How to Wash Cloth Diapers || with GlowBug Diapers

You may have seen my video on Instagram from last week where I shared my “washing routine” for Aria’s diapers. I thought writing up a blog post on the same topic would be helpful for those of us who’d prefer to see it all spelled out rather than sit through the video.

To catch my first FAQ post on cloth diapering click here.

Before I started cloth diapering Aria, my biggest hesitation (and still the most frequently asked question I get) was about washing dirty diapers and then reusing them….I’m used to the convenience of disposables and switching to cloth mostly required a mindset shift. I wasn’t sure how clean the diapers would actually be, but I figured I’d give it a shot since it obviously worked for every single mom in history until the advent of the disposable alternative.

So I jumped in. And guess what? it’s SO MUCH LESS DISGUSTING THAN I EXPECTED. Sure, diapering isn’t really a blast no matter what method you use and I’ll report back to you once we introduce solids in a few months. But for now, washing the diapers has been a breeze.

Using cloth diapers can seem intimidating at first, but once you jump in, you'll find that it's so much simpler than you expected. Washing is the trickiest part: here's a simple routine to follow.

Here’s the routine I’ve found that works for me:

Step 1: Determine how frequently you’ll need to wash

Since we don’t have a washer/dryer in our RV, I have to plan my laundry days more than most. But even with a washer/dryer in your home, you won’t want to be washing diapers every day. I’ve found the sweet spot is about every 3 days (this means you’ll need about 25-30 diapers to go this long between washes). I usually wash once on the weekend and once in the middle of the week…if it’s a major diaper week sometimes I’ll add in a third day or wash some of the diapers to give me some more time.

Step 2: Decide where/how you’ll store the dirties

Again, since our space is limited, I store all of the dirty diapers in Glow Bug Cloth Diapers’ wet bags. They’re made of the same material as the diaper covers, so they’re water (or rather, pee) proof, and don’t let out the smell of the diapers much. I have 5-6 wet bags total and keep one in the car, one in my bag, and the rest in our room to stick dirties at home.

For people with more space, a diaper pail or something along those lines will work just as well.

See? look how happy I am about laundry day.

See? look how happy I am about laundry day.

Step 3: Separate the diapers

When it’s time to wash, I always separate the insert from the cover. This is an extra step and you don’t necessarily need to do it (you can totally just dump them in and wash) but I’ve found that it gets them even more clean when I separate them.

Step 4: Pre-Rinse

If you have time, a HOT pre-rinse without any detergent works wonders for getting the smell out and getting your diapers extra clean.

Step 5: Wash

I wash everything on hot/heavy duty/extra rinse. If you have an HE washer, it should conserve water and wash in a timely manner. When it comes to water useage, I can promise you that cloth diapers use WAY less water than disposables do in production.

Step 6: Dry

Although most diapers are dryer-friendly, I try to air dry them as much as possible. Sunlight works WONDERS for baby poop stains, so if there is a stain on an insert, letting it dry in the sun usually does the trick.

If I need diapers ASAP, I’ll toss them in the dryer on light heat and they’ll be dry super quickly.


That’s it! Like I said before, it has been so much easier than expected and to any new-to-cloth-mama’s, I’ll tell you what everyone else told me before I started: It just takes a few weeks of trial and error to find out what works for you. Once you do though, it’s the most natural thing in the world.

Any questions? I’d love to help out if I can!


*This post is part of a long term collaboration with Glow Bug Cloth Diapers. As always, all opinions/photos/thoughts on dirty laundry are my own. Thanks for supporting the brands who make the world a little more green.*

Conscious Consumerism || How to Tell if a Brand is Ethical (+ an outreach template)

Today's fashion industry is rampant with Greenwashing. This post helps you determine the good from the bad and gives you the tools you need to dig deeper, including a FREE template to email brands yourself.

In my “line of work” I get to interact with a lot of brands and brand owners. I see the great, the bad, and the ugly and have gotten pretty good at spotting when a brand isn’t really living up to their claims of sustainability/ethical-ness.

