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What do Natural, DIY bloggers talk about in the car? Usually stuff like this:

“How many simple sustainable living tips can you list? GO!”

It took only a few minutes to come up with this list of 10 ideas; some we’ve covered before, but they’re always worth mentioning again.

If you’re scratching your head about what living a sustainable lifestyle  means and why it’s important, consider these manifest advantages.

We were also inspired and humbled by our recent Plutus Award for the Best Sustainability Personal Finance Blog. Thanks everyone, let’s change the world!

Benefits of Sustainable Living

Sustainable Living

Using less resources – The ability to be sustained in certain areas of life means that you’re not depleting resources. Whether you’re concerned with saving trees, using less energy, or saving water, sustainable habits will support these (and many more) natural resources.

Eliminating harmful chemicals in your home – When you begin “going green” or learning how to make more of your own products at home, you are reducing the chances that harmful chemicals will be present in things your family uses. Your family’s health is no longer compromised by chemical-laden products and the earth is protected from the disposal of these chemicals.

Saving money – Learning to live sustainably almost always results in savings. Sometimes huge savings! When you are relying more on yourself and less on large companies to provide life’s essentials, the profit-driven middle man is removed from the equation. A more sustainable mindset will also cause you to reconsider purchasing certain products or services you once thought were absolutely necessities.

Simplifying – Sustainability is about checking out the big picture. Do I really need this big house, or could we create a happy home in less square footage? Do I absolutely need a closet full of this season’s latest fashions, or can I be creative with a few wardrobe staples? Do my kids need a room full of toys, or could they survive on one toy chest full? Should we take a trip to the amusement park or spend the time planting our garden? These are questions that quickly come into perspective when your goal is sustainability. You need less, buy less, spend less, and ultimately want less.

Creating less waste – When you purchase less and make more of your own products, far less packaging is used. Have you noticed how companies go so overboard with packaging? Sustainability promotes using what you have until it can’t be used anymore, recycling, and purchasing used.

Increasing personal skills/knowledge – Living sustainably always comes with great lessons. Have you ever researched specific ingredients so you could prepare more healthful food? Or found and followed a great do-it-yourself tutorial? Your personal skills and knowledge base grow each time you take steps in sustainability.

10 Sustainable Living Tips

Compare this list against your curent practices and challenge yourself to tackle one at a time.

We’re depending on YOU to help advance the sustainable revolution.

1. Bring your own water bottle

I’m starting with one of the easiest things you can do to save resources, create less waste, and save money. If you’re still buying bottled water, take a trip to the store and check the oodles of great reusable water bottles on the market. We don’t go ANYWHERE without our BPA free Nalgene water bottles. Get into the habit of treating your reusable water bottle like your purse or your wallet. Make sure it goes to work, school, and around town with you.

2. Use handkerchiefs instead of tissues

I recently wrote about my transition to hankies and caused quite a flurry of controversy. The issue of germs becomes a barrier for some, but can be easily remedied by keeping clean hankies on hand and putting soiled hankies in directly into the laundry or a reusable wet bag to avoid spreading germs. This sustainable practice saves money, uses less resources, and creates less (germy) waste around the house.

3. Bring your own shopping bags

Don’t just take your reusable shopping bags to the grocery store…take them everywhere. Haul them to the Farmer’s Market, the Dollar Store, the hardware store, or even GoodWill. Have you seen the documentary “Bag It,” about the impact plastic bag usage has on the environment and our health? After watching this documentary, Matt and I won’t even use the little plastic produce bags.

Make a small investment in a few shopping bags and reusable produce bags that will last several years, or better yet, make your own! How do I solve the problem of standing in line at the store and realizing I forgot my bags in the car? I have a set of Chico Bags that stuff into a tiny ball when not in use, and sit in the bottom of my purse so I always have them. Don’t carry a purse? Keep your bags in a place you will see them and remember to take them with you.

4. Reusable cloths instead of paper towel

We used to go through enormous packages of paper towel in our wasteful heyday. Those enormous packages have an equally enormous price tag. And it all gets thrown away! Ugh! Make a switch to reusable cloths…microfiber towels, cotton dishrags, or even old t-shirt squares. Keep a stack of towels in drawers or baskets around the house, making them easily accessible when family members need to clean up a mess. If you can’t commit to eliminating paper towels completely, hide your paper towels (so you’re not as inclined to use them) and see if you can get by without them for MOST things. Read more about using less paper products in your house.

