In a post I did a few days ago, I chatted about things I am doing to reduce energy use and consumption in my life now that I have a kiddo. In addition to the comments on the post, I received several e mails from readers expressing enthusiasm for things they do and things they now feel inspired to do. I love it. We are all connected; everything is reciprocal. It is heartwarming and hopeful.
I think it is easy for us to feel overwhelmed by all the environmental problems and in a meandering, guilt-laden thought process, ultimately decide to do nothing because it is easier to do what we have always done.
So, I am going to create a list of small, totally doable, no excuse not to try it items on the side bar of this here blog. These are things we do at my house that are super easy. Please leave me a comment to add something to the list!
- Be creative with wrapping paper (it is amazing what I gorgeous ribbon can do to a newspaper-wrapped package).
- Think about the lights you use. Turn out all lights when you leave a room and while in a room, only turn on what you need.
- Here is a post I did about yard care and research regarding chemical use and lawns.
- Break the habit: say no to bags when checking out; I swear, 90% of the time you can carry the item(s) just fine.
- Bring bags to the store with you. Just keep ’em in your car so you can’t forget. and, cloth bags aren’t just for groceries. Bring them to Target, Home Depot, Banana Republic…you get it.
- If you forget your bag, combine items into fewer bags. You don’t need to double bag a box of macaroni and cheese.
- Keep exterior lights off at night.
- Turn off your computer when not using and if you don’t, at least turn off the monitor.
- When driving, coast into stop signs and stop lights instead of accelerating and breaking.
- Don’t buy garbage bags! Don’t preserve your trash in plastic! Use what you have laying about and reuse those if you can.
- Use cloth napkins and don’t wash them after every use; once a week works great in our house.
- Switch your accounts to online bill pay. It is incredible how much less mail you will receive.
- Stop junk mail. Call catalogs and ask them to take you off the mailing list. Or, according to GardenPunks, you can stop junk mail easily through GreenDimes.
- Change the light bulbs in your house to compact fluorescents.
- Use your own coffee mug. Buy a really fancy and expensive one you will love to drink from and you will never forget it.
- Buy recycled paper products. Who thinks its necessary to use virgin trees on your bum?
- Use a programmable thermostat. No reason to have your house at 70 degrees while you are at work! We have saved a ton of energy and money by installing one of these guys.
- Use old plastic bags to pick up your dog’s poo. No need to use the new, special poo bags.
- It is not necessary to put all produce in plastic bags. Apples can roll around in the cart and be just fine.
- Recycle everything you can.
- Turn down the temperature on your hot water heater.
- Use cloth diapers for your kids. Disposables never decompose. Gross.
- Use natural cleaning products. We made the total switch a few years ago and now I can’t even stand the chemical smell of Pine Sol and the like. Those fumes are seriously bad for you and the planet. Vinegar works awesome for glass and it may seem more expensive to get other biodegradable cleaners and detergents, but do the math…they are very concentrated and it is actually cheaper because you use way less.
- Print on scrap paper. You will have an endless supply even after ridding yourself of junk mail.
- Turn printer off unless using it.
- Carry your own, reusable water bottle. The stats on oil use for bottled water are alarming.
- Grow your own food. It doesn’t take much space to have some containers for a few herbs or veggies and it will change your entire perspective about where your food comes from and how it is grown and harvested. You can grow nearly anything in a pot. Can’t do it or don’t want to? Know where your food comes from!
- Don’t ever bag yard waste! Sprinkle grass clippings and leaves in your beds or place a giveaway ad somewhere…someone will want that gold.
That’s a great list.
One thing that I have done for many years is use washable nursing pads. After nursing each of my babies for 16+ months, I have also saved a ton of money. I didn’t even realize washable was an option in the beginning, when I had baby #1. I actually was allergic to the disposable ones and became red and ITCHY! (not a good place to be scratching!!) For a few months I had to wear the washable one next to my skin and a dispoable one on the outside in case of leaks. I was VERY leaky then. I need to do that for a month or so after I have a baby, then my milk regulates enough that I just need the washable ones. (And you can make them yourself, too, out of flannel.) I’m still wearing the same pads that I had for baby #1.