Your Natural Home
Creating a cozy hearth for the family

Zero Waste DIYs: 5 Items to Start Making + Stop Buying

One of the first things I made when I went zero waste was DIY toothpaste. To this day, I still follow the same recipe for it. If it’s not broke, don’t fix it, right? But creating one DIY kind of just lead to creating more. I realized, as time passed, there were so many products I had been buying from stores in packaging that I could just whip up at home, package free. Plus, making my own products is always cheaper, not to mention healthier. Often, we don’t realize health of the planet is linked to health of self as well. There are so many zero waste DIYs out there to try, but here are five items to start making and stop buying ASAP to get you started.

There are so many great zero waste DIYs to make! Photo by Nice Tips on Flickr.


As I mentioned earlier, conventional toothpaste was one of the first things I ditched when I went zero waste! You really don’t need to buy toothpaste ever again. You’ll save so much money if you just DIY your own toothpaste instead. Here’s my go-to zero waste toothpaste recipe.


  • 4 tablespoons of coconut oil
  • 3 tablespoons of baking soda
  • 25 drops of peppermint essential oil


  1. Make sure the coconut oil is melted first, then add everything into a bowl. Stir to combine, then transfer to an empty glass jar of your choice. To use, simply dip your toothbrush in and brush your teeth as normal!


I really don’t like packaged deodorant. Not only does it come in wasteful plastic packaging, but it also contains tons of questionable ingredients you shouldn’t be putting on your skin. Make your own zero waste deodorant instead! Here’s the recipe I use and adore. It's nice and creamy!


  • 1-1/2 tablespoons of shea butter
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons of coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoons of baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon of arrowroot powder
  • 20 drops of lavender essential oil
  • 20 drops of lemon essential oil


  1. Place the shea butter and coconut oil into a bowl. Heat it up in a microwave or over a double boiler so it’s fully melted.
  2. Mix in the arrowroot powder and baking soda. Make sure to combine everything thoroughly, as it should form an off-white, liquid paste that resembles pancake batter.
  3. Add the essential oils of your choice and mix it together.
  4. Then, pour your mixture into a small glass jar and store in the fridge for 20 minutes, or until it hardens. To use, just scoop some onto your finger and smear it under your pits.


Mouthwash comes in this huge plastic container. Plus, the liquid inside of it is a very bright artificial neon color that can’t be good for you, or the environment once it heads down the drain. Talk about water pollution! I recommend making the switch to a much safer and eco-friendly alternative – zero waste mouthwash! It’s ridiculously easy to make, and you can just store it in a glass bottle of some sort. Bonus points if it’s a glass jar you emptied and re-purposed!


  • 1 cup of distilled (boiled) water
  • 1 tablespoon of baking soda
  • 5-10 drops of peppermint essential oil


  1. Boil some water over the stove, then remove from heat and allow to cool.
  2. Using a funnel, pour the water into your chosen jar. Now add the baking soda using the funnel for the least mess. Add the essential oil too.
  3. Cap your jar and give it a good shake to combine the ingredients together. For a stronger mouthwash, consider adding some more peppermint essential oil. Use as you would regular mouthwash – swish it around your mouth for a minute or so, then spit it down the drain.

All-Purpose Cleaner

Most cleaning products are packaged in plastic and contain hazardous ingredients. Not sure about you, but whenever I get a whiff of bleach it’s enough to make my throat sore and irritated. Plus, when cleaners go down the drain, they contaminate our waterways. It’s better off for your health, your wallet, and the environment to switch to green cleaning products. Big name brands will convince you to use 20 different products, but all you really need are a select few amazing ones. My personal favorite is orange peel vinegar cleaner – it acts like an all-purpose cleaner you can use on just about any surface. Plus, it helps you give orange peels a second life before tossing them into the compost.


