Fifteen Ways To Practice Sustainable Living In Your Home

Because I believe that everything begins in the home, our respect for the environment begins in the home as well.  We have the power in our own hands and bodies to help even in small, simple ways to protect the Earth.

Recently I was on a mini-vacation trip in Florida.  My David had some work to do there and on the last leg of our trip we stayed in an awesome resort in Orlando called The Gaylord Palms Resort.  We stayed there at the same time last August for the same convention.  While I was there last year I walked the grounds one morning for exercise.  I spotted a few signs sporadically placed on the grounds that made it clear that the water used for the sprinkler system was recycled water and of course, not fit for drinking.  I was thrilled to see that the resort was using recycled water for the massive grounds, took a picture of one of the signs and posted it on my Facebook page (I put it on the LIPH Fanpage, too) giving the resort a great big shout-out with the phrase, “Understanding how to care for the environment” with the image.  Oddly enough exactly one year later literally almost to the day, a Facebook friend from high school made a comment on the picture.  Clearly this guy was looking through all the images on my page for the first time, or so I figured.  Anyway, it was interesting to me that he commented on the picture one year after I took it and just when I was there at the resort again.  Now I have to admit that I thought it was a weird comment.  In fact, much to my chagrin it sat a tad funny in my stomach while I tried to digest the meaning of his words.  I finally responded back to him asking him what he meant with the words he chose – and that my friends started a few more comments.  Here’s a replay of our exchange of comments as well as a copy of the picture he was commenting on:

Sign at Gaylord Palms Resort, August 23, 2011

Sign at Gaylord Palms Resort, August 23, 2011

The caption for the picture:

“Understanding how to care for the environment.”

My high school friend:

“Having a small family is the single most important anything, anyone can do to help the environment”.

My response:

“Are you referring to the Balzer clan?!?”

A childhood friend, Lisa Atkinson-Cox chimes in (coming to my rescue maybe?):

“LOL! I love 8 Balzers including the one in heaven.”

My high school friend:

“I’m referring to the Homo sapiens clan.”

Later my high school friend added:

“ ‘Understanding how to care for the environment’ means we must understand our ecological impact on this planet.  Adding 1 million humans a year is not consistent with caring for the environment.  Since HS, the human population has ballooned from 3.4 billion to over 7 billion.  This exponential growth is not sustainable.  Doing things like using reclaimed water and recycling at the curb, while nice and I do it too, it is a mere drop in the bucket when each second another human is added to the earth.”

While I enjoyed his pun about the drop in the bucket, I decided not to respond to his last comment.  I’m not a mathematician that’s for sure but I certainly get that my very own family has grown exponentially.  Like the Eveready Bunny that keeps going and going, we Balzers keep growing and growing, so I was a bit offended to be honest!  Besides which, the intent of the picture I posted was to simply applaud a resort for its efforts to conserve water.

All this Facebook exchange came after I had been working on a new blog post on Sustainable Living – and my suggestions on simple ways each of us can “go green” in our own homes.  So, after this happened I knew for sure I had to finish the post- not because I was miffed that my picture turned into a discussion on family size, but because I’m all about the home and everything that happens in it.  (Well, I guess many babies begin in the home but I’m not going there!)

Here’s a list of fifteen very simple and easy ways to do your part in protecting our natural resources:

  1. Turn off your electronics nightly.
  2. Shower more; bathe less as it takes more water to fill a bathtub than it does to shower.
  3. Shorten your shower by a minute or two and you can save hundreds of gallons a month.
  4. Turn off the water while you brush your teeth and save approximately four gallons of water each time.
  5. Soak pots and pans instead of letting the water run while you scrape them clean.
  6. Turn off the water while you shave (you, too David) and save several hundred gallons a month.
  7. Make and use a yard compost to reduce usage of your garbage disposal thereby reducing water usage as well as electricity.
  8. Change your light bulbs to CFL’s as they consume 75% less electricity than the standard bulbs and last up to 10 times longer.
  9. Clean the lint filter on your dryer before every load.
  10. Choose cloth napkins and dish towels over paper napkins and paper towels.
  11. Donate old clothing and household items rather than throwing them away.
  12. Change the filters on your forced air heating and air conditioning regularly.
  13. Support local farmers.
  14. Use reusable bottles for water instead of plastic water bottles.
  15. Recycle, Recycle, Recycle everything possible.

Remember the words that Neil Armstrong spoke after he stepped on the moon about one small step for man being a giant leap for mankind?  I believe that each of us can in our own small step(s) collectively impact our Earth.  Sure, some of us can and will go to more extreme forms of caring for our environment like limiting family size.  But personally, I think we can get more people on the bandwagon of conservation and sustainable living by making it easy.  What do you think?

To caring for our Earth…


This article was written and sent for publishing before the passing of Neil Armstrong on Saturday, August 25th.  I considered removing the reference to him and decided instead to look at it as a way to honor the man even in this sad time.  I remember vividly my family and I glued to the TV watching him take his first step on the Moon.  What a gift this man was to all humanity!

