My last gas bill was astronomical. My power bill wasn’t much prettier. Even my water bill was higher than usual. I realize the weather has been colder, and the heat has been working overtime, but it made me think about my energy conservation habits (or lack thereof) and the contributions those habits have made (or not made) toward saving.

Yesterday my husband was upstairs packing for another trip. When he was finished, I walked through the rooms to make sure he didn’t forget anything. I found that the only thing he forgot was to turn off the lights. Between the husband and the kids, EVERY SINGLE light upstairs was on, including bathrooms and the hallway. That needs to change.

I’d like to think I’m more diligent about turning off the lights than my husband is, but I admit I don’t pay much attention. So today I’m going to pay attention, not just to the lights that don’t need to be on, but to all the other ways my family and I can conserve energy. Any suggestions?

I think I have some improving to do. I must have walked into my kitchen a half a dozen times today thinking, “Why is this light on?” and having no recollection of leaving it on.

Part of my problem is that I’m a multi-tasking scatterbrain. Throughout the day, my thought process goes a little something like this: I’ll put the waffles in the toaster and while I wait I’ll start a load of laundry and after that I’ll bring the dry laundry upstairs and then I’ll lay out clothes for the kids but oh man the humidifier is still running and I really need to clean that today and then oops the waffles are burning better run downstairs but first I’ll move that dump truck out of the hallway…and on and on until my day seems like one long grammatically incorrect run-on sentence. My point is, when I hop from room to room to room in the span of 7 minutes, it’s easy to forget to turn off the lights, especially when I had every intention of returning to that room “in a second.”

But in general, I did find some areas of improvement other than turning off lights. I took a shorter shower and didn’t fill the kids’ baths as high. I reminded the kids to turn the water off while they brushed their teeth and washed their hands. I washed fewer dishes by hand, because yes, running the dishwasher uses less water than hand washing. I washed several loads of laundry, all back to back so the dryer was still warm for the next load (I read somewhere that that helps dry clothes faster, but I don’t know if that’s really true). I turned down the thermostat to Borderline Frigid when I wasn’t home. (I was planning to teach myself how to set the thermostat, but my schedule isn’t exactly the same from day to day so that probably wouldn’t help me.) Heck, I even reused tin foil, cleaned up with dish towels instead of paper towels, and used fewer squares of toilet paper! I’m conserving all over the place!

My husband built this table for Big C.  Originally, it was his Train Table, starting out with a simple figure 8 Thomas train set and growing into the entire Island of Sodor.  When Big C outgrew Thomas, the table became his Lego Table.  I spent hours neatly organizing a gajillion pieces of Legos into stackable containers that sat in the corner of the table.  Now, I don’t have any earthly idea what to call this monstrosity.  Should we call it the Pile of Junk Table?  Or how about the Chasm of Misplaced Toys Table? No wait I’ve got it: the If-You-Don’t-Clean-Up-That-Table-Now-Everything-On-It-Is-Going-In-The-Trash Table.  Yeah, that fits.
Big C has WAY too many toys.  And the sad thing is that he’s at that age when he wants more, more, more.  Case in point, do you know what he said to me today? 

Mommy, no one is greater than God….Except Santa.

Out of the mouths of babes. 

3 Comments on Operation: Conservation

  1. I love how you think – in one long grammatically incorrect sentence! Me too! As I get older my thoughts don't even always get finished and run together randomly! Most be motherhood!

  2. I know what you mean about conserving, but we're finally doing GREAT at home…after two years of my husband playing 'lightswitch Nazi' and yelling "Turn off the light in the ladderwell" before the person using the light had even gotten to the top (or bottom) of the stairs, the boys have finally figured out how NOT to leave lights on when not in use.

    The best conservation tip I can offer is GET SOLAR PANELS! We love ours, and can now run the A/C on the hottest days of summer with no guilt…and we still don't pay an electric bill!

    Another big one for us – which I HATED but am learning to accept – was switching out all the light bulbs to either compact flourescent or LED light bulbs. CFL's save about 75% electricity useage compared to standard incandescent bulbs, and LED's save more than 90% over incandescent. The CFL's have a tendency to 'flicker' in certain fixtures, and the LED's produce a very harsh, 'cold' light, so they take some getting used to.

    The hardest part about 'going green' for me, was finding ways to cut down on our TRASH….specifically breaking my habit of using paper plates and bowls, and disposable flatware. We are saving MONEY by washing the real dishes instead of buying disposables, and now as a family we generate 1 or 2 kitchen-sized bags of garbage a week – instead of 4 or 5! That was huge.

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