Keep Your Baby Clothes Organized

Nature Mom’s Green Spring CleaningDo you have hundreds of miniature socks, pants, and pajamas oozing from your closets?  Before my baby was even born, I found myself with more baby clothes than I knew what to do with.  My daughter never even wore half of the adorable little outfits I’d folded and stored in her dresser.  Many of the clothes never fit (short-and-wide onesies didn’t work on her tall-and-skinny frame, for example) or weren’t appropriate for the season.

The clothes my daughter wears fit into two drawers on her dresser.  (The third drawer is reserved for cloth diapers and diapering paraphernalia.)  Everything else gets relegated to the dreaded basement.  Although I’ve written about the ersatz landfill that my basement has become, I’ve managed to keep the baby clothing archives relatively organized.
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The Green Baby Guide is on T.V. (Again!)

Green Baby Guide LogoLast weekend, a reporter interviewed Joy about the Green Baby Guide.  “Are You a Green Mama” aired on two different nights in both Eugene and Portland, turning Joy into a regional celebrity.

 Check out the segment here!

If you want to view Roscoe running around in a cow-print diaper again and again for weeks to come, just click on “The Green Baby Guide is on T.V.” on the left-hand column of our homepage.

Our Green Giveaway Winner . . . Plus an Eco-Recipe for Oven Cleaner

Nontoxic oven cleanerLast week we asked you to reveal your deepest, darkest, most toxic secrets as a part of our first giveaway.  Your candid “toxic confessions” were indeed shocking.  We’ve randomly chosen from our list of commenters, and the winner is . . . Mimi!  Congratulations, Mimi.  You will soon be the proud owner of Shaklee’s disinfectant wipes and oven cleaner, thanks to Green and Clean Mom.  Now get rid of that carpet cleaner you’ve admitted to keeping hidden in your carpet-free house! 

Well, that’s great for Mimi, but what about the rest of you?  You confessed to harboring everything from bleach to scrubbing bubbles under your kitchen sinks.  It’s time to head on over to a hazardous waste facility and drop the offenders off where they can be quietly and safely dispatched.  But now you’re left with no household cleaners and your oven’s a mess.  You could do what I do, which is nothing.  Or you could whip up a little homemade oven cleaner for just a few cents.  I got this recipe from the Mrs. Clean website
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Best Green Parenting Blogs–Encore Edition

Joy and I have been friends for over fifteen years, and even back then we were budding environmentalists (not to mention accomplished penny-pinchers).  In writing the Green Baby Guide, we’ve discovered many other green mom bloggers.  Some have years of experience with green parenting and others are just starting out.  Holly writes in her first Ecobaby blog post that she doesn’t consider herself an environmentalist–and she’s not even pregnant.  She says, “There is something about the prospect of having a baby that compels me to live a more natural life, and in the process, work towards creating a better environment for my children and future generations.”  The Ecobaby blog is a great resource for others beginning their green parenting adventures.
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Product Giveaway for Your Toxic Cleanser Confessions

The Green Baby Guide is teaming up with Green and Clean Mom for our first ever product giveaway! Sommer, the founder and resident blogger at Green and Clean Mom, began worrying about the effects of her conventional cleaners when she had children. “I’ve always wondered if the chemicals I’ve used to clean my bathroom were being rinsed down the drain when my three year old was in the tub,” she states on her website. “I worried about the germs on the counters but feared the chemical I was spraying just as much.” When she saw that there was an eco-friendly, family-friendly alternative to mainstream products on the market, she went for it. Sommer got rid of all the toxic cleaners in her house and began using Shaklee products, eventually becoming a Shaklee distributor.
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Is Green Travel an Oxymoron?

How to Live a Low-Carbon Life by Chris Goodall How to Live a Low-Carbon Life, by Chris Goodall

Last night I had a personal crisis while reading Chris Goodall’s How to Live a Low-Carbon Life: The Individual’s Guide to Stopping Climate Change. The premise of the book is that each Westerner is responsible for emitting twelve tons of carbon dioxide every year–“four times what the Earth can handle.”  This book shows how the individual can personally reduce his or her emissions from twelve tons to three tons. 

I read through several chapters patting myself on the back for my low-carbon ways: I don’t drive, I don’t eat meat, I don’t live in a big house, I don’t turn the heat up too high.  Then I got to the chapter about air travel.  Goodall writes, “No single step that we could take as individuals to take responsibility for global warming comes close to deciding to stop flying.”  One round trip flight from England to the U.S. emits 3.6 tons of carbon dioxide.  A 3000 km (1864 mile) flight generates 4.5 tons-per person. 
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Cutting Down on Plastic Toys, Gizmos, and Doodads

I have to admit that my first concern with plastic is not toxins and off-gassing and all the possible health risks I mentioned here.  Of course I’m not happy that some plastics are bad for us, but I’d been avoiding them long before I ever heard the terms “phthalate” or “BPA.”  Plastic takes hundreds and hundreds of years to break down in a landfill.  Why buy a child a toy he’ll enjoy for three months, only to have it last for all eternity?  Sure, we can pass the toys on to other children, but after a while, plastic tends to look grubby.  Because it’s cheap, it’s often uncared for.
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The Best Eco-friendly Diaper Websites

Diaper girlIn real life, it’s often hard–or even impossible–to find cloth diaper supplies.  Big box stores like Target or Babys-R-Us sell a few cloth diapers, but these are generally the flimsy varieties that are better used as burp cloths.  If you want to get started with cloth diapers, your best bet is to find a brick and mortar store in your town.  Here in Portland, I’ve had good luck at Mother Nature’s (for new supplies) and The Children’s Exchange (for used supplies).  Joy purchased all her cloth supplies at Bambini’s in Eugene, which carries both new and used items.  In your local shop, it’s possible to look at the diapers, ask the shopkeepers questions, and avoid shipping costs.  Many stores will offer starter kits so you can get everything you need for less than buying everything piecemeal. 
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How to Recycle Your Clutter

My basement is a level of hell where all my failings as an environmentalist are revealed.  Up above this musty, dank repository of castaway boxes, Christmas decorations, charity donations, and mismatched pots and pans lies a perfectly ordered house.  In fact, the first thing most people do upon entering my humble abode is marvel at the sheer emptiness of it.  “Where’s your stuff?” they ask.  I just offer a smug smile in return, affecting an air of effortless minimalism. 

Where’s my stuff?  It’s in the basement.

Sorting through the contents of my basements was akin to doing an archeological dig, uncovering remnants of my wedding and my baby’s first year.  I’d thought a lot about the environmental impact of bringing a baby into the world.  I limited the baby gear that entered our home and bought much of what we did want at secondhand stores. 
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Why Kids Should Watch More T.V.: It’s Good for the Environment!

30 Rock during Green Week on NBCThe American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children watch no television at all until after they turn two and urges parents to limit television after that.  We had no trouble sticking with these recommendations during the last few months.  With the writers on strike, there wasn’t much to watch, anyway.  I wonder if the AAP will rethink their position now that the writers are back and networks are showing so much concern for the environment.  Before the strike, youngsters could watch Leonardo di Caprio on Oprah praising adjustable thermostats and Ty on Extreme Makeover: Home Edition tearing down a perfectly good house and building an eco-friendly house in its place.  Surely all this media coverage will influence young minds everywhere, changing the world one Nielsen point at a time.
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