9.13.2011

How to Consume Less

There are simple things you can do at home to save money and consume less.  We often choose convenience over common sense without even realizing it.  We started consuming less when we started to eliminate the things in our lives that we unnecessarily used the most. Things like paper towels, dish washing sponges, zip lock bags, laundry detergent, dish washing tablets, and many household chemicals. We don't use any of these things anymore and I will tell you how we do it.  The idea is not to go without but instead come up with a better alternative that saves you money and helps you consume less.

One of the easiest ways to start consuming less is to start paying close attention to what your buying every week and what your throwing away every day.  Then start thinking how you can eliminate these consumable items with money saving alternatives.  These little things will really start to add up when you put them all together.

So here is a small list to help inspire you to come up with your own ways of consuming less.  We hope you will come back and share your own ideas now that a seed has been planted.

How to Consume Less Water Bottles


In the past we were buying a 24 pack of water every week.  Sometimes more often then that.  That's a lot of water bottles a year for one family.  I cant even imagine what we go through as a country.  Its kinda scary!  I can tell you that we have cured our water bottle addiction and we couldn't be more happy about it.  How did we do it?  Simple.  We bought a couple durable water bottles that we use over and over again and we bought a water purifier for our kitchen sink. 

Do we save money by using a water purifier?  Ten bucks for a filter that last atleast a month sometimes longer compared to eight 24 packs of water a month at five dollars a pack.  That's a savings of thirty dollars or more a month.  So to answer your question.  Absolutely!  Does it taste as good as bottled water?  We cant tell a difference.  The water filters we buy automatically stop working when its time to replace them so we always have great tasting water.  Imagine if everyone started doing this!

Consume Less Paper Towels


We all love paper towels!  How could we possible live without them?  They are so convenient.  You can use them for just about anything.  These disposable miracles can be used to clean your kitchen, bathroom, and everything else in between.  All you have to do is reach, tear, wipe and trash.  Amazing!

So how did we break another painful addiction?  Its simple.  We switched to small fabric kitchen towels. You will need a lot of them so look for them on clearance and stocked up.  The idea is to use them like paper towels with the exception of the throwing them away at the end.  We bought thirty small towels that are about the size of paper towels and we use them the same.  After one messy use they hit the laundry hamper instead of the trash can. We also bought fifteen bar towels that we keep hanging around to dry our hands with.  We had a bad habit of grabbing a paper towel every time we needed to dry our hands but now we just use the bar towels.  Imagine never having to buy paper towels again.  Its great!

Consume Less Sponges


We would buy sponges and use one for several days if not a week to wash dishes.  We all know how quickly sponges start to get gross.  So we needed a simple solution to consume less sponges.  So now instead of sponges we use small kitchen towels to wash our dishes with.  We use the same towels we bought to replace paper towels.  At the end of the day we toss our dirty towel in the hamper and start with a fresh clean one the next day.  One less thing we need to buy!

Consume Less Ziploc Bags


We were using a lot of Ziploc bags in our packed lunches as well as other things.  If it needed to be saved in the fridge it would often go into a zip lock bag.  As soon as your done with the Ziploc bag where does it usually go?  The trash can.  We knew it was wasteful and needed a better idea.  So what did we do to get off our Ziploc addiction?  We bought two sets of washable Tupperware that we can use over and over again instead of disposable Ziploc bags.  Imagine that!

How to Consume Less Laundry Detergent


Trust me.  You don't have to stop washing your clothes to consume less laundry detergent.  We make our own.  Not only do we save a lot of money by making our own laundry soap but we also consume less by using the same laundry detergent bottle over and over again.  We just refill it with our homemade laundry detergent every time we start to run low.  How simple is that?

Consume Less Dishwasher Tablets


We started washing our dishes by hand so that we wouldn't have to be dependent on a dishwasher and the tablets needed to run it.  Do we miss using the dishwasher?  Of course we do!  But we got over it and so will you.  Its one less thing we add to our grocery list every month and that makes us happy!

How to Consume Less Household Chemicals


In the past we had household chemicals everywhere.  In the kitchen, bathroom, laundry room and anywhere else we could find a place for them.  What we began to realize is that we really have no idea what they put in these things.  They say they are safe but are they really?  How do we really know?  If something is bad for your health you usually don't find out about it until its too late.  Our simple solution was to clean house!  Everything went into the trash can.

The only household chemical we use for cleaning is a 409 substitute that we make ourselves. Its a wonderful degreaser that works just as well as anything store bought at a fraction of the cost.  I will share this recipe with you guys in a later post. 

Tell us how you consume less by leaving a comment!

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About This BLOG

The Zion Project is what my family is calling our journey into homesteading. Call it simple living, homesteading, self sufficient or even self reliant because its all the same to us. I wish that I could say that we are successful homesteaders with a lot of helpful advice to share with you but that's not the case. Not yet anyways. We are learning as we go and we invite you to stick around as we attempt to become more self reliant by living off the land.

The Zion Project

A family's desire to go from city to farm. From endless traffic lights to endless country dirt roads. A desire to walk in a garden instead of a grocery store. A choice to raise chickens instead of buying eggs. A dream to build a house instead of owning a thirty year mortgage. A place where family and friends are more important then careers. To create a homestead with the focus of becoming self reliant. To become dependent on the land we live on and not the society we created around it. The ability to thrive in world that appears to be falling apart in so many ways.

Why do we want a more self-reliant lifestyle?

My family was living in St. Augustine Florida when we first started thinking about becoming more self sufficient. I don't remember exactly when and where but I am sure it had to do with the rough economy, rising gas prices, and rising food prices when we realized the world we live in is far from stable. Add in five nights a week of Glenn Beck and a wake up call from Hurricane Katrina and we realized that our family wasn't prepared to survive a week without Wal-Mart. The truth makes you sick at first but also makes you stronger if you choose not to ignore it.We have a lot of reasons for choosing a more simple life. More then anything I think we want more options. We want to learn how to grow our own fruits and vegetables as well as raising our own dairy cow for the milk, cheese and butter. We also want to raise our own chickens so that we would have our own source of eggs and meat on our homestead. This way of living has always been around but we feel its becoming more and more important for people to at least know how to live off the land.

The Road Ahead

This is not a story about how we did it. We are a long ways from that. This is a story about how we are doing it. One sacrifice at a time. We are taking this opportunity to use this forum to document our experiences. We are calling it the Zion Project.