You know that dizzying yet satisfying feeling you get from the smell of Pine-Sol or Tilex? That nostril-burning, nauseating, eye-reddening sensation?
Thing of the past in the Romero household these days.
No, we're not on a cleaning strike...although that's awfully tempting. :) I've taken on the mission of greening our cleaning. Yes, it sounds awfully crunchy; but you know what, I'm starting to embrace my innate crunchiness. (After all, I did live in a vegetarian household for a year.)
When I was home on maternity leave, I became addicted to "The View" (I can proudly say that I witnessed, live, the infamous Rosie/Elisabeth fight--and damn, was it great!) One day, Deirdre Imus was on to plug her new book, Green This (see above), singing the praises of "green cleaning." And you know what, it made a lot of sense.
So, I'm starting out small. Being that the bathroom is my domain (see "The Stepford Husband," below), I focused on that first. With vinegar (to disinfect), lemon juice (to deodorize), and baking soda (to scour), I scrubbed away and was shocked by the result. My bathroom was sparkling, and I didn't feel sick afterwards like I usually do! We're so conditioned to think that the smell of bleach = clean, but that's not necessarily the case.
I also made a few other changes...using non-toxic glass cleaner, freshening up our bedroom with an essential oil diffuser, and adopting some plants (which, so far, I haven't killed yet). Maybe it's psychological, but I really do feel a little healthier.
Something about moving to the 'burbs has made us want to live a more intentional lifestyle--making small but important choices to better our family, our community, and the world. Just a few minor changes can make a big difference. (I mean, we're not about to blow all our money on organic cotton sheets!)
Another thing we're trying is to become "localvores" (buying food from local farmers as much as possible.) We'd toyed with the idea of joining a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture), but you're never quite sure what you'll end up with--and the next thing you know, you have a crisper full of rotting broccoli rabe and three sad little radishes.
But we did find a great little place: Farm Fresh Express (www.farmfreshexpress.com). Based out of Lansdowne, they carry products from local and/or organic farms. Either way, you feel good--buying local, you're supporting a local farmer and cutting down on fuel used to transport produce from all over the world; buying organic, you know it's just a little healthier for you and the environment. Monday, they send you a list of their choices for the week, you place an order, and then you can pick it up or have it delivered. We stopped by on Saturday, and they are so friendly and just EXCITED about their business. (You don't really get that at Acme!) Plus, they offer free, YUMMY fair-trade coffee from Mexico and Ethiopia. (Caveat: It IS a little more expensive, so we're only going to do it once a month or so at first. We are teachers, after all!)
Sure, we still drive a SUV. Let me expiate my guilt by cleaning my bathtub with vinegar and eating my organic peanut butter. :)