We all know this post isn't about landscaping... because clearly I can't grow a.single.thing. We saw that in my herb post. No- this is the kind of green that means saving resources, saving energy, and saving time!

I shared here a few ways that we "go green". I make a conscious effort to continuously find ways to save, cut corners, and greenify our lives without making it an obsession. Here are some things I have implemented since that last post was posted.

1. I made cloth paper towels. I shared in the old post about how we use old wash cloths and cut up T-shirts to clean with. Although we use these rags 80-90% of the time, there are times when I resort to the ole' paper towel. I keep a roll under the sink. It's like my security blanket or my teddy. I need it there "just in case". So a solution to the problem= cloth paper towels. Just as easy to grab. They're in a roll. They are more absorbent (Haaaaaaaalllloooo!), and instead of chucking them in the garbage, I'll chuck them in the washer (along with the laundry I already have to do!). Here's how I did it (it's basically the same steps as making cloth wipes):

I used terry cloth and flannel. The flannel was a baby blanket from a thrift store. The terry cloth I bought by the yard from a fabric store. I ran out on the last 2 towels so I am recycling an old bath towel for this. Recycling (or upcycling) is for sure the best way to go!

Sew right sides together and leave an opening 2-3 inches long. (I used a real paper towel to get the size correct and added a seam allowance)

Here is the opening.

Flip the towel to the right side, and sew all around the edges using a zigzag stitch. This will not only seal the opening, but it will add strength to the seam.

Here's where the opening was sealed.
This is bascially how I make cloth wipes. This is where the pattern turns "paper towels".
Next I added snaps! My goal was to make these as close to real paper towels as possible. Paper towels come in a roll so I wanted my cloth paper towels in a roll!

I used my handy dandy snap pliers to do this. Seriosuly this is like the coolest tool ever.

I snapped them together and rolled them up!

Except I sorta ran out of snaps! So these three are waiting for snaps.
And these two are waiting for the recycled terry cloth.

In the last picture you may have noticed that the pink flannel had a seam. I didn't have enough flannel to make the last 2 towels. So I worked with what I had to make a full towel.

Here's the seam on the "wrong side". It's a double zig zag stitch.

So there you have it! Total once I finish the three that need snaps and the 2 that need more flannel I will have 8 total. I will still use the rags I keep in the wipe containers for backup when I run out of the towels!

2. When we had an energy audit done on our house, they encouraged us to leave all our interior doors open whenever possible. This was a "forehead smack" moment, but something we truly never thought about. One half of our house cools much better than the other half, and this trick has really helped. We have also seen a decrease in our power (because of this and other changes we've made- like CFL lightbulbs) over the course of 2 years (pretty good seeing as our unit is pushing 17 years old).

3. This hit me the other day as I was digging though our freezer (we've been doing this for close to a year)- we have filled water bottles and gallon sized milk jugs with water and stuck them in the freezer. We have an indoor freezer (in our fridge) and an outdoor chest freezer). We were told that filling these containers, freezing them, and letting them sit in the freezer makes the freezer work less to cool the air in there (since the bottles stay frozen). Whether that's true?? Not sure. But no harm in doing it. And it makes great "to go" ice packs. Also if we are running low on space (which hasn't happened yet), we can just toss whatever doesn't fit.

4. I add water to just about every soap item in the house to make toiletries stretch just a little farther. All hand soap, shampoo, dish soap,body wash, bubble bath, etc. get a little water to dilute them. I don't even notice the difference (I don't water it down so much that the soap squirts across the room, or the shampoo drops through my fingers), but just enough to thin it out. Seriously, try it. You'll never even notice!

5. We have a Brita water filter. No disposable water bottles for us. We each have 2-3 re-fillable water bottles that we use (I use one for tea, the others for water- and sometimes one is dirty so we have a few extra on hand).

6. I only read/check out books from the library. I do have 2 magazine subscriptions (one was a gift, one I got free for a year, loved it and renewed). I do not buy books. I have no where to store books. If I read a book I absolutely love (and I really have to love it), I will add it to my collection (but this happens like once every 2 years). I've thought about a kindle, but I'm too cheap to buy digital books. The church library keeps me up to date on all Karen Kingsbury books, and the public library can get any book I want within 2-3 days.

7. I made shower cleaner! 5oz. of blue dawn, 10 oz. of vinegar, and the rest of the bottle I filled with water. I must admit that it doesn't smell the best, but it cleans really well. This is one more way we are saving money and not using proucts that are filled with chemicals. Not sure how "eco" blue dawn is, but it sure is cheaper than brand name shower cleaners. I get 1-2 bottles of blue dawn a month for free (FREE!). I have 10 waiting in my extras cabinet just waiting to be used!

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