3 Tips For a More Natural Home (Plus, My Natural Living Journey)

Shamrock plant | redleafstyle.com

I talk a lot about decorating here on Red Leaf Style. But there’s a whole different side of me that I haven’t really shared with you. Well, I’m really into everything natural. I eat organic food. I clean my whole home with baking soda, vinegar and lemons. I compost. I reuse. I recycle. I’m really into this whole natural and organic thing. I try not to take myself too seriously, but I do enjoy making natural living a part of my everyday life.

Natural and organic. What do these mean?
Let’s talk about these terms. Natural and organic are terms used to describe everything from food to cosmetic ingredients to fabric. I’d need more than this blog post to tell you about all of the differences. But in general, “natural” doesn’t really have any regulations behind it, but “organic” does. Organic means the food or ingredient has been grown without the use of chemical pesticides.

How do you start living naturally?
Most of us care about our health. Usually that starts with taking a hard look at what we eat. Maybe that leads to buying organic food or cutting out processed foods. An interest in organic food tends to lead to checking out more natural cleaning options. Maybe even making your own cleaning products. You probably also start to take a look at your personal care products. You start to wonder things like, “What are phthalates?” and “Are these ingredients I can’t pronounce bad for me?” Before you know it, you’re growing herbs on your windowsill and buying organic clothes (yep, that’s a thing). At least that’s how it happened for me. One step at a time.

Thrift Store Plant Saucers | redleafstyle.com

How did I get an interest in organic living?
It’s hard to pinpoint when exactly I started living an eco-conscious lifestyle. It probably started back when I worked as an editorial intern for Natural Home magazine (now Mother Earth Living magazine.) That was 2009. I was in college doing all of the things that unhealthy college students do. Eating awful. Drinking. Being wasteful. At the time, I had already started to develop an interest in going green and getting chemicals out of my life. I think the green movement was really becoming trendy around then. But writing about it every day really propelled me into it.

The more I tested out different natural remedies, green cleaners and healthier foods, the more I learned, and the more I cared about it. Living that way seemed important. It seemed like something that mattered. I got excited to tell other people about what I learned and discovered. So I kept writing about it.

After college I got a job as a freelance writer for OrganicAuthority.com. As the name suggests, OrganicAuthority.com is a website dedicated to the organic lifestyle. I’ve written about everything from food to yoga for Organic Authority, but I specialize in home and garden and natural beauty topics. I still write for Organic Authority today. You can check me out there!

How can you get started?: 3 tips for a more natural home
Wherever you are on your natural journey, I’ve probably been there. Are you just starting to buy organic food? Maybe you’re looking into healthier cleaning products? Are you already composting and recycling like a junkie? Maybe you haven’t started at all. (That’s okay, I’ve been there too.)

For me, creating a more natural home is about more than just being environmentally conscious. It’s about being health-conscious too. That means eliminating chemicals and toxins from your home whenever possible. Here are my top three tips for creating a more natural home.

1. Use natural cleaners

Cleaning spray bottle | redleafstyle.com

You don’t need chemical-filled products to get your home clean. You can do everything from washing laundry to scrubbing the toilet with ingredients like baking soda, white vinegar, lemon, salt, hydrogen peroxide and essential oils. They’re all safe, healthy and inexpensive! If you’re curious, I’ll share my cleaning recipes sometime!

2. Choose organic beauty products

Natural beauty products | redleafstyle.com

I know it’s difficult to quit cold turkey on a favorite shampoo or lotion. But you probably wouldn’t have such a hard time tossing those products if you knew all of the gross ingredients in conventional beauty products. I’m talking formaldehyde, petroleum and lead, to name a few. Instead, look for organic beauty products made with ingredients you actually recognize.

3. Decorate your home sustainably

Succulent | redleafstyle.com

When I think about decorating sustainably, my go-to methods are repurposing and buying secondhand. Reusing an item you already have or one someone else has cast off helps reduce the amount of waste on the planet. And I pretty much believe that a coat of paint can fix anything!

So what’s the verdict, do you want to hear more about natural living here on Red Leaf Style? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!


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Follow Red Leaf Style author Kirsten Hudson on Twitter @kirsten_hudson, Google+ and Pinterest.

Indoor Gardening Day

Gardening | redleafstyle.com
I don’t take my home so seriously that I can’t drag a big ole bag of potting soil
inside to do a bit of gardening. That’s exactly what went on in my kitchen this
Saturday. 
After weeks of chilly, snowy and dreary weather, I’m ready to fill my home
with greenery!

Kitchen Plants | redleafstyle.com

Grow Seeds in Eggshells | redleafstyle.com

A week or two ago I started some seeds using eggshells. (Check out my tutorial to learn
how!) I planted a smorgasbord of veggies and herbs: spinach, carrots, 
lettuce,
radishes, oregano, basil and chives. All easy-to-grow plants that I can cultivate in
containers.

Indoor Gardening | redleafstyle.com

Radish Plant | redleafstyle.com

The radishes sprouted far faster than all of the other plants. They were ready to
transplant to larger containers, so that was this weekend’s project. If you’re
looking at the pictures and wondering if I used that soup ladle to fill the pots
with soil, why yes, yes I did. (Go ahead, file that one away for future reference.
Soup ladle works just as well as shovel.)