Even still, it can be hard to wade through the murky waters of ethics and shopping when you aren’t sure what to look for or even what an ethical brand “should” be saying. This post, I hope, will be a reference for that. I’ll share my tips — learned over three years of collaborating with brands, making mistakes, and finding some gems — for spotting green washing, a quick run down of what to look for in a truly ethical and sustainable brand that’s deserving of your support, and at the end, I’ll share a template that you can download and use to reach out to brands yourself when their website doesn’t give you enough information to go on.

An important disclaimer before I jump in: the realm of ethics/sustainability is incredibly NOT black and white. It’s full of opinion, perspectives, layers that consumers often don’t see, and steps. Being a sustainable brand isn’t easy in today’s convenience, consumer-driven world, and brands who value eco-friendliness and supply chain transparency often have to do so in small steps, instead of all at once. I’ve learned to give grace and celebrate small but important steps. I hope this guide will give you the confidence to do the same and to learn the difference between greenwashing and “green-doing”.

Important Terms

  • Ethical: Ethical fashion as a term typically references humanitarian issues like worker’s rights, pair pay/living wage, fair hours, factory/field safety etc. Brands who claim to be “ethical” are usually saying that they care for the people who make their clothes whether it’s garment factory workers in a different country or at-home seamstresses (but remember that just because they use the word, doesn’t mean they actually are…).

  • Sustainable: Sustainability refers to the way a brand tries to minimize their carbon footprint, or their impact on the planet. This encompasses A LOT and the most common areas are things like packaging, dyes, fabric composition, shipping, factory energy, water use, and more.

  • Supply chain: This is the journey a garment takes to become a piece of clothing. The supply chain can (and should) be traced back all the way to where the fabrics are grown/made to who is doing the sewing/growing, to who is packaging orders, and who is getting the money. It’s a “seed to shirt” mentality that, sadly, most brands aren’t very transparent about.

  • Greenwashing: Greenwashing is when a brand “whitewashes” their unethical behavior with buzz words. Sustainability especially is having a moment in the green-washing world. Spotting green-washing takes a lot of research and awareness as a consumer, because at face value, it isn’t always easy to spot.

  • Transparency: I share this term because, although the word itself is easy to understand, most brands use it as a buzz word. True transparency should entail sharing where their factories are, who audits them/when they’re audited, how much their employees/workers make, where their fabric is sourced, what their pieces are made of….if this isn’t listed on their website or code of conduct, it’s time to reach out.

  • Common certifications: certifications are helpful for discerning a bit of a brand’s ethics because in order for them to earn the certifications, they usually have to uphold a certain set of ethics/practices. However, certifications can be expensive and therefore inaccessible for smaller brands and startups, so don’t write off a smaller brand as unethical or non-sustainable just because they don’t have a list of certifications. Conversely, just because a brand uses GOTS Certified cotton or is a B-Corp, it doesn’t mean that they’re truly as ethical as they should or could be.

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Greenwashing 101

  • Watch out for buzz words. When a brand uses words like “ethical” or “sustainable” but has no actual FACTS or SPECIFICS to back it up, be wary. My rule of thumb is that brands who are truly ethical/sustainable will be excited to share and will probably give more details than most.

  • Think holistically. Great, a brand uses organic cotton or Tencel. But do they share where their pieces are made? Do they disclose who audits their factories? Employee base-line wages? Brands worth supporting will think through a holistic lens when they’re building their brand, not just focusing on one aspect over another.

  • Don’t accept their bio at face value. It’s really easy to write a catchy byline or “about us” page that doesn’t really give you any details or specifics about what ACTUALLY makes their brand ethical. For example….

    • “Modern apparel for the eco-conscious woman. Made ethically in LA.”

      • I just made that up, but it' doesn’t really tell you ANYTHING about the brand. Cool, they use good words, but they don’t have any specifics there. Most websites will go into more detail elsewhere through back links, blog posts, or even more details on their about-us page. If not, you have an easy jumping off point when you email them to ask for more info!

What to look for in an ethical brand

Ideally, a brand will check boxes in all of the categories: ethics, sustainability, supply chain transparency…when a brand is overly transparent and making an effort in all three aspects, I know I’ve found a winner. Keep in mind that the perfect brand doesn’t exist, but there are PLENTY of brands worth supporting who work hard to be transparent and do things right. Take a peek at ROUND PLUS SQUARE’s “About Us” page for an example of what I love to see. Sure, there aren’t links to factories or wages, but they’re extremely detailed and transparent. Through working with the brand for nearly six months, I also know that they’ll be quick to offer up any additional info needed, because the brand’s founder works incredibly close through each step of the process.

