Here we go:
- We make our own laundry detergent. I use castille soap, Borax, and washing soda to make liquid laundry detergent. I make a five gallon bucket at a time, usually every 2 - 3 months. This cleans all of the household laundry. I cannot bring myself to spend $12+ on a bottle of chemically-laden laundry detergent. It's mostly water, anyway and my home made version cleans our clothes just as well as a commercial detergent.
- We hand wash dishes. We don't even own a dishwasher. We used to have one, but I was tired of having to 'pre-wash' dishes, or 're-wash' ones the dishwasher didn't clean. It was noisy and used water and electricity. When that one died, I wasn't going to spend at least $1,500 on a decent dishwasher, which still recommended that the dishes be 'pre-washed'. My husband and I share the responsibility of washing the dishes every day, and we use my handmade dishcloths.
- I line-dry clothes whenever I possibly can. Free energy, people! Solar and wind energy at work right out at your clothesline. I have four clotheslines and I am so happy when every single space on those lines are filled with clothes. There's nothing like slipping under the covers that have been air-dried.
- We have a wood stove. We've had a wood stove for 16 years, now. It has saved us a considerable amount of money during the winter months on heating costs. Our main system is forced hot air using natural gas, so that uses gas + electricity. Well, when we have a winter storm that knocks out our electricity, we are still warm and cozy with our wood stove. We usually cut and split the wood ourselves, and have friends that are helpful in giving us felled trees, when possible. A wood stove is perfect to use in the spring and autumn, when the damp days put a chill in the house.
- I don't use commercial household cleaners. I only use vinegar and Borax to clean my house. I use a steam mop to clean my floors (we barely have any carpeting, only an area rug in a couple of rooms). I keep a spray bottle with a mixture of water, vinegar, and a couple of drops of castille soap handy to clean counters, mirrors, and to spot clean. Oh, and elbow grease.
- I'm not a huge gadget person. I don't even own a mixer. I use a fork. When everyone was going crazy over the fancy, brightly colored standing mixers, I just kept on using my fork. Works wonderfully and clean up is so much easier. Yes, I know I've said I have a steam mop, but I got it on sale and it has saved my back hugely over using a regular old mop, of which I've tried every variety.
- We compost kitchen scraps. Instead of having a full, stinky kitchen garbage basket, we compost our kitchen waste (except for meat and dairy) into our compost pile. This is used in our vegetable and flower gardens. Between composting and recycling, not much trash actually goes into our kitchen garbage.
- We fix it or wear it out, first. Before replacing an item with a new one, we make the determination that it cannot be fixed or has been completely worn out. My husband is my McGyver and can fix just about anything. If he can't fix it, then we'll get a new one - but only the best quality for the best price. I'm happy to say that there is a big box store not too far from our house and we rarely shop there.
- We consolidate our errands. Gasoline isn't cheap and our vehicles aren't getting any younger. We live on the 'outskirts of town'. So trips to the grocery store, pharmacy, gas station etc. are planned carefully so that we're not wasting time or resources going out multiple times when we can accomplish as much as possible in one trip.