I like to think we are pretty sensible when it comes to our consumption of goods and services. In doing so we keep our footprint small and our impact on the earth is much more minimal. I spend less money and because of that I'm able to save more of it into my savings and retirement accounts.
I try to be conscientious of the things I do buy and do my best not to buy too much. For instance, our home is small by most standards in the U.S. We have 990 square feet (not including the attached garage), two bedrooms and a bathroom upstairs, a bedroom (converted from 2/3 of our garage) and half bath downstairs. Our living and dining room are combined, we have a small galley kitchen with an entry way as well as a dedicated laundry room.
Our property is only 1/8th of an acre and we make the most of it. The front yard strip of grass was nothing more than wasted space that consumed water to keep it green. I removed the grass and filled in that area with gravel to extend our parking space and eliminate the need for watering. The backyard runs the length of our house and behind it. We keep chickens, a large compost bin, raised garden beds, fruit trees and space for entertaining. We can mow our lawn with a push mower and it requires minimal water and upkeep.
We are careful with our food and do our best to eat leftovers and keep waste to a minimum. Extra vegetables, breads and other kitchen scraps go to the chickens which enhances their diet and helps us out a lot. In return they give us eggs and loads of entertainment.
Our compost bins are a great way for us to deal with additional waste and keep it out of the landfill. We add food waste (no meat products), mulched leaves, yard debris and chicken waste. Once it breaks down it is added to our raised beds and spread on our lawn and flowerbeds. We use mulched leaves in our chicken coop too.
We burn sticks, branches from pruning our mature trees and junk mail in our firepot on our backyard deck. This provides us with entertainment as well as a way to deal with all the extra wood from our trees. It is also a great way to deal with items we would otherwise require a shredder for. We compost the ashes too.
|Rinsed and ready to recyle|
When it comes to other consumables we try to use up everything. We rinse out soap bottles, turn condiment bottles as well as lotion and shampoo upside down, use a spatula to scrape out mayonnaise and peanut butter jars, flatten and squeeze out toothpaste, face cream and ointment tubes to use up every drop.
Our trash is kept at a minimum. We throw away an average of one plastic grocery bag of trash into the bin and set it on the curb for collection about once a month, instead of weekly. We fill our blue recycle bin to the top and set it out twice a month for collection. We donate, reuse and repurpose as much as possible.
To limit the amount of fuel I purchase for our vehicles I combine errands and minimize the amount of miles we travel as much as reasonably possible. I live close to work, my children ride the school bus and use the city bus quite a bit. We don't make a habit of running around just for the sake of doing so.
|Our fireplace uses less energy than our baseboard heating|
We keep our heat low and wear layers and warm socks on our feet in the winter. In the summer we use two window A/C units upstairs to cool the entire house. We also do our best not to waste water.
I am constantly looking for ways to spend less, consume less, increase efficiency and streamline our processes. The more I do this the more I realize how much we don't really need, which has led to a lot of decluttering and simplifying of our life. This has led to less time spent cleaning and maintaining our home and more time spent enjoying our life. That, in and of itself, makes it all worth it.