This title could almost be my tagline for life. I’m no eco-warrior, I don’t only buy green or ethically produced products and every so often I stick a plastic bottle in the bin rather than the recycling.
That said – I do try!
While making small changes with my shopping and the products I use won’t change the world it will help a little and my way of think is that if we all help a little it’ll add up to a much bigger difference.
What do you do to help?
Some of my purchases are ethically motivated. I enjoy Traidcraft products (I wrote about this recently here), I choose organic food from retailers and my weekly fruit veg box is organic. I have chosen to change my light bulbs to LEDs and energy savers because it is better for the environment and my purse. I also actively support Freecycle, an organisation that helps people donate their unwanted items to others instead of dumping them in landfill. I do this because it is the environmentally-responsible thing to do and also because I have had a couple of fabulous freebies from Freecycle in the past few years as well as having enjoyed seeing others receive something of mine which they really wanted or needed. Is some of this financially motivated rather than motivated by concern for the planet? Absolutely – but I’m trying!
I am teaching the boys about waste, about not wasting food, about how to make do and mend and am trying to instil a work ethical into them so that they will grow up working for what they want and treasuring what they having rather than buying new all of the time and frittering money. Some of this teaching is for their own good, some is so that I don’t unleash two wasteful creatures into society when they are old enough to leave the nest.
I am trying to teach them how fortunate they are to have the things that they have and to show them the value of things. I feel this is important.
I’m no saint. Try as I might I can’t drink Traidcraft coffee (I am drinking Kenco though and collecting the reward codes to get myself an eco-kettle, that helps right?), I don’t want to substitute everything in my kitchen for organic and I am rather fond of my gadgets. I don’t have a super eco-friendly car (it’s not a BAD car though) and I’m sure I don’t recycle as much as I could.
I do however try and if choosing Ecover cleaning products and recycled loo paper helps a little then I’m on track.
I’ll keep trying and hopefully by this time next year I’ll have introduced a few new green, ethical and moneysaving list of things I’ve tried.
*Written in collaboration with the mentioned business but true to my own thoughts, feelings and experiences.
Ok – it’s only February so not quite the middle of spring but I saw snowdrops today and the daffodils won’t be far behind!
This may sound ridiculous… but I love spring cleaning. Don’t get me wrong, my house isn’t dirty, but it’s never cleaner, tidier or better organised than when it gets that weekend-long going over!
The key to spring cleaning in my house, is organising the troops and provisions.
1) Ensure husband has a “list”. This list will detail everything he is expected to do. It is reasonable over the course of the weekend to add one or two items but as this will no doubt cause Kevin & Perry style grumbling, I try and keep extras to a minimum by ensuring the original list covers everything!
2) Hide the laptop cable, remove fuses from pcs and tv, basically – remove anything that can be a distraction or tool for procrastination! “I just need to check my emails” during a quick cuppa break can really do great things for ruining momentum and wasting time! (And if I end up “checking” Twitter, then it’s all over before it really begins.
3) Engage the kids! I farm them out, borrow a portable dvd player and get some new dvds from the library (cheap enough to rent via there) or Freecycle. A board game or two, crafts and activities that don’t need overseeing. Bribery is perfectly acceptable! That takes care of the four year old and Grandma is a safe bet for babysitting the littlest fella (he’s still cute, what will I do when he starts talking he he).
4) Phones off and ensure regular visitors / people who routinely “pop-in” know we are unavailable (I’m going this time for a big sign on the door with a red cross a la black death which reads a subtle “Bugger Off We Are BUSY”).
5) Organise “The Kit”. Bin bags (strong ones – not the weedy Tesco value ones which I always swore by until dragging rubbish through my house last year after two split, basic cleaning gear together with a bucket etc which I can take with me from room to room. Also, I make sure I have scissors, string, envelopes and/or plastic wallets, a pen and boxes/storage crates handy.
Time to start!
For me, attitude is key! I get up, get a shower, do my hair, clean clothes (that I don’t mind getting dusty!), and get the music on. I’m not talking about The Love Album, more Glee, or rock greats or something bouncy/motivating to sing and move along too (cleaning etc can be a great form of exercise too you know!).
I start in one room and don’t leave until it is done! Anything that belongs in another room is thrown out of the door in a bag or box and picked up when I move to that room. Drawers are emptied and I am ruthless! I really need to think “Seriously- will I really use that” or “When did I last think of that” and be ashamed if you hear yourself saying “Gawd, I thought we lost that when we moved five years ago!”. <Been there, done that! It can be a bit of a pull throwing things out but it’s also very liberating and the next time I go into my drawer and find my stamps, where they should be, not under a marble, a half packet of chewing gum, a metal bracket from something, a Chinese takeaway menu and a bootlace from a pair of boots you threw out ten years ago, I’m always glad I stuck to it!
My husband is a beggar for keeping things “Just in case”. During the last big clean I sat with him (eyeballing him) whilst he sorted through the “just in case boxes”. I have no idea how many old chargers, old power packs, cables, and such items he had stashed, and in truth I don’t think he did either! We kept a few of each kind that were most likely to be of some use and disposed of the rest. Even he said it was very liberating! (Gold star Roy!).
For anyone else is gearing up to a clear-out, if you really can’t bear to throw something out that you don’t want/need consider Freecycle, a worldwide online community where people regularly give away items of all kinds in a bid to recycle them, rather than landfill them. Most areas have a group – I use mine regularly.
Most importantly…. I enjoy it! I sing, dance, laugh and really get into the spirit (which may explain the dirty looks I get from my neighbours?). I always promise myself a treat when it’s all done. Last year, I promised myself new curtains and new matching bedding for our room (always the last room to get any attention!) and this in itself was a motivator.
So feather dusted and determination at the ready… I’m setting a date on the calendar, and am going to gut this house!!!
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