28
Aug

Save Money & Trees by Cutting Your Toilet Paper Usage in Half

by Tiffany in A Green Home

When you ask minimalists, frugalists, or tree huggers how you can get by with no wasteful toilet paper or “less” toilet paper you will typically hear them sing the praises of family cloth. I have dabbled with it myself over the years but usually return to toilet paper, for the sake of less laundry.

Family cloth is is basically the use of reusable cloth rags or wipes instead of toilet paper. You have a collection of the cloths by the toilet and a receptacle for their storage until you can wash them. You then wash them with your other laundry a couple times a week or if that makes you squeamish you can wash them on their own, much the same way we cloth diaper enthusiasts washed our baby’s diapers.

It’s not a perfect system by any means as the thought of soiled cloth rags being stored in the bathroom for any length of time is not appealing to many. Having to wash soiled anything regularly is not appealing to many, and that is okay. I was not comfortable using family cloth for anything other than pee personally. But like I said, with three kids, laundry is already a daunting responsibility so extra loads for the sake of reusable wipes became too much for me.

Why am I trying to get rid of toilet paper though?

Well, it has always bothered me that I am buying a product everything month to use and throw away. It just seems wasteful. The recycled toilet paper options are no good because they contain BPA due to paper receipts being recycled. You can’t feel good about using a recycled product if the end product is harmful to your health.

I also hate paying for toilet paper. Sure, its only $10 or so a week but that is $40 dollars a month that could be used for something else.

So I decided to see if adding a bidet to our existing toilet might be a better option. I was introduced to the idea through a facebook group where family cloth was being discussed and several European folks started talking about their love of bidets and their need for little to no toilet paper. A big selling feature is that you are also much cleaner when you wash your tushie rather than just wipe it. It also seemed like it might be rather refreshing for women during their monthly cycle as well.

Thus began my research. I knew I wanted a bidet sprayer that you can add to your existing toilet and not an actual bidet. I also knew I wanted the sprayer to be hands free and under the toilet seat, not a handheld sprayer that attached to the wall (they often leak). I researched many different brands, models, and price points. I looked for one that was easy to install, inexpensive, attractive looking, and that had good reviews.  I did not care to buy one with a heated water feature, cold water is fine by me. There are are heated water bidets on the market though. You can even buy one with a heated seat and blow dry mechanism. For me though I did not want a toilet with so many features that I need a remote control.

I settled on the Luxe Bidet Neo 120. It was nice looking and had great reviews. I have been using it for about two months now and I am super pleased! The sprayer pressure is very strong, even to the point of being a little painful if I turn it up full blast, so no weak spray action here. The sprayer is also behind a small door and is not visible until you set it to spray. This helps keep the sprayer clean by keeping it from being splashed with dirty water every time you flush.

This bidet also has a self clean setting. You simply turn the dial the opposite way and it will spray inside the small door that covers it…using a high powered spray to wash the spray mechanism and the inside of the cover. I use this feature regularly and also spray it with my bathroom cleanser of choice once a week, when I clean the toilet bowl.

I recently remodeled my master bathroom water closet and I don’t think the bidet detracts from the design. It also works quite well and reduces the need for much toilet paper. After spraying yourself clean you can simply dry with a washcloth and because its just water on the cloth you can use the same one throughout the week. Each family member can have their own if you are sharing a bathroom. I do tend to use a small bit of toilet paper for drying after bowel eliminations just to make sure everything is clean. I would rather use paper for that confirmation, rather than cloth. So I am not toilet paper free but pretty darn close!

Save Money on Toilet Paper with a Bidet

29
Jun

GloryBrew 100% Compostable Coffee Pods

by Tiffany in A Green Home

Every morning for the past few weeks my day has begun with GloryBrew coffee, bulletproof of course. Yes these are coffee pods and yes we do have a Keurig (the 2.0 specifically). My husband adores it…seriously its a little concerning just how MUCH he adores it. So I embrace the Keurig and its kcups too. Marriage is all about compromise and while at first glance it may seem that single use disposables is a place to draw a hard line, you cannot come between a coffee lover and their coffee. You just can’t do it!

Not to throw my man under the bus though. I too love the ease with which we can brew a cup of coffee for one and making tea has never been easier either. Just throw a mug with a tea bag under the Keurig and you have tea brewing in 30 seconds. I can’t lie, that is very nice.

