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
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, 
radishes, oregano, basil and chives. All easy-to-grow plants that I can cultivate in

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?

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

How To Grow Seeds In (Yes!) Eggshells

If you want to grow veggies, herbs and fruits from seed, your baby plants will need a little extra TLC. Start your plants off right by growing them in eggshells.

When you start each seed in its own individual eggshell, you can give it extra attention and care. Plus, once your seedlings are ready to be transplanted to the garden (or to containers) you can plop them right in the soil—eggshell and all. The eggshell will then break down and provide additional nutrients for the plant.

You can also feel good about repurposing those eggshells that you might have otherwise just thrown away. Although, I would recommend composting any future eggshells instead of tossing them in the trash!

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

[I saved these eggshells in an empty carton as I used them. In order to leave the majority of the eggshell in tact, crack your eggs by tapping 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 quarters section of the eggshell and compost the rest.]

[Use a needle to poke a few holes in the bottom of each eggshell for drainage. Then, fill your eggshells almost to the brim with organic gardening soil. Using a pair of tweezers insert one seed of your choice into each shell just below the surface of the soil. I planted heirloom tomatoes, carrots and lettuce.]

[Make sure to keep the soil moist and set your eggshells in a sunny windowsill. In a few weeks your baby seedlings will sprout. You can then easily transplant them to your garden.]

Have you ever planted seeds in eggshells? How did it work out for you? Let me know in the comments section!

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