5. BYO to-go containers and silverware

We haven’t actually tried this one yet, but are dying to see the looks on faces when we pull out our own to-go container for leftovers while dining out. Or what about busting out a set of bamboo silverware at an event where plastic is being used? We can’t think of any reason we wouldn’t be allowed to bring our own. It would create so much less waste, and you would have control over the materials your containers and silverware were made from. (I hate when a server puts my hot food into a styrofoam to-go container! Ew!) Trying this experiment might even give onlookers the courage to do the same.

6. Make your own cleaners

Large companies have duped us into believing we need a separate cleaner for every job in the house. Not true! We also don’t need to fill our home with cupboards full of harsh chemical cleaners. Making your own cleaners is so simple and fun we wrote an entire book on the subject. Natural ingredients can be purchased very inexpensively, and can be used for many purposes around the house. Family members with allergies, asthma, or other health conditions can benefit from chemical-free homemade cleaning products. Consider purchasing our book to learn how to make all your own household cleaners.

7. Make your own beauty products

Wouldn’t you love to have complete control over all the ingredients in your personal care products? Starting with a few simple products, like deodorant or shampoo, is a great way to get started if you haven’t dabbled in this sustainable area yet. It’s astonishing that the regulations on cosmetic ingredients still aren’t very stringent.  Making your own will help you eliminate harmful ingredients in your products, save money, learn new skills, and simplify your products. Furthermore, if you make your own you can use upcycled containers, eliminating all kinds of waste from packaging.

8. Grow your own food

The more food you can grow, the more you can cook at home and preserve. It cuts down on grocery bills, increases your sustainability, and creates a wonderful sense of accomplishment at harvest time. Growing your own food doesn’t have to mean becoming a small-scale farm. Grow herbs in the windowsill, or a few of your favorite plants on a balcony or porch.

9. Make your own condiments

A good rule of thumb: if it’s sold in the store, you can make it at home. Yours will be cheaper, made from ingredients you choose, and designed for your tastebuds. Your skills in the kitchen will increase, and your friends will think you’re genius. Get some tips at Nourished Kitchen for some great, healthy condiment recipes.

10. Become a one car family

We finally bit the bullet a few months ago and made the permanent transition from two cars to one. Now that we both work from home it was a logical choice. Travel may require planning ahead and rearranging schedules, but being a one car family is a great lesson in sustainability. We’re saving gas, eliminating operational costs for another vehicle, and learning to plan ahead and run all our errands during one trip. I know owning one car would be more difficult for some families than others, but sometimes you never know you can do it until you try it. Consider biking, walking, or utilizing public transportation as other sustainable travel habits.

A Sustainable Living Challenge

This conversation is just beginning…

Are you already doing all of these things to live sustainably? If not, we challenge you to choose one (or more) that you can adopt – let us know what it will be.

What ways are you living sustainably that are not mentioned in this article?

The community depends on your input!


photo credit to Simple Solar Homesteading

About Betsy Jabs

Betsy holds a bachelor's degree in Psychology and a Master's degree in Counseling, and for nearly a decade worked as an elementary counselor. In 2011 she left her counseling career to pursue healthy living. She loves using DIY Natural as a way to educate people to depend on themselves to nourish their bodies and live happier healthier lives. Connect with Betsy on Facebookand Twitter.

PAID ENDORSEMENT DISCLOSURE: In order for us to support our website activities, we may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for our endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this website.

DISCLAIMER: Information on DIY Natural™ is not reviewed or endorsed by the FDA and is NOT intended to be substituted for the advice of your health care professional. If you rely solely upon this advice you do so at your own risk. Read full Disclaimer & Disclosure statements here.


  1. Erin says

    I have been making all of our household products for months now and I can’t believe the difference in the amount of trash we have to put out on the curb Sunday nights. We used to barely get by with three trash cans, shoving bags in to make them fit. Tomorrow is Sunday and I have one of the trash cans half full to go out and that’s it. Feels good. Also feels good knowing that I am making everything my family needs to survive. Can’t wait to plant my first organic garden next month!

    • Betsy Jabs says

      YES! The reduction in waste is an added bonus! My hubby and I realized we didn’t need to pay for a weekly trash service after making sustainable changes in our house, and instead we paid for tags that were about $1 each and were attached to each bag on the curb. We only put about one large bag out per month, so our trash bill went from about $18/mo. down to $1/mo!

