The post below was originally posted over on the blog My Make Do and Mend Year, which is a good, practical, entertaining blog about the realities of moving towards earth friendly patterns of family life. I loved the title of this post and decided to find my own list of things that are normal to us, but may not appear so to other people!
1. We have found new uses for old things. For example, a throw became a tablecloth and a floral bed sheet became a throw.
2. We no longer use washing powder to wash our clothes. After various experiments, we have found ‘ecoballs‘ work very well.
3. We buy household products in bulk. We currently have enormous containers of SLS and paraben-free shampoo, ‘natural’ washing-up liquid, household cleaner and toilet cleaner. These are decanted into appropriate-sized (used) plastic bottles and used accordingly.
4. We don’t flush the toilet if it’s ‘number one’, unless we have visitors!
5. Every morning I fill the kettle to its limit, boil it, pour out the drinks and put the extra water in a stainless steel thermos flask. This saves time and money, because as soon as we want another drink we have instant hot water, and boiling the water in this way reduces our energy consumption. I got this idea from My Make Do and Mend Year.
6. Darning socks. I had never darned a sock in my life before last year.
7. Any purchase of clothing is either used or sustainably produced. I have long bought second-hand clothes because it seemed such a waste to spend ten times as much on an item of clothing when I can get virtually the same second hand, especially with children’s clothes, which are often barely worn before the child has grown out of them.
8. On the same theme, I asked for tights for my birthday. They cost £12.95 a pair (in the sale!) at ethicalsuperstore.com. I would never normally pay anywhere near that much just for a pair of tights, but a) I detest the feel of nylon tights with a passion, b) I now realise the environmental impact of non-organic cotton and c) they’re hard-wearing and should last, as opposed to cheap nylon tights that ladder easily. You know you’re going ever-so-slightly bonkers when you’re joyful over two pairs of tights.
9. We stopped using the tumble dryer. This happened more by accident than by design, at first. The tumble dryer was not getting as hot as it should have so we put it in the garage intending to get it fixed. In the meantime, we began hanging washing indoors (this was in the winter). Now we either hang washing outside when it’s sunny, or inside on two large clothes horses next to a south-easterly window. Works fine, saves money and electricity.
10. The thermostat is set at 16 degrees Celsius during the day and 12 degrees Celsius at night all year round. Thermal socks, hats, vests and layering of clothes do the rest.
Since starting My Make Do and Mend Year, and our quest for a more sustainable lifestyle, I have picked up some new habits. Things I now do without even thinking. Things that I now regard as ‘normal’ and forget that other people might see them as slightly weird…
Below is my list of the first 10 things I could think of that fall into this category:
1) Re-using tea bags. I have a dish next to the kettle, and after making tea, I put the tea bag in the dish. Once there are two tea bags, I use them both for the new cup of tea-it’s not quite an nice as a fresh cup, but if I use teapot it’s actually pretty ok!
2) Freezing bread crusts and half-eaten rolls.
The Smalls have that annoying Small child thing where they seem to find it impossible to eat crusts. There is…
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