G is for Green: A-Z of Simple Living

This January, we’re taking an in-depth look at the why and how of simplicity with the A-Z of Simple Living. If you want to make 2015 the year you create a simpler, slower life, why not join us?


Simple living is not just about decluttering our cupboards, saying no to extra committments and learning to live with less. For me, one key element of living a simpler life is also learning to tread more lightly on our planet. To be good stewards of the earth.

This means learning to live green when and where we can.

I know a statement like that is often met with eye rolls and exasperation. Not only are we bombarded with the message that we need to be doing more to 'save our planet' every day, but you already have enough to do without adding something else to the list. Right?

But the easiest place to start living green? It's in your home. And it takes much less time and effort than you would imagine.

And starting is as simple as:

Replacing one of your household cleaners with a homemade green cleaning alternative.

Next time you are at the grocery shop, pick up these four things:

  1. an empty spray bottle with an adjustable nozzle
  2. a bottle of white vinegar
  3. a box of baking soda
  4. a tub of citric acid

You can then use a combination of these to clean most surfaces in your home:

  • kitchen bench
  • oven
  • stovetop
  • coffee machine
  • kettle
  • blocked drains
  • shower – glass and tiles
  • bath
  • vanity
  • mirrors
  • glass doors
  • windows
  • toilets
  • grout

Add some essential oils (lavender, tea tree and clove are all I use) and you have an entire green cleaning kit for your home.

The reality is, you do not need a cupboard full of expensive, dangerous chemicals to keep your home clean. A handful of natural, non-toxic alternatives is all you need.

It's all I've used for 3 years, and as far as I can tell, my house isn't a nest of filth and mould. It's simple, it's green, it's easy and it works.

For example, to clean the kitchen sink and benchtops:

  1. Sprinkle the surface lightly with bicarb soda and spray with white vinegar.
  2. Leave for a few moments, then using a clean damp cloth, scrub the surfaces that require deep cleaning. The bicarb acts as a scouring agent and will lift stains off your benchtops and stainless steel sink, while the vinegar helps to remove bacteria.
  3. Rinse with a clean cloth and wipe dry.

(Of course, always test on an inconspicuous surface to ensure there are no problems.)

If you're looking for more recipes and suggestions, check out the Ultimate Guide to Green Cleaning.

Other Simple Ways to Live Green:

Reduce Household Waste:

Buy Less:

  • do you need it?
  • will it last?
  • have a 30-day buy list

Use Your Resources:

  • line dry your laundry
  • use ceiling fans instead of air con
  • use window coverings to regulate heat and cold

Make Your Own:

  • household cleaners
  • laundry liquid

What is the best green living tip you've received? Do you have an amazing homemade stain remover recipe? (Because I really need one!) Let me know in the comments below…




9 Responses to G is for Green: A-Z of Simple Living

  1. i’ve been using green alternatives for cleaning for a couple of years now, and love it. I’ve recently switched to homemade laundry liquid and dishwashing liquid too (but would also love to know about a green stain remover!)

    Not only do I feel great about what is going on our skin and in our mouths, and the benefit to the environment, but it’s great for the budget too. Wins all round!

  2. While I love your site and suggestions, perhaps you need a rethink on borax – it is toxic. I am Australian and love this website http://www.simplesavings.com.au it has so many tips that you might find useful, like using laundry soap for shower glass etc. No need for nasties like borax. Good work otherwise !

  3. I don’t know that it’s especially green but I find the best stain remover to be old fashioned bar soaps like Sunlight or Sard. They aren’t perfumed and don’t come in fancy or complicated packaging but a rub with a damp bar, a resting time and then into the wash gets most stains gone. A rub around the inside of a shirt collar just before throwing it in the machine makes it look like new. It is much more time consuming than spraying I know and I no longer have small children to keep clean so perhaps not helpful to those who do? I must admit I do use Napisan or similar to soak my tea towels before washing and also soak pillows slips and white t shirts and shirts before washing. Would love an alternative to that.

  4. I use white vinegar and lemon juice to get rid of mould and it leaves the house smelling lovely too. I love that you suggested line drying instead of the clothes dryer. I think if you hang things just right then there’s also no need to iron. Plus sunlight is a natural bleacher! Best way to get tomato sauce out of a white tee is to wash it and hang it in the sun.
    Love your site and found you through Fat Mum Slim :-)

  5. My husband and I owned a B&B for many years. To get make-up out of the pillowcases and red wine out of the tablecloths, we would squeeze lemon juice onto the stain, sprinkle it with salt and leave it in the sun. It worked really well and never took the colour out of the fabric.

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