Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Little Things

Do you realize that little things really can make a difference? Sometimes we get so caught up in all of the big things that we can't do that we forget the little things that we can do. Here is a small list for inspiration.

1) If you have a hot water heater tank, and it takes a long time for your hot water to reach the tap, and you really end up washing your hands in cold water anyway, then don't turn on the hot water tap. All you do is drain hot water from your hot water heater, bring it into the pipes (where it cools), and bring cold water into the hot water heater tank, where it has to work to heat it.

2) In addition, find something to do with the cold water that comes out of the hot water tap instead of just letting it run down the drain. Save it in a bucket to water plants or flush the toilet. Use it to fill the dog's water bowl, or to wash it. If you're filling a bath for little ones, put the stopper in, turn the hot on by itself, let it run until the water in the tub is warm, and then adjust the taps to the desired temperature.

3) Don't flush every time you pee. Really. It isn't gross, and if you use cloth toilet wipes you don't have to worry about too much toilet paper going down at once. Think about it; here in America we pee into clean drinking water. Millions across the globe don't even have clean drinking water for drinking.

4) Share the bath. Bring your infant or toddler into the bath with you when you bathe. Have small children bathe together. Heck, around here I'll leave my water in the tub and Papa will bathe the boys in it once I'm done, and then give them a quick rinse off.

(Yes, I usually take a bath. My compromise it to take one every other day, and to only take a nice full bath once a week.)

5) Take your own bags to the store. Once you put your items away at home, put the bags back in the car so they'll be there for the next time. Bags are easy to come by at thrift stores, yard sales, and as give-aways. These days most of the grocery stores by me offer some sort of reusable grocery bag for only 99 cents, so for $5- $6 you can have bags even if you have to pay full price. And yes, you can take your own bags into stores other than grocery stores. They may look at you funny, but you can still do it.

6) Eat your leftovers.

7) Take advantage of natural light. I used to go back on forth on whether I preferred to bathe at night or in the morning. Once I figured out that I could bathe in the morning without turning on a light the decision was firmly made. I've learned that there are a lot of things I can do without flipping on a light, just by readjusting my expectations and habits.

8) Walk short errands. It isn't hard to do; we just happen to be a generation that thinks nothing of getting in the car to go 1/2 mile. 1/2 mile is a 10 minute walk at a moderate pace (3 m.p.h., which even a preschooler can manage). It astounds me that people will drive a couple of miles to a gym to walk on a treadmill. Walk when the weather is good, walk when it's a little rainy, walk when it's a little hot.

9) Don't buy mechanical pencils. They may be more convenient, but why buy something plastic when you don't have to?

10) Ditch plastic trash bags. Either use your plastic or metal bin without a bag and wash it out regularly, or change it completely. I use a wine box with a paper bag in it. We take out the paper bag full of garbage once or twice a week, and the box lasts for months. In the end it is all compostable/degradable. How do I end up with paper bags? We forget the cloth bags every now and then, and always ask for paper instead of plastic.

Okay, there are 10 little things. They're easy, and they will make a difference if enough people make the choice.

1 comment:

  1. Wow! You are awesome!
    Seriously, I want to sit on a porch with you and let your wisdom soak in. hehe
    So, now that you probably think I'm a stalker... I'm not, really.
    I just love your blog!
    Can I copy some of this one onto my blog? You get the message across so simple and clear! I tend to ramble and end up making no sense at all. :)