Monday, 29 September 2014

School Holiday Energy Saving Ideas For Around The Home

*This post is brought to you in collaboration with AGL.

We're really enjoying our school holidays so far. The lack of routine is so refreshing isn't it? We're sleeping in, staying up late, watching movies, playing video games, eating lots of things in quantities we normally wouldn't (or shouldn't), but that's all perfectly fine.

The school holidays are for fun, relaxation, enjoyment and pleasure and we're out to grab a piece of it all.

While I truly adore having my kids about the place - despite their unbearable noise and seemingly constant squabbling, eating and 'thereness,' I must say I am a little stressed at being on my feet just that much more, cleaning and catching up on a home that has lost my grip in their cyclonic aftermath.

No matter what I do or how much I do, I am not staying on top of their mess, the housework or the general running of the household. For a normally highly organised and thrifty Mum at the centre of that truth, it's a nightmare.

The school holiday play session this week that resulted in a midday bath for the youngest

One of the things that stresses me amongst the chaos in this period of high 'home traffic,' is the constant monitoring of the state of things around the house; There are a million cups left on the bench in the kitchen; Lights are left burning in rooms with no-one in them; Toilet rolls remain empty... If you're a Mum too, you know what I'm talking about! Thanks to everyone's oversight during this enjoyment phase, there's little time left for rest for us slaving Mammas.

The only thing that irks me more, is the cost of our lazy leisure.

My bills can take a real upward hike during these periods of staycation but I do have a few ways I have adopted to lessen the financial burden at these times. They are small undertakings which not only help with the 'staying on top' of the running of my home, (some by grabbing a tiny portion of co-operation from my family members), they are also reducing our environmental impact and the inflation of our bills in the process.

So let's begin with the kitchen and those cups.
Do you also have a cup issue on the school holidays?

There are six kids in our home but on any given day I will typically find around twenty cups inside our dishwasher! I cannot tell you how all those cups came to be in there as no-one ever owns up but I do know that washing them constantly in the dishwasher is a very expensive undertaking. When you consider the power and time it takes to wash a single dish load, (around 2 hours in most washers), that's a significant load of energy consumption and cash diminished.

My solution?: Name tags.

I have recently tried this out and it's working really well for us and the kids are really embracing the system too. I have taken several old drink coasters, printed my children's names onto one each per child and lined them up on my kitchen counter. I've trained the kids to keep their individual glasses on their own coaster at all times. The result is no more excess cups about the house and less use of the dishwasher each day. So easy!

The one day, one outfit rule is another of my budget measures. Some of my kids are 'into' their clothes and like to experiment with different looks. All fine and good until I find something worn for only a few hours in my washing basket which makes me livid!

On the school holidays, if we're not going anywhere and there's no need to get dressed, generally the kids don't and I'm thrilled about that! Less washing is not only less work but it is also saving me a fortune by preserving our water and electricity supply.

Only wash on cold water: No heating equates to no rise in power consumption beyond what's needed to run your machine. Cold water is nature's cure for stains too so you're actually helping your clothing to look better for longer. Try washing in the evening too, when your power switches to off-peak for even greater savings.

Do the kids really need a bath every day? If you've been lounging about the house all day and the kids look pretty fresh, skip the bath and build their immunity doing so.

Have your kids do the switch on: switch off rule: My kids are really burning electricity around here at the moment. There are lights on everywhere, games on, the television on and DVD players in use or charging all over the house. This is never more of a problem than now - the school holiday period.

To combat the cost, I have my kids switch off a light, game, computer or television before they switch on the next electrical device they want to use. It doesn't always work, (because I am not able to constantly remind them) but I figure if I nag enough, the message will soon become second nature.

The hand washing basin: Fill a basin with water and antibacterial hand wash and leave it on the kitchen bench with a hand towel. If all the kids use the one wash basin for the day to wash their hands, this will save you many litres of water (including precious dollars on the heating of that water). How many times have you found one of your kids washing their hands for ages with the tap flowing freely?

Lastly, to discourage the constant opening of your fridge door, make sure snacks are readily available where the kids can see them. Placing fruit, muesli bars and the like in prominent places in your kitchen can keep the door on your costs from opening up too much.

These are just a few of the measures that we have in place and there are many more things you can do around your home to improve your environmental footprint and financial impact to yourself. AGL has a great list of additional energy saving tips to steer you in the right direction which are definitely worth checking out and implementing in your home.
What measures do you take to reduce your bills around your home?
Do you have cup clutter too?!

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  1. I think the cup on the coaster and name tag is a brilliant idea as are the others. As the kids are getting older I will definitely be looking for ways to save cash. Though the bath thing Im not too sure about. I have at times not bathed them but gees I love my kids nice and washed with fresh pi's at the end of the day.

    1. It was a friend who introduced the concept of the every-second-day bath idea to us and we love that idea now. :D

  2. Great ideas. We use drink bottles so we don't have your cup issue! Now to work on turning off the devices.

  3. I go by every second day bathing them, unless they get into a mess and I have to, like when they pour muddy water over each other! They always share a bath, which is great. I think we'll be in strife when they are old enough to want their own separate shower of a day. Mine have their own drink bottles too. Izzy has just started the several clothes changes a day, it drives me bonkers, and she just leaves them laying on the floor! She's not quite 5! Mostly I just chuck them straight back in her drawers.

    1. Girls and their clothing - sorry to say they keep changing outfits for several years until they get to the teenage years and don't bother getting dressed at all!

  4. My boys have grown and left the nest, but when they were home I definitely had cup clutter. I used different colored elastic bands to mark the cups. Each boy had a different color. I do like your coaster idea though. Thanks for linking to Mommy Mondays #teamMM

    1. Ooh elastic bands...that's an interesting idea. I think my boys would pull them off and flick them everywhere though! Thanks for visiting.


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