  2. Hannah says

    Thank you for the great and helpful information! I am just starting to make an effort to live more sustainably and this website has been very helpful so far. I can’t wait to start making my own cleaners! Thanks again!

  3. Tammy says

    Hi, thanks so much for your site! It’s by talking together that we’ll get there, right? We play the same game as you in our house: name that sustainable measure lol guess we need a better title.. Your site is so full of so many great ifeas, we are loving it… Anyways here are a few things we do:

    -Buy good quality clothes and shoes. We go to Winners (TJMaxx i think in the US). The cost is reasonable but the quality is better so these good pieces, always simple designs so they dont go out of style, last us forever.

    -The Great Book Exchange. We exchange books with friends, permanently, so no one ever resents bot getting their books back, and everyone always has something fresh to read.

    -Organize sustainable events in your neighborhood. We have a group of fellow moms over once a week to make purees for the babies and a large quantity of something to freeze for the older folks (like a lentil soup yumyum). We also regularly meet with other friends tobplay music. The point is – get together with like minded people and work together on your projects… We’ll be starting a ccommunity garden this spring!

    -Use powerbars and turn off your entertainment systems and kitchen appliances with one switch when not in use.

    Thanks again, guys, and keep up the good work you really are changing the world and I for one feel really good when I switch to one of your recipes (today: toothpaste!)

    • Betsy Jabs says

      Tammy, what great ideas…thanks so much for sharing! I especially love your book exchange and sustainable neighborhood event ideas…I want to do this now!!! Thanks so much for reading our articles and returning to add your insights. Good luck with your toothpaste project! 🙂

  4. Organic aspiration so says

    Thanks for posting this great list! I do a bunch already and I want to try to do the takeout containers too. I would love if you would share this with us at Eco kids link up on my website!

  5. Jen B says

    I’m so glad I came across this site. I just made my first batch of homemade laundry detergent and was looking for a dish soap recipe. I’ll also be making the wool balls you have a post on. Thanks so much! Trying to get green and DIY (to save $$) a little at a time!

  6. Joy says

    I’ve been following your great ideas for a few years now, and I wouldn’t be doing my own DIY projects if it weren’t for your support that we can all do this! I had to write to you about the bamboo silverware. I developed an aversion to metal silverware and I use the bamboo and I LOVE them! I even bought wooden plates and bowls and after my family making fun of me for them, now everyone uses those more often than the regular plates.

    Keep up the wonderful work you have many loyal followers!

    • Betsy Jabs says

      It’s reader comments like yours that keep us going Joy! Thank you so much for your kind words.

      As far as the bamboo goes, I always chuckle when I hear about families laughing at one member for their crazy ideas, and then falling right in line later with those “crazy” things. 🙂 I just love my bamboo cutting boards and mixing spoons, but we don’t have any bamboo silverware….yet! 😉

      Thanks for reading and sticking with us as we throw more ideas out there for everyone!

  7. Mel says

    I googled “how to make your own laundry powder” and came across your site.
    Im so glad I did! We are a one income family of 5, trying to live more sustainably. I cant wait to try some of the awesome recipes on here.
    Thanks for sharing!

    • Betsy Jabs says

      We’re glad you found us Mel! It can be challenging to support a big family on one income…it definitely requires a more resourceful mindset. Be sure to return and let us know how some of your projects are going!

  8. Marlies says

    I received 32 pounds of pig fat a couple months ago and just started making my own lard. Definitely has a smell and a wonderful taste all of its own. Still learning the process of making mayonnaise– some times it works and other times it goes down the drain. My next condiment to learn is mustard. It really is a mindset as to how to live and what your priorities are. Mine– go as natural as possible and if it worked for our grandmothers or great grandmas– then it works for me.

    • Betsy Jabs says

      Great points Marlies! I think we get so accustomed to the conveniences of life these days that it’s hard for some people to pull away from store-bought items and learn new skills. Matt’s in the kitchen trying to perfect homemade ketchup as I write this. 🙂

  9. Pam Cooper says

    Just stumbled across your website today. Enjoying your articles and information.
    I like to see like-minded people getting the word out. My husband and I set out on our journey 36 years ago and embraced a down-to-earth lifestyle. We have given our selves freedom to flex as needed (for work, time, and other deterrents) but always sustained a base of self-sufficiency and walking softly on the earth.
    We love, tend and appreciate our ‘gifts’.

