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CHANGING MY WAY OF LIVING - THERE ARE SO MANY THINGS I WANT TO DO, BUT JUST DONT KNOW WHERE TO START! CAN YOU HELP ME?

(33 Posts)
kittylette Wed 30-May-07 13:04:59

It sounds silly but I have this image of how I want to live in my head, Ive had it for a long time but I just havent made any steps to achieve it.

Ive just read the 'boycotting tescos' thread and it really made me think about the way Im living and the example I am setting for my sons.

If I give you a list of the kind of things Im thinking about hen maybe you can give me tips.

I feel like my life is in bits at the moment and EVERYTHING lacks structure and i need to change it around!

I want to ...

*recycle - i dont do this at all.

*grow some of my own food, I have quite a big garden - so i feel this is totally achievable!

*shop locally but Im on a budget so dont know if this will be achievable - i want to switch to Organic - is it that much more expensive??

They are the 3 main things Im looking at.

OH and also STOP USING CARRIER BAGS - i hate them, but never get round to finding alternatives!

Its not just for the environment - its also for my kids health. I recently strated to buy wholemeal and brown produce instead of white, bread, rice, pasta ect - which is the first small step ive made -- but they were still bought from Morrisons! lol

I dont drive so this could be the major setback in shopping locally, because although there are FAB organic markets (unicorns) and such (delis ect) under 5 miles away (thanks to that barns website) 5 miles is still quite a long way when you have to walk with 2 babies, get the shopping and get the 5 miles home again! iykwim!

And theres NO WAY my mum would swap from supermarkets to them so no lifts with her whilst she does her shop anymore!!

Im sorry, I know this is a ramble - but its been going round in my head for such a long time that its all poured out at once!

Any tips for getting started would be SOOOO appreciated!

And remember i am a COMPLETE beginer !

cathcart Wed 30-May-07 13:10:55

does your local council have a recycle box scheme? worth phoning as mine did but i only found out by contacting them. mine only collects paper, but some councils will collect and recycle glass, plastics, tins etc.

schneebly Wed 30-May-07 13:12:56

also what about mooncup, soapnuts etc?

cathcart Wed 30-May-07 13:13:23

i get an organic veg box delivered and one week i added up everything in the box and compared against tesco's individualy priced items. tesco's came out only about £2 cheaper and that didn't include the tesco's delivery charge.

doggiesayswoof Wed 30-May-07 13:14:40

If you want to go organic, try googling organic fruit and veg box schemes - they usually deliver free, so no lugging them home, and ime it's a cheaper way to get organic produce.

Good for you btw - I'm trying to start doing 'better' myself and it's amazing how easy some things are once you make it a habit.

oliveoil Wed 30-May-07 13:15:26

phone numbers her for Mcr City Council recyling

we have a black box for glass and plastic and a plastic bag for paper - leave them outside, they collect once a week

food growing - no idea

shop locally - Unicorn is fab, maybe phone them and see if they deliver? or if they don't they will know someone who does.

Organic a load of phooey imo, do you have a local fruit and veg shop on your street/road?

buy daily instead of weekly shop, then you can take buggy

oliveoil Wed 30-May-07 13:16:03

sorry, they collect every 2 weeks

doggiesayswoof Wed 30-May-07 13:17:40

RE carrier bags - I have a few 'bags for life' which I use all the time - yes, I bought them from evil giant supermarkets, but they are cheap and do the job...

nailpolish Wed 30-May-07 13:20:05

olive has the lakeland box/bag thingys - perfect solution to carriers

or just get reusable bags.

i dont think organic is that brilliant - i prefer to make sure my meat is from ethical farms - ie hte pigs have been allowed to run abou t nad be happy as opposed to knee deep in their own shit for their entire lives

i think it is very very important to buy locally - think of the petrol used to transport veg around the country. such a waste when its probably grown just a mile away

oliveoil Wed 30-May-07 13:23:31

I have one of these from Lakeland to avoid carrier bags when out and about

nailpolish Wed 30-May-07 13:23:34

also water - collect rainwater - shower instead of baths - and dont use chemicals to clean your house

compost kitchen and garden waste - dont use chemicals on your garden (think of hte poor ladybirds starving as you have blasted all their wee beastie breakfasts away!)

