Ditch the Paper Towels: 5 Eco-Friendly Alternatives

Ditch the paper towels and start using one of these eco-friendly alternatives! #ecofriendly #greenliving

When it comes to making the transition to an eco-friendly lifestyle, one of the easiest changes to make is to stop buying paper towels. Not only does this save you quite a bit of money, it reduces a huge strain on the environment caused by the paper towel industry.

Don’t believe me? Here are some quick facts about the impact of using paper towels:

  1. Paper towels cannot be recycled. This means an estimated 6 million pounds of paper towels wind up in landfills every year.
  2. Paper towels account for an estimated 110 million trees and 130 billion gallons of water, just to produce.
  3. Rolls of paper towels cost an average of $1 per roll. That adds up quickly, especially for an item that you don’t even need!

So what can you use besides paper towels? I’m glad you asked!


When we were first married, our total income for our first year of marriage was a whopping $16,000. Obviously, there wasn’t room for superfluous purchases like paper towels. We cut up ratty old clothes to use as rags. Depending on what we used them for, we either washed them to reuse over and over again or we threw them away. This is obviously the cheapest option, but might not be for everyone, especially if you don’t wear cotton. Polyester and linen wouldn’t absorb very well, and wool is generally water-repellant.

Related: How to do Laundry in an Apartment – Without Hookups!


Do you still get the newspaper? For smaller spills, cleaning up with old newspapers is a way to use them again before they hit the recycle bin. Also, windows can be cleaned with that beautiful streak-free shine using old newspapers and some vinegar in a spray bottle.

Looking for more ways to save? Download my free ebook!


I used to babysit for a family who used washcloths for everything from napkins to cleaning up spills. Generally, you can find bundles of washcloths for less than $12, so this would be an option that would probably be more absorbent than old t-shirts.

Wood cellulose towels

We received a supply of Swedish towels in our MightyNest subscription this month and we love them! They are made of wood cellulose, painted with adorable patterns using non-toxic paints, and reusable for several months. When they finally wear out, we can throw them in a compost bin and return them to the earth. All the convenience and feel of a paper towel, but without the waste.

MightyNest is my current favorite subscription! For just $10 a month, you get a new item or two that help you transition to a non-toxic, eco-friendly lifestyle. Sign up with my link to get a set of 3 dryer balls or 2 sheets of beeswax reusable wrap for just $3!

Unpaper Towels

For families with frequent messes (or just looking for the convenience of a paper towel with a single investment), there is the “unpaper towel,” made of cloth. My favorite part of this option is the convenience of it. They have snaps so all the towels snap together like regular paper towels, and you can even put them on a standard paper towel holder! When you’re finished using it, just throw them in the washing machine. How awesome is that? If you sew, these can be made in an afternoon. If that’s not your vibe, Etsy has plenty of options for you, like this classy wood grain patterned set of 12 that fits any kitchen decor.

I have actually never purchased paper towels in my adult life. I don’t even miss them, even with a toddler! Using sustainable options for cleaning up messes is one way that we save money and decrease our impact on the earth.

Do you use paper towel alternatives? Leave me a note in the comments and tell me what you use, and share this post with your friends who are looking to save money and live green!

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Completely Honest Review: ThredUp online thrift store

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This post is sponsored by ThredUp.

When I started my first job at a clothing store at the mall, I became responsible for my clothing budget. Wanting to stretch my money as far as possible, I decided to check out the local Goodwill. $20, an hour, and a few bags of clothes later, I was completely hooked on thrift store shopping.

The thing about thrift store shopping is the time investment. I developed a system to streamline my time looking through clothes and then trying them on.  Now that I’m a mom of two, one of whom is quite mobile, I can’t spend as much uninterrupted time meandering through the aisles of the thrift stores. The baby in the carrier also inhibits me gathering armloads of clothes. It’s okay though, I love them.

So when I found ThredUp, I was intrigued. An online thrift store? With all the brands I would snag at Goodwill, but all were previously evaluated for quality and organized by size, brand, and price? This might be too good to be true!

ThredUp Online Shopping Experience

I spent a long time perusing everything in my size on the website. I had to hold myself to a strict budget or else I would have ended up with 3 pairs of Banana Republic jeans, a Michael Kors vest, and a Coach diaper bag (but even all that was only around $150 total). I finally settled on a green tunic and pair of Banana Republic wool pants.

