Too often, time is the cruncher that drives some mamas away from living more simply (okay, so that was a hidden pun; for those who are unfamiliar with the term, “crunchy” is often used to mean “natural” or “green”). Here are ten ways that I actually save time over one week by green living.
1) Remember that money = time! A penny saved is a penny that I don’t have to earn, which means more time spent with my family. Reusing means that you don’t have to re-buy something.
2) We reuse bath towels three or more times before washing them. Benefits? Saving on the wear of the towel, energy to heat the water, less water and soap for washing…and LESS TIME doing laundry. If it takes me 20 minutes to complete a load of laundry (gathering, putting in washer, transferring to dryer, taking upstairs, folding, putting away), that’s a savings of 40 minutes.
3) Pocket Change cloth diapers. They are designed with a pocket that is open on both ends, allowing the liner to agitate out of the diaper during washing. All you have to do is throw the used diaper in the pail, then dump the pail into the washing machine. Benefits? NO TIME involved in separating diapers! 10 seconds x 10 diapers a day = almost 12 minutes.
4) Cloth diapers in general. Not only is it definitely better for the environment, my pocket book, and my baby’s skin, but it really does save me time. It takes me a lot more time to go shopping than it does to wash a load of laundry, and this also means less garbage for me to package up and lug out to the curb (at least an extra 5 minutes) every Friday morning. Sleep is of the essence for any new mama, believe me. Let’s say that I usually bought diapers with other things and only had to run out “separate” once in a while…It’d be about a total of 22 minutes.
5) Turning off lights when I leave a room. Corny, I know, but think about it: if I turn the lights off when I leave the room, I save money and energy, and I also don’t have to walk back through the house before going to bed to turn them off. Savings of approximately 4 minutes a day = 28 minutes a week.
6) I prepare batches of food for Amara all at once and then freeze the portions in ice cube trays to use later. Generally, I cook the food, throw it in the blender with some milk, spoon into the trays, freeze, pop out and wrap or bag. This may take 15 minutes total for an entire month’s worth of food, depending on what I’m making. Benefits? No cleaning of jars, bad stuff into my baby’s body, or wasting of food. Also less recyclables that I have to bring to the curb every Friday. This equals about 7 minutes a week, once I subtract the time I might spend cleaning the food containers from my own method.
7) Instead of putting Amara on the floor, I put her on a blanket on the floor. For now, this means I don’t have to vacuum every day because I can just shake the blanket out when we’re done. Dare I admit this, but we only vacuum about once every three or four weeks (yikes). If she was on the floor, I would want to vacuum every day. Even if we’re only talking about one room, this saves on the life of the vacuum, the energy and money to provide the electricity, less noise pollution (even if only in the house!) and about 8 minutes a day (considering the time spent setting up the vacuum, vacuuming, and putting it away). A total of 42 minutes a week if I only vacuum once a month. Yes, we do take our shoes off when we’re home, so our floors really aren’t gross, just not something I would put my daughter who’s prone to eat the carpet down on it.
8) My daughter gets a bath one time a week instead of every day. Most of the time, I just pop her in the shower with me, wash her up, and hand her off to her dad. From undressing her to re-dressing her, this takes about 15 minutes. If she got a bath every day, it’d be in our big bath tub. The whole process would waste a LOT of water, soap, heat, and time. To be exact, 25 minutes a day. Savings? 160 minutes a week.
9) When I cook, I make double batches and freeze one. It’s healthier to eat at home, we all know, but with this method, it’s a lot easier, too. Only one set of dishes to clean (great for saving on energy, soap, and water), and half the time spent cooking. We eat the leftovers for lunch, so that takes care of lunches, too (I won’t calculate that time, though). This equals a grand total of 210 minutes a week. At least.
I think everyone who’s ever heard of milk knows the great qualities–amazing health benefits for mama and baby as well as saving a TON of money (with formula easily being $25/powdered can which I’m told by coworkers lasts them only two or three days), but it saves me a tremendous amount of time, too. Some people may say, hey, but you have to pump at work! Well guess what, that’s “free” time! It legally has to be provided to me, and I’m actually able to continue working while pumping at my current job. In all, it saves time in the following ways: no shopping for it, no cleaning off diapers during the time when I was exclusively breast feeding (as the solids are okay to put right into the washer), no prepping bottles, no getting up during the night (breastfeeding allows you the beautiful option of bed sharing). If we’re ONLY talking about the nighttime here, we still save a lot of time. Amara still eats three times a night. I usually only have to wake up long enough to pull her over to me and make sure the blankets and such allow for a safe nursing time. Granted, what you can get away with will vary from family to family. If this equals 15 minutes a night, I’m saving myself at least 420 minutes a week compared to bottle feeding.
That’s a total of 941 minutes a week, or 15 hours and 41 minutes! By living more simply in just 9 ways, I am saving myself the equivalent in time of a part time job, leaving MORE time for those precious baby kisses and giggles.
What green thing do you do that saves you time?