Early on we embraced the reusable cups that you can use in these machines and often times we buy loose coffee grounds to brew instead of disposable cups. But I am loving the Glorybrew 100% compostable coffee pods and they will need to be a part of my regular Amazon Prime orders.

As mentioned they are 100% compostable in 7 weeks time because they are made of plant based materials. No petroleum-based plastics are used in the ring. It is made from coffee chaff, a waste product of the roasting process of coffee beans. The bottom part is a soft, compostable mesh filter, made using renewable materials.

Glorybrew is also certified by the Rainforest Alliance™. This means it is grown to meet standards that require environmental, social, and economic sustainability. This make coffee pods a guilt free purchase for me…one that I can feel good about. I also LOVE love the flavor of the coffee and my husband does as well, especially the extra dark roast, which has subtle hints of chocolate. He loves dark roast coffee while I prefer medium. The variety pack on Amazon is perfect for us.

Stop by the Glorybrew website to subscribe to their newsletter and you will get a 10% off coupon for Amazon. Their coffee is already really budget friendly but every little bit helps! Enjoy!

28
Feb

How to Save Money (and the Planet) Through Energy Efficiency

by Tiffany in A Green Home

energy efficient home

Finding a way to lower your electricity bills is appealing to everyone, but in this day and age we are also very concerned about our environmental impact. People are making greener choices all around.

If you would like to make some adjustments at home, and you are keen to remain green, here are some tips on how you can save money and be more energy efficient:

Adjust your everyday habits

You can achieve great savings through simple adjustments of your daily habits. Get yourself into the habit of turning your lights off when you leave a room, unplugging your devices when they are not being charged and only running the dishwasher and washing machine when needed.

Convenient electrical switches

An efficient option for your home is to ensure you have quality electrical switches located in convenient places. This way, you have better access to them and can easily flip the switch to “off “. You could, for example, place a light switch near your front door so you can turn the lights off when you leave the house or a switch to disconnect power from a gas furnace in a place that is easy to get to.

Better light bulbs

Low-voltage and efficient products avoid waste. You can switch over to greener light bulbs, such as compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) or light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs, to cut your electrical bill down.

Appliances

High quality electrical devices and products with A++ rating have the most efficient energy rating and can help you save money and energy without having to make huge changes to your daily activities. Simply check the quality of the next device or appliance you buy.

Prepare your house for even greater efficiency

When you have energy efficient appliances and products, you must take measures to retain energy in the home. The appliances and products can only get you so far, so it is important to ensure your home is ready for greater energy efficiency.

For example, your windows are extremely important. If they are inefficient and have an air-leak or another issue, it is easy to crank up the heat or air conditioning without realizing there is actually a problem with your windows. You could invest in new, efficient, double-glazed windows or improve your existing windows by sealing and draft-proofing them.

Overall, it takes a combination of paying attention to your day-to-day habits and ensuring you have an efficient home set-up to improve your energy efficiency. In turn, you will have lower energy bills, and thus more money in your pocket, and help save our planet at the same time.

4
Nov

Simple Natural Fall Decor with Candles

by Tiffany in A Green Home

Simple Natural Fall Decor with CandlesWhen the cool weather of fall rolled around I got the itch to decorate for fall like so many women out there. Unlike the masses though I am minimalist and very much inspired by nature. I don’t crazy with decor and I actually prefer that most decor around my home be items I can use year round if I want to. So for the most part I want simple, timeless, decor that I can then tie into a few small seasonal items that rotate throughout the year. This is why I love to use candles for decor and ambiance because they are simple, lovely, enjoyable (especially scented ones), and I can put them away if the scent or appearance screams ‘Fall’ or ‘Christmas’.

The scent is just another reason to love candles. A beautiful fall wreath is lovely to look at but does it make you have all the warm, cozy feelings that a pumpkin spice candle does? Does a pretty snow globe make you want to curl up by a roaring fire or are those feelings more likely to be induced by a lovely smelling candle of pine or balsam fir? Smell can deeply affect moods and bring back warm memories of seasonal fun and festivity. I absolutely adore candles for this reason and always have.

