Sustainable living | Making a difference at home

I’ve been trying to go green for many years now, probably as long as my hubby and I got married, which is almost 10 years now. It started as kind of our little mission together, to try to be eco-friendly to the best of our abilities, recycle whatever we can, and reuse whatever can be reused.

Years down the road, we’ve been inculcating this to our children as well. So when IKEA informed me that they were showcasing how to have a ‘more sustainable life at home’ at the Green Living eco lifestyle event earlier this month, I decided that this was a good time to check out what else we can do at home to make a difference. And this time, perhaps take the opportunity to see what else we and our children can learn.

I’ll share what I learnt at the green living convention in this post. This post is no way sponsored by IKEA though I may make references to some of the products I saw at the showroom or those that I have and use at home.

In the Living Room

    • Use LED lights. Although slightly more expensive, LED lights use up to 85% less energy than incandescent bulbs. All the lights in my house are LED. It’s really worth it to make the switch.
    • Shut down computers at the end of the day and turn off the main switch of appliances at night. This not only conserves energy, it also translates to a smaller electricity bill.
    • Use rechargeable batteries. Many toys require the use of batteries. In our case, we try to minimise buying toys which require batteries, but we still have some that do. In particular during the school holidays, the Wii controllers use up the most batteries, so I’ve decided to make the switch to rechargeable batteries. This new product I saw at the green convention is something worth considering, though it may be overkill in my case. I’ll probably go for the smaller charger like this one.
battery charger collage

Battery charger with storage. Charges both AA and AAA batteries. When done charging, the batteries are safe to be stored there. For more information about this product, click here

  • Craft with recyclables. This not only saves you material cost and requires the children to make use of their creativity, it also enables you to put the recyclables to good use.


In the Kitchen

  • Pack lunches from leftover food. Using glass jars to preserve tasty foods is sustainable and energy saving. It would also help save food that might otherwise be thrown out. Store products in the pantry in clear containers so you know exactly what you have to avoid over-stocking and wastage when it expires.
containers collage

Pic on left: kitchen cabinet storage ideas Pic on right: fridge storage ideas

  • Use water-efficient taps and energy-saving fridges.
  • Use the water from washing vegetables for watering plants.
  • Grow fresh herbs at home. Need I say more? 😀 I’m starting to love having plants in my home though admittedly I don’t have many conducive spaces in the home for them at the moment. I try to have a couple in the kitchen and on my washing machine! I wish I could have something like this though:

  • Wash dishes under the tap 5 minutes less each day. One way to do this is to place the dishes in a container in the sink. Instead of rinsing them first under running water, do the first rinse in the container or in a sink half-filled with water.

  • Sort out wastes. I don’t have the luxury of space to sort out wastes in such detail as shown below, but I keep a large plastic bag in the storeroom for recyclables and I bring it down weekly to the recycling bin in my neighbourhood.

In the Bedroom

  • Use black-out curtains or blinds to help with cooling the room further without turning the temperature of the air-conditioner down.
  • Use bedsheets that are made from fabrics that are made in a more sustainable way. IKEA uses fabric made from 100% cotton that is grown using methods that are better for the environment and farmers.

  • Opt for lead-free mirrors – No lead is added in manufacturing of mirrors at IKEA.

  • Opt for furniture that grow with the kids to cut down wastage.

This desk grows with the child and has three different heights. For more information about this product, click here

loft bed collage

Having two young children in one bedroom cuts down wastage when the need to revamp the room arises – instead of revamping two rooms, you only need to change one.

In the Bathroom

  • Reduce shower by 5 minutes. Did you know that letting the shower head run for 5 minutes = 45 litres of water?
  • All water heaters take time to heat the water up, so keep a pail in the shower room to save the cold water that comes out first during your shower. This water can be used to flush the toilet subsequently or used to soak dirty laundry.
  • Run water 1 minute less when brushing teeth. 
  • Use environmentally-friendly shower curtains such as this:

shower curtain

In the Utility Room

  • Use water-saving washing machines (with three ticks)
  • Washing clothes at 30 degrees celsius uses 40% less energy than when washed at higher temperatures. Only bedding needs to be washed at higher temperatures such as 60 degrees celsius.
  • Sort your dirty laundry and wash only when it’s a relatively full load to maximise the use of the washing machine.

laundry room collage

In our diet

  • Opt for sustainably sourced and produced foods. These foods are not only good for the environment but also good for your body as you know that they won’t be for dubious sources.

food collage

For more ideas on sustainable living, making a difference at home, you can read this. I have found it easy to digest and handle! Small steps at a time, but we can make a difference! Kudos to companies like IKEA who try to make sustainable living a part of their business!

Disclosure: This is not a sponsored post. No compensation in the form of vouchers or cash was received. I received a basil plant from IKEA to start off planting herbs!


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