Little by little we've been making some eco friendly changes & I'm surprised
at how a few small changes really add up & save money too.
We've been handwashing our dishes for a while now so we're rarely using the dishwasher anymore.
Been washing clothes in cold water & hanging out almost all of my laundry so I'm rarely using the dryer. I won't be able to do this as much in the winter but still plan to use drying racks indoors & my husband plans to hang some clothesline in our laundry room too.
Yesterday I made my own laundry soap (SO EASY & CHEAP! - Probably $2 - $3 for 180 loads) for the first time ever. I can't believe I didn't do this loooong ago. I also made my own homemade window cleaner (3T ammonia, 1T Vinegar & 32 oz water in a spray bottle) & all purpose cleaner. There are several recipes out there for all purpose cleaners & I had a hard time deciding which one was best for us but I ended up just making mine w/ 1 teaspoon of bleach per 32 ounces of water in a spray bottle. For us it's every bit as much about reusing the containers (spray bottles & detergent dispensers) as it is about not using so many harsh chemicals & phosphates. I'm as concerned - if not more concerned - about them ...alcohol, bleach, etc.) as I am about germs.
We've been really good about using our reusable bags at the grocery store. Took me a bit to get into that habit. Next I'm going to tuck a few of the plastic produce bags into them to reuse too.
Our worm farm is doing great! & the compost its generating looks nice & rich.Our other compost bin is working too. It's a slow process but I just add to it little by little. Of the two, I prefer the worm farm.
I've been making an effort to use less water when I shower by shutting off the water while I soap up/shampoo/shave & encouraging the girls to do the same. We had a French student stay w/ us a while back & that's how she showered when she was here. She hardly used any water & she really put me to shame.
My husband reprogrammed our coffeemaker so the burner doesn't turn on to keep it hot.
We use our own reusable water bottles & coffee cups.
I only use my desktop to work/blog but I don't leave it on all day. For general surfing I just use my netbook.
We did install two window air conditioners this summer but only use them when it gets really hot. Sometimes all it takes is to run one for a bit to suck the humidity out of the air which makes a big difference. Other than that we've been leaving our windows open & using fans now & then. We have awnings on the front & back of our house as well. The one out back is retractable. They help a lot by keeping the direct sunlight from shining directly in our windows.
Winter in New England is a whole other ballgame. There's really no energy efficient way to keep warm & our house could really use more insulation but we keep our home cooler than alot of people do & I wear layers & wool (socks & base layer).
The odd thing about all of this is that I can honestly say that I'm enjoying it (at the very least I don't dislike handwashing dishes any more than I do rinsing dishes & filling & emptying the dishwasher!) & our energy bills are waaaay down (I think not using the dryer & the dishwasher are having the biggest impact here) & I find myself looking for more ways to both save money & be more environmentally friendly.