I can’t believe that just over a year ago our lives were so much different than they are now!
In May 2013 we cared about the environment but could not see how we could do anything about climate change as really thats only a thing that governments can sort out. We bought expensive anti bacterial cleaners, brand shampoo, shower gel, if we remembered to take the reusable shopping bags out the boot or even put them in the car was a bonus, recycled our waste but very half heartedly, lived a house full of stuff and lived very stressful lives. If any one asked me if I would like to go back to that way of life I would say NO as quick as lightning.
But what is just as amazing is all it took was myself to be involved in an accident rendering me no longer mobile and my daughter to have another bout of eczema for our lives to change not only better for the environment but also better for our health , not to mention more time in the bank for us to spent together as a family.
- One of the first changes we made was too stop using shop bought antibacterial cleaners and brand named shampoo / shower gel. Instead we got to know inside out how white vinegar, bicarbonate soda, lemons and castrol oil could do the same job cheaper and better than any other products we had ever bought and used before.
- Spent time finding out where our food comes from, making a swop from just buying our food from the supermarkets and doing the majority of our shopping at the local butcher, baker, grocer and farmers markets.
- We have gone from non planning our meals to planning every detail of our meals, shopping on a non empty tummy and only shopping for what we actually need. This has not only helped us save money on our food bill but we now have zero waste food in our house. (Any leftovers if are any either get eaten for lunch the following day or placed in the freezer to be made into another meal at a later date)
- The amount of water we waste has reduced dramatically but we could do better and this a working progress. In order to help us reduce our waste waste we have redesigned the way grey water leaves our house and have created an easy way to reuse the grey water around the garden from the collection points.
- Placed our landfill rubbish bin on a diet reducing the amount of rubbish we send off to the landfill. We now only put a bag out for the binmen every other week and then its not a full black bag. One of the ways we were able to do this was to change the way we collect our food shopping from the shops. I call this naked shopping, (I do have my clothes one) taking our own reusable containers with us so we don’t need to bring home unnecessary food wrapping which just ends up the our landfill waste as it can’t be recycled.
- Decluttered our home and our lives with stuff that was just taking up valuable space and brain time. Although this is an ongoing process we now have extra space in our home to move, breath and everything is so much easier to find. I have personally learnt that its ok to say no sometimes, when I am asked if I would do something and I feel that at that moment in time I would not be able to give my family the time / attention they need or I feel I would not be able to do the job to the best of my ability because I have so many other commitments. This has reduced the amount of stress and sleepless nights I was having to calm relaxed days, loads of extra time to spend with my children and great night sleep.
- I found my love of my sewing machine again and instead of jumping to the shops to buy new clothes when they get worn out or replace what we don’t fancy wearing any more we have created a make do and mend attitude. By either fixing clothes that have sprung holes, broken zips etc.. to redesigning our old clothes into new items and filling our wardrobe a new lease of life without having to spend any money.
- We recently set ourselves a challenge to buy nothing for a month, which made us really think how we were going to get items that we needed. This challenge taught us we can source a lot more than we thought we could secondhand and that we can have a family holiday on a small budget by not buy anything new before we left and while we were on holiday. There were several birthdays during this month which made us think more creatively at what we could lovingly and thoughtfully give to the people we love. But we found a month was not really long enough to challenge ourselves and we have decided to extend the challenge for 6 months.
- Instead of filling our garden full of flowers in the flower beds, we have opted to create a mini kitchen garden filling the flower beds full of different vegetables and any space that was big enough to house a recycled tyre, one was placed and filled with more vegetables. Saving us money, teaching our children about where food comes from and also bring us closer with our neighbours by sharing with them some of our spare vegetables.
Although we have made several changes to our lifestyle there are still loads more we could be doing like cutting out all plastic from our home, looking at our car usage and slimming down our rubbish even more just to name a few. I am so looking forward to going into our second year, learning more and creating an even more sustainable family home and lifestyle. But none of this could’ve been achieved without the support of you and all the advice you gave us along the way. Thank you so much for all your support, following and joining us in this exciting journey.
As I mentioned at the beginning of this post I had a accident last June 2013 which left me in a position where I could not look after myself or my family for four months. Before the accident I ran a small business from our family garden creating lovely items for the home using recycled fabric. But while being laid up I was unable to work or meet orders so I had to make a very hard decision to shut the business down. I shut the door to my workshop in the garden and did not open the door again because it was such a painful decision to make. But today while celebrating everything we have achieved in the last year I decided it was time to face the past straight in the eye and unlock my old workshop.
Before and After
To my surprise my workshop did not look the way I had remembered, it had almost become a junk room for my sons things and things had been taken out to be used not put back in the right place. One full day of sorting, moving my son out and cleaning, my workshop was back to being a workable place. I have decided I am going to be using this space as a make do and mend room and bring out all my creative juices while saving us money and further waste along the way. Yipee no more sewing at the kitchen table and I can leave projects I am still working on out while I am cooking tea or spending time with the family.
Thank you so much for all your support and all the fantastic tips you have given us throughout the last year.
Here’s looking forward to what the following year is going to bring.