long term, solar panels are becoming cheaper - energy saving lightbulbs - turning things off at source - etc

we have removed non essential bulbs - like the fridge - you dont actually need a light inside th efridge ffs

kittypants Wed 30-May-07 13:25:07

this book was suggest on another thread'i count(stop climate caos)' i got one from ebay,not arrived yet but sounds good.amazon also had them.

oliveoil Wed 30-May-07 13:25:09

and these but these are to go in trolley at supermarket

kittylette Wed 30-May-07 13:27:39

Thanks soo much for all tour imput,

Ill reply individually and look through the links later tonight as I promised DS we would go to the park (its pissing it down but thats what wellybobs were invented for eh?)

thanks again, I feel quite positive now!

kittylette Wed 30-May-07 13:28:02

*your

SpacePuppy Wed 30-May-07 13:36:03

What I've started doing is, to replace my cleaners that runs out with something made up from recipes on this site. So I have the spray bottle and just fill with alternative cleaning ingredients.

EachPeachPearPlum Wed 30-May-07 13:39:41

I have this book, which I love. It is really good for learning about growing vegetables and also about doing things to your house to make it more eco-friendly.

Indith Wed 30-May-07 13:43:46

cloth bags etc are easy to get. I tend too take a string bag in my handbag so if I decide to buy stuff on a whim I have it there.

I've just got a mooncup, not used it much (still bf) but it seems fab.

I have a book called "Natural stain remover" by Angela Martin full of ideas for home made cleaning products.

As for organic etc, local, (or at least British) in season fruit and veg beats imported organic hands down IMO. It is about being aware of where you food comes from. Remember that even organic boxes often contain imported produce. I do still do some supermarket shopping, about once a month to stock up on dried stuff then I go to the market about twice a week for fresh. Do you have a bus?

Def grow some veg, I'd love to have the space to do that, and install a water butt to collect rainwater for watering your new veg garden.

With a garden to use it on you can compost most of your kitchen waste. Other recycling is so easy to do although I see you could have problems if your council don't collect with not driving.

RuthChan Wed 30-May-07 13:57:54

If you use carrier bags at the moment, you probably have a huge stock of them somewhere.
To begin with, don't worry about getting cloth bags etc. Just reuse the bags you already have.
I always take a rucksac and some old carriers with me when I go shopping. That sorts me out without buying special cloth bags.

With regards to growing your own veg, why not start off simple and go from there.
Lettuce, potatoes, brocolli, peas, carrots etc are really easy to grow.
If you have a green house, you could do tomatoes or cucumber.
Start small with one or two and see how you go. You could either start from seed or buy some plants that just need sticking in the ground.
If it all seems a little daunting, why not start with something even easier like herbs.

portonovo Thu 31-May-07 13:02:41

I think you have all the right ideas, you just need to make a start on some of them!

Starting off small is fine, in many ways it's the best thing because you won't get overwhelmed or frustrated and just give up.

Our journey has been a very gradual one over the last 20 years or so, and we've still got lots to do. We started with Fairtrade, that was really important to us as semi-activist students!

The growing our own veg bit came easy because my husband's passion is gardening. Again though, we started off small because our garden was small, and just built up as we got bigger gardens. Now we have a big garden and an allotment, and have progressed to keeping chickens for eggs and (hopefully in the next few weeks!) chickens.

Organic food does cost more, for obvious reasons, but you can start to integrate it into your diet gradually. I would argue that actually food is too cheap, and it's a case of looking at priorities. Meat is the thing that's really expensive, but we get round this by only eating meat about twice a week - sometimes only once, very rarely as many as three times. Veggie food is really tasty and it's probably better health-wise and definitely for the environment not to eat too much meat. And because pulses etc just 'are' inexpensive, because they're not processed or whatever, you can get organic pulses really cheaply.

We now eat about 70-90% organic, and I must admit our food bill has risen. However, the rise hasn't been huge, because we have offset this by eating less meat, menu planning really carefully and continuing to use every scrap of food instead of wasting it. We're great at making a meal from not much!

As far as shopping locally goes, again just try to do a bit. If you try to get say 20 or 50% of your shopping locally, that's a vast improvement and shouldn't be too much of a shock to the system, or your purse. In fact, we often find avoiding the supermarkets can be cheaper - some local markets etc are great. Over the last few years we have also sussed out what's available in nearby towns - for example one town 3 miles away has a great deli offering lots of local produce, another town 8 miles away has a super health food shop, organic veg shop and butchers. We don't go there all the time - that would defeat the object - but we try to visit these every month or so and stock up a bit. We grow a lot of veg, get a veg/fruit box weekly and go to our local farm shop once a week - unfortunately that has to be by car, it's not far so would be walkable, but is on a busy dual carriageway with no path! So yet another compromise, and yes there are a few of those! Our local garden centre also has a local food hall we use now and then.