  • Orange peels (from multiple oranges)
  • White vinegar (enough to cover orange peels in jar)
  • Water
  • 10 – 20 drops of citrus essential oils (lemon or orange - optional)


  1. Eat a few oranges (maybe 3 or 4), making sure to save the peels.  Stuff them into a mason jar (the size of it is totally up to you, and depends on how many orange peels you have), then cover them with white vinegar. Secure the lid nice and tight, then store your infusion somewhere cool and dark (like a sink cupboard) for two to three weeks. This will infuse the vinegar with the oranges.
  2. After infusion, strain the orange peels and compost them. You’re left with the infused vinegar. In a glass spray bottle, fill less than half of the bottle with the infused vinegar, the rest with water. You can add essential oils if you choose to help capitalize on the citrus scent – I recommend orange or lemon essential oil. Cap the bottle and use the spray to clean just about any surface!

Vegetable Broth

Are you one of those people still buying vegetable broth in a package? Stop what you’re doing right now! You don’t have to waste another cent on that. You have everything you need at home to make your own vegetable broth using food scraps. That’s right, you heard me: Food scraps. Believe it or not, things like carrot peels, the ends of celery stalks, and onion skins can all help you make a delicious vegetable broth for free. All you need to do is save up your scraps as you make them, then once you have enough, make some veggie stock! It helps to know which vegetables are best for making stock with though (different veggies make different flavored stock). Here are some vegetables to consider saving that will always yield a yummy broth: Carrots, celery, onions, garlic, shallots, mushrooms, herbs, bell pepper, scallions, leeks and parsnips. Save any skin or ends from these veggies to make your broth!


  • Water
  • Food scraps


  1. Add the food scraps into a large pot and then add water. Don’t completely cover the scraps because they’ll shrink over time.
  2. Keep the heat on low and simmer for about half an hour to an hour. The longer you leave it, the more potent the broth will be.
  3. Next, set a strainer inside a big bowl and pour the scraps and broth inside. The strainer will catch the food scraps.
  4. Using a mason jar and funnel, pour the broth into the glass jars of your choice for storage. If you intend on freezing it, make sure you leave enough head space at the top so it can expand without cracking the jar.
  5. Compost the leftover soggy food scraps.

These are only a few of my favorite zero waste DIYs. There are so many more to try! That said, these are great to help start your zero waste journey.

You’ll find that lots of things can be made from scratch you never thought could. For example, did you know powdered sugar is literally just regular sugar blended up inside a blender? You can easily make that at home, along with tons of other things like body lotion, ketchup, peanut butter, nut milk and so much more. The possibilities are endless.

Just don’t get stressed out if you can’t DIY everything yourself. While the zero waste community certainly does encourage you to make things from scratch, it’s also totally okay to support small, ethical businesses when you can’t make it yourself.

Also, try to find the ingredients needed to make these DIYs as package free as possible. Be sure to check your local bulk food store to get ingredients like baking soda, arrowroot powder and shea butter package free in your own jars. Essential oils and vinegar can be found in glass containers relatively easily, making them easy to recycle or reuse at the end of their life.

Browse Mother Earth Living's natural beauty and green cleaning content to find more simple, natural DIY recipes. Which zero waste DIY will you try first?

5 Great Ways to Create Dream Bedroom on A Budget

Your bedroom is your personal space. Therefore, it is always prim and proper for you to have it reorganized and revamped from time to time.

Designing your bedroom is a seemingly lofty idea. After all, the cost of major structural renovations is not something that you can shrug off. Fortunately, this option is not the only route that you can take when it comes to bedroom beautification.

Even if your finances are low, there are still some brilliant methods to improve the aesthetics and ergonomics of your bedroom. Here, I am going to teach you five ways to create the dream bedroom on a budget. Let's get started.

1. Organize First

You cannot make any bedroom improvements without organizing it first. It is recommended by many interior designers to keep your home free from any semblance of chaos and mismanagement.

Your bedroom should not be a breeding ground of clutter and rubbish. You can't let this happen. And if it already did, now is the time to correct it.

You should set a time where you can go through all parts of the bedroom. Check your dresser, closet, cabinets, and shelves. Vanquish anything that should not be there in the first place.

Furthermore, you need to make sure that you can make your bedroom squeaky clean. Try to purge every hint of dust and rubbish there. By doing this, you have more visual freedom for bedroom innovations.

If you worry about storage space, it is a good idea that you invest in storage beds. They can provide the extra compartments that you need so that you can reorganize your stuff.