I also love shopping for my boys, so I looked around in their various sizes. I found a pair of Hugo Boss pants, a shirt that says “my big bro is my hero,” and a pair of overalls for Dean and I squealed with excitement when I found this perfect condition Spider-Man hoodie for Tristan. My excitement paled in comparison to his reaction when it arrived! He loves it and only answers to Spider-Man while wearing it.

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My total for all of this? $52.93! The Hugo Boss pants for Dean and Banana Republic pants for me were on sale for only $3.99. I couldn’t pass them up, even though I don’t actually have a “need” for office wear anymore. But, you know, if something business casual comes up at some point, now I have something to wear!

My favorite part was going through all my favorite name brands (at 2am). Before marriage and babies, my closet was stuffed with Banana Republic, J. Crew, Gap, and Express. Now that I’m getting back to being able to wear my pre-baby clothes, it’s so fun to spruce up my wardrobe with some new items in my favorite styles. I was especially tempted with all the Lululemon they have stocked right now!

Selling Through ThredUp

ThredUp makes it super easy to clean out your closet, too. Just request a “clean out kit” on their website, and the package will arrive in a couple days. The “kit” is just a big, polka dotted, postage-paid bag. Fill it, close it, and put it on your porch for your mailman to pick up. Since I tended to drive around for weeks with my car full of clothes to donate, this was especially handy. While the payout isn’t very high, it’s such a handy service, and I’m all about convenience right now.

I mean really, not only can you go thrift store shopping, but you can also send your items in for consignment, all without leaving your home? This secondhand-loving mama says, “yes, please!”

ThredUp has a special deal for you all that I’m so excited to pass on to you! The first 100 readers to use the code CRUNCHYHIPPIELIFE at checkout get 50% your first order, up to $50! This code is good through March 2018.

Be sure to share this post with your secondhand-loving friends!

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Urban Gardening Wish List

I am a firm believer that “to grow your own food is to print your own money.” Imagine the amount of money that would immediately open up to you if your grocery budget was significantly decreased! Thanks to the Urban Gardening movement, it is now completely possible to grow your own food, even in small spaces.

I’ve been combing through Amazon, putting together my wish list of urban gardening supplies. We are renting, so even though we have a small front yard (no back yard), I doubt my landlord would be too thrilled if I tore up the grass to plant a garden. Some precious friends with a huge farm have graciously offered to let us use a portion of their land for a garden, and I am equal parts humbled and thrilled, which is a very difficult mix of emotions to convey through words. Picture me jumping up and down squealing but also flabbergasted, and that would probably be pretty accurate.

I know many people are in the same sort of renting living situation, so I wanted to share this list and show you how possible it is to have a garden in small spaces, or without the whole plowing and tilling process. Here are some great products that will help you create the urban farm of your dreams:

1. Envirocycle compact compost bin

These are created with small spaces in mind. It comes in two sizes, the 35-gallon (pictured) and the 16-gallon. They sit on the ground and spin easily. Every garden should have at least two (since you need one to fill while the other one “brews” for 6 weeks or so). These guys are even BPA-free! I think they look like snails.

2. Tower Garden

I can’t say enough about these powerhouse growing systems. They are aeroponic growing systems, self-watering, and grow tons of food in 5 weeks or less. No weeding. It’s planting and harvesting, and that’s about it. You can purchase one at a time or a family pack in sets of 3. These can even be brought inside and continue your harvest year-round! To grow in here: lettuce, kale, spinach, tomatoes, eggplant, zucchini, cucumber, strawberries, and possibly a melon or two.

3. 20 gallon fabric growing pots

Sometimes, you just need dirt. These pots are made of a sturdy fabric to allow for better drainage and easier air flow to the roots. To grow in these: sweet potatoes (check out this post on growing sweet potatoes in buckets), beets, garlic, and raspberries.

Other items on my wish list for our garden:

Urban apple trees (they are a hybrid that can stay planted in pots!)

Kitchen compost bin.This particular bin is great for under the counter storage. I used to have a countertop storage system and even though I kept up with it, it had an odor. With this, I can lock the  container closed and keep it under a cabinet. Less odor = happier family.

Harvesting Bushel Tote bag – to bring in all your delicious fresh produce!

Miracle-Gro AeroGarden – Absolutely, positively cramped for space? This little guy can even fit anywhere!

I am so excited to get my garden this year!

Want even more tips for gardening and DIY? Get access to ebooks, webinars, printables, and more with the  Ultimate Herbs and Essential Oils

Thank you for reading! If this post has helped you, please share and download your free copy of my ebook, Dirt Cheap Nutrition!

