Creative Reductions

I recently left the wandering lifestyle to settle (at least for a little while) in a quaint little home in Portland, ME.

There are many novel things about living in a house, and having all of my life and things in one centralized place again. There are a few things that I had forgotten about though:

  1. Living in a house is expensive, and uses lots of resources.
  2. It is way easier to accumulate stuff when you have a house to put it in (my trunk was only so big).

I have been trying to work on creative ways to reduce environmental impacts and costs and I thought it would be nice to have a forum to share ideas. Below I have listed a few of the ways that Ryan and I are trying to do just that.

Share your ideas in the comments below!

  • Turn up the refrigerator temperature by a few degrees.
  • Never put anything hot in the refrigerator.
  • Turn off the hot water heater when out for the day.
  • Turn off the oil burner on nice days so the electric isn’t “talking” to the heat when the heat isn’t on.
  • Shower with a housemate (the hot water generally only lasts for so long so both trying to get clean before you run out of hot water could cut your shower times way down.
  • Never bake only one thing at a time in the oven. If you are going to make a casserole for dinner, whip up a batch of muffins to get the most bang for your buck on oven use.
  • Organize your stuff well so it become obvious when you have more things than you have homes to put them in. Then donate or sell things that don’t have a place in your house. You end up with less clutter and a little bit of cash or that warm fuzzy feeling of donating things to people who need them.
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2 thoughts on “Creative Reductions

  1. I like these, but just be careful in regards to hot food in the fridge. You never want food to stay in the “unsafe zone” (45 to 135 degrees F) very long at all. In food service, you never cool foods at room temperature, you always put them in small containers, so they cool quicker and then put on ice or in the freezer to quickly bring it down below 45 degrees. (A big pot of soup can stay in the unsafe zone for over 24 hours in the middle of the pot even if directly refrigerated.) In a small kitchen with limited freezer space obviously this isn’t always possible. But definitely portion out into small containers to bring down the temp quickly.

    Things I do to help reduce my household environmental impact include: unplugging all appliances when not in use, keeping the heat set at 55 unless I specifically bump it up, and carefully planning meals to insure no waste and batch cooking to conserve on oven use as well.

  2. Turning your refrigerator down is not a good idea. Food poisoning is very dangerous with potential life changing consequences, and not worth risking for truly minimal savings. Things like shutting down your hot water heater are not going to save you much energy unless its down for an extended time. It uses more energy trying to get back up to temperature. Showering with a friend is always good, but there are other ways to take an efficient shower. Pretend you’re in a camper with 10 gallon tank. You’re already mindful, but avoid being penny wise and pound foolish. Enjoy the adventure!

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