Thursday, May 8, 2008

They like me! They really like me!

Well, they don't exactly "like" me. I just won a drawing on for a free book. Cool. It was a contest on a blog. Commenters were asked to make a pledge for the year having to do with using their spending power to make a greener, better world. I pledged to shop only at thrift stores for everything but socks and undies. This won't be too hard as I mostly shop at thrift anyway. One challenge will be coming up with an outfit for a wedding this summer. In writing the comment, I also thought about what I've done so far to be greener.

Here's a short list:

--replaced almost all my lightbulbs with CFLs in both homes
--buying used whenever possible for household goods, kitchen gadgets, etc (e.g. I just bought a used rice cooker at thrift store. I did have to break down and buy 2 new fans for the tiny windows in the kitchen and one bedroom of the apartment after 2 months of trying to find them at thrift stores)

--re-using what I've got rather than buying new (e.g. furnishing the new apartment with what I already had, driving a 14 year old car)

--repairing what I've got rather than buying new (e.g. I actually darn my socks. This is also frugal since I wear mostly good wool high performance socks that go for 15$ a pair or so)

--reducing my trash stream by recycling what I can, putting some veg in the vermicomposter and some more in a pile in the yard at the trailer

--buying quality items when I do make a purchase, whether new or used, so that the item will last

--cooking from scratch for the most part (I don't make my own pasta yet, but I use dry beans so I'm fairly advanced)

--learned to can and dehydrate food during harvest season to avoid expensive low quality produce during the winter

--container gardened (but not this year...not yet anyway)

--avoided commuting for 10 years! I'm back to it now, but that is temporary. I walked or took the bus to work for 10 years. Actually, while in college and grad school I did that for another 12 years so my lifetime total is pretty good

--eat partly organic. About 1/2 right now

--eating less meat

--gleaning trees for fruit and making jam. There are many cherry trees across the "street" from my trailer that no one harvests. Last year I got about 40pounds of cherries and made jam. I also gathered plums from 2 trees that no one harvests. I hope to get some apples this year as well.

--drying laundry by hanging rather than using a dryer. It's been years since I've used a dryer on a regular basis. Every once in a while I'll use one for a sleeping bag or something that will take more than a day to dry by hanging. This saves electric or gas, as well as wear-n-tear on the clothes.

--using non-toxic household cleaners. I have citra-solve for some big jobs, but otherwise use borax, baking soda, vinegar, and lemon juice. Occassionally I'll mix up a bit of oxygen bleach powder (which is peroxide) to leave in the tub or toilet just to make me feel like I've killed some germs.)

--using non-toxic body cleaners (organic locally made oatmeal soap, baking soda based toothpowder or just baking soda, herbal no-aluminum deodorant (sometimes I go commando with no deodorant at all), organic non-toxic shampoo and conditioner but may be switching to baking soda for that too)

--I'm sure there are more but now it is time to eat the lunch I brought to work packed in a cooler with a sandwich in a reused candied-ginger tin, fruit salad in a mason jar, and all eaten with the organic bamboo spork and mopped up with my cloth napkin.

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