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The KonMari Method: Why I Ditched My Yoga Pants

How the KonMari method encouraged me to lose my yoga pants and find myself


This week I did the unthinkable: I threw away my yoga pants.

During the pregnancy and immediate postpartum months, I completely lost my sense of style and identity. And I lost so much weight that I felt bad about getting new clothes, since I would just drop another size a few months later and have to shop again.

As part of my rediscovering of my identity, I needed to make some drastic changes in my mindset. As mindset work usually does, that translated into changes in many areas of my life.

I studied the KonMari method of organizing your living space, and decided to keep only those things that, as she teaches, “spark joy.”

I broke this down into 3 areas to declutter: Bedroom closet, makeup basket, and my corner.

Declutter Bedroom Closet

I’ve been focusing on paring down my wardrobe. I have entirely too many clothes that together create entirely too few outfits and, like my hair, the ends needed to be trimmed. Since we are moving on Saturday this has suddenly become even more important!

I tend to be attracted to solid colors in bold neutrals and simple jewelry. This knowledge helps me when choosing new clothes. I keep patterns to a minimum and prefer textural differences instead.

A quick tour of the closet/dresser revealed 15 things that were removed and either repurposed into rags or sent to ThredUp, an incredible online shift store, via their super convenient clean out program.

There are 3 big benefits to this kind of style and minimalistic strategy:
  1. Less laundry. We do laundry in a portable washing machine that we hook up to the kitchen sink every time we use it (but not for long! Our new house has hookups!!!). Then our clothes are air-dried on racks and hangers. Less clothes mean less laundry, which is very nice. We already feel like we do laundry all the time between our clothes and cloth diapers! (Related: How to do Laundry without Hookups)
  2. I actually know what I have. Have you ever pulled something out of your closet that you had forgotten existed? I have. Now that I have a smaller wardrobe consisting mostly of my favorite pieces, this doesn’t happen. And I like what I wear!
  3. Everything goes together. Call me boring, but I like that I can basically reach in and grab a shirt and a pair of pants and know that it will go together. It really cuts down on my getting ready time in the morning.

Declutter Makeup Basket

Even though my makeup routine is quite a bit simpler than it used to be, I still had some excess. Lip glosses I never wore because they felt sticky, contour brushes I no longer use since I stopped doing the whole contour/highlight nonsense, and the like were all thrown away.

I also threw away all my nail polishes that I had been holding onto for no apparent reason.

Declutter Your Corner

Does anyone else have a special spot in the house where you keep things that don’t belong? For me, that’s my bedside table. I took out the receipts I had stashed in the drawer, found my earrings, and returned my bobby pins to their rightful home.

As much as my yoga pants were comfy and so easy to just throw on and hang out around the house, they didn’t spark joy in my life or motivate me to take a few minutes to put myself together. Those few minutes each day have made a drastic improvement in my overall outlook and mindset.

And I’ve started wearing mascara and earrings on the regular, now that I have better access to them.

So basically I feel like I’m 14 and excited to look like a grown up.


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3 Habits of Healthy Millennials

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I am a millennial, and I’m fairly stereotypical. We are fun creatures, at least I like to think so. We’re basically the same as everybody else, but we do things a little differently most of the time. If you happen to visit the house of one, here are three things you might expect to experience:

You can smell their diffuser going before you even open the door.

Millennials tend to be more naturally-minded, and avoid the toxic chemicals found in most commercial air fresheners. The maintenance man at our apartment complex told us once that he enjoyed walking past our door because it always smelled good. We almost always have an essential oil diffuser going! Essential oils play a huge role in our home from our homemade cleaning solutions to our hygiene products to our air freshener.

They don’t wear their shoes inside the house.

Studies show that not wearing shoes in the house helps with overall cleanliness. I would prefer no shoes at all, but  we wear house shoes to keep our feet from getting dirty. Tristan hates shoes in general so he wanders around in just socks, and I am jealous (my socks wear out too quickly if I do that).

Their kitchen looks like a laboratory.

Millennials are more health-conscious, but heaps of student loans and other bills have forced us to save money whenever possible. One of the ways we do this is DIY-ing our favorite health foods.

Fermented foods and drinks are so nutritious, but they take up so much counter space! Once you get going with one ferment it’s hard to stop. Kombucha, kefir, sauerkraut, sourdough, and even salsa and ketsup are all popular homemade ferments that you might find on a hippie’s counter top. And don’t forget the bone broth in the crockpot or Instant Pot!

What else would you add to this list?

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