Friday, 30 December 2011

Missing soapsuds...

... doesn't always mean an ineffective clean. Today's reading bought me to cleaning products; namely laundry powder, soap and dish washing liquid.  I learnt of the many marketing ploys geared toward women and cleaning; things such as products which produce the most soapsuds do the best cleaning job, the endless advertisements towards having a 'sparkling house', and the 5 billion cleaning products you HAVE TO HAVE if you are a decent housewife with a clean healthy home. I also also learnt of the seemingly endless list of chemicals washed down the drain and into the land or onto our bodies. There are a great amount of products available nowdays which are 'green cleaners' which is really great, however SO expensive.. again it is easy to grab the cheap stuff, but at what cost to ourselves and the environment? It reminds me so much of fruit and vegetables and how a lot of the time it is actually cheaper for families to feed their children junk.
This bought me to a website called 'Aussies Living Simply' and a 'how to' of home made cleaners. Tomorrows project will involve making our own Laundry detergent and dish washing liquid which I'm quite excited about, it is SO much cheaper and far far greener than the products we have previously been using.

I watched a documentary a couple of days ago on two families undergoing an eco challenge to try and make their house as neutral as possible. One family used 1500L of water per day and their challenge was to reduce this by 50%, they were really great and got into the spirit of things quite quickly. They really embraced the challenge and I thought for sure they would have reduced their usage by far more than the required 50%. When it came time to view how much they had used results showed they had only managed to reduce their usage by a couple of hundred litres! I was baffled! This family were collecting rainwater, monitoring shower time not using dishwashers etc. It turned out that the actual problem was a leak in a poorly fitted reticulation system, the family were bleeding approximately 500L of water PER DAY ! Needless to say first thing this morning we turned all the water off and checked our meter, we think there appears to be a very very slow leak. We are yet to determine what is happening but there is a leak and we will find it !

I also paid a trip to Bunnings today, probably for the last time in quite some time. I picked up a little present for our family as a little incentive for our journey, some lovely fresh parsley that we can keep in our garden. It is a pot of mature parsley so it's not home grown, but it is a symbol of things to come and an reminder of where we want to go. We also had the best time teaching Lila how to water it!

Lila watering the parsley

Ready for home-made pizzas tonight!

Thursday, 29 December 2011

I can't help but feel overwhelmed... I continue to read about self-sustainability and living a greener life. It is mind boggling how programmed to consumerism I have become. EVERYWHERE I look around this house I see waste, I see inefficient energy use, water wastage and plastic plastic plastic.. Don't get me wrong, we're far from excessive! We buy very little, we have short showers, we don't have many gadgets, we turn our lights off, we limit unnecessary toilet flushes, we don't shower our daughter in toys, we rarely have treats and very seldom will we go buy luxury items. However there is still an abundance of waste, so many areas where we could do better, gosh it really has become so easy to just bury your head in the sand. I'm really excited about all the little changes we can make!

Today we found out where our local fresh farmer markets were hiding, there is one in Subiaco and Mt Claremont that would work for us, although they are quite far away. We might need to check out one we've spotted in Hilton. I had also previously heard of food swaps or bartering for your food with food you grow yourselves and researched this some more, I wasn't pleased to find out it doesn't run over here in the west (although i shouldn't be surprised really, we're so backwards). I thought it was such a shame.

I paid our local library a visit to get some gardening books, Luke and I have wanted to grow a few vegetables and herbs for a long time so plans are under way for that. We are also building our Lila a sandpit out the back and we are busy sourcing materials from second hand sites such as Gumtree and Freecycle, which I signed up for today.

Before I go I thought I'd share a tip I discovered today..
Place a water bottle filled with water in your toilet cistern, it saves a bottle full of water each flush!! 

Ahh the small things hey?

Wednesday, 28 December 2011


It was never my intention to blog about my family's plans for the new year. In fact I've abstained from really getting into the blogging world for a number of reasons; the main one being, who would actually want to read my ramblings? However, as the new year approaches I have had a fair few requests for me to somehow keep a record of the journey we are about to make. So.. that leaves me here, a big computer screen to fill, a computer screen which in a sense is at the very heart of the journey we are about to embark on...

'The Anti-Consumerism Challenge'

Throughout this past year I have often found myself wondering, what is true happiness, and how is it achieved? In a society that is so driven by material things, the ability to find happiness in the simple things seems to be lost and replaced by an intense need to consume for instant gratification. We live in such a throw away society where we want want want, and I think to myself, when will enough be enough?

The position of many is that we must consume, if we don't then there will not be enough jobs. It's a crock, there are enough jobs, its just we're creating the wrong type of jobs. Why do we need people working at creating an extensive range of electric toothbrushes when we could be creating jobs that tackle areas such as smarter energy use? There's an outcry that we are overpopulated. There are restraints on countries to limit offspring they are 'allowed' to produce when in truth, research shows there is ample food available to sustain our population, the real issue is on average humans consume 40% more food than actually necessary.

My thoughts about this go on and on and this blog is by no means some rant that sets about to change the world. I'm not naive, this issue is enormous, I question whether it will ever be resolved in my lifetime, I highly doubt it.
What I do intend to do with this blog is document my family's journey.Our journey to take a step back from the materialistic world, to slowly but surely make changes to our lifestyle so that we become more self sufficient as a family. We aim to raise children who are not driven by a need for instant gratification, children that can find joy in exploring the bushland, children that know where their food came from and children who find happiness through their interactions with people and this planet.

'The Rules'

1) Abstain from purchasing any new clothing - exclusions will be bras and underwear.
2) Groceries bought are to be local produce where possible, store bought items must be local community supermarkets.
3) All food items bought will be essential items - no treats and unnecessary extras.
4) Cleaning products may be bought.
5) Where possible ride, walk or catch public transport.
6) Gifts must be handmade or second-hand.

So there it is. We begin January 1st 2012 and aim to live like this for the entire year. I look forward to recording the trials and tribulations we face and how it really tests us as both individuals and a family...

Lila and I

Luke and Lila