We don't yet avoid supermarkets totally, but go very infrequently and they now account for a fairly small part of our food budget.

Bags - just use whatever you have, to start with at least. We tend to use a combination of small rucksacks and cloth bags - the cloth bags are good because they fold up so small. I never go into town without a few bags.

Just go for it!

juicychops Thu 31-May-07 13:56:54

This morning i replaced all the light bulbs in the house for energy saving ones

however, not in the kitchen as i need 3 spotlight ones. Do they do energy efficient spotlight bulbs?

BernieBear Thu 31-May-07 16:52:55

Would also be interested in the spotlight energy lightbulb subject! Anyone?

squidette Thu 31-May-07 19:36:38

I am also doing this, kitty - it started really slowly when i was read about something called Voluntary Simplicity and was inspired to look at my life and how i was choosing to live it.

I wrote a list of my values, loves and inspirations and then a list of the way i actually spent my time, energy and money. Almost nothing matched. So i took really small steps in changing things - first thing i did was menu plan for cooking from scratch. Then it followed that i made a shopping list. Then i only bought from the list. This saved money and waste, processing, packaging, time, 'whatarewehavingfordinner's and little trips to the shop for milk and bread. With the money i saved at first, i bought a breadmaker.* Then i thought more about what i was cooking and where i was buying my ingredients from, so i choose to try an organic veg box and shop locally for meat, diary and household things. I could afford this now as i was menu-planning with care.

This was just the start of my journey. And everyone will be different. I have changed and changed so much since i decided to live more simply and deliberatly - i now eat a vegetarian diet, i joined the Compact at the start of May, i feel the Reducing element of Reduce, Reuse and Recycle is by far the biggest force for me in change, i make my own clothes and use cloth toilet paper. And really, its becoming my way of life to be a lot smaller, my actions are matching my goals now.

You can find loads of practical tips here and elsewhere - start small and feel it growing as you get littler.

* Important note - at the start of changing habits reward yourself for your new behaviour!

kittypants Fri 01-Jun-07 13:50:27

kitty the book i suggested came today and im not that impressed as it doesnt suggest anything i dont already doso i wouldnt bother but if you are completly clueless about it all youre welcome to mine ffp.

lljkk Sat 02-Jun-07 08:11:22

Taking bags with you to shops is just a habit; Get a couple of decent canvas backpacks, easier to carry and more versatile than handle-only bags.

I know this is obsssive maybe let you see possibilities, though...I Keep almost every intact plastic bag that comes my way, and sort them into "dirties" (for the bin, kid muddy clothes, etc.) and "Cleans" (for other stuff).

In spite of virtually never reaching for any sort of new bag in a shop, AND double wrapping all our rubbish (I hate smelly bins) -- we have way too many bags left over. In addition to carriers/canvas, I bring to the shop my own little bags for veg/fruit. I use several thick plastic bags to wrap broken glass or extra-smelly stuff in the bin -- I still have enough left over to take lots to recycle centre (polythene and carrier bags).

For instance, "would you like some 2nd-hand clothes?" I say yes, they bring the items in a carrier bag I can reuse. MIL brings gifts for kids in carriers they don't want to keep, friends drop off a thank you pressie for a favour, etc. Kids pressies are packaged in carrier size bags I can re-use, etc.

Helped out at school disco (or any public entertainment event with drinks+food) -- there were loads of bags left over, probably destined for the bin, I scooped most up.

If I run short of "dirties" I collect ones stashed around the bottlebank, ready to blow away, anyway.

We get occasional magazines/flyers that come in plastic wrappers -- we can reuse those as fruit and vegie bags. Old cereal bags work as liners in small rubbish bins, or have 2 small ex-cereal bags on the go in a medium size open-top bin.

Helps cut down on the rubbish if you recycle lots, try hard not to waste food, and compost.

I re-use wrapping paper in good nick and present bags, too -- MIL brings all kids pressies in those large gift bags which are in perfect nick even after kids have thrown them across the room, crime not to re-use them.

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