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At Home with Plant People, Climate
Hack #1: Reusable Rags
Messes are a BIG part of life with a kid, and the thought of not having paper towels around is more than some parents can bear. But making the change from paper towels to rags is an easy one! Two years ago, we decided one day that we were going to go cold turkey and stop buying paper towels and we haven’t regretted that decision. From industrial pre-made rags to cute Etsy finds to cut up towels or old clothes, purchasing or making rags is a pretty simple change that can help to keep one use paper towels out of landfills. We are fortunate enough to have a washer and dryer but if you don’t, keeping rags just for water spills and then letting them air dry can be a small step that saves a lot of waste!
Hack #2: Making Your Own Cleaning Supplies
Chemicals and kids never mix well so creating your own cleaning spray with a couple of household items is easy AND cost effective. White Vinegar makes such a great cleaning agent and it is easy to acquire. I like to add a couple of drops of essential oil for a brighter smell right into the spray bottle. For added eco-friendliness, you can also allow fruit rinds to marinate in the vinegar in a jar for several weeks before pouring it into a spray bottle. Cubby loves to clean so it feels good knowing he can spray down a whole table without worrying how that might affect him.
Hack #3: Reusing Glass Jars
Once you are a parent, you basically become a glorified snack holder! It’s hard to get away from plastic baggies and some reusable containers on the market can be quite expensive. We started using jars for snacks since they are durable and we have so many! To make them more kid friendly, peeling the labels off and allowing Cubby to decorate them is a good trick. Cubby loves to pick just the right one for his snacks each morning based on how they are decorated! For tough, stuck on labels, soaking them in warm and soapy water for a bit can be helpful. While any glass jar will work, we’ve found that the Plant People bottles are the perfect size for little hands with an easy to twist off top.
HACK #4: Found Materials for Seedlings
Gardening seems to be something that every child has an interest in. While I don’t have much of a green thumb, Cubby has taught me a thing or two about patience and care for plants. We don’t have much of a yard so one way we use our imaginations is to look for found items to plant seedlings in. We’ve used jars, the bottom half of toilet paper rolls, and our latest find was this mochi container! Cubby checking in on his “plant babies” every day to see how they are growing is something I really enjoy witnessing.
HACK #5: Previously Owned Toys
This one is something that gets overlooked a lot but is such an important one! It was a goal of mine when I became a parent to not create waste via Cubby’s things. We have been so fortunate to have a full playroom of hand me down toys, borrowed toys, or gently worn toys purchased from our favorite local kids consignment shop, The Green Bean. We also routinely rotate with friends toys that we have that they are interested in. This can be a good way to try out toys that we aren’t sure about or pass along toys that we’ve moved on from. Facebook Buy Nothing groups can also be a great way to get bigger items like toddler sized tables or toy chests. I love the added idea that swapping with friends or buying used is something that Cubby will be aware of and hopefully continue practicing when he gets older!
Lauren Archer is a birthworker and lactation specialist that lives in Los Angeles with her husband, Eric, their child Cubby, and their dog Mimi. She spends her days educating and advocating for families of all kinds, as well as putting together Lego creations that she unfortunately steps on later.