    Good job and appreciate your good advice!

  10. Ty says

    Compost! The benefits are boundless and it is extremely easy. Since I have a small area to garden and an even smaller area to compost, I choose the old fashioned route of pit/trench composting. This process is anaerobic as opposed to above ground composting which is aerobic. Pit composting also retains many more nutrients than aerobic processes plus there is no smell and worms are attracted to feed. The greatest upside is that I need no additional fertilizers, I use less water for plants, soil structure is amazing, and the veggies taste great. I also make my own fertilizer for my indoor potted plants by utilizing the weeds in my garden by making a “Weed Tea”. Plus less material sent to the landfill that creates excess methane which is 21x more potent than CO2 as a green house gas.

    Our health is a direct reflection of our environment.

    • Betsy Jabs says

      Wow! Thanks for sharing all the great information Ty! I’m curious to know how you go about making the “weed tea?” Does it work well? This is something we haven’t experimented with.

      • Pam Cooper says

        Weed tea . . ., I presume, is very similar to manure tea made with . . . manure. I suspect weed tea is similar in that the composted weeds and other rotted plant materials are put in a bucket (or barrel) with water added and allowed to set a spell (a day or a few) then just use the very tea-like nutrient-rich liquid for watering your plants.
        I personally make manure/compost tea a few times during the year (used as fertilizer) but it could be done more frequently. It just takes more time than we have to do it for all all of our planting so I use it only for bedding and porch plants. I use well rotted compost and/or tea (strained) otherwise you get unwanted weed seed in your perennials and potting soil. My husband cleans out the barn and chicken house in the fall and adds the hay and manure, as well as fall leaves, to the garden and tills it in to give it time to compost and break down before planting season next spring. We get most of our potting soil mix from this ‘well’ of good basic ‘dirt’.

  11. Daisy says

    Have not use paper towels in a few years, have banned paper plates in my house, take my own containers, silverware, water bottle back and forth to lunch. Took awhile for my family to adjust but now they don’t complain or notice these items missing from out home. Now am interested to begin making my own cleaners. Considering laundry detergent but my dilema is that I am married to someone who works in yard services and consistently comes home with tree sap, gas and oil on his pants. Will the homemade soap work on these if not what should I use?

    • Betsy Jabs says

      It’s worth a shot! If it doesn’t work, then you may want to read through the comments on our laundry detergent article. I know some other wives left comments there about getting out similar messes on husband’s clothing.

  12. Misty says

    These are great ideas, im starting on making my own deoderant, shampoo, laundry soap and have already made household cleaning supplies. Looking forward to see how it all turns out. Im leary about making soap, since they all call for borax or lye. i am not sure what to use since I have a two year old and didnt want any harmful chemicals. Any ideas? Also, what about clothing for toddlers that are soaked in chemicals? I shop Carters and theirs are made with flame retardant chemicals. Any suggestions for childrens clothing and toys? Also, what about makeup and foundation for us ladies who love to keep a pretty face.

    • Betsy Jabs says

      For more information on borax, I would highly recommend reading this article:

      Regarding lye in soap, if soap is properly made, there’s no lye left at the end of the saponification process. Lye should be handled and stored with care, but isn’t harmful in soap that has been cured properly.

      I’m not positive about how to remove the chemicals from children’s clothing, and I actually read somewhere that the fibers of the thread are treated before the material is woven…making it nearly impossible to remove the chemicals from the garment. Not sure if this is true though.

      I don’t wear makeup, so unfortunately I haven’t experimented with makeup recipes. (Not true, I wear mascara…tried a DIY version and it was a horrible failure! I may give it another shot someday.) 😉

  13. Kristyn says

    I don’t remember when I came upon your site, but I sure am glad I did. We make our own laundry and dishwasher detergent, shampoo, conditioner, body wash, and face wash. We haven’t tried the bringing to go containers from home, but I love the idea. We use cloth napkins at the table, and are slowly getting rid of the nasty cleaners. I love the feeling of knowing exactly what I’m using on my body, but I think the best part is this: When we first started all of this, my co-workers (a bunch of sailors, mostly guys) made fun of me. I never let it bother me, and kept telling them when we found a new recipe or way of doing this or that. And now? They’re starting to come to me and ask me to teach them! I love it. And I always point them to this website. 🙂

  14. Meri says

    Wow you ladies are terrific. I also do canning and dehydrating. Lets not forget the homemade mayo…lol. I also make my own laundry detergent, fabric softener and dish detergent. My big project is converting my diesel truck to run on veggie oil.