You can check out this video that can help you on how to organize your bedroom as cleanly as possible.

2. Make Use of Your Existing Amenities

One of the most common misconceptions regarding home improvement is that it requires a massive overhauling. People usually think that this process will need you to purchase a new set of furniture and other related items. Fortunately, that's not really the case.

From a frugal perspective, regularly replacing your household items will incur you with a lot of deficits. In the case of a bedroom, some individuals assume that means all its components from time to time. You don't want to do this, especially if you are conscious about your budget.

A dream bedroom does not equate to a complete makeover. You can always retain the existing elements in your room. The only thing that you need to do is to reorganize them and create a new arrangement for them to look new again.

For instance, you can always keep all your decorations when redesigning. Meanwhile, you can freely change the paint and your bed amenities.

At this point, getting new bed decors is an allowable idea. You can get unique and aesthetically appealing throw pillows that can match your ideal bedroom design. If you are interested in these pillows, click here for more details.

3. Be Creative in Painting

Of all the design approaches, painting provides the most impact. Depending on the color and quality of your paint, you can actually improve the ambiance and mood of your space. After all, the colors have their individual traits that can impact the overall aesthetics where they are applied.

Part of your dream bedroom is the selection of proper paint color. There's really a good chance that you are dissatisfied with the current setup of your bedroom because its paint is old already. Luckily, you can always transform it in no time with a simple painting job.

Now, the most appealing thing about re-painting your bedroom is its affordability. High-quality paints are not that expensive. And since you are only painting your bedroom, there's no need for you to purchase a lot of cans to complete the job.

Moreover, the tools that are required to do this job are all affordable. At this point, you should have realized already that the painting job has to be done by you. Of course, if you want to save money, you need to do all the designing by yourself.

Here's a video guide with more tips for home painting.

4. Improve the Lighting

Aside from the paint, one of the leading causes of a poorly designed bedroom is the lighting. While it might sound absurd, lighting affects the overall mood of your space. Therefore, it is necessary that you pay attention to every light source that is present in your bedroom.

Make it too dim, and your bedroom loses the opportunity to showcase its beauty. Make it too bright, and it will no longer be conducive to support sleep and repose. You need to strike a perfect balance here to ensure that your space becomes attractive and soothing to the eyes.

Changing the arrangement of your light fixtures can help address this issue. You can also change the intensity and color of your light bulbs to create a certain feeling or ambiance.

Keep in mind that you can install overhead lighting. Doing this will make your room appear larger. This is a perfect idea for those that have small bedrooms.

5. Be A Minimalist

You see, being a minimalist is a great idea when it comes to creating your dream space. There's nothing wrong with this approach. Gone are the days where you need to invest in a lot of fixtures and accent pieces to make your room useful.

Of course, minimalism is not just a byproduct of a trend in bedroom architecture. This kind of approach is being preferred by many house designers because it maximizes the use of space without making anyone feel so constricted.

Your bedroom can benefit from a minimalist approach. It helps you remove the excess clutter that shouldn't be there in the first place. You will realize that your space only needs less to look appealing to the eyes.

Keeping the sleeping amenities and few essentials are already enough to enhance the aesthetics of your bedroom. Moreover, fewer items mean less expenditure on your part. It is a win-win situation, right?

We all have ideals when it comes to our dream bedroom. But if there's a specific limitation on how much we can spend, we need to adjust our expectations. But at the same time, being frugal doesn't compromise your attempt to beautify your personal space!

That's it for now. If you have questions or suggestions, feel free to drop them in the comment section below.

DIY Garden Shed

In our part of the Midwest, spring has lingered, and we’re so grateful. There’s been no rush into the hot and humid days of high summer as in years past. We’ve had light rains, pleasant blue skies, and nighttime temperatures in the 40’s. In fact the weather’s been so chilly, we invited friends over for a bonfire and s’mores…not a typical June get-together!

Even though spring has been fair and cool, it’s been a time of doing and enjoying, and the extraordinary sunlit days have been just right for gardening. The vegetables and herb plants are in, along with some new perennials and colorful annuals. It’s been a fine time to enjoy simple country pleasures.

