Thursday, March 27, 2014

A practical guide to getting rid of paper towels

One of my favorite parts about having this blog is that friends and family are eager to tell me about their latest effort in their journey to be more sustainable. For example, several friends have started making almond milk after I wrote about how easy it is, others have started composting and many more people said they have a greater awareness of how their actions impact the environment.

As someone who believes that small, individual actions do make a difference, it brings me so much joy when someone shares their story with me.

Today I want to share a sustainable story brought to you by my friend Nicole. Nicole and I have been best friends for 12 years, so I have no problem telling her when she should recycle something instead of throwing it away, turn out lights that she left on or to bring her reusable bags to the grocery store.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Our First House-iversary!

You know the saying "time flies when you're having fun"? Well that statement certainly rings true when it comes to our house, because as of today, March 17, it has already been one year since we moved in!

We love our little house. It's the perfect size for us and it has been so fun to work on it and make it our own. Sometimes I forget just how much we have done with it, but when I look at some of these before photos, I realize that we have accomplished a lot in 12 months! Here's a quick breakdown of everything we've done (in no particular order):

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Hell no, don't waste your H2O!

Have you ever heard the phrase "spend money like water"? If you aren't familiar with it, it means if you spend money like water, you're spending too much. 

I heard this phrase for the first time the other day and it got me thinking: that must mean that using water is synonymous with using too much.

Why is that? 

I think part of the problem is that water seems to be in abundance, especially if you live in the rainy Pacific Northwest or another state that is well known for its precipitation. But the truth is that we might not always have the certainty of rainfall to replenish our water sources. And even if we did, we shouldn't waste it.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

In with the warm, out with the cold

We've had some cold weather in Portland this winter, so it's no surprise that we had to turn the heat up to stay warm. But what was a surprise was our energy bill. It totaled a whopping $195 for the month of December -- more than double what it was earlier in the fall.


Before we bought our house, the focus of our sustainability efforts included things like making almond milk or driving as little as possible by walking or taking the bus instead.

Now that we're homeowners, our focus has shifted to a larger scale because we are consuming more resources. And while we are careful to keep going with those small things like making our own almond milk and producing as little trash as we can, we also want to make a bigger impact, starting with weatherizing our home. 

I recently wrote about our new windows, which were the first step to making our home more efficient. Now we're on to some more inexpensive, yet just as satisfying, projects.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Windows to my heart

Big (and expensive) things have been happening at the Merrick household this fall. Among other things (I'll get to them later), we had new windows installed in October!

The moment we closed on our house in March, we started planning to install new windows before winter. Let me list a few reasons why. They were:
  1. Single-pane, aluminum
  2. Broken 
  3. Missing screens for the most part (which my wonderful father-in-law ended up making for the screen-less so we could get through the summer)
  4. Inefficient 
  5. Drafty 
  6. Ugly
  7. So dirty they had tracks that doubled as a home for spiders and other gross bugs
Our house was built in 1972 and as you can see from the above list as well as the photo below (taken in March near Josh's birthday, hence the streamers on the door), the windows were in great need of replacement. Even Rocky, our Energy Trust of Oregon home energy review consultant recommended new windows even though he told us he doesn't normally recommend them.