My husband and I have been thinking about ways we can simplify our lives and change the way we do things. The main goal we have is to make use of what we do have and get rid of what we don’t need. Having Christmas so close to New Years sometimes seems to make it tough on all of us, going from one extreme to the other. Giving and receiving and spending way too much and then turning around the next week and wanting to make changes for the new year.
This year we didn’t spend much at all, focusing on love and the true meaning of Christmas, instead of the commercialized side of it. Now with the New Year upon us, we want to make changes that will impact us the whole year through and on into the next year. Changes we can keep going and changes that will help others.
Here are some of the ideas we came up with:
1. Eat at home more often. Time spent with family is time well spent. Sitting around the table discussing the days events and enjoying some great organic, local food is better than any restaurant can offer.
2. Start a Community Garden. I have wanted to do this for a long time, and I am not sure how to start but we have some ideas. I love the idea of sharing our food and growing natural organic fruits and veggies. American Community Gardening Association has the basic information needed.
3. Commit to Understanding Recycling better. Recycling is sometimes harder than it may seem at first. Some items cannot be put in the recycle bin, like frozen food boxes or pizza boxes that have been used. Knowing what can be recycled and where to take electronics and light bulbs are all important. Check out The Internet Consumer Recycling Guide for a starting point for recycling information.
4. Getting rid of anything we don’t use. Taking clothes and toys to the Goodwill or nearest thrift store, selling some items on Ebay or Craigslist to put some extra money in our pockets and trying to stick to the basics, if we don’t use it, get rid of it. We would like to take some things downtown to hand out to homeless people also, like coats and sweatshirts.
5. Borrowing more. So many times we go and buy an item we want, like a movie, and watch it once and it sits in our drawer. We would like to start borrowing more, even with electronics or power tools, items you may only use once or twice a year. We are fortunate to have a great community of friends who are willing to partner with us on this endeavor to borrow more.
6. Reusing, Buying used and consuming less. From clothes to household furnishings, buying used can be just as good as new, if not better sometimes. In a report done by the New Road Map Foundation(ecofuture.org) it showed that when consumption went up, the quality of life went down. The statistics on this site are overwhelmingly saddening. Please read down through Questioning the Dream, one statistic says the highest income group are doctors and the professions with the highest proportion of unhappy people are doctors and lawyers. Think about that for a moment. We often think more money will make us happier, but that’s not usually the case.
7. Sharing our house with others. Now this one will be the hardest to implement into our lives. With so many people having a hard time financially we have thought about opening one our rooms to a couple to share our house with. As a married couple with children, this one has been a tough one to get my head around but the concept of sharing, using less and wasting less, helps me see how this could ultimately help the environment.
8. Giving Away. I have found myself wanting to give more to people in need. I have seen ads where people need things and aren’t able to pay for them and I want to help. So many people are in need and even though its tough to pay the bills some months, I still have so much to offer and give away. Get out and experience the joy you will receive when helping others.
Please add to my list! I would love to hear about your Green New Years Resolutions.