Here’s a quick list of things I check for when I’m deciding whether to pursue a collaboration or buy from a brand:

  • Do they use natural fibers or are they moving towards use of plant-based, organic materials. See my guide to sustainable textiles here for more info on what to look for.

  • Do they say where their clothes are produced? Who they support through their production?

  • Do they note anything about their factories/is there an audit process? (This isn’t super common, but an ethical brand should be able to tell you more info without a problem).

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Sample “outreach template”:

To (Brands name, contact email/point person,…)

My name is () and I’m reaching out with a few questions about your brand. I love your aesthetic and have had my eye on (), but before I add it to my closet, I’d love to learn a little bit more. I’ve committed to only shopping from brands who are as ethical, transparent, and sustainable as possible and in my research, I couldn’t find any information about (…anything from sourcing to material use to factories to wages…) on your website. Could you tell me a bit more about ()?

I try my best to make informed purchases and hope that you would value the same.

Thank you for your time!

Sincerely,

A hopeful customer (or your name)

See? Easy-peasy.

As intimidating as it can be, I always preface my emails with the internal reminder than brands are made up of real people — most of whom are just doing their best. Your email should be met with some kind of response, and if its not, you don’t want to buy from them anyway ;) Once you have your “foot in the door” with an initial email, you’ll be able to tell if the brand is just glazing over green-speak (ie. greenwashing) OR if they can give you the specifics you’re looking for.

As always, email me with any questions or responses you aren’t sure about. I would LOVE to hear how reaching out goes for you.

Good luck!

No Issue || Sustainable Packaging for the Future of Consumerism

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Remember when we had to get off our couches to go shopping? We couldn’t scroll our phones to find the best deals, we actually had to browse the clearance racks and “window shop” through actual windows.

Times they are a-changing.

Now, it’s rare for most of us to shop “in person”. We’re accustomed to scrolling for our must-have’s and price comparing via apps or a quick Google search. We can get our food delivered to our doorstep by a stranger (and anything else our shopping carts/hearts desire).

Along with this rise in convenience-based shopping comes an unexpected side effect — a massive increase in packaging and, therefore, waste.

According to Rubicon Global, the United States alone throws out $11.4 billion worth of recyclable containers and packaging each year. Some, but not all, packaging can be recycled, but most isn’t. In fact, the University of Southern Indiana reported that about 1/3 of every dump or landfill is made up of packaging materials like cardboard, plastic, styrofoam, packing peanuts, etc.

Packaging is a necessary byproduct of online, convenience-driven consumerism and something that, as shifts towards eco-friendliness move consumerism forward, will need to shift with the movement for the sake of our planet.

No Issue is a company leading the charge.

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The brand is a small startup aiming to “clean up” consumerism through something as simple as the packaging brands choose to use. They don’t believe shopping and eco-friendliness are mutually exclusive. In fact, they think the two have to go hand in hand in order for healthy consumerism and our planet to co-exist.

We believe that sustainable packaging doesn't have to be unattainable. You can be environmentally conscious and responsible while creating a premium product for your customers to enjoy, and we can help you do it.

— No Issue

No Issue creates recylcleable tissue paper (customizable with a brand’s logo or print) using plant-based inks. They also create stickers and, most noteworthy, mailers that BIODEGRADE.

We’ve all been left with the nasty predicament of what to do with our shipping materials once we’ve received an order, but No Issue takes the guilt out of the equation for both brand owners and customers by making packaging that can be easily recycled and composted (at home!).

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Sustainability

  • No Issue used soy-based inks for their products which is free from petroleum, and enables their paper to be recycled more easily.

  • Their paper is all FSC certified, which means it’s been sourced from trees that are grown in a sustainable and regenerative way, to avoid deforestation.

  • The compostable mailers are certified by all three industry standard certifiers, making them acceptable to mail worldwide. They’re made from PLA (corn) and PBAT (a compostable bio-based polymer). They’re water-proof, durable (even for heavy items), and customizable. My favorite part of the mailers is that they’re at-home compostable, so you don’t need to find a commercial composting center for them to break down properly.

