Sunday, 27 February 2011

Thrifty tips for the eco minded ;)

After a rather large Sunday lunch (I know, oops) I am unable and unwilling to move, even to do the dishes! Speaking of which I am thinking of investing in a dishwasher, a second hand one initially from E-bay (fee-bay) I had the use of one during a short holiday in the Country earlier this month ans I must say it made cooking and cleaning up a breeze! Absolutely essential in the small cottage kitchen as there simply was not the room to cook and have dishes, pots and pans everywhere. I need one!
Anyways, I digress!! I thought I would pop on and detail some of the usual little hints and tricks I have started adopting to save resources, money or in the best case scenerio both!

  • White vinegar makes a fab and cheap fabric softener. I had heard this little tip a while ago but was put off with the thought of clothes smelling like vinegar- they don't! Try it, the clothes come out just as soft as they did with Lenor (my previous fabric softener) and with a few drops of free sample perfume the clothes smell lovely too :)
  • Kitchen roll tubes are a cheap and effective way of storing wires in a neat manner. Ideal if you have children as those little fingers tend to get into everything!!
  • Cold tea without milk makes a natural 'miracle grow' for most house plants. I always pop it into fresh flowers too, it has never done them any harm but I couldn't promish your meant to go that far!
  • Yogurt and spread tubs are fab for storing small portions of left over food in the fridge for the following days lunch. For me personally wasted food was one of the biggest wastes of money in our home. Following little tips and hints like these encouraged me to be more aware of food waste and reusing leftovers so it was more far reachign than you might think!
  • Herbs are simple to grow, nearly impossible to kill, add a little life to the house and garden and for the price of a pack of seeds provide endless flavour enhancers to pretty much any cut of meat and all veg! I will be doing a few blogs on herb gardens the next few weeks as I am only just regrowing mine after a move. Great fun, cheap, easy, they smell fab, deter many insects and rodents, have all the beauty of a house plant, liven up a boring meal, need I go on? Now is also the perfect time for stocking up. My local Aldi store had many herbs and salad leave seeds for the bargain price of 25p a packet. Remember herbs will keep growing and so keep giving!
  • Composting is the future! Well maybe the past and present too but a totally new experience for me! I always thought of this as too 'hard core' for my liking but it really is simple. You just need a good sturdy compost bin (with a lid if you suspect you have rats in the area) and all other resources are completely free! It will cut down on waste, is great for the environment, provides you with a garden essential and the little ones have great fun learning about composting too. A rewarding win win!
  • Your kettle uses a crazy amount of electricity as I am sure you are all aware. Only fill it with as many cups of water as you need, don't boil it and walk off and forget about it then come back and reboil (and lets face it, we have all done that a million times!) and your half way there to saving a good few pennies on the ol' electricity bill!!
  • Invest in a food processor, seriously these little guys take the stress out of cooking and make it an absolute breeze! I was bought mine by my dear (sometimes) mother as a christmas present and since I have been a sponge and pastry making machine. It also does all my veg and ingredient chopping, makes soups in seconds (see my previous post re soups) and has helped me create some fab sauces using whatever leftover ingredients I have. The little one is now eating alot of 'hidden veg' in various meals thanks to my very favourite kitchen gadget!
  • Dilute cleaning products by about 20-30% and you will still get the same results. This is especially relevant if you live with others who are a little heavy handed or less eco minded than your good self :) Most of us are in the habit of using over the recommended amount of product that the manufacturer suggests anyway.
  • Salt is a natural cleaner, helped by it being so abbrasive. It is great for scrubbing at stains and marks, for cleaning out vases or for cleaning the last off products before recycling them- pop a strong salt water solution in, the lid on and shake baby :) Alot more environmentally friendly than all the products!
  • Train your mini me's :) This is an obvious but often over looked tip. If our little ones are brought up to turn lights and switches off as they leave a room, turn the tap off when brushing teeth, recycle, etc then they will not only save us money throughout the years, they will constantly be a friend to Mother Earth and by the time they are raising children of their own they will be fully functioning eco warriors (maybe!)
  • Save that gift wrap to be reused and recycled with a little know how it can be a fun activity closer to holiday seasons to sit and do with the children. Keep a box of all used wrapping bits and bobs ready to wrap a last minute present. Please don't buy rolls of the stuff at christmas, such a waste :( Also cutting out the pictures on cards means they can be reused as gift tags. Free and the gift then has the personal touch!

There are a million other things which I will keep updating as time goes on, but alas it is now time for the little lady to have a bath and prepare for school, we are running very late this evening owing to visitors putting dinnertime back by two hours. So I may have to run a quick search on blogs related to time management ;)

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