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Jamie Balzer

About Jamie Balzer

Jamie has worked in the field of interior decorating for over 10 years and has owned B&A Interiors, LLC for almost as long. Partnered with her daughter, Sammi Blake, Jamie has been honored to work in homes and businesses across the country. Knowledge and experience is but part of what she has to offer. As a young girl, Jamie intuitively understood that the placement of things, the color of things, and the arrangement of things evoke certain feelings. Working together with this knowledge, experience and intuition Jamie has answered the call to her life’s purpose- teaching the spiritual truth of what she believes- “Everything begins in the home”. As a branch of B&A Interiors, LLC, Living In Perfect Harmony emerged to teach her philosophy. Jamie believes, “if you live peacefully and beautifully at home, you are well, your family is well and that helps to make the world a better place”. Jamie's most passionate role is as a mother and grandmother. Jamie currently lives and works in the Chicago area but also continues her business in Charlotte, NC as both a decorator and a homespace coach. She is certified in Reiki Therapy which she believes broadens her success as a homespace coach. Jamie is available for private consultations, lectures and seminars.

10 thoughts on “Fifteen Ways To Practice Sustainable Living In Your Home

  1. I was happy to see that we do several of these at my house….and thrilled to see when “this one needs to soak,” I’m doing the Earth a favor!!

    • Kudos to you Jackie. But, to be honest I’m not surprised that you do many of these things on the list, I know you live a conscious lifestyle! Sure, they take some thought and disciple to do but, I believe small changes make a difference. Much like doing one random act of kindness a day can make an impact, our small changes in how we live at home are important to help live in a more respectful way to our Earth and our natural resources. Have a blissful day!

  2. You know number 11 is one of my favorites, not only donating but also purchasing second hand items. So many treasures to find!

    My sweet Mother in Law has given us a crate that we are now using in the garage for cardboard and paper items. My kids’ school has a recycling center for those items, so now once a week when I pick up the kids up from school, I also drop off the recycling, very convient for our family. Our garbage pick up does not include recycling. We are new to recycling but I have noticed a HUGE decrease in the amount of garbage we are putting out for trash day, just by recycling paper and cardboard products. This alone shows me just how much positive impact one family can have.

    • I do know what a treasure hunter you are Crystal of flea markets, yard sales and such. What a wonderful way to help reduce the amount of things sent to land fills. I was just talking to a family member this morning that told me she knows someone that routinely throws into a nearby dumpster all the clothes that no longer fit her son. Toys,too. I was sickened to hear this! Most areas in the country have charitable organizations that will come to your door for items like clothing that you no longer need!!! Hooray for your recycling efforts as well. And how wonderful that the school has a way to help the community recycle when home curb service does not. It just goes to show, each of us can find ways to create less waste if we just take the effort, right? As for your mother-in-law, you are spot on – she is a dear and wonderful woman and how sweet that the crate she gave you is now part of your family’s efforts in recycling! Have a blissful day and thank you so much for commenting!

  3. Hi Jamie…About the only thing I don’t do is have a personal compost heap. However the city of Portland does composting so everyone is involved, even apt. dwellers. This is a great thing, you can then Buy compost for your personal use…I think sustainable living is the smartest thing people can do. Trash art is an up and coming hobby around here. I read of plastic bottles filled with paper trash and used inside walls for insulation for houses in an impoverished country – ingenious. of course repurposing is a favorite of mine. Joy Stark

    • Well Joy I have to admit that I don’t have a compost place at the moment myself. I have to get a better, sturdier container as the one I had got emptied out, cleaned spotlessly and left in its upright position as if nothing happened. Quite perplexing as I couldn’t figure out “who dun it”. Was it a crafty raccoon or possum? Or, was it a neighbor not happy with my compost? Either way, I’m working on a good fix so that I can go back to composting for next year’s garden! How cool that Portland has a place everyone can get involved in with composting. I knew I liked Portland!!! And, you are so correct about the new wave in art. As for using recycled products in the home, I’m betting the sky’s the limit to uses! Here’s to sustainable living – any way we can participate!

  4. Another way to recycle is if your have leftover water in any glass or water bottle use it to water plants and for pet bowls. I do this at our lake house because so many people leave water bottles half full. I also got a water dispenser for our dock house so you can reuse bottles or cups.

    • M.A., using leftover water for plants and pet bowls is a super great way to reduce waste. I even use iced cubes that fall out from the ice dispenser onto the floor for my plants and Moe’s water bowl rather than throwing them into the sink. Simple things add up to good things if you ask me. And, having been fortunate enough to enjoy your fabulous lake home I have used your water dispenser at the dock area many times. Just imagine the number of plastic waters bottles no longer being used by all the guests you constantly entertain! I can’t wait to visit again…

  5. Recycle is very I important to me. I have my recycle bins for plastics, paper and aluminum … I am doing this for years. I think I am doing a ” small” favor for tha Mother Earth and Her Future. Great tips Jamie! :)

    • Thanks so much Ercilia! I feel very certain you are doing a favor to Mother Earth now and for the future – as the earth will surely benefit from your steps in the years to come. Keep living sustainably, in every single way you can regardless of how big or small the steps you make are! Thanks as always for taking the time to read my words and for taking the time to comment. It means a lot!

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