Along with gardening, comes time to pull much-needed tools from the barn…hoes, rakes, watering cans, hoses, each in a variety of shapes and sizes…you know the drill. And each year they’re tucked into a metal hose holder that becomes so full it ends up leaning against the lilac bush that sits by the garden.  This summer, it was time for a change.

I needed a garden shed; nothing too big, nothing too fancy, but something that would be just right for the tools I need every day. I decided to look through the barn…there are always hidden gems in a barn from a farm built in 1864.  Tucked in the corn cribs are lots of screen doors, windows, and wooden doors. Then I began putting the pieces together…hadn’t I seen a shed made from old doors somewhere? I began pulling out doors, corrugated metal from the old barn roof, scrap pieces of wood and so the plans for a shed began.

Here’s what we started with…to some, not worth keeping, but to me, worth their weight in gold. Old, chippy doors full of character…just what I wanted. Now to get started!


While I wish I’d taken pictures during the put-together, truly, you’ll be able to look it over and make your own. There’s no right or wrong…do whatever you like!

For me, I only wanted three doors…I’d keep it an open shed with no closing front door, this would keep access to tools quick & easy. Three hinges were spaced evenly apart on each side of the center door to make attaching each side door simple.

I didn’t want a floor either…again, my goal was to keep this a quick & easy project. Once the doors were hinged together, it was easy to set them in place.  Now for the roof…I was lucky, the center door was shorter than the other two, so it would be ideal for water runoff when a roof was added.



Some scrap wood was cut to rest on the tops of the side doors, angled to be lower in the back and then screwed securely into place.  Another piece was added across the front and back, meeting the angled pieces, so the roof would have a secure resting place.  To complete the roof, corrugated metal roofing that had been removed from our barn was used  (I knew it would come in handy some day!)  The metal was cut to fit, then screwed to the pieces of wood. The shed was complete!


I couldn’t wait to add some garden finds I had tucked away…hooks to hold smaller hanging tools, a garden shed sign I’d found at our local feed store, and a vintage dustpan I’d filled with flowers.  A raised panel easily became a shelf after adding L brackets to the back center door for it to rest on, and I was done. 

I love it! It’s ideal for corralling the tools I use most, and maybe more importantly, it makes me smile!

Mary is a Midwest farm girl who will tell you, “I love simple, old-fashioned ways. For me, it’s the country pleasures that mean the most ... tying on an apron for Sunday dinner, barn sales & auctions, farmers' markets, county fairs, porch swings, and slow train rides. Add to these the laughter of children, and I couldn't be happier!” You can visit Windy Meadows Farm here, Windy Meadows Farm.

The Importance of Using Natural Cleaning Products

Corporations have spent millions of dollars and many years of research to provide consumers with products that effectively create sterile environments. Although effective, are they truly to our benefit? Sure, window cleaners that remove grime and don’t leave streaks are helpful, but are they safe?

If you were left alone in a small room with no ventilation with window cleaner rich in ammonia, it would literally burn holes in your lungs over time. Research has found the chemicals present in popular cleaning products have the ability to cause headaches, disrupt our endocrine system and possess carcinogenic properties that can lead to cancer. It is becoming increasingly clear that using natural cleaning products is the only sure way to avoid these health issues occurring within your own home.

eco-friendly cleaners
Photo by eskay lim/

Danger to Children and Pets

Large cleaning supply companies have also learned how to best market to consumers using certain colors and fonts in their labeling, designing appealing packaging and using variously shaped bottles. This can be dangerous in our homes when our children or pets find them to also be appealing and misuse them.

According to a study published by the journal “Pediatrics,” more than 17,000 children under the age of 6 were seriously ill after ingesting colorful laundry pods between 2012 and 2013. Ingesting things like laundry pods can result in infant or animal fatalities that could have been prevented by only using natural cleaning products. If you do use harsh chemicals in your cleaning products, be sure to store them away in a cabinet not easily accessed by children or curious animals.

