Thursday, April 21, 2011

Thrifty Week - Green Credentials

Whether by accident or design, being thrifty usually manages to end up being good for the environment too. Elizabethd and her husband are busy reducing tap-water consumption in northern France. Mrs Yappy Dog is reusing empty lemonade bottles. Jenevieve is making cloth nappies while waiting for a new arrival (and yes, cloth nappies nowadays really work brilliantly - you can forget those old Terries!). So thrift means reduce and reuse (recycle is the poor third relation in the Green Threesome - you don't need to recycle much if you reduce and reuse enough...) So here are a few of my thrifty ways which are also good for the environment - two old favourites and one real newbie! Firstly, cloth napkins are cheaper and more environmentally friendly than paper napkins or kitchen roll. And boy, do they look good for those who love vintage style! This is a snapshot of what's on our table at the moment - a rare example of all four of us having the same design. The boys usually complain when we all have the same napkins - they like the eclectic collections I build up and sort by colour. In my drawers I have a red set, a green set, a yellow/beige set and a blue set. Sorting by colours is enough to bring the disparate odds and ends I pick up in charity shops together. Washing and ironing them is no big deal - shirts are hard to iron, but squares of fabric are a doddle. I think we meet the criteria for style, convenience, thrift and creation-care with these napkins. I hope you agree!

The second old-favourite is using kitchen cloths instead of kitchen roll. I do keep a roll of paper for really nasty disasters (vomit-related, normally) but in the kitchen is a 'set' of blue cloths (some microfibre, some cut-up T-shirts) and in the utility room is 'the rest' - mankier cloths of all colours that can be used on the floor and for dusting. We help ourselves to them just as we would with kitchen roll, and then throw the cloths into a washing bin in the kitchen. I don't like them lying around damp waiting for re-use - they do breed bacteria. So I uses them once and wash them regularly. It works.

This baby is the new thrifty/green addition to our life - I bought it with some Christmas money. It's a steam mop - no more shopping for floor cleaning products! The hot steam disinfects as it removes the dirt, and the floor dries pretty quickly as it the water is so hot. If you need to really disinfect an area (this is the patch under the stairs where the dog eats and sleeps, so as you can see it gets truly grubby), you just leave the mop in one place for nine seconds and the steam kills all known germs - dead, or whatever those cleaning products promise. As Mrs Yappy Dog mentioned the other day, it's a bit odd to have really clean floors without a really clean smell - you KNOW your floor is clean if it stinks of pine - but that's something I'm getting used to. I bought mine, in true British fashion, at Lakeland Ltd.


Do visit Mrs Yappy Dog to pick up more tips and links for Thrifty Week. And have a look at my prayer for our children, below - there's a story attached to today's post - synchronicity is happening!


Heidi said...

You totally scored on that laundry bin and those linens!!! Have a very Blessed Easter to you and your family Floss!

marigold jam said...

I too use fabric napkins and rarely paper serviettes unless we are catering for a party when I wouldn't have enough fabric ones. One thrifty tip I intend to try is to buy some of those silicone cake cases and to use those instead of the paper ones although I rarely make cakes these days!
Keep up the good work.


Betty said...

I love your steam cleaner - is going on my list of things to save up for - very green, very clean. I am having to steal moments on the GCSE boys computer but maybe that's green too as we only have one laptop now so less power being used!

Michela said...

I'd love a steam cleaner too, but my mum is a bit sceptical about it.
I'm having fun at reading all your thrifty tips, since I'm a real waster!
I'm going to post your parcel next week, as I don't want it to get lost in the Easter fuss..

Serenata said...

We use napkins as well. I make my dishcloths and use rags for spills etc...

Oh and guess what, I managed to find DS2, not one but two white (new M&S) polo shirts in the CS today - just what he needs for PE. Just need to find the shorts now.

Squirrelhaus said...

Some very good ideas and some very good tips!!
I hope you have a Wonderful Easter Holiday!!
Chris :o)

Jenevieve said...

Great ideas for the cloths, I think I might borrow that idea! The steam cleaner looks great too, especailly if you have pets, I now how much dirt they seem to leave around!
The napkins are really pretty too. Have a great weekend! :) x

Conny's Cottage said...


your vintag stitchis is very very bretty.
happy eastern send you Conny