Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Consuming Less- Oprah Told Me To

Also, it's Earth Day, so you know. I'm timely like that.

It got me thinking about what we already do to consume less:

*We eat at home pretty regularly, mostly because a) money and b) our children are STRANGE and don't eat most kinds of restaurant food. (NOT EVEN MCDONALDS. WT?). We usually eat our left-overs.

*We bathe the children about every 5 days. When we do bathe them, we throw all three in the tub together. With summer coming, we may have to up the ante on this one (sunscreen, bug spray, DIRT etc), but for now this is often enough.

*David and I don't shower every day. He's mostly on an every-other day schedule, and I try to follow suit. However, I maybe skip about every third day.

*We only run the dishwasher when it is so crammed full that not so much as a baby FORK would fit in it. We wash laundry only once a week, and wash big loads. We use cold water for most loads.

*My 5 year olds happily contribute, without my permission, by not flushing the toilet. They are so earthy, um I mean LAZY. Also, this may sound gross, but I promise my bathroom is not stinky because of it, but I don't flush the toilet during the night. (I usually go 1-3 times after the kids are in bed.)

*We recycle everything we possibly can, and reuse whatever we can.

*I rarely venture out shopping with all three kids, so this naturally cuts back on our consumption. Plus, Target is separated from me by corn fields, so it's not convenient.

*We use mostly earth friendly cleaning products. We buy refills for things whenever possible, instead of the whole new container. We also simply don't clean very much, you know, purely for Mother Earth.

*I hate wasting things or having excess of things, so I'm careful about the items I do choose to purchase. I HATE when my mom loads up the kids on a bunch of CRAP that we don't need. I'm gracious to her, for her thoughtfulness, but I hate it. Bleh!

So that list is shameful, especially after reading Greenstyle Mom lately. I'm feeling like our efforts are inadequate, and that the footprint my family is leaving is too big. We use paper towels and paper napkins, I LOVE MY SWIFFER, we buy individual servings of yogurt and granola bars, etc. Also, taking long hot showers helps me achieve nirvana. Oh, yeah, and there's those disposable diapers....

So what are you doing that is easy to consume less?


LoriD said...

We don't do a lot of cleaning either. Yeah, it's for Mother Earth!

My husband feels very passionately that recycling our cans and using the green bin (for organic waste) is a colossal waste of time when people are allowed to drive Hummers. He has a point.

We do our part by using re-usable bags at the grocery store, overseeding our lawn instead of using pesticides, getting by with just one smallish car (with three kids!), and buying very little packaged food. I also used cloth diapers for all three kids. Of course we could do better (like hanging clothes to dry or getting rid of our gas lawn mower), but I don't think our carbon footprint is too bad.

Chelle said...

I use canvas bags at the grocery store and fill my SUV with ethanol. I recently started using the new "green" cleaning products and, while they have taken some getting used to (the bathroom doesn't reek of disinfectant like a hospital, are you sure it's clean?!), I now prefer them over the stuff I was using before.

Tracy said...

I have switched to Method products for the "green" effect. I have not switched completely. I still use clorox wipes in the kitchen (I am a freak about raw chicken.) I too only do laundry once a week or two weeks. The dishwasher is wicked full. I don't buy clothes for the girls. My inlaws keep us supplied with hand be downs. I do drive an SUV, but we don't go too far and gas lasts well over a week. Baths are every couple of days and together (for the girls). We recycle, but am sure I could be better at it. I sometimes feel I should be doing more and then sometimes, I am doing good to get dinner on the table. It is a slow process, but I feel as long as you keep working at it, you are improving.

Jenna said...

I'm still working on bringing my little reusable bags with me EVERYWHERE. I am quite proud that I remembered for every shopping trip last week (with houseguests about to arrive and Zoe's party this weekend, I've done A LOT of shopping lately).

I need to do better about recycling and I really need to find a good used clothing store for Zoe's clothes now that she's no longer receiving hand-me-downs (is it kosher to ask for some from a friend who's given you them before?!?!)

Swistle said...

I find that if I think too much about (1) what I theoretically COULD do, or (2) the bad things that people DO do, I then feel like giving up and not doing anything. And yet I DO think that even SMALL changes are worth it. So I do what works for us, and try not to think too much about things that make me feel like stopping those things.

Kristin.... said...

We recycle big time. With so many kids, we have lots of stuff to recycle. The kids contribute by putting anything that even seems like a recyclable into our bins or can bag. We just planted a vegetable garden!!!
However, I use disposable diapers. Because I can barely get a diaper on one wiggling 15 month old, let alone two wiggling 15 month olds. If I didn't use paper napkins or paper towels, I'd do so much more laundry than I already do. We're on a well and septic, so we have to spread out our washing so we don't kill the septic tank. We did however, get a washer that doesn't use as much water and is good for our septic tank.

Astarte said...

Hooray for dirt!!!

I, too, rarely shower every day. I don't see the point unless I've been to the gym or something untoward has happened to me. Patrick bathes about once a week, since he's only 5, again unless he's filthy, but Josie showers every other day now, because she's nearing That Age where hair starts getting greasy.

There are things I do that I know are bad, like I'm currently scouring the house we're moving into in a few days with some serious chemicals, because other people's filth really Grosses Me Out. I'm fine with our own personal germs potentially not being entirely killed, but stranger's leftover toilet germs must be bleached into the ninth dimension. Ordinarily, though, I use organic cleaning stuff whenever possible. I LOVE baking soda. It's perfect for All Situations.

desperate housewife said...

I feel so guilty about all the paper towels we use, but seriously, I feel like I would be doing laundry loads all day long if I didn't. We also use disposable diapers, and though it wracks me with guilt I CANNOT face the idea of having buckets of poopy diapers soaking in our laundry room. CANNOT.
I do bathe most days, but I only wash my hair every other day. Does that count?
I only bathe the kids about every third day.
I reuse all my plastic bags as diaper pail and bathroom wastebasket liners. (Weak, I know.)
I try not to drive more than ten miles away for any shopping unless I HAVE to.
I use SOME green cleaning products. I'm not a full convert yet, though. Especially in the kitchen.
I wash almost everything in cold water.
I use energy efficient bulbs and am pretty careful about not leaving lights on for no reason. We also keep the house fairly cool in the winter, and don't use C/A.
Basically, I feel about the whole situation exactly as Swistle does. I try to do little things, and try not to think too much about the big things that we're all still doing so very wrong. Head in the sand, I know, but it can be SO overwhelming.