Sustainable Home

5 Ways to Make 2022 More Sustainable

As we come to a close of 2021 and look to 2022 and all that it will hold, it is easy to become overwhelmed and worried.

Did I create too much waste this year? Can we afford that eco-friendly item? Can I quit my job, move into the woods with my husband and dog, have a library, and bake all day? (Ok, that one might be more specific to me.)

Sustainability is important in every aspect of our lives, even- or especially- our mental wellbeing. You can’t make wise decisions regarding the environment or our homes if you are not well mentally.

I don’t know about you, but I could use a little help in the mental health department. It’s hard living day to day when you don’t have anything to look forward to. (Cabin in the woods, I’m looking at you.)

Luckily, my mom is quite wise and told me this when we last visited: Goals help you feel accomplished and motivated. It gives you something to look forward to.

Instead of dreading work and envying other people and what they have… Why not find things to work on where you are now?

We can start at the most basic level- maybe you want to keep a plant alive because you have a brown thumb. Read an article on it and put it in a place where you see it regularly. (You might be surprised how easy it is to keep a Pothos alive.) Or you can start saving for that trip to England that you have always wanted to go on.

These goals, no matter how big or small, give us perspective. They help us see our improvement and help us focus on the positive in life.

If you are struggling to find goals or aren’t sure where to start, I compiled a list for you! Some are big and some are small. Just start where you feel comfortable! As you continue to make and complete goals, your comfort zone will grow- maybe you will even step outside of it a few times!

1. Go for a 10-minute walk every day. It can be around the block, in the mountains, or to your local grocery store. It will help improve your mood and you get a little exercise and sunshine! (Pro Tip: If you can bring a furry friend along, it will only make it more fun!)

2. Try a new recipe every month. This will not only introduce you to new flavors and cuisines, but it will help you learn to cook or bake better. I am always trying to learn new things in the kitchen! Joshua Weissman or Ann Reardon are both great content creators on Youtube that teach food science and how to make recipes.

3. Spend less time on electronics. I know I struggle with this one. Since I make this blog, I am always looking for new ideas and inspiration from social media. However, I am coming to realize that I don’t need to compare my progress or blog to anyone else. It is uniquely me! I am not putting a time limit on this one because we all have different jobs and lives and we can assess our electronic usage ourselves.

4. Try a new hobby every 3 months. It doesn’t have to be expensive or time-consuming. You could thrift a bird-watching book and learn more about your local birds. You could learn how to weave a blanket on a loom. The sky is your limit! Trying a new hobby every 3 months means you will learn FOUR new tasks this year! Learning and working on our skills is always a worthy pursuit.

5. Find something you are grateful for and write it down. Every day. I promise it will help you feel less envious of the YouTuber living their dream life in the Washington forest. (Is this me projecting again? Yeah… Yes, it is. Oops. I need this list more than I thought.)

While this list can’t promise that your 2022 experience will be perfect, it will definitely help you feel better about yourself and what you have. I will be referring to this list regularly to remind myself of all the good in the world.

Best of wishes for the new year, and remember that the best goals are the ones you take one step at a time.

Sustainable Home, Uncategorized

5 Tips for a More Sustainable Home

Sustainability is a broad topic that involves so many things! There are so many ways to live a sustainable life, and doing so generally grows your skills- i.e. making jam by buying local produce, growing a garden, or becoming a beekeeper.

Of course, being sustainable isn’t always easy- or cheap. But here are a few simple swaps you can implement without emptying your wallet!

  1. Switch from plastic toothbrushes to bamboo. There are so many brands on the internet for varying price ranges. You can usually find bamboo toothbrushes for the same price as plastic toothbrushes. We found 8 bamboo toothbrushes on Amazon for around $8. Sounds pretty good, right?!
Kitchen hand soap from The Spirit Goat in a hard wood soap holder.

