5 Simple Steps for Families to Go Green at Home

I am a big fan of Earth. It's beautiful, it's fascinating, it's done some pretty great things for me... like giving me fresh air to breath and water to drink, not to mention life! I would rank it as one of my favorite things. And yet, I don't treat it very well. I recycle only when it's convenient. I opt for simplicity in tasks over environmentally-friendly. I print out documents when I don't necessarily need hard copies. Oh, and I drive everywhere... everywhere!

Not a nice thing to do for something you love (and that keeps you alive).

In May, my goal was to find environmentally-friendly practices that were simple, yet effective. And by simple, I mean damn easy, because I want these practices to go well beyond May. I want them to be a new way of life for me. And with a toddler and a newborn at home, now did not seem like the best time to try to single-handedly fix ozone layer depletion only to burn myself out a month later.

Here are five things I did to "go green."

1. I started a garden. This was probably the most time consuming of my practices, but the most fun too. I love to garden, and I love watching things grow. And now that my toddler's old enough to understand, showing him how to grow vegetables and herbs that we can eat feels very Martha Stewart-ish. Perhaps I'm also teaching him the importance of self-sustenance, nutrition, and appreciating our planet? Martha would be proud.

2. I am composting. This is something I've always wanted to do but never tried before because it intimidated me. I mean, saving my decomposable scraps for later use? Eww. But it's fairly simple, and you don't need to buy a fancy composter to do it. I bought a small metal container to keep in the kitchen where I toss my orange and banana peels, apple cores, etc. Every few days, I take it outside to a dirt pile and toss it in. You have to mix the dirt around and keep a healthy mix of food scraps, leaves, etc. But it's not rocket science. And in the end, you are reducing waste, and making "black gold" for your garden. #winning

3. I am line drying. I don't do it for everything (hello, socks and undies). But for bigger items like sheets and towels, line drying is so simple and even cathartic, getting some fresh air and putting down the phone for a few minutes. Plus, hanging my clothes while my son plays in the yard feels right out of a Norman Rockwell painting, don't you think?

4. I switched from disposable k-pods to a reusable pod. Can we get more simple than this? I bought a reusable pod and some ground coffee and viola! I'm still getting my morning caffeine fix but I'm not tossing those very unfriendly pods in the trash. Bonus? I'm saving a ton of money. Those pods are ridiculously expensive.

5. I switched from paper towels to reusable rags. Again, can this get anymore simple? I found some old t-shirts and cut them up. I keep them by the sink and grab them for cleaning up spills. Then they go in the laundry bin. Boom! Yes, I miss the convenience of tossing a dirty towel in the trash, but seriously, it's not that big a deal. I'm also saving money not buying paper towels, which are surprisingly expensive for something we only use for a second or two before throwing away.

Down the road, I'd love to take this a step further. Biking more, making my own cleaning supplies, even switching to cloth diapers... there are so many things I can do to make a difference. But for now, I'm keeping it simple and manageable for me. And I'm proud of that.

This article originally published on http://andwhatamom.com.