By Janeen Ellsworth
1. Cut back on both water usage AND natural gas (or electricity) by taking a five-minute shower.
We use more than two gallons of water PER MINUTE while we shower. It also costs a few cents to heat every one of those gallons. Those few cents add up to, like, a stick of gum. Every day.
If you're luxuriating while the hot water drips down your face or trying to sing like Beyonce for twenty solid minutes, you're losing the Reductionist Monthly Challenge.
On the other hand, if you're only showering for five minutes (and skipping a day or two in between, a 'la those Europeans), your sexy-factor skyrockets. That's a scientifically proven fact;)
2. Don't run your dishwasher unless it's completely full.
The average dishwasher uses between four and six gallons of water each cycle. Don't be a lazy butt and run the thing half-empty. Resist the urge, and just wait. Besides, the Bible says so.
Fill that sucker til it's packed to the gills so you're neither wasting water nor wasting the electricity that it sucks from the earth to heat that water. You don't want to burn in Hell for all eternity, do you?
4. When preparing hot water for tea, coffee, instant soup, or oatmeal, only warm up the amount you need.
Are you one of those people who fills the tea kettle to boil an entire pot when all you're planning on drinking is one mug full? Knock it off! That's bad luck, according to a thousand Irish grandmothers I pretended to interview for this article;)
Instead, follow the wisdom of the old Irish blessing I made up. First, measure only the portion you plan on using, then heat it in the least energy-sucking manner possible. Microwaves use less energy than gas stoves, typically. Electric range tops, surprisingly, can be very efficient. If you have one, heat your water in a small pot rather than a large one, and keep a lid on top to prevent heat from escaping.
This simple trick saves you fossil fuel power, prep time, and marital bliss!
*Disclaimer: For the love of Pete, don't let the food spoil, and don't blame me if you did and then you get food poisoning. Come on! Use yer head!
I'm Janeen; writer, mother, wife, and full-time, radical Reductionist. I share stupid-easy tips on how to save money while reducing your impact on the environment, & I'm committed to helping others live a life of simple sustainability.
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