I recently added some candles from the Chesapeake Bay Heritage collection to my own home for fall/winter. I love their classic look and wood lids. They go perfect with theme of my decor which is less traditional fall and more “fall in wine country”. The previous homeowner had a definite Tuscan theme going on and traditional fall colors kind of clash so I concentrate on purples, browns, greens, and cream colors.

We will end up renovating the home completely and go with something more modern but while we get to know the home and we save for the changes we eventually want to make, I am rather content with the Tuscan feel and colors. The dining room, which you can see below, is painted in a dark wine color. The fall candles and purple and brown acorns our buffet cabinet give me that touch of fall I want and it keeps with the wine country feel.

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Of course, as I mentioned previously it is all about the scent right? Well, the scents are amazing. They transport you immediately to that fall state of mind. Pumpkin Latte, Vanilla Biscotti, and Firewood Fig. Yum!

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In addition to burning these candles in the dining room during our family meals I also like to bring them in the kitchen. The kitchen is the literal and figurative heart of our home so the smell disperses throughout the home and makes it smell cozy, warm, and amazing. And as you can see the Tuscan theme evolves from wine country in the dining room to Italian cafe in the kitchen. I am not generally a wallpaper person but this cafe border has grown on me.

candle-decor

For scents that are more winter and a little less fall, we enjoy Balsam Fir, Snow by the Shore (Cedarwood and Lemon), and Cinnamon Spice. Since they are sitting on the buffet they are easy to grab and light for the evening meal. Eating together is mandatory in this house and anything we can do to add those comfy, cozy, special touches is a plus with me. Dinner is when we celebrate good company.

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The small glass vase where I house the extra acorns or all of them when not in use is elevated by the temporary addition of a Chesapeake Bay candle I think.

Do you decorate with seasonal candles?

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This post was written in partnership with Chesapeake Bay Candles. All words and opinions are mine.

14
Sep

So What’s in Your Pillow?

by Tiffany in A Green Home

pillow fill types

So what’s in your pillow? For a better night’s sleep you may want to try a pillow with a natural fill. The synthetics like polyester that you find in conventional pillows draw on non-renewable resources and can be more hospitable to allergens. The chemicals can also lead to headaches. So try a natural fill and even organic if possible.

A quality pillow can cost anywhere from $40.00 to $250.00 but if you take care of it…it can last a decade. Here are some of your options:

Goose Down – This is one of the softest fills available and is optimal for people who sleep on their stomach. You can care for this pillow by exposing it to fresh air and sunlight several hours a month. You can also usually machine wash on a gentle cycle and tumble dry along with a towel on low heat.

Organic Cotton – Cotton is a good option but it does tend to compress over time. Machine wash on gentle in cold water. Tumble dry with cool air and throw in a dryer ball or tennis ball to break up clumps. Because cotton is easy to clean it is less prone to mildew and bacteria.

Organic Wool – This fiber offers firm support and it is also a natural insulator and helps regulate body temperature. Throw it in the dryer for a few minutes with a dryer ball or tennis ball to renew the loft. Freshen in direct sunlight and open air for several hours a month and use a vinegar/water solution to spot clean.

Natural Latex Foam – Natural latex pillows are molded and they conform to the contours of your body. Dust mites find it inhospitable and mildew cannot thrive in it. It is a healthy alternative for many allergy and asthma sufferers. Hand wash with warm water and a mild soap. Press with a towel to dry and keep out of direct sunlight.

Hulls – Sleeping on buckwheat hulls can help relieve muscle tension but it can take some time getting used to. Since hulls are irregularly shaped, air circulates around them and dust mites and microbes have a hard time taking root. Look for a “triple cleaned” label to ensure that dust mites and mold have been removed. To clean, remove the hulls from the pillow and rinse in a tub of cool water. Lay out to dry. Machine wash the empty case in hot water twice a month.

No pillow – There is some scientific evidence to suggest that no pillow at all is better for our health and well being. Per the recommendations from the comments section Katy Bowman’s books are a great resource if you want to know the reasoning behind it.

After you select your perfect natural pillow make sure to cover it with a zippered protector made from tightly woven organic cotton. When placed under your pillow case it blocks allergens as effectively as vinyl alternatives without exposing you to toxic chemicals.

Sweet dreams!

Wednesday, September 14th, 2016

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