Sunday, October 24, 2010

Ecofriendly - Limited Dryer Usage

Today is my big laundry day of the week.

I made a commitment on yesterday to reduce my use of the clothes dryer.

Today was the big test. 

I thought it would be uber time consuming, stressful and frustrating. It was none of those things. I think I ended up fully using the dryer to dry a load of towels and a half load of underwear and socks. I also used the dryer (with a timer) to get the main wrinkles out of my work clothes before hanging them to dry.

I liked this so much I might actually install a clothesline in the basement. My HOA won't allow an outdoor one, but that's no reason to stop me from trying indoors and the basement would be out of the way. Kind of defeats the purpose of having a main floor laundry room, but perhaps, for the benefit of the Earth (and my body), it wouldn't hurt me to traipse up and down the stairs a few times a day. 

I also asked for a clothes drying rack on our Kansas City Freecycle Network. 

I will say, though, that I'm glad it's a Sunday because our schedule is slow. That comes in handy because I have jeans hanging all over the kitchen chairs, blouses hanging on hangers from the handles of the kitchen cabinets, and pajama pants spread out on the kitchen table.  If this were a typical weekday, it would be a little more challenging.

But, all in all, Dryer Reduction Day was a success!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Bridging the Gap

As I was looking for ways to improve on my focus to be environmentally friendly, I happened on an organization called Bridging the Gap. One of the prominent sections of their website asks you to make a pledge to do five green things. Then, once you've registered for the site, you choose your five green things from a list of options. As you complete each green thing, your profile shows your achievements. 

My five? Since I've already accomplished the first few on their list:
  • Stop drinking bottled water 
  • Use compact fluorescent light bulbs 
  • Wash laundry in cold water only 
  • Keep thermostat set at 78 summer and 68 winter 
  • Recycle plastic, glass and paper
I pledged to do the following:
  • Eat one less meat based meal per week 
  • Reduce gasoline use by 1/4 
  • Drive smoothly/make note on steering wheel 
  • Use canvas bags instead of paper or plastic 
  • Air dry laundry (I won't be able to air dry it all, but my goal to start will be to reduce our dryer load by at least half)
Bridging the Gap has many resources available on their web page. Throughout the week, I'll try to highlight these resources. 

Friday, October 22, 2010

No more plastic baggies

Today we used the last of a box of plastic baggies. I try to use them over and over again, but it's not convenient and makes me nervous that I don't get them clean enough to use a second time. But, I'm going to try to make it through the rest of the year using NO more plastic baggies.

So, then I'm faced with the dilemma of how to tote around portable foods for lunches, snacks and so forth. Guess I'll use the more easily reusable plastic storage boxes I have. The lunch meat I usually buy comes in these containers. We reuse them for a long time. And when we're done reusing them, we recycle them. I think it's the best we can do for this situation.

Unless you have a better suggestion....and if you do, I'd love to hear it. 

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Hoarders and Control

As I watch the A&E Network show, Hoarders, I hear the people who are featured often say something about the fact that they'd get rid of something, but they didn't trust that the recipient would do the right thing with the item (recycle it, appreciate it, sell it for what it is allegedly worth, and so on). Therefore, they can't let go of the control of the item. They have to make sure it is not misappropriated.

No wonder they are in such a pickle!

When I get ready to send something to recycling, or to offer it on the Freecycle network, I occasionally hesitate. Will the person/corporation follow through with the recycling?

Someone once told me that the plastic bag recycling bin at a local grocery store was dumped into the dumpster each evening. I have no way of knowing whether that is true or false, but it gives me pause.

How do we really know if our recycling items make it through the recycling process? 

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Great Furnace Hold Out

Ok. I'll be the first to admit it. It's cold in my house this morning. This year, I decided to try to hold out on turning on the furnace. The goal is to not turn it on until November 1. After all, 65 degrees isn't THAT cold in the house. It's 45 outside and supposed to have a high today of 75, so it'll be warmer when we get home from school and work.

But then, I looked at the week long forecast. Friday and Saturday are supposed to be rainy with highs in the low to mid sixties. We'll see if I make it through the weekend without turning on the furnace.

For sure, we'll try all the tips and tricks for keeping our bodies warm in the winter (layers, extra socks, warm soup for lunch).  But can I stick to my guns when it's cold and damp?  I don't know. I'll keep you posted.

What's the latest date you've turned on a furnace?

Mood Boosters

Recently read an article in the November 1, 2010 volume of Woman's Day magazine. The article author, Deb Wolf, mentioned that she's often grateful, but once in a while she gets stuck in negative thinking. When that happens, she uses the following five mood boosters to get her thinking in a more positive direction. Loved this idea because we're not always in a positive state of mind. We need an attitude adjustment! Ms. Wolf recommends the following:
  • Pause - Quieting myself and focusing on some small task, like listening to a song I love -- in effect, pushing the Pause button - helps me let go of negative feelings. By the time I'm done, my mind has moved on to more pleasant thoughts.
  • Appreciate - I take a moment to run through my list of blessings: my husband, my children, my good friends and my grandkids. It puts everything into perspective
  • Write - When I'm upset of angry I occasionally write about it to clarify my thinking. I just make sure to shred anything I want to keep personal.
  • Play - It's impossible for me to stay in a bad mood when I'm playing with my dog, Chloe. She always makes me laugh.
  • Pray - At times, I need to call on a more powerful source. That's when I rely on my faith and prayer. Trusting that God is greater than any problem I'm facing is reason enough to be to be positive. 
Woman's Day magazine
November 1, 2010 issue, p. 37

    Tuesday, October 19, 2010

    The Green Connection to Gratitude

    I've been thinking deeply about how the topics of my blog really relate to each other. I stumbled on this idea:

    If you're grateful for what you have, and it's enough, then rampant materialism (and over-consumption of goods) loses its power. When I'm grateful for the things I own, and I find ways to use them over and over, with gratitude, then I'm not adding more "stuff" to my life that will one day fester in a landfill. 

    It's a big idea. Powerful. And just the right idea to hold dear as I launch into the day.