In further consideration of children, when you use harsh chemicals to clean your home, they are emitted into the air your children breathe. They are known as volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and can cause respiratory issues to those who inhale them, including you. When you use aerosols and conventional cleaning products you are polluting the air within your home. Hopefully, as cleaning companies continue to evolve, VOCs will be eliminated, but for now, are something we all need to be aware of.

The Future of Cleaning Products

The Food and Drug Administration just came out with reports about how the overuse of antibacterial soaps make us less resilient to bacteria as the bacteria become more resistant over time. It’s similar to the overuse of antibiotics and the generation of superbugs as bacteria evolve to outlive the prescriptions that were once effective.

Implementing the use of natural cleaning products in your home helps to reduce the growth of superbugs and protects your personal health as well. Be sure to be an educated consumer and not fall for products that greenwash their marketing in an attempt to appear more eco-friendly than they are.

Read the ingredients and be sure to watch out for the following chemicals:

  • Butyl cellosolve — Suspected carcinogen
  • Nonylphenol ethoxylate — Endocrine disruptor
  • Chlorinated phenols or chlorophenols — Toxic to respiratory and circulatory systems and suspected carcinogen
  • Glycol ethers (including diethylene glycol and 2-butoxyethanol) — Negatively affects liver and kidneys
  • Formaldehyde — Irritates the respiratory system and suspected carcinogen
  • Benzene — Causes damage to the nervous system and linked to leukemia
  • Butane — Toxic to the brain and nervous system

Although products may advertise “all natural” or “eco-this or that,” they often still include one of the chemicals listed above, just in smaller amounts. There is nothing that legally prevents a company from using creative marketing techniques to disguise themselves as something other than what they truly are.

Implement Natural Options

When in doubt, making your own homemade cleaning products will ensure you know exactly what is in the product you are using. It also empowers you to make sound decisions for you and your household by thinking twice before spraying down your kitchen counters with just any cleaning solution.

Creating a natural cleaning supply list is inexpensive and simple to do, once you have the materials. Purchase or repurpose a few spray bottles and clearly label them for their intended product. This ensures you don’t have to whip up a new batch of cleanser every time there is a spill in the kitchen.  

Some items to always keep on hand for cleaning purposes are:

  • Fresh lemons — natural disinfectant and deodorizer
  • White vinegar — natural disinfectant
  • Salt — natural abrasive
  • Baking soda — natural abrasive and deodorizer
  • Olive oil — natural polishing agent and adhesive remover
  • Castile soap or an all-natural liquid soap — natural degreaser
  • Essential oils — natural scents

You can even make your own cleaning materials, such as pre-moistened dust cloths. Returning to the ways our grandmothers used to keep a household clean is a mantra to keep in mind. Generations before us found ways to manage their households with simple, natural products, and we can work to do the same for our homes and families, now.

Necessary Ranch Salve

My husband and I have a lot in common. First of all, we love living out away from town. We also love animals especially dogs, horses, and barn cats. We love road trips and Mexican food. Another thing we share are mysterious bumps and bruises, scrapes and cuts. Every week, as we work around the place, we come up with bumps and bruises, scrapes and cuts and a lot of the time we have no idea how we got them! I guess we are so focused on what we are doing at the time that we don’t notice when we get some minor ding.

Next thing you know we’re in the kitchen and looking at our arms, for example, and wondering how that got there! It’s not that we’re accident prone. Well, maybe we are but we are only small accident prone. When we went to see the dermatologist recently he told us that plain old Vaseline works best on minor stuff and we were not to use antibiotic ointment. Imagine that! I decided to make my own salve as I am not in favor of petroleum products no matter how recommended they are by the good, ole doctor!


Here’s my concoction:

Fairfield Ranch Salve

Makes 4 ounces


  • 1/4 cup beeswax - grated
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp. shea butter
  • 2 Tbsp. honey
  • 1 vitamin E capsule (400 IU)
  • 6 drops lavender essential oil


  • Measuring cups (I use stainless steel because you can pour boiling soapy water on them afterwards making it easier to clean the beeswax out)
  • Measuring spoons (same thing- stainless steel)
  • Double boiler (it’s very helpful if the top pan has a spout)
  • Small bowl (I use Pyrex custard cups. They are also easy to clean afterwards by pouring boiling soapy water on them.)
  • Straight pin
  • 4-ounce jar (glass or plastic – either is fine)
  • Wooden stick (I use hibachi skewers)



Melt the beeswax, olive oil and shea butter in top of double boiler. You can use a microwave but I feel that’s harder to control because you can’t see what’s happening. If you do use a microwave go for small increments of time. It would be unpleasant to have to clean melted beeswax off the inside of your oven. Start out at short intervals until it melts.


