Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Simple Steps in Green Living and Frugality #6 ~ Just one thing!

When we become more aware of what we are putting into our bodies, into the air we breathe, down the drains or on our gardens we can begin to hyperventilate because there is just so much to do to correct the balance. What is a person to do? Jump in with both feet? Progress toe by toe? Attempt something each month? Master one thing at a time?

Drying teabags for firelighters

I suppose it depends on your personality to a large degree, but it can also be dependent on money and time. The personality thing will greatly determine what you decide to take on from a challenge point of view, but time and money are the more limiting things as you cannot over extend yourself financially which is committing the proverbial frugal suicide and you cannot get more than 24hrs in a day - believe me, I have tried.

Hot fresh bread daily

In the past, I have made lists of things I wanted to achieve on weekends. Long lists where I have spent hours in the garden, hours in the kitchen, excercised and had some social recreation, only to get to the end of the weekend more tired than when I started it.

Compost collections

I have also allocated months of the year to certain tasks for example I prefer to knit in the cooler months. Last winter I only churned out one pair of socks [blush-blush] but that's ok...I learnt a skill. Other months are more intense in the garden, others more intense in the kitchen. It all falls into a natural do-able cycle if you let it.

One new recipe a week

Now I have had to become even more careful with my time management and have forced myself into "just one extra thing" mode. So each day on top of the normal routine of a homeschooling-cook-from-scratch-wannabee-green household I allow myself just one thing...So far my week looks like this on top of the 8 - 2pm schooling and +/- 2 - 6pm sports:

Monday: groceries
Tuesday: home business admin
Wednesday: web work
Thursday: library
Friday: school outings or Geocache
Saturday: gardening
Sunday: rest  & try a new recipe

Doing it like this ensures that I can still cook the right meals and don't find myself standing in a checkout queue at 5pm. I can get my clients orders out on time and don't have to pay overnight courier charges. I can get my seeds sown so that I don't have to buy more expensive seedlings from the nursery. I don't have to pay library fines as I am always on top of the due date - you get the idea?

Being organised = being frugal.

Being organised = greener choices.

A point on the above, I always try to group activities and errands. For instance on Thursday while two of my children are at music lessons in Tokai, I go to the library with my youngest. When I do my groceries I do my banking and posting. This is less petrol, less C fumes and less time away.


So how, if you are just starting out, do you filter all of the information to make sure you are giving the attention to the right concern? I feel it is the hierachy of what creates the most damage to self and environment. In my thinking it goes like this:

1. What I put in my body (food, water etc)
2. What I put on my body (lotions, clothing etc)
3. What is in my environment(waste, cleaning etc)

So if you want to begin to watch what is going into your body, start with one thing. Making your own bread is something that you can incorprate into your daily chores. You can eventually get one of your older children to take this over. When this is down pat, add the next "in your body" challenge. Perhaps its growing sprouts? Perhaps setting up a herb or veggie garden? You pick.

Putting on your body is taking the first step to get away from soap and shampoo that is loaded with petrochemicals. Learn to make your own. Then progress onto the next thing.

Your environment is probably the easiest thing to do. A simple think like drying you teabags for firelighters is so quick and easy to implement. Then start collecting your recycling in one spot and drop it off each week. Think COMPOST! Start by getting a large 5l empty ice cream tub and collecting your for your compost heap. Half of the problem with these few things is that your mind makes you think it's harder than what it is. This is where you hold your nose and JUUUUMP in with both feet!

If you would like a month by month helper, sign up for my Simple Green Living Ecourse which will help you progress with one thing each month.

Find more tips at Simple Lives Thursday


Linda said...

Thanks for your lovely message on my Facebook page today Wendy:) I have signed up for your e-course. Drying tea bags is such a great idea, thanks!

Dawn said...

This is just what I need right now. I used to be more conscious about green living but somehow fell out of many of my good habits. I tried to sign up for the e-course but couldn't get past the captcha feature. It was asking for letters that I couldn't see. I'll try again later.

Wendy said...

Hi Linda,
I have a bottle that I add them too that has parrafin in. I just add the dry ones to the top and tip the bottle over and let it stand on the lid until the parrafin seeps into the new bags. Superman likes to braai on the weekend and these work like a charm!

Dawn, did you manage to sign up?