  15. Denise L says

    I recently moved to Oregon and we became a one income family. It is my “job” to figure out how to save money so I don’t have to go back into the workplace and can stay focused on raising our granddaughter.

    I am REALLY REALLY new at all of this, but so far I have made my own laundry soap and learned how to make my own bread and buns and did my first canning, making plum jam!! I grew and harvested my own garden this year and have asked the landlord to expand it for me for the next season.

    I am really excited to try out the dishwashing detergent, hand wash and so many other things! It was a blast to walk down the laundry soap aisle and realize how much money I saved by making my own!

    Thank you for this website and all your tips! I look forward to learning EVERYTHING~

    • Betsy Jabs says

      Good for you Denise! Sounds like you’re off to a great start in living sustainably! Raising children is the most important job out there… so I hope our recipes can help you in your mission to save money and stay home. 🙂

  16. sara says

    The first thing i started doing is to save money. I think almost 90% of people are doing this. thanks for the wonderful write up.

  17. Judy says

    we grow and can almost all of our own food, both shelves and freezer downstairs are full and it is enough food to last us probobly a year off the grid. I also grow and dehydrate most of my own herbs for which i grind into spices and dip mixes. I make my own laundry soap for which i also use for many other cleaning purposes. I make insect repellent from my lemon catnip that even works on the horses. The main store i do go to is called Aldis and they do not bag your groceries, they put them backin the cart and i load them into the same boxes in the trunk of my car. My goal is to be wind powered in the future, but i may change my mind about that and just sell and downsize.

    • Betsy Jabs says

      Judy–these are some awesome sustainable practices! On the subject of downsizing…we have recently downsized into a rental house, and are finding it a bit more challenging to continue some of our habits (no basement for storing canned goods/drying herbs, no garage so our deep freezer is on the front porch, can’t put a garden wherever we want, etc). We’re making it work, but I definitely need lessons from someone on how to do things with less space indoors and out! 😉

      • juliann lucas says

        I’m new Betsy , But am always looking up how to make homemade everything…my latest, homemade wax for legs..never realized water, lemon juice and sugar…anyway I have seen on some sites their using pallets leaning against outside walls to grow herbs, going vertical they call it…The other planting I’ve seen is by square foot planting…like 4×4 area you would square 16 < 12in x 12in..each sq. gets a may have already seen these tips but thought they were neat ways to plant with limited space…Some have even mixed flowers in with the herbs in the pallets…

        • Betsy Jabs says

          Thanks for these ideas Juliann! We did lots of container gardening this year, and even threw in herbs with my flowers on the porch. We got by, but I’ll definitely want to get more creative and use some of these ideas next year! 🙂

          • Pam Cooper says

            If you don’t have room where you are for a garden find someone with some garden ground that is unused and see if you can rent or barter with the owners for use of the plot. Sharing your bounty with them may be all they want. Of course, when the season is over, leave the spot as neatly or better as when you found it . My aunt and uncle who lived in town, used to do this years ago–they would come out to the farm 2 or 3 evenings a week and take care of their garden. This could even become a community movement as I have seen done in many urban areas. The farmers market is always a good place to pick up produce that you cannot grow yourself.

            Hope this inspires some additional ideas for you.

  18. Dawn Olson says

    We do the suggested items, as well as having no toilet in the house. Instead, we have a sawdust/compost toilet. It took some getting used to, but now I can’t imagine having the conventional loo. We also collect dead and down trees to heat our small home with. Furthermore, we purchase all wind power through our electric company. The most sustainable thing we do, though, is eating a plant-based diet. Love your site!

  19. Ruth says

    I am only a newbie compared to many of you, but with this website’s suggestions, I’ve tried the shampoo and conditioner (for myself, but not the family), the laundry soap, dishwashing detergent, handsoap, and facial cleanser. The kids enjoyed the chocolate syrup for icecream and chocolate milk. The ratatouille recipe was a hit as well. I’ve just been having alot of fun trying new things and helping save money on a single income. It’s been great to be able to just about ignore the cleaning aisles at the grocery store! Keep all your great tips coming, Betsy and Matt!