Turn off the heat and leave the mixture in the pot to stay warm and melted. Put honey in small bowl. Drizzle 2 teaspoons of the melted beeswax mixture in to the honey and stir together. Stir until it becomes creamy. It will start to solidify so don’t delay in stirring it. If you delay you may find that there are small lumps and it won’t be 100% smooth. Now add the mixture to the rest of the beeswax mixture in the pot and blend. It won’t blend very well because the olive oil is resistant. Just do your best. When you pour it into the small bowl near the end there will be an opportunity to cream it.



Poke a pin in the small end of a capsule of vitamin E and squeeze it into the mixture. Add the essential oil and mix as best you can. Now pour it into a small bowl and let it sit for a minute. It will start to solidify. After a minute or two while it’s still warm, cream the mixture. Once it’s creamed, spoon it into small jars and cool. Cover with a lid. This is good for minor scrapes, cuts, rashes, insect stings, mild sunburn, etc. The honey has anti-microbial properties and the vitamin E is good for your skin.

Clean up: Put all your utensils in the pot, squirt dishwashing liquid in and pour boiling water over all. It should be easily cleaned this way.

Eco-Friendly Plumbing Tips

When trying to be environmentally conscious, it is important to figure out how to do so in as many aspects of your life as possible. Recycling certainly helps the world at large, but there are other ways that you can reduce any negative impacts your home might have on the environment. While energy-efficient bulbs and appliances are widely available and easy to install, the plumbing in a home is an often overlooked area that can be made more eco-friendly.

Maintenance Prevents Damage

Replacing plumbing fixtures is often expensive, and the longer that you’re able to extend the life of any plumbing fixtures or pipes, the less environmental impact you’ll have. Not only will performing regular maintenance help to keep your plumbing in working order for years to come, it reduces greenhouse gases involved in producing and shipping new plumbing hardware. Extending the life of your plumbing through regular maintenance also puts more green into your wallet, which is the icing on the cake.


Maintaining your plumbing isn’t all too difficult, as long as you remember to regularly check to make sure the faucets aren’t leaking and the toilet isn’t running. A leaky faucet or running toilet may not seem like the end of the world, but all those little drips add up to a whole lot of wasted water. In the wintertime, it is important to winterize your pipes to prevent them from bursting, which can lead to water damage requiring costly repairs.

If you do end up having to replace any of your bathroom fixtures, give your bathroom a boost by investing in a low gallon-per-flush toilet is the way to go. Not only are these toilets much more efficient and environmentally friendly, but they can save you hundreds of dollars on your water bill over the course of a year. Additionally, you can install a shower head shut-off button which allows you to stop the flow of water while you lather up, saving gallons of water in the process.

Keep Sustainability in Mind

When trying to improve your home with the environment in mind, going for the most sustainable options possible is a must. Around the globe, civil engineers are improving sustainability with plastic roads, vertical farming, and innovative ways to harvest rainwater. Though you’d be hard pressed to convince your HOA to install plastic roads, using a rain barrel to water your plants is a great, environmentally conscious way to conserve water without spending all too much.

Getting the most out of your plumbing can actually tackle two problems at once. While resting water cools relatively rapidly after it exits the water heater and waits in the pipes, installing a recirculating system keeps warm water ready to go without it cooling down. This means that you won’t have to wait for your shower to heat up, which can save you loads of water. Additionally, you can use the radiant heat from the pipes in the walls to keep your bathroom toasty warm all year round.

If you need to upgrade your water filtration system, note that new systems may take more than just pollutants out of your water; they can also remove essential nutrients like calcium and magnesium. While this may seem trivial, it can have an impact on your well-being over the long term. Some home water filtration products are designed to re-introduce an essential mineral balance into your water, keeping your water clean as well as healthy to drink.

