With the risk of sounding dramatic, a few years ago I read a book that changed my life. It’s what influenced me to quit my job and backpack for 5 months around South America with my husband, become a stay-at-home mom and start my own business, and make changes to live more sustainably and make eco-friendly jewelry.
As a mom, it’s important to me to do what I can to make the earth a cleaner, better place for my daughter and her future children.
I’m not perfect by any means. However, I genuinely believe every little thing counts, and we can all take tiny steps to live a more eco-friendly lifestyle.
There are so many ways to be environmentally friendly, and I chose 10 easy switches I made over the years. Many of these eco-friendly living tips also have the added benefits of saving you money in the long run and are better for the health of you and your loved ones.
10 simple changes I’ve made to live a more eco-friendly lifestyle
For your convenience, this post contains affiliate links. You can read my full disclosure to learn more.
Get books from the library
I’m an avid reader — I read on average 3-4 books per month. I used to purchase the vast majority of the books I read, but now I now get about 95% of the books I read from the library. (I still on occasion purchase books that really speak to me or I want to have on hand for reference.)
Use dryer balls in my laundry
People often use dryer sheets to counteract static electricity, but they contain some nasty chemicals that are bad for both you and the environment. Plus, you use them once and then you throw them away. Instead, I use wool dryer balls, which have the same effect on preventing static electricity without the added chemicals and they are reusable!
Make my own cleaning supplies
It’s super easy to make your own eco-friendly cleaning supplies using products you already have at home. You only need a few key ingredients, all of which I can guarantee you can pronounce.
Hold onto gift bags
Instead of buying gift wrap, I hold onto gift bags when someone in my family receives a present and save it for future use. I also collect the tissue paper in a bin in my daughter’s art corner for her to use for her art projects.
Carry reusable grocery bags
I’m a huge fan of reusable bags that fold up small. I always have 1-2 on hand in my purse that I can pull if I buy something that won’t fit in my giant purse.
Use reusable water bottle
I rarely go anywhere with my trusty Kleen Kanteen insulated stainless steel water bottle. I just fill it up each morning before I leave with cold tap water. Besides spending money on disposable plastic water bottles, it also keeps my water cold all day. (I once filled it with ice and water, and the next day the ice was still there!)
Use cloth napkins and towels
While I haven’t gone 100% green here, I mostly use cloth towels for cleaning (along with my homemade cleaner), wiping up spills, and drying my hands. For most meals we have some pretty, no-frills linen napkins that I purchased at a craft show. (You can also find a nice selection on Etsy!) I just toss them in my laundry basket with my clothes when they need to be washed.
Shower less frequently
This one might be a big jump for some, but unless I work up a sweat or go for a swim, I usually shower every three days. It took my hair a little while to adjust and not look greasy by day two, but nothing a little dry shampoo can’t help. I will admit I tend to take really hot showers, which is not the most sustainable thing, but one step at a time!
Donate or sell unwanted items
Sometimes it’s so tempting to just chuck something I no longer need, but as long as it is functional to some degree, even for upcyling purposes it, I either give it away or sell it. Freecycle is a fantastic resource for giving away things I no longer want or need, as well as donating items to Goodwill or selling them through Craigslist.
Switched to green beauty products
There are so many nasty chemicals in the products we put on our skin, which are bad for both us and the environment. Over the years I have switched to products that are better for both, starting first with body wash and lotions, then switching hair products, deodorant, and makeup. (My one area I still need to work on is nail polish!)
That said, it can be really overwhelming to know what products are safe and which ones to avoid. That’s why I’m excited to participate in this FREE 5-day Clean Beauty Challenge with organic beauty & eco-friendly living expert, Kelly Bonanno.
And if you’re looking to go even more in-depth, be sure to check her course, The Savvy Girl’s Guide to Organic Beauty. It’s a value-packed online course that teaches you exactly how to ease the transition to a non-toxic beauty and personal care routine without the overwhelm.
What changes have you made to live a more eco-friendly lifestyle?