    • Betsy Jabs says

      You rock Ruth! We’re always so tickled to hear readers say they’re trying new things. Kudos to you for trying so many in a short amount of time! So glad you’re having fun with this too. 🙂

  20. Angela says

    We have 12 solar panels on our roof and are currently installing all new energy efficient windows in our home, I line dry all the laundry for family of 3 year round, I wash mostly in cold water, make my own laundry soap, use refillable bottles of items when possible, etc., etc. I use reusable snack and lunch bags, I do not use cling wrap and I’m trying my darndest to get hubby to stop using paper towels.

    • Pam Cooper says

      Was just reading the post and through the comments and saw the comment on cling wrap. My husband and I have tried to live simply and resourcefully for over 35 years now. We called it ‘back to the land’.

      Anyway when cling wrap was mentioned I kind of laughed at myself remembering my kitchen drawer with a box a cling wrap (actually two boxes) the old one I have had for nearly 25 years and the second one (unopened) is nearly 5 years old. I got it to replace the first one which I thought was almost out.

      I DO use cling wrap occasionally but have developed other ways to keep food fresh (using lidded containers – preferably glass, for instance)

      I love seeing people trying to ‘walk softly’ on the earth and trying to live more naturally, simply, and resourcefully. Good for you Angela!

  21. Kathy says

    Great post. So many practical suggestions. I’ve been taking my own grocery bags for many years (I leave them in the trunk of my car) but some people just haven’t got into the habit. Since I’m a quilter, I used up old blue jeans to make a grocery bag for my son, who lives right next to the grocery store and lugs them home. Now he has a very large sturdy bag. Then a few months ago I made a fancy reusable grocery bag a wedding gift for the new couple. They loved it and it attacts attention wherever she shops. Just need to get the word out. You guys do a great job of that. Appreciate all the great posts.

  22. Rebecca says

    I love this post! Some of these tips I’ve been doing forever and some of them (like making my own beauty cleaners and cleansers) I’ve been just dabbling into. Finding green and inexpensive alternatives to things we use every day has been so much fun! Awesome post 🙂

      • Betsy Jabs says

        I realized as I read your comment that cotton swabs are my guilty pleasure. I need to work on that one. 🙂 Good luck on your continued efforts to work toward sustainability ladies!

        • Marissa says

          If you use q-tips for cleaning your ears, there are Asian (Chinese, I think, but I bought mine when I studied abroad in South Korea) “ear wax cleaners” that you can get on Amazon. Or in Seoul, South Korea, if you are in the neighborhood 😉

  23. Mary Kay says

    We have been making our own laundry soap for almost a year, canning most of my married life (21 yrs), MOST of the time we have our own grocery bags, I am planning on making some that I can keep in my purse for those little stops at the store, we are slowly eliminating the store cleaning products – basically using up what I have bought. We bought a steam cleaner – a Shark – and it does a great job just using steam to clean! Next on my list is making my own mayo, ketchup and mustard and start reducing the amount of paper towels we use. Now if I could find a way to reduce the TP use in our house I could save some real money (LOL).

    You both are so inspiring! And yes the easiest way to do this is baby steps – one item at a time!

    • Mel says

      Have you heard of “wee wipes” if not look it up. I brought up the idea with my husband as I used cloth nappies for my babies and also use washable sanitary napkins. This seemed to me like just another extension of that, but he is against the idea!

  24. Sarah says

    I’ve brought my own to-go containers to restaurants before. They did not so much as blink when we pulled out our own containers. We began to do it so often (or would forget until we got there), that the wife of the family I lived with at the time, went out and bought a few of the collapsible ones to keep in her purse so that we always had them available. Nowhere did anyone tells us that we had to use their containers; they use less if we bring our own, which could end up in a cost-reduction for them because they are not having to purchase as many. 🙂 My family has also kept our plastic silverware from all types of events; I grew up with them in my lunches at school. It was not as big of a deal if it got thrown away (because they weren’t expensive), but it was definitely encouraged to bring them home and wash them. Me, when I’m living more or less on my own, I just bring my regular flatware in my lunch and wash it when I get home…works for me. 🙂

    • Betsy Jabs says

      Oh, wow! I love the idea of storing a collapsible to-go container in your purse! Solves my main issue of forgetting them each time! And great point about the restaurants benefitting from a cost reduction. Thanks for sharing Sarah!

