home life, money, natural living, working

Questions

I’ve been interested in zero waste, minimalism, and more along those lines since 2010. I’ve been interested in recycling and reusing since childhood, when I made dollhouse furniture out of toothpaste tube lids and toilet paper rolls. I have a long history in this category, but I still have a lot of questions.

Sometimes I don’t realize I have a question until I read something written by someone else. The bloggers I listed in my Inspiration post are especially good at this – they have different experiences within the field, so I will read something and want to know more because of what they’ve said, even if it is a topic I never thought about on my own.

Sometimes I have questions because of how I’m changing my own life. I’m working from home and now my son attends a preschool just a few minutes away. How much money am I saving versus how much I was earning and spending before? How much gas am I saving? How much less pollution am I producing? Does it make a difference that taking him is more stop and go on side streets instead of speeding down the highway?

How much money am I saving buying everything online? How much pollution am I creating by having things delivered to my door instead of driving to get them myself?

What toothbrush is best for my teeth? What toothbrush is best for the environment? What kind of packaging does this product come in? Is the product worth it to me, or would I rather buy a different brand that uses recyclable materials?

What will grow in my garden? Is it worth the time and work put into a garden for what we reap from it? Will I grow more produce if I plant it over there? Or there?

What do I need versus what do I want? What will make me happy versus what will be the best for everyone, for the Earth, for the environment? What am I supposed to do with my life?

You know, just your typical, everyday questions.

home life, hygiene, money, natural living

Changing Your Focus

I previously wrote about Finding Your Focus, mentioning that right now my family was focused on money. It’s tax season, we’re taking a good hard look at our financials, so it just makes sense.

I feel all over the place right now as I find my footing with my new work-from-home life, and that is definitely reflected in this blog. Because right now, I feel like our focus should be finding the products that are best for our family.

We recently switched from Crest or Colgate toothpastes (whatever was cheapest in a 2 pack) to Tom’s of Maine. Now we love our Tom’s toothpaste, so I’m keeping track of how long one tube lasts us – me, my husband, and the 8 year old use the adult mint toothpaste. My 3 year old uses the kids’ fruit-flavored toothpaste and loves it, but of course it will last longer with just him using it.

The point is, we all love this toothpaste now, so it will be worth the expense, even if it’s not as cheap as another brand’s 2 pack. So we’re not saving green by buying this, but we’re using a natural product which is healthier for our family, and Tom’s offers recycling options for something that isn’t usually recyclable. That’s worth it to me, because I’d rather use a sensible product and dispose of it properly instead of buy something cheap, use it, and throw it in the landfill.

We are taking our time while we look at other products we use, trying to make good choices for what we use often. I’ll have to get into our kitchen and food situation another time, since it is always a work in progress. But switching toothpaste is a good start, and I have already switched to Tom’s of Maine deodorant. We drink Equal Exchange coffee because it is fair trade. My friend Victoria has some great information and resources about fair trade products, which we’ll also explore later. For us, it’s definitely worth finding quality, environmentally-friendly products and maybe spending a little more money, but getting more out of your investment in the long run.

How do you feel about spending more for something natural, fair trade, or made locally?

home life, hygiene

Brusha Brusha Brusha: Trying Tom’s of Maine Toothpaste

It seems like I’ve been focused on toothpaste lately, so that’s where I’ll start.

We ran out of toothpaste a week or two ago. I mentioned we were using up my old travel tubes – old, but still good. They did the trick.

But we were almost out of those, too, so while I was at the store I picked up a tube of Tom’s of Maine Simply White. I know Tom’s is natural, but I’ve never used any of these products. Since we just needed a tube to hold us over until our subscription box* arrived, I wanted to give it a shot.

I brought it home and labeled it with the date, because I want to start taking note of how long things last us. This is our first year as a family of four, and my son is getting older and using regular products instead of baby items, so I have no clue how long dish soap, toothpaste, toilet paper, and others will last.

toms2

I was excited to try Tom’s, and brushed my teeth pretty soon after I got home and got that bad boy labeled. I squeezed it onto my toothbrush and… yuck! I thought it was so gross – and I say this as someone who used to brush with baking soda only! The faint hint of mint really ruined it for me.

I’ve been using it for six days now, and it’s really grown on me. I guess since I’ve previously used just baking soda, I adapted easily. I feel like it gets my teeth much cleaner, also. Especially in the morning – I wake up with no gunky feeling on my teeth!

After considering the overall taste and benefits of my short experience with Tom’s, my mind went to packaging. I recycled the box after opening it, but the tube, of course… The tube! I always throw away toothpaste tubes; never really thought about it, since there is always stubborn toothpaste left inside.

I looked it up and found that Tom’s actually does recycle their tubes – you can sign up for free, ship your natural product containers to them, and have them recycled. They are recycled through Terracycle, and you earn points for what you ship, which can then be donated to charity (or redeemed for other things, but let’s keep the cycle of good going here). This is definitely something I’m going to look into, because it greatly affects what products I buy from now on.

I really hope I can get my whole family on board with this toothpaste. My husband has used it before and disliked it, but maybe he can adapt like I did. My 3.5 year old has used it twice, but said it was “too spicy”. He’s said that about kid’s toothpaste before, so I thought this lighter mint flavor would help, but maybe not. I’m going to keep trying it to see if he gets used to it, because he is very adaptable. I would like the whole family to be using the same product.

That being said, our subscription box includes a six pack of Crest toothpaste, which I imagine will taste very chemical-y to me after my Tom’s experience. The older boys (my husband and 8 year old stepson) are not as into natural living as I am, so I have a feeling they will want to stick with mainstream toothpastes.

I’ll report back with any updates to our toothpaste experiences. Next up: the perfect toothbrush!

 

* I’ll share our subscription box information and my thoughts on that whole deal, soon.