I’m not a brand owner who needs to ship items, but I am a consumer who receives quite a bit of mail, so knowing that there are options like No Issue for us to choose from will greatly lessen the waste of the fashion industry (and all of the other industries that require shipping), and can help us, as consumers, to rest easy knowing that our purchases aren’t adding extra strain to the Earth.

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*This post was sponsored by No Issue, all photos, opinions, and creative direction are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that make SL&Co. possible!*

The Spectrum of Clutter || Why Having Too Much "Stuff" isn't Always the Problem

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A few weeks ago, I asked my Instagram followers which “type” of clutter most weighed them down. The answers were, as you’d expect, all over the board, with most saying that physical clutter distracted them the most. But regardless of which type bogged an individual down more, one thing stood out to me as I read the comments of the photo.

Not one person said they felt like clutter didn’t affect them.

No one said that they had all aspects of their lives squared away and didn’t struggle with at least one area.

This struck me because, despite our obsession with Kon Mari-ing everything, downsizing, and ensuring our wardrobes are neatly edited and capsuled, it’s still not enough. We still feel stressed. We still feel overwhelmed…sometimes (for me at least) it’s an overall feeling of overwhelm that I can’t peg on anything in particular.

These moments of “general overwhelm”, I’ve learned, usually boil down to an excess in one of the following areas that I haven’t recognized until it’s too late.

Sure, we can’t weed out every aspect of stress or “extra” from our lives, but we can do our best to recognize when we’re doing too much, owning too much, or taking on too much and learn when to cut back. It’s been one of the healthiest mental exercises I’ve started doing for myself, and I hope that once you’ve become more aware of which area of clutter stresses you the most, it will do the same for you too. Learning to think of clutter in a broader sense can be much more helpful than you’d realize.

I’d love to hear which clutter-style you most relate to in the comments below ;)

*Disclaimer, I don’t claim to be an expert in any of these areas, nor am I a psychologist. The following areas are simply describing things I’ve noticed both in my own life and in the lives of those I love.

  1. Physical Clutter

The first “pillar of clutter” gets the worst rap of them all, likely because it’s the most visible and the most publicized. Physical clutter is out in the open, for you (and everyone who enters your home) to see. Our possessions are a reflection of what we value, so of course, they’re the first thing that gets attention when we get stressed or in need of a detox.

For some, myself included, untidiness is a major area of stress. I usually feel like I can’t sit down to write or be creative unless my space is at least a little bit cleaned up and I have a cup of coffee in hand. I’m drawn to aesthetics, so I like my space to reflect the kind of creativity I’m trying to conjure up. That’s likely why I was so drawn to minimalism after becoming a mom — it felt like the only way I could regain a sense of control and identity. Lots of you said the same thing on Instagram. You feel like you have too much stuff, too many clothes, too many unnecessary “junk drawers”.

Clearing out this clutter is a great and important step towards feeling more free, but it only scratches the surface.

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2. Mental Clutter

It usually takes a bit of a “self-discovery” journey to figure out whether mental clutter weighs you down or if you’re able to stay more or less “on task” when it comes to your thoughts. Through learning more about myself via the Enneagram, I’ve learned that as a type 9, I have an exceptionally hard time learning which tasks to prioritize. This often leads to a brain fog where I’m aware of everything I need to do, but can’t quite nail down which item needs checked off first. Usually, I end up doing something less important (scrolling Instagram or picking up after the girls for the thousandth time) instead of doing the more intimidating but important things first.

Mental clutter can look different for everyone though. Some people are able to mentally keep track of everything (Type 1’s i’m looking at you), but for others, it’s really their mental clutter that weighs them down more than anything else.

3. Calendar Clutter

Oh, the glorification of staying busy. We get bored, so we schedule more. All too often, we subconsciously assign ourselves value through how many playdates, or meetings, or business calls we schedule for a particular week. How much we do, or achieve, instead of who we are. Having things to do somehow makes us feel more important/valuable/validated.

