Household Tips for Eco-Efficiency

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We believe that people inherently want to be good stewards of the environment and its natural resources, but there are a few popular excuses that get in the way. Many people believe that going green will take more time or cost more money when in fact, it can even save you time and money, in some cases right up front.

Here are some simple steps to save energy, which will also save you some green.

  • Set your thermostat a few degrees lower in the winter and a few degrees higher in the summer to save on heating and cooling costs. For every degree you turn your heat down in the winter, you can save up to 5% on your energy bill.
  • Install compact fluorescent light (CFLs) or LED bulbs when your older incandescent bulbs burn out. CFLs use 75% less energy and last 10 times as long as incandescent bulbs. While they cost more up front, they pay for themselves 10 times over during the life of the bulb!
  • Unplug appliances when you’re not using them. Or, use a “smart” power strip that senses when appliances are off and cuts “phantom” or “vampire” energy use. Americans spend about 4 billion a year on electricity for things they aren’t using!!!!
    1. Buy less electronics overall.
    2. Keep electronics as long as possible.
    3. Donate, if possible. There is no shortage of places that accept old phones for a great cause. Just google it.
    4. Recycle them! Simply Google search “Electronic Recycling” in your area.Wash clothes in cold water whenever possible. As much as 85 percent of the energy used to machine-wash clothes goes to heating the water.While most of the Earth’s surface (nearly 70%) is covered in water, one may wonder why water conservation is so important. Well, less than 1% of the Earth’s water is actually usable by people. We also have to consider that the population is growing but the water supply is not. Follow these steps to save water, money and time:
      • Take shorter showers. Most standard shower heads today release 2.5 gallons per minute! You will not only save water, but you’ll save the energy used to heat the water you aren’t using.
      • Install low-flow shower heads. Many can be found for under $20. They typically release 2 gpm (gallons per minute). Save $23-$33 annually. So with only one person showering you have paid off your low-flow shower head in less than one year!

      Even the foods you eat make an impact. According to the EPA, in 2012, nearly 30% of municipal waste was from containers and packaging. Here’s what you can do to help:

      • Buy from the bulk bins and avoid single-size packaged foods (which we don’t recommend packaged foods to begin with). You’ll save money and eliminate package waste.
      • Make one day a week meatless. Standard meat production is taxing on the environment and can be rather expensive. 1 pound of ground beef costs more than 1 pound of organic lentils. Yet the lentils yield more than double the servings than the ground beef and one serving of lentils still yields 11 g of protein.

      See more ideas on simplifying your pantry here.

      We are a society of convenience. But if we continue on as we have been, many of our greatest conveniences will be lost forever. Here are some ways to replace single use or disposable items without compromising convenience:

      • Quit the plastic water bottles. Simply use a filter from your fridge door or Brita or find a water bottle that has a filter built in.   Save $500 a year by eliminating 1 bottle of water a day. The production of plastic bottles uses a lot of oil and they typically head straight for the trash. Here is one of our favorite re-usable water bottles.
      • Use Micro Fiber cloths to replace paper towels. 1 Skoy cloth can replace 15 rolls of paper towels!
      • Use beeswax Abeego to replace foil/plastic wrap.

      Click here for more products we love that replace single use and disposable items.

      We all know how quickly technology gets updated and old technology becomes obsolete. This is very taxing on the environment, our happiness and our pocketbook. There truly is a battle here of wants versus needs. Getting the latest/greatest iPhone because it is more cutting edge is a want. Getting a new phone because yours is broken (or almost broken) is “closer” to a need. We can save money and the environment by hanging onto our TV’s, computers, phones and other electronics for their lifespan.

      Follow these simple steps (in order) to minimize your technology footprint:

    As with anything else in life, you don’t have to do it all at once. Pick one or two things to start with, then once those are habit, pick another suggestion to try.

    References:

    www.usgs.gov

    www.epa.gov


The Domino Effect

A client’s perspective by Lauren Shapiro

Shapiro_Pantry-BEFORE-4

The worst part about going to the grocery store every week was the annoying task of putting things away. I say annoying because that is what it was – a skillful game of perishable item Tetris, trying to figure out how to cram soups, sauces, pasta, snacks, cereal, baby food, baking items, and any other random necessity my husband thought we needed at the store that week into our small pantry. I’ve tried to organize my pantry many, many times…but it always seems to become a giant mess in no time.

I’m not going to lie, I was nervous before Simplicity arrived to organize my pantry. I was embarrassed. But I was also extremely excited at the thought of having a professional organizer tidy my pantry. As you can see from the before pictures, I really did need help.

Shapiro_Pantry-Process

Once we pulled everything out of the cabinets and sorted into what seemed like a million bins and we got down to the actual act of organizing, I realized there was no way organizing was going to stop with the pantry. And then a thought came into my mind, you know the one where the person pushes one little domino over and about a zillion dominos follow? Well, that’s what organizing my pantry turned out to be: a Domino Effect.

Shapiro_Pantry-Process4

We started emptying drawers, cabinets on either side of the stove in the kitchen, cabinets under the island, and even the laundry room. Before we began, it all seemed overwhelming, but it was actually very liberating! As we sorted the items in the pantry, Simplicity organizers asked questions about which things I use the most, how I work in my kitchen, and of course the dreaded question of “When was the last time you used this?” Once we figured out what was going to live in the pantry, there was a ton of extra items that now needed a new place to go. The domino effect was highly motivating to start organize other areas.

BEFORE-AFTER2BEFORE-AFTER

It was amazing to see how much we were able to organize in just 2 1/2 hours. Perhaps even more important, I had a very real sense of how to tackle the never-ending struggle to stay ahead of clutter and mess. Thank you, Simplicity, for the help. I’m excited to ride the wave of dominos and bring order to other areas of my home!

By Lauren Shapiro

 


80/20 Rule for Closet Organization

 

Clothes and Accessories Swap Party

The Pareto Principle  (aka The 80-20 Rule)

This principle was first conceived in over 100 years ago by an Italian who observed that 80% of the land in his country was owned by 20% of the people. We’ve all heard in the classroom how 80% of the trouble is caused by 20% of the students. So what does this have to do with Simplicity? Actually, quite a bit:

We are all looking for efficiency in our over busy, over stuffed worlds. Figuring out what 20% matters- in what we own and what we do, would be huge. Even if it’s not 80% wasted time or unused possessions, most of us have a great deal of fat in our schedules and bloat in our stuff.

 

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How you say?
How much of the contents of your closet never see the light of day?

How much of the stuff that lives in your garage, attic or basement should have been discarded or donated rather than boxed and stored?

How many of your children’s toys never come out of the toy box (if you were lucky enough to have them corralled to begin with)?

How much of the backlog of magazines, journals and papers will never be read?

How much of the stockpile of staples in your pantry will expire before being consumed?

How much of what’s on your calendar or agenda is productive, necessary and meaningful?

Maybe eliminating the 80% that isn’t used, enjoyed, productive and meaningful, could take you a long way toward accomplishing more of your goals. Activities and commitments that are “low value” or “no value” may need to go. The same is true of the unused, unloved, outdated clothes, toys, foodstuffs, and paper piles.

If you haven’t used something for a while, ask yourself why you are keeping it? Because I might need it one day, or it’s too much trouble to make the cull, are not good excuses. If you’re saying yes to commitments out of fear or embarrassment, reconsider your motives.

Remember, better the right 20% than the wrong 100%!