Posts filed under ‘Reducing’

Squeezing Oil Out of Your Travel (Make Your Life Less Oily in 2017, Part 2)

oil-spillAs long as you and I consume oil, we make oil nastiness possible in the most basic way. Our money, and how we spend it, is an extension of our values, our intent, our convictions. If we don’t consume the oil, then, yes, someone else might. But when we participate in the ugly world of oil by consuming its products, we not only make it profitable, we give the whole craziness our implicit consent. Our efforts to change this are not useless drops in the bucket. Paradigm shifts most often happen first within small subgroups that eventually form enough critical mass to cause large-scale cultural change.

Now I know you’re not going to shed your junk miles, move to a ten-minute neighborhood or replace all your flights with trains tomorrow. It may, in fact, take you years to squeeze the oil out of your travel. I suggest for 2017 that you adopt the task as a kind of hobby, (after all, we don’t mind spending time and money on our hobbies) and get creative, flexible and even adventurous about the options available. You may be surprised by the life benefits that cheap oil has been hiding from you.

Read Squeezing Oil Out of Your Travel (Make Your Life Less Oily in 2017, Part 2) by Karen Lynn Allen at Musings.

May 1, 2017 at 11:07 am Leave a comment

How to Throw a Successful Yard Sale

By gosh, there’s nothing better than a good sale. And I’m not talking about shopping. Selling off your stuff can be surprisingly fun, liberating, and profitable. It’s hard work, though. To ensure good profits, your best bet is to organize a multi-family or neighborhood sale. Bigger sales bring more customers; a well-run, well-publicized event can net hundreds, if not thousands of dollars.

So how do you do it? Well, you’ll need more than a newspaper ad. Get organized, plan ahead, and use social media to make your sale stand out.

1. Start early and in person.
A month or two before the sale date, start calling your neighbors and friends. Hold a planning meeting, potluck-style. Topics of conversation: location, date, theme, and price points. Make an action plan and let every household choose a manageable task.

2. Create a web presence.
This step makes all the difference, but it doesn’t need to be complicated! The easiest method is to create a Facebook event. It’s quick to set up, and you can invite most of your friends and neighbors.

3. Catalogue the goods.
Create an online photo album (e.g. on Flickr). Use a shared login so your co-sellers can upload photos. Ask everyone to post their interesting or valuable items, along with information about any antiques or collectibles. If possible, set up a separate album for each participating household.

Read all 8 tips at How to Throw a Successful Yard Sale by Jessica Reeder at Shareable.

April 24, 2017 at 11:07 am Leave a comment

New Years Resolutions for a Strong Citizen

taking-stockOur hope is that over the course of this year, we will practice living our values more fully, save money to invest in improving our neighborhood, make our home, garden, and neighborhood more resilient and antifragile. So far, Frugality Month is off to a good start. It’s hard—really hard—but when you see your savings rate soar you realize how quickly you could be saving for that business venture, home, or real estate project.

This is a bit of a departure from the typical Strong Towns terrain, but in our movement, getting the “right answer” or understanding the problem is only half the battle. If we are not able to change our own behaviors to respond to our predicament, if we only ask what hypothetical “other people” should be doing differently… we’re never going to get there. We need to develop a practical path to becoming stronger citizens, for our families, neighborhoods, and cities.

Read New Years Resolutions for a Strong Citizen by Seth Zeren at Strong Towns.

February 13, 2017 at 11:54 am Leave a comment

10 Really Good Reasons to Repair Stuff

blenderThings break. Everything we own, from air conditioners to zippers, eventually wear out or stops working. We can toss them and get new stuff — or we can try to repair them. The Fix-It Club offers ten really good reasons to repair or recycle household things that break:

  1. You can be a smarter consumer by knowing how things work and what to do if they don’t: appliances, heaters, air conditioners, mowers, plumbing, electronics, clocks, paint, flooring and more.
  2. You can save money by not having to replace things that you easily can repair. It might just need a fuse, a new electrical cord, or a screw tightened. You can do that!

Read 10 Really Good Reasons to Repair Stuff at Fix-it Club.

October 12, 2016 at