Some of you may know that our lives are pretty tame when it comes to smells. Perfum, Old Spice, Gain, and -insert noxious smelly product of choice here- would send Clay’s head spinning, then pounding, and his lungs gasping for air. I had to learn very quickly to cut out any and all smells in my daily routine if I wanted him to be able to come near me – and believe me, I did! Very quickly, my avoidance of these products caused me to develop an intolerance to fragrance as well, and in the recent past it has been more severe for me than for Clay! It was a matter of survival for us to find things to use on a daily basis that wouldn’t make us sick.
Dish soap.
Laundry detergent.
Household cleaners.
Hand soap.
Have you ever stopped to really think about how much all these things smell? A lot, let me tell you.

I have always tried to make relatively responsible decisions when it comes to how I take care of the earth – I serve a great God who handed this ball of land and sea over to us and told us to take care of it, so I take steps where I can to live responsibly and be mindful of my actions. Little things I guess – recycling, driving a fuel efficient vehicle (no Hummer in our household), I don’t know, just basic common sense stuff I think. Most of the things that I do that are good for the earth are also good for the wallet. When you’re on a tight one income budget, you’ve got to pinch pennies.

It’s very fashionable to be “green” these days, what with global warming and all *cough cough, snicker*. You’re making such a cute and responsible fashion statement when you whip out your adorable floral canvas shopping bag at the grocery store, when 5 years ago it just felt awkward to say, “Um, no thanks, I actually brought my own bag.” Of course the bag probably wasn’t cute then. And you would have been considered a hippie.

So for all my scent free products and cleaning schemes, all my recycling and reusable bags, I’ve never really thought of myself as green or crunchy (granola….hippie…..yeah, you get it), it was just the way I did things. If anything I’d describe my actions as cheap, and a lot of it I learned from my mama. Okay let’s not say cheap…um, frugal. Thrifty!

I had a bit of an awakening moment about a month ago when I read this blog post – 40 Ways to Go Greener at Home (Besides Just Recycling). I realized I do about half the things on the list, and most of the others were somewhere on my radar as things to do – most were not news to me. Was I really that green? Did I really live differently than most people? Did most people not do these things? I just assumed they did. (If you read the post, I’m curious if you do some of these things. And let’s just be painfully clear here that I do not believe in justification through recycling and driving a Smart Car! Just so we’re clear.)

My understanding of myself being different continued a few days later as I meandered through Shopper’s Drug Mart. Occasionally I get out of the house by myself, and on these occasions I sometimes like to just browse through a big store like I have all the time in the world. (Without kids along, I really do have all the time in the world! And it’s very quiet…) Alright so this time it was Shopper’s. I start on the far wall – makeup or something, and wander through shampoo, lotion, deodorant, hair dye, perfum (I didn’t wander, I sped past), soap…..I walked through about 4 aisles when it dawned on me – I don’t buy any of this stuff. “Who buys this stuff?!” I wondered. I mean, I’m a normal person, and if I don’t buy it, who would? Ooooooohhhhhhhh. Maybe I’m not as normal as I think I am. It just hit me in a way I have never realized before, how not normal this part of my life is. It also hit me how much money we must save by not buying all this stuff!

It has taken me nearly six years of marriage to be where I am in my ability to manage a household and “I wish that I knew what I know now, when I was younger” (Thanks Rod Stewart, you said it perfectly). Some of it was knowledge gleaned from my mom, some of it was found on the web and in ecofreak books, and and the rest just had to be discovered through a lot of trial, error, and headaches thanks to not being able to find anything to do the job that didn’t stink. I’m different, and that’s okay. And I hope to share some of what I know, so that maybe someone reading this could learn something too.

All those cleaning products under your sink, all the products in your bathroom – you don’t need them. They’re not helping, cleaning, or making life simpler – they are hindering, polluting, and making life more complicated.

6 Responses to “Different”

  1. Lindsay B Says:

    Yay! I agree. I read the blog and none of the 40 things was surprising and I do at least half of them. What dishwasher detergent and sink detergent do you use? I’m having a hard time finding a product I like and that is efficient. ps we should get together again! There’s a homeschooling picnic tomorrow at Blackstrap. Call me if you’re interested?

  2. Angela S Says:

    I generally agree with trying to be environmentally responsible in the way we live, athough I have to say I draw the line at #34 of ’40 tips to go green at home’. It just disturbs me too much.

  3. Jessica B. Says:

    Lindsay, I like 7th Generation Free & Clear dishsoap (Dad’s) and PC Green dishwasher tabs (Superstore).

    Angela, you should check out the Divacup website; it is seriously amazing, cheap, environmentally friendly, comfortable, and cleaner. Everyone I know who has tried it loves it.

  4. Kendall Says:

    Funny. I read it expecting to find myself NOT doing everything on the list. I’m doing a good chunk of them, too. (lol!)
    But Ang: I’m with you on the diva-cup. :)

  5. Kim Says:

    Lindsay, right now I’m just using Clorox Green Works since I can usually find it anywhere I’m shopping (and okay, it’s cheap), and for dishwasher soap I’ve been stuck running to Sobeys for their Compliments stuff because it smells the least of anything I’ve found, so Jessica thank you for the info about PC Green tabs – I am definitely going to check those out!!
    p.s. Linds, I know, we need to hang out! I like you. I don’t know why we don’t hang out more often.
    Ang, Kendall, I know the idea of the Diva Cup is a serious turn off….I felt the same way when I first heard about it. And then the idea just sort of naggled at me and I thought maybe, someday, eventually, I’d try that. After first reading the 40 things list I felt inspired to just go for it and I bought one last month: Jessica is right, it is awesome – I will never go back.

  6. Becky Fehr Says:

    I use the 7th generation dish washer stuff too and it is on sale now and then at ‘Dads’ and was the other day so I loaded up my cart, lol…

    Anyhow, I find it funny too when I go down those isles Kim. Haven’t had cleaning products in the house for years and I love it, so cheep and so none smelly! It seems totally weird to look at all the bottles once you aren’t used to them anymore!

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