Waste not, want not




I try not to be wasteful.  I hardly ever waste food any more.  If I don’t finish some produce before it goes bad, it goes into the compost bin.  Bread goes into the fridge and I make toast with it.  Everything else gets eaten.


I’m also doing better about not wasting electricity.  I’ve got CFL bulbs in the lights I use most often, my new washer is an Energy Star model, and I’m unplugging devices or turning off power strips when not in use.  My electric bill last month was only $65.00.


I used to waste a good bit of time, watching TV and/or playing computer games.  Since I’m reading more and can’t get online at home, I’m not watching much TV or playing any more online computer games.  (Mah Jong Solitaire – I could spend hours on that.)


One area in which I still need a lot of improvement is wasting water.  I have to admit – I am one of those evil, evil people who leave the water running while they brush their teeth.  It’s a psychological thing with me.  I don’t like the feel of toothpaste in my mouth, and I rinse three times while I’m brushing.  I try to keep the water stream as small as possible, but that’s not good enough.  I know I need to break that habit.


I also don’t “let it mellow” as much as I should.  Again, it’s a psychological thing.  It just seems unclean to me.  I’m going to try doing that at least during the night, when I’m using the bathroom in the dark and can’t see what’s in the bowl.  (No, I don’t turn on lights when I’m walking around the house at night; I see very well in the dark, and there’s always a faint glow in every room in my house from the streetlights outside.)


Here’s one thing I do right.  It takes the water in my bathtub about 20 seconds to warm up to shower temperature, and a lot of water goes down the drain in those 20 seconds.  I’ve started carrying my watering can in there and filling it up while the water is warming up; then I water the outdoor plants with it.  That works well.


I suspected that I was also wasting water during my showers.  Everyone that I’ve ever traveled with tells me that I take long showers, and I had to agree.  I wash my hair and shave my legs in the shower, and I know both of those take a longish time.  (That’s why I try to keep from doing them both on the same day – not always possible, though.)  So this morning, I ran an experiment.  I took the kitchen timer into the bathroom with me, and set it for 9 minutes.  Then I hopped in the shower.  I stuck to the basics this morning (no hair or legs) to see how long that took. 


To my surprise, my basic shower only took 5 ½ minutes.  Granted, I was hustling.  I don’t usually concentrate on showering while I’m in the shower; I usually think about other things.  (I get some of my best ideas in the shower – no time for that this morning!)  But I stayed on task, and was done in 5 ½ minutes.


I know that washing my hair takes a long time.  I also know that I don’t have to do that in the shower.  It will use a lot less water for me to wash my hair under the bathtub faucet, because then I’ll turn the faucet off unless I’m actively wetting and rinsing.  I’ve done that before, and it’s easy to do; I don’t mind it at all.  It’s just a little hard on the back, leaning over into the tub, but I can do it.  Then I can get in the shower for my 5 ½ minutes with wet hair, and dry my hair after that.


I could do my leg-shaving the same way.  I’ll try that over the weekend.


I don’t know if this will have any effect on my water bill, but it’s worth a try.


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