I just can’t stop. I tried, but I can’t. On Wednesday, a reader pointed out that I had missed a few big ticket items in the original post. He was right. I left out some seriously good tips that you should know about. So, assuming that you’re happy to have another list of tactics in your arsenal to improve your eco-footprint, here’s a list of 10 more green changes you can make in less than 10 minutes for less than $10:
Start a compost pile: But for the love of god, read this post first. If you want something fancy, it’s going to cost you more than $10; I sure found out the hard way. But you don’t need something fancy. You just need something that works. A pile works.
Stop using paper towels: Nope, not hard. Nope, not expensive. A giant pile perfectly acceptable washcloth sized towels is pretty darn inexpensive at your local outlet grocery or restaurant supply store. Fill a drawer with them and toss ‘em in the wash with the rest of your laundry. It’s really no big deal.
Plug your electronics into a power strip: If your living room is filled full of electronic do-dads and thing-a-ma-jigs, it’s likely you’ve already bought a power strip to plug them all into. If you haven’t, go get one dang it! Then, make a little note somewhere to remind yourself to switch it off every morning before you leave for work and at night before you go to bed. All those gadgets (TVs especially) are sucking what’s known as a “phantom load” even while they’re turned off.
Use your oven like a furnace: Our house is down right cold in the winter. Give your furnace a rest for a bit and leave the oven door open after you’re done cooking. The heat won’t make it that far, and it’s not going to keep you warm all night, but I swear it feels great while it lasts! And what else were you going to do with it?
Take a reusable bag to the grocery store: San Francisco banned plastic bags not too long ago. When I was in Europe last summer, if you didn’t have your own bag, you had to pay extra to get one from the supermarket. I walk to my grocery store, so I keep a couple bags by the door. If you’re not that close and prefer to drive, just leave a few in your trunk. You’ll always have them when you need them.
Donate to your favorite charity: Honestly, I’m more of a fan of volunteering time, but that usually takes more than 20 minutes, and let’s face it, they need money to keep going, too. No matter how broke you feel, I bet you can find $20 once in awhile to help out a cause bigger than yourself. If you really can’t find $20 to give away all at once, I bet you can find $5 four times over the course of a few weeks or months. Think about it the next time you’re buying a latte or super big gulp.
Don’t wash clean clothes: I’ve read that the average person does 4 loads of laundry a week. What!?! I only do one and seem to get by just fine. If I had more clothes, I could probably manage 1 load every other week. I think most people just have a habit of tossing a piece of clothing in the laundry after the first time they wear it. If you think about it, that’s really unnecessary. I never wear socks or underwear more than once without a wash, but shirts and pants? I have an office job; I don’t exactly perspire much. At the end of the day, my clothes are almost always still clean. My pants get washed about once every two weeks and my shirts about once a week. You can do this. I know you can.
Don’t run an empty dishwasher: Yeah, I’ve done it. There were 5 things in there and I needed 1 of them. Come on, what did you want me to do? Pull it out and quickly hand wash it? You’ve got to be kidding. You really do want me to do that? Seriously? Ok, I guess I’ll think about it next time.
Turn down your thermostat: If you can find a good sweater for less than $20 then you’re all set. I recommend Goodwill. Go in July if you want the best deal. This also happens to be the best time of year to find a selection of cheesy Christmas sweaters, and that’s going to pay off big time at your next cheesy Christmas sweater party.
Unplug your dryer: I wrote a whole little ditty on this not that long ago. I actually save time doing this by not having to wait around for the dryer to stop. What you’ll need: 2 vertical things, 1 horizontal thing, and wet clothes. I’m sure you can figure out the rest!
I should mention, as a reader did on Wednesday, that this list is not comprehensive. I simply have a Tpenchant for round numbers. When you get creative, there is a limitless number of things you can do that fit into this category. The only thing stopping you is your own imagination.
So, please don’t be shy. I know you guys have all kinds of suggestions that could be added to this list and the comments section is, undoubtedly, a fantastic place to compile them.
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