  25. marla says

    I have been making a good bit of our soaps and cleaners myself and I enjoy it as much as it saves me money. I like not relying on companies to meet my needs. It is actually alot simpler than most might think. I am not paperless yet though. I need to show my husband some of those videos. If he’d get on the bandwagon with me, we would be sustainable in no-time. I would love to make my own ketchup…my daughter and husband eat it on everything. I am currently trying to get a dehydrator and food sealer system, because my space is limited for canning and I hate relying on my freezer. When there is a storm and the power is out, we risk losing it all. I plan on being in a better sustainable position by the first of the year, Lord willing.

    • Betsy Jabs says

      Those are some great goals Marla! I can relate to the freezer issue…we just went away on vacation last month and lost all the meat in our freezer due to a power outage while we were gone. Awful! I’m dying to get a dehydrator…they always look like so much fun!

  26. la says

    I have been green before they even had a name for it. Home canning, sewing making our own clothes, raising our food, recyling old into something new. We made do. Took snacks and drink along when we traveled any where. But your comment on 1 car family would work for townfolks but not for country. We paid our bills, went without and we have been debt free for years. Learn to save and then buy. Pay off your car, continue to put car payment in the bank so then next time you can pay for cash for it.

    • Betsy Jabs says

      Wow, you really are the original “green” family! Congratulations on being debt free! That’s an enormous deal. We’re headed in that direction and just bought our first car with cash.

    • Pam Cooper says

      Me too, la. Although back in my day they called it the ‘back to the land movement’ in the mid 70’s when I first set out on my own. My husband and I realized how our lifestyle’s were changing and decided to make a conscience effort to live simply and walk softly–taking care of our land and being self-sufficient. We rented a big old farmhouse and proceeded to “homestead” –we ground our own meal, raised rabbits, grew a garden, canned, etc . . . We’ve been back and forth over the years, maintaining what we can and what we can’t, we allow our selves the freedom of compromise as needed, but always with the best interest of our health, earth and nature in mind. We seldom eat out – the food just isn’t the same, but we do socialize occasionally and eat out now and then. Most times, we pack our foods and go. It is now routine, simple, easy, healthy and something we will eat. We heat and cook with wood in the colder months. We recycle everything.
      Before that, as a a child, I was raised in small town America which was very agriculturally influenced, almost every body had a garden and babies played with canning rings. Homegrown foods were our norm. We naturally knew about vinegar, and baking soda, we knew about hanging out clothes, and we knew about compost. We walked to school and church. We lived in town, but we had chickens, a dog, a compost pile, a cistern, a well, a grape arbor and a garden. We had close connections to farm life too.

      I am in my mid 50’s and have had some great advantages in learning and embracing a wholesome, down-to-earth natural ways of life over the years.

  27. Marlies says

    I have been doing alot of these suggestions. I just made my own laundry detergent the other day. I started making my own ketchup last year–will not by store bought anymore– you can actually taste the spices in it. I have been canning and preserving for years. I have found out the hard way with God’s help that my body doesn’t like man- made food anymore. I needed to eat more natural and real food like God intended for us to do.

    • Betsy Jabs says

      Amen to that, Marlies! My body always feels so much better when I take time to prepare real food. You’re so right about the homemade ketchup too…the flavors in homemade are no longer overpowered by high fructose corn syrup. 😉

  28. robbie says

    I love this site. In fact I have been making my own detergent for most of this year. I also make my fabric softener and spot remover. Keep it coming.

  29. Carol says

    I’ve been bringing my own bag to the grocery store since the early 90’s. I love L.L Bean boat totes. They hold a lot of groceries and if you get the ones with the long handles, you can carry them like a shoulder bag.

    I have taken my own containers to restaurants. At my favorite restaurant, I put half of my meal in my container before I start eating so I don’t eat as much.

    I’ve tried growing my own food and herbs but I have a brown thumb.

    • Betsy Jabs says

      I’m so glad to hear you’ve taken your own container to restaurants! Matt and I have wanted to do this for a long time, but it requires a little forethought. We always kick ourselves when the bill comes and we realize we forgot containers AGAIN. 😉