2. Use bar soap instead of liquid soap. Of course, this is a personal preference, but I think bar soap lasts longer and treats my hands better than most liquid hand soap. I highly recommend finding a small company that makes soap locally or online. We love our Spirit Goat soap here in Cache Valley!

Flowers from The Willow Farm here in Cache Valley.

3. Find joy in what you have. It’s easy to get caught up in social media and what everyone else is doing. Just because a famous person on Instagram has a certain shirt, or home, or job, doesn’t mean you need those things too to live a fulfilling life. This is something I have been working on lately. Having gratitude for what we have and the opportunities in our lives makes life much better! (And cheaper!!)

4. Cook from home more. I know, I know, being a food blogger makes me a little biased, but seriously- it can save a lot of money! If meal planning stresses you out, there are so many awesome lists on other blogs that include everything you need for a recipe. Then you can plan simple freezer meals or 30-minute meals to make on busy days when it seems like it would be easier to eat out.

5. Shop local!! This has been a big trend on social media lately, especially with COVID over the past year. But it isn’t only a trend- it is a way to support other people and buy quality products! I like supporting ethical, local businesses because I can get to know the owners and their practices. It makes me feel so great knowing I am helping people create by buying their products.

These are just a few tips I have from trying to be more sustainable in my home. This list is by no means perfect or all-encompassing, but I hope it helps!

Sustainable Home, sustainable kitchen

5 More Tips for a Sustainable Kitchen

Sustainability is one of my favorite topics, and there are countless ways to make your life just a little bit better each day. Here are 5 more of my ideas. Let me know if you already to these, or if you have any to add!

Grow your own herbs. Not only is it fun to see the herbs grow, but you eliminate the plastic you buy live herbs in- and you don’t need a bunch of space like gardens do. Fresh herbs really help to elevate a dish and seeds aren’t expensive. I am currently growing strawberries, mint, rosemary, thyme, and lavender- and we live in an apartment, so every spare space has a plant. (Sorry, hubby!) I am so excited to start using them this summer!

Prep your veggies and fruit and store them properly. I have this problem where I buy produce and forget about it at the back of the fridge until fridge-cleaning day… I feel guilty for buying something and not using it. It’s not budget friendly, and I hate creating more food waste. Some ways to prep food is to cut carrots and submerge them in water until you are ready to use them, or for a healthy snack. You can portion out meat into separate containers and freeze them so you don’t have to defrost the whole package when you next need meat. There are countless other ways to store your food so it lasts longer.

Eat what you have. This is a super simple thing to do to eliminate food waste. I try to buy what we will actually eat- for example, I know bell peppers are healthy, but neither of us like them. I am less likely to actually cook with them than something we do like- like carrots. So buying carrots would be a better option for us. Also, if you have the time to do so, I highly recommend making freezer meals! They save time on busy days and instead of going out to eat, you can pop the meal into a crock pot or instant pot, and voila! This has really helped us eat healthier meals without having to a) figure out what to eat and b) actually prepare it after a long work day.

Have a meatless meal or day every week. This actually helps the budget and can potentially make room to eventually buy quality sustainable meat from a local farmer. Our goal is to have more meatless meals and buy meat from local farmers that raise their animals well. No ideas for vegetarian meals? There are many delicious ideas out there! Sweet potato taco skillets, quinoa chili, pancakes, and countless other recipes can be found on Pinterest.

Use cast iron! Cast iron pans last forever- my mom has her grandma’s cast iron pan and it still works great! Stuck on non-stick pans? If your cast iron is used often and seasoned well (and used when HOT), you don’t have to worry about cleaning up a huge mess every time you use it. I am including this point because some non-stick pans have been proven to have some not-so-nice chemicals in them and you don’t have to buy more than a couple cast iron pans over your life time (and hopefully your grandchildren’s lifetimes too!)

I hope these five tips help you on your sustainability journey! And remember- you don’t have to do everything perfectly. Just one or two changes at a time have a big impact.