Dear T&M

Posted on August 11th, 2011 by Tonia 7 Comments

Awesome cardboard mailboxes found on this stellar blog.

As self-proclaimed environmentally conscious people, there is a lot of pressure to perform, isn’t there? And when we fall short, there is a lot of guilt, is there not?

Living simply and greenly {spell-check says greenly is a word, so it must be} is a process. None of us arrive at perfect-harmony-with-nature-and-God-and-humanity-and-rainbows-and-ice-cream {huh?} overnight. Or ever. And that’s ok.

I want to remind us all of something: We do what we can. We strive forward. We find a balance that works for us. That works our unique family. We’re all different. Different comfort zones, different dreams and ambitions, different outlooks.

It’s great to draw inspiration from others {friends, blogs, etc.} and to learn from others, but at the end of the day you need to settle into a rhythm of life that works for you.

Don’t mistake what I’m saying as a get-out-of-jail-free card on all things eco-friendly. I think that it’s really important to hold each other accountable, especially when it comes to the easy things that we should all be doing like recycling. But please, please don’t get hung up on a small challenge and let your frustration spoil your goal.

I struggled for almost a year to get rid of my need for paper towel around the house. It bothered me so much that here I was writing a blog about green living, and I still washed my whole kitchen with paper towel every day. I kind of wanted to quit on the whole deal and just “live like a normal person” who doesn’t worry about this stuff. Finally, one day, it just happened for me. I haven’t bought the stuff since.

Grant yourself some patience and understanding when you come to a road block like that, and don’t give up.

And if you’re really struggling with something, please write to us. Chances are that we have, or we are, struggling with the same thing. We’ll talk it through here on the blog {write in as “anonymous” if it makes you feel more comfortable}, allow commentators to weigh in, and offer encouragement. We’ll point you towards helpful resources like books, blogs, and tools.

For example, cheese-cloths helped me kick my paper-towel habit because they are super absorbent like PT, they come in packs of like 40 and are cheap. If you’re a chronic paper-towel user, get yourself a pack of cheese-cloth. Wash them a couple times and they will soak up any mess better than PT. You’ll never look back. I keep my clean ones in a bag in my pantry for easy access.

Dear T&M could potentially be a new category on the blog, and I’m really excited about it. I would love to work through things together. From your comments I can tell I’m dealing with an insightful bunch of folks, and I think that taking our conversations on Itty Bitty Impact a little deeper than homemaking and gardening once in a while could result in something pretty brilliant.

I’m imagining some cool follow-up letters, too, like “I confronted my family about our ATVing, and we all decided to sell them and get a few canoes instead!”

Let’s do this. Write your questions, challenges, and dirty secrets with “dear t&m” in the subject line: toniasimeone {at} gmail {dot} com


  1. Alex Mourousias says:

    The person who is born perfect without flaws or bad habits never gets to experience the joy of bettering themselves. Often I will try to either enforce a new and more constructive habit for myself or abolish an old one. I have a ton of bad habits and even more things I’d like to improve about myself, so I’m sure it’s a life-long project.

  2. Jenn says:

    After cloth diapering my first two kids (and loving it) my struggle has been staying away from the sposies with kid #3. My husband and I are both very active – add in 3 kids 5, 4, and 2 and our laundry is always overflowing. My kids don’t have a lot of clothes, so when it’s a matter of my toddler in a cloth dipe or my five year old in pants, guess which laundry load wins? Still, I cringe each and every time I put one of those bleached paper environmental disasters on him.

    A victory was a few years back ditching the tampons/pads/pantiliners and going with a diva cup instead. I’m much happier with it, and in addition to being more environmentally friendly it also saves a bunch of money.

    Going to try the cheesecloths – we don’t use many paper towels, but we do use them.

  3. Tonia says:

    Jenn, kudos for cloth-diapering for kids 1 and 2! I was born in the Amazon valley in Peru and it’s like 100 degrees and HUMID there all the time, so my parents let me crawl around naked…..well, one day I pooped on the floor and started wailing because it was a terrible feeling. My parents stuck a potty chair in the corner and told me I had to sit on it if I didn’t want that to happen again. I was potty trained right then and there- at a much younger age than most kids. True story! I might try this method with my kids someday because frankly ANY kind of diaper sounds like a bucket of no-fun to me.

  4. this is a good reminder. i try and tell my readers that i am far from perfect but they watch me like a hawk. i’m a vegan for compassion. whenever i purchase something leather, even second-hand, they let me have it. like i said they watch me like a hawk.

    good for you on the atv decision. my husband sold his a few years ago and is telling me now how much he misses it. i’ll suggest the canoes. somehow i don’t think he’ll bite.


  5. Tonia says:

    Janet- You betcha, if I didn’t have the blog to answer to, I would be lazier about our eco-friendly lifestyle. Accountability is important, for sure, but so is forgiveness and patience.
    The ATV example was just an example…we don’t actually ATV. But I can tell you from experience that canoeing is super fun. Find a river that has some gentle whitewater sections- your husband will get the thrill he is missing from his ATVing days.

  6. Rachel says:

    There is so much truth in this post, I am great at some things and a disaster in others. I think a Dear T&M is a great idea for sharing amongst such a wonderful online community.

  7. Jamillah says:

    Love this: “I want to remind us all of something: We do what we can. We strive forward. We find a balance that works for us. That works our unique family. We’re all different. Different comfort zones, different dreams and ambitions, different outlooks.”

    Such a beautiful sentiment and so true. I also blog about eco-friendly products and ethical fashion and I often feel bad that I’m not 100% green and my wardrobe is not 100% ethical. BUT I am trying to be better and practicing what I preach by turning over items one item at a time.

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