The world at large recognizes the need for sustainable, eco-friendly plumbing solutions. The market for eco-friendly plumbing fixtures is booming internationally, and soon it will become the standard for all new construction to implement these environmentally conscious fixtures. As a consumer, this means that the availability of eco-friendly and sustainable plumbing solutions are quickly becoming widely available. In the future, you won’t have to search too hard to find a system that works for you.

Get Creative

One of the main tenets of the concept of green plumbing is the reduction in overall usage of water. The kitchen and the bathroom are the two areas in a home in which the most water is wasted. While installing efficient fixtures and appliances certainly helps, changing your habits and getting creative with how you conserve water will make the biggest difference. Shorter, cooler showers, turning off the faucet while you brush your teeth, and not allowing the faucet to run when you wash dishes or produce is a great place to start.

There are some truly ingenious ways that you can save water each and every day. Consider buying a dedicated “shower bucket” for your bathroom to place under the tap to collect the cold water while you wait for it to warm up. This is a proven effective method of conserving water in areas affected by drought. You can then use this water to water your garden or even to flush the toilet. While it isn’t the most pleasant of methods, not flushing after every time you use the bathroom unless it is absolutely necessary can also save gallons of water.

Always try to do full loads of laundry and dishes to maximize the effectiveness of the water that you’re using. Another inventive way to save water in the bathroom is to place a water displacement device into the tank on your toilet. While a brick is often recommended, they can break down over time and fill your pipes with damaging sediment, so a half-gallon jug filled with water is generally a wiser way to go about it.

All in all, as long as you’re making the conscious decision to try and use the bare minimum amount of water, you’ll be doing mother nature a huge favor. Supplementing these changes with water-efficient appliances, pipes, and fixtures only compounds the good that you’ll be doing. Saving water means saving the planet, and with a little knowledge on your side, it doesn’t have to be difficult.

Our Life is Real Life

Ten years ago, I was arriving home from the hospital from the birth of my second baby, a son. My husband drove us, with our 21-month-old daughter strapped in next to her new brother. We were a family of four, huddled down for the winter in Wisconsin, on our farm. As soon as we were settled in the house, Andy headed out the door to feed our hens and sheep and cattle. The sheep and cows were expectant mothers as well. In a few months we would have the delight of lambing season upon us. At the same time, our Holstein and Milking Shorthorn heifers would start to freshen (give birth) and we would become dairy farmers.

garden and windmill in fog
Photo by Rebekah Sell

I look back at that time and give a deep sigh. It’s both fatiguing to think of all we did at once and bittersweet to know it is no more. We tried for three exhausting, yet rewarding years to take over my parents’ farm, but in the end, my dad just wasn’t ready to quit.

We left the farm in order to save our relationship with my parents.

In doing so, our little family entered a sort of wilderness. We had little direction and didn’t know what God had for our lives. In the midst of that, we added two more boys to our family, moved five times and went through six job changes. It turns out, we had a lot to learn about ourselves, about relationships and more growth of character than I ever could have imagined that day, that day I held my second baby for the first time.

rebekah's children
Photo by Rebekah Sell

In 2013, we had an opportunity to buy a small house on seven acres of land. It was right across the street from our farm, the family farm, which is still in Dad’s hands. Ever since we returned to the country, we work tirelessly on creating a home out of our little space. We work diligently to raise our four children in the way they should go. We double down on what we have, instead of longing for things we don’t.

As our path continues to unfold, we’d love to share it with you: all the love, the successes, the failures, the pain. Because our story is about Real Life...and I know yours is too.

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Mother Earth LivingWelcome to Mother Earth Living, the authority on green lifestyle and design. Each issue of Mother Earth Living features advice to create naturally healthy and nontoxic homes for yourself and your loved ones. With Mother Earth Living by your side, you’ll discover all the best and latest information you want on choosing natural remedies and practicing preventive medicine; cooking with a nutritious and whole-food focus; creating a nontoxic home; and gardening for food, wellness and enjoyment. Subscribe to Mother Earth Living today to get inspired on the art of living wisely and living well.

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