Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Things to Save That I Take for Granted

I waste a lot of resources. My family wastes a lot of resources. Two problems result in this. Most importantly, we are adding too much to our carbon footprint when we mindlessly overuse something, throw it away before consuming, or don't maximize the life cycle before replacing. Second, all these things come with a price tag. Wouldn't it be better to have those dollars count towards our savings goals? Here is a list of things I know I have taken for granted. As this year ends and 2019  begins, I will strive to rein in spending, use, and  abuse of the these items. 

  • Running water. Am I maximizing wash loads, taking brief showers, and not letting the taps run when not in use? 
  • Heat and electricity. Do I turn down the furnace temperature in the winter and forego A.C. or use only on the highest setting on the most unpleasant days? Are we leaving appliances plugged in when not in use (vampire electric use) and remembering to turn off lights not needed? 
  • Toilet paper, paper towels, other paper products. Spending $42 on Toilet Paper is a kick in the wallet. Not to be gross, but how many squares are really needed? Paper towels, plates, and napkins-try and use only when the alternative is not very conducive to the job. I'm lumping wraps, foil, clings, and baggies into this group as well. Can a reusable container work as well as disposable wraps and bags? If not, can the bag have an additional life? 
  • Gasoline. Am I using the most cost effective routes and doubling up trips to not waste miles? With winter here, how long is enough, but not too much to run the car before driving? Do we have enough warm clothes on so that we do not need to crank the heat? 
  • Fresh food. I've probably talked about food waste to the point of boring you all, but I know my family takes this for granted. We simply cannot afford though environmentally and financially to let good food go bad, then rot in landfills. We must do better eating what is bought, and freezing leftovers for future meals. 
  • Health.  I have my chronic RA, my knee that gives me issues, and boughts of insomnia. Yet, I still have a working body that does for the most part, everything it is meant to do. I need to not waste the health I have with eating junk, being sedentary, and dwelling on negativity. I know I take for granted that I wake up and am able to work, play, and take care of my family. 
  • Time. As the year ends, I am looking to where I can maximize my time for spending time with my family, positive social connectedness, effective home management, hobbies that bring me joy, and opportunities to earn additional money. I must evaluate how I spend my spare time to see if it is checking one of these boxes, and if not, realize I am squandering a precious resource. 
What do you think you take for granted? Are you making efforts to change your mindset and behavior? Please share your success and  challenges. 

17 comments:

  1. Another great post aimed right at me. I have cut back on random consumables and really only buy food now. There is nothing we really need or want and I am trying desperately to get rid of things that are still quite good but we no long need. Someone out there needs them and needs to get them affordably, so I am giving all our things to local charities that either give them directly to people in need or run thrift shops to fund their organizations.
    Don't even get me started on food waste. Nothing hacks me more, and I seem to have it every single week.

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    1. in my very very slow to get things out of the house that I do not use nor enjoy, I want to be careful that I'm not just dumping crap-which leads me to realize how much crap I've acquired. Still as you said, the good stuff, but stuff I don't use should have better life elsewhere.

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  2. Paper products! I have decided that we will purchase no more Costco packages of paper towels. It is so easy to tear off a huge sheet of paper towels instead of what you need when you know there is the better part of a case in the garage! Water. We have a well, so this one really only strikes me in the midst of summer when pressure is a bit low, or during a power outage. We don't pay for water, but we sure pay for the electricity to run the pump/water heater. I take my health for granted too--oh, I work out, but as I start to feel the aches and pains from years of dance and running, I need to slow down. One area I DO NOT take for granted is time. I have no compunction about eliminating things from my life which don't enhance my life. The kids don't all necessarily understand this one. This one also ties in to gasoline/automobiles. I have issued an edict this year that other than a sanctioned activity (practice/concert/meeting) Dad and I will only provide transportation one time per week per kid. That's still a lot of driving, but unfortunately, my kids have friends whose parents can't be bothered to show up--they work, I don't, doncha' know, so me providing transportation should be no trouble. I have also imposed serious penalties for changing plans at the last minute. Any kid who isn't where they say when they say forfeits their ride for the next week. So, if you decide at the last minute not to ride the school bus home without prior permission, causing one of us to drop what we are doing/had planned to pick you up, then your ride for the week is gone. It's not that I don't trust them. It's that THEY need to learn to stop taking our time/gasoline for granted. Hopefully this will teach them to consider these things more carefully when they have their own homes.

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    1. The paper towel thing is one of my bad habits-I know I won't go totally free of them, but hoping to limit to when they do the best job, not just because handy. My health though-I must not waste it any more. Now that the only kid at home drives, her time is not my time so much, but then we circle to the gas waste. She has a lot of rural friends and we live quite far from the high school. She can't be popping back home in between things.

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  3. I have tried really had to eliminate the use of different disposables in my kitchen. It adds a small amount to the bottom line and helps the environment just a tad.

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    1. The theme of anything when we try not to waste, try to save, is every bit helps. Small things add up to big things over time.

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  4. I love this post! It's a great reflection on the luxuries we have that most people ignore. If we appreciated and consumed our resources effectively, it would be so much better for us and the planet! I'm starting to learn that living a more sustainable life means I have to appreciate what I consume and what I neglect more and more. Lovely post.

    Alex| californiapollution.com

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    1. Stopping for a simple coffee on route, there's the added plastic waste. Letting the water run while I brush my teeth is more water that has to go through the drain system, though the water syste. I'm trying harder to really think before acting.

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  5. I think I take for granted that this body allows me to crash around doing what I want with no aches or pains. I'm 60 now and realistically how long can I expect that to keep going if I don't start putting some effort into maintaining/improving it? I do waste food - even though I always take my breakfast and lunch to work (a big saving). I love "bottom of the fridge" soup but I still overbuy. I will have to work on that when I retire. Where I have scored is that I have a ton of old linen from my ex when he left. Much of it stained so I can't give it away so I keep some in the garage for dirty jobs but have been very good about cutting it up and using it as rags instead of paper towels. My mom used to say you know someone's posh when they actually but their rags (we were pretty poor). At this rate I reckon I'll be 185 before I have to buy any more paper towels!

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    1. that should read "buy their rags"

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    2. I'm evaluating more things with the eye of if it can be reused or is there a reusable alternative. If we can cut our garbage and recycle bin, then I am knowing we are moving in the right direction.

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  6. This is a great list! And one I will be borrowing as I contemplate 2019 and the changes that need to be made in my home as well. =)

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    1. Thanks Tracybee. As I said to Kim, nothing will be a huge change, but the small ones should add up over time.

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  7. Great post! I really need to work on the consumables as well. We are on a well, health is surprisingly good although maybe giving up Diet Coke will be a goal soon. We follow our tiered electric pricing pretty well (no appliances get used between 9a and 6p), I have already stopped going home for lunch to save fuel (and I get more time to read) so I would say I am a work in progress.

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    1. We have no one home between 9 an d5 most days, but I try to do laundry very early, or tend to do it late. I waste in so many areas, we can focus in lots of places and have positive results.

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  8. Food waste is one of my biggest pet peeves and I am surrounded by individuals that won't eat leftovers and have to have a whole new meal at every meal. From a co-worker to a parent, a sister and a daughter! I will make meatloaf for instance and I will eat it for dinner, bring it for lunch the next day and have a meatloaf sandwich for dinner and if there is still just a bit left I will crumble it into a salad. My dad was the same way, that is probably where I learned it from. It's amazing how much waste one human being produces!

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    1. After 31 years of being married and nearly 30 of raising kids, I still struggle with the right amount of food-thus the waste. I have really reined it in though as planned leftovers for future meals, and tough to the picky eaters!

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