp and cotton and is more durable and holds more weight than other compact bags I’ve used. This bag folds up into a sewn in pocket, making this bag super easy to store!

Do you use reusable bags? 

Disclaimer:  I was provided the reuseit Workhorse bag to review. I was not compensated in any other way. All opinions expressed in this post are my own!