Seed Packets | redleafstyle.com

Grow Seeds in Eggshells | redleafstyle.com

I didn’t actually plant the peppers or tomatoes in the pictures above, but I love the
happy colors on the seed packets. That’ll be a future project.

Until it warms up enough to move all of these plants outside and transplant the rest
of the seeds growing in eggshells, every window in my home will be filled with plants.
Love it!

Have you started any gardening projects to prepare for spring?

Keep Up With Red Leaf Style!

Follow Red Leaf Style author Kirsten Hudson on Twitter @kirsten_hudson, Google+
and Pinterest.

Skip the Seed Tray! This is How to Start Seeds in the Most Frugal Way

Inside: Break out the seeds and soil. Here’s a method to start seeds for your garden without spending big bucks.

Skip the Seed Tray! This is How to Start Seeds in the Most Frugal Way | redleafstyle.com

“And now for my next trick, I’m going to build a rocket ship from tissues.”

I have a friend who likes to poke fun at my budget-friendly ways.

He breaks out this saying when I bake my own granola, shop at thrift stores or find frugal ways to start a garden.

Maybe I earned it.

I have been known to drag a bag of potting soil into the kitchen for an indoor gardening day. Or, fold dozens of newspaper pots to start seeds. And, I’ve composted table scraps in a plastic cereal container in my apartment kitchen.

Growing your own food is rewarding, but it’s also cheaper than buying those same tomatoes, basil and squash at a store. Not to mention fresher and tastier.

If you garden, then you probably like to save money too.

Well, here’s a fun way to save some green with that green thumb of yours. Get your gardening going with this frugal (and unexpected!) way to start seeds.

Skip the Seed Tray! This is How to Start Seeds in the Most Frugal Way | redleafstyle.comSkip the Seed Tray! This is How to Start Seeds in the Most Frugal Way | redleafstyle.com

A Little-Known Way to Start Seeds for Your Garden

Skip the seed trays. You can start seeds for your garden without spending big bucks by growing them in….wait for it…eggshells.

Eggshells serve as ideal vessels to start seeds. Why?:

  • They’re a good size
  • An egg carton fits easily on a windowsill
  • They’re biodegradable

Once your seedlings grow sturdy enough to transfer to the garden (or to containers), you can plop them right in the soil—eggshell and all. The eggshell will break down and provide additional nutrients for the plant.

And, you can feel good about reusing those eggshells you might have otherwise thrown away.

Skip the Seed Tray! This is How to Start Seeds in the Most Frugal Way | redleafstyle.com Skip the Seed Tray! This is How to Start Seeds in the Most Frugal Way | redleafstyle.com Skip the Seed Tray! This is How to Start Seeds in the Most Frugal Way | redleafstyle.com

How to Start Seeds in (Yes!) Eggshells

Ready to get your eggshell garden growing? Follow these easy steps.

What you’ll need:

  • Eggs
  • Egg carton
  • Seeds
  • Soil
  • Small spoon
  • Needle
  • Tweezers

1. Save your eggshells
You have two options to save your eggshells:

  1. Save your eggshells as you use the eggs
  2. Crack all of your eggs at one time and save the yolks and whites for later

I saved my eggshells in an empty carton as I used them. Then, I planted my seeds after I had 12 eggshells. Either way works!

2. Crack them correctly
Don’t crack your eggs all willy nilly. You want to leave a majority of the eggshell intact.

Here’s how to crack your eggshells:

  • Tap a spoon near the top of the egg. This will split the egg into three quarters and one quarter instead of half and half
  • Save the three-quarter section of the eggshell to start seeds
  • Compost the rest

Rinse your eggshells and let them dry.

3. Add drainage holes
Poke a few holes in the bottom of each eggshell for drainage using a needle.

4. Fill with soil
Fill your eggshells almost to the brim with organic gardening soil.

5. Add your seeds
Using a pair of tweezers, insert two seeds into each eggshell.

You want to plant two seeds in case one of them doesn’t grow. If both seeds sprout, you can pinch off the weaker seedling.

Follow the directions on the seed packet to determine how deep to place the seed into the soil.

Skip the Seed Tray! This is How to Start Seeds in the Most Frugal Way | redleafstyle.com

6. Give your seeds some TLC
Keep the soil moist and set your eggshells in a sunny windowsill.

In a few weeks, your baby seedlings will sprout. (Look on your seed packet for specific information on days to germination.)

7. Transplant to your garden
When you’re ready to transplant your seeds into the ground or into a container, crack open the bottom of each eggshell to free the roots. Then, place the plant and eggshell into the soil. Leave the eggshell because it will biodegrade and add nutrients to the soil.

Skip the Seed Tray! This is How to Start Seeds in the Most Frugal Way | redleafstyle.com

I planted heirloom tomatoes, carrots and lettuce seeds in my eggshells.

Now to tackle that rocket ship.


Your turn

Have you ever planted seeds in eggshells? How did it work out for you? Share in a comment below.


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