I wrote a few years ago about this “glorification”, making the case that being busy isn’t better. In this post, I break down a list of “why’s” for doing something — for example, I sometimes sign up for something because I think it will make someone else happy, instead of doing it because I want to do it.

I try to use the same “spark joy” mentality that I use for the belongings I keep when it comes to the way I schedule my time.

4. Emotional Clutter

Physical clutter gets a bad rap, but it only scratches the surface when it comes to other types of clutter than can weigh you down. Which type do you relate to most?

For those who feel before analyzing (feelers vs. thinkers), emotional clutter can be debilitating. Oftentimes, this boils down to drama with family or friends or stressing over an important decision and being unable to prioritize anything else.

In cases like these, it’s so important to recognize which relationships are an added weight to your life without adding joy or edification. Of course, some relationships we can’t cut out fully, but there are most certainly times when saying goodbye to a toxic or unhealthy relationship is just the thing to help your mind heal and de-clutter.


Clutter, being the buzz word that it is, can be tricky to nail down. Clearing your life from clutter completely isn’t necessarily possible (or healthy), but being aware of your clutter stressors can help you live life more fully and simply.

HowGood is Your Amazon Cart? This Plug-in Can Help

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If you’re a human with access to the internet, chances are you shop on Amazon relatively regularly. The sheer volume of products available in one spot is too much for our convenience loving hearts to avoid and, despite my issues with their excessive packaging and, unfortunately, morals as a company, I find myself shopping from Amazon semi-regularly too.

Living in a very (very) rural area - yes, I live on a literal mountaintop - I don’t have easy access to places like Target, Wholefoods, Trader Joes, or other health stores within a two-ish hour drive. So when I need to order something quickly that I don’t have nearby, and when I can’t pack up three kids and head to Denver, Amazon is often the simplest choice.

But, being the online superstore that it is, the excessive amount of options can be overwhelming to me. It’s harder than browsing the aisles of a store since there’s almost every option and brand known to man and womankind at the click of a button. I’m used to being picky about what I buy for my family, but ever since I discovered HowGood, it’s made finding healthy products on Amazon much less of a hassle.

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HowGood recently launched a simple plugin for your computer. Once installed, it will give you instant advice about the “goodness” of a product you may be interested in. HowGood believes the path to sustainability lies in transparency, especially when it comes to our food and the products we use in and on our bodies. Since the FDA is notoriously lax when it comes to regulating skincare and often allows ingredients that are knowingly harmful for our bodies, it feels like the consumer can’t rely on “regulations” when it comes to staying healthy.

That’s where HowGood hopes to simplify things.

As a website, they’ve rated more than 1 million products with only 5% earning the highest rating. They’ve build a team of researchers, gathering data from more than 350+ sources, and are committed to telling the story behind our food and other products and hopefully, in time, changing the face of the industry. (Click here to see how they evaluate a product for safety and sustainability.)

Their app, and now their newly launched plugin for Google Chrome, gives consumers access to their research and info on the sustainability and healthiness of a product, both in stores and online. Their plugin currently works on Amazon for baby related products (think wipes, diapers, baby lotions, etc), and they'll soon be expanding to include cosmetics and hopefully even more.

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Although I admittedly try to limit my Amazon shopping, it’s so nice to have the plugin as a backup to check the safety of the things I’m ordering for Aria and my older girls. When things labeled as “natural” or even organic generally aren’t so natural, having a deeper look into the ingredients and even the undisclosed fragrances and other sneaky chemicals that make up our go-to products is helpful. When HowGood gives a product a bad rating, it will recommend other safer alternatives for you to check out easily, without having to dig through the depths of Amazon’s inventory.

You can download HowGood’s app on your iPhone or Android to take with you to the grocery store and you can add their Chrome plug-in to your browser to make your online shopping as toxin-free as possible.

Although I haven’t placed my order yet, these water wipes (I haven’t quite gotten to the level of feeling comfortable with zero-waste wipes yet), Vitamind D drop, toxin free sunscreen, and prenatal vitamins are all sitting in my cart with the help of the HowGood plug-in.

Do you shop on Amazon? Would this plug-in help set your mind at ease?


*This post was sponsored by HowGood to promote their new plug-in. Thank you for supporting the brands and organizations that make SL&Co. possible.*