Thursday, June 11, 2009

Word of Wisdom - Simplify

It's been one of those odd weeks where I actually watched TV. First it was game 6 for the Stanley Cup Finals then today it was Oprah. Her topic was up particular interest, because it was about acknowledging our waste then using just what we need.

I consider myself fairly responsible and Green when it comes to using just what I need. I don't do it to be trendy, but out of respect for my environment and to people since my actions effect others and future generations. I completely agree with one of the ladies interviewed on this show, "I dont want to take more then I give."

On Oprah's show titled "What would you dare to live without?" several families took the challenge to stay off of electronics (except for homework), take 5 minute showers amongst other rules. Besides a sense of accomplishment and being reconnected within the family, the feeling at the end of the week was guilt. That's because the parents realized that raising their children dependent on electronics deprived them in so many aspects besides being incredibly wasteful. My first internal thought was "Good. I'm glad you feel guilty." To my shook Oprah said the same thing! But she followed it up with a phrase I need to remember to think next time, "Get over the guilt and take what you learned and move on." (paraphrased)

While watching Oprah's show on using less, I thought it didnt apply to me. Then after some walking around the house, I let myself see that I can do better.

What I plan to change due to watching Oprah:

  • Stop using paper towels. I have rags all cut up and ready to be used, but the paper towels hang over the kitchen sink, so I grab that out of convenience. I need to relocate the rags closer to the sink and actually use the hooks that are installed in the laundry room for drying the rags. As for washing windows on the car, I can use newspaper instead of paper towels, which actually works better since it doesnt leave any bits of paper behind.
  • Use cloth napkins instead of paper. I even own some cloth napkins. Arg. I need to use them. It's just so much easier to throw away paper then to do a load of laundry. What it comes down to is me being lazy. Time to change that.
  • Take shorter showers. Typically I take 15-20 minute shower every other day. I've known this is wasteful but to justify it I call it "water therapy" since H2O calms me down and sooths my often aching neck. Oprah's challenge of taking a 5 minute shower isnt something I'm considering doing, but I will limit it to 10 minutes.
  • Walk instead of drive when it's just a 5 minute walk. Most of the time I do walk to close places, but I've been known to have lazy fits and drive.
  • Bike when it's just a 10-15 ride instead of driving when I just need to pick up a few things that would easily fit in a backpack, like going to the bank, post office or to Red box to return a movie. The reason I use the car now, is mostly out of laziness or poor planning. Rarely do I buy lots of things that require a vehicle or have to drive really far that would prevent me from biking.
  • Use Simply Green for cleaning instead of chemicals.
  • Reuse plastic bags that the produce comes in. For me this is a minor point since about 90% of the time I dont use those bags.What's the point? The produce has already been handled a lot and I'm going to wash it before I eat it.
  • Remember to use the canvas bags that I have in the car.
  • Turn off laptop at night.
  • Stop using tin foil, zip lock bags, plastic baggies and saran wrap. Instead use reusable containers.
  • An an going problem that I need to analyze further is where does all of the paper piles come from? How is this paper coming into my life? Why do I accept it? I've gotten some of it to go away by having online statements, but still there is too much to manage, and it's also wasteful.
  • Buy tp made from 100% recycled paper.

2 irresponsible things that I'm not ready to stop:
  • Buying almond milk. This is not the greatest thing to do since the box isnt recyclable. I'm just not ready to give that up, since I cant have cows milk which comes in a recyclable container.
  • Eating at restaurants that serve food in Styrofoam like my favorite taco shop. I'm a sucker for carne asada tacos and I dont want to stop eating them.

It's a Game
It's not about filling up the recycle bin with what use to be thrown in the trash can, but to see how few things you can thrown away or recycle. It's best to not even have to use up resources to make certain products, especially if they get used just once.

Click here to watch the Oprah episode about using less that made me question do I own things I need or that I want.


  1. very nice recap. made me think.

    something i'm not ready to give up is using paper towells to clean the bathroom toilet and sink. i do use a towell to clean the mirror.

  2. I quit buying paper towels & napkins simply because I needed to cut down on my grocery shopping list. My paper towel holder now sits in my bathroom holding toilet paper rolls. If foil is on sale I buy it, if not I live without it. I hadn't thought about the fact I am helping the envirnoment at the same time.
    I have a list of natural cleaning items clipped out of the newspaper months ago. Using general household items (lemons,vinegar to name two)instead of the stuff on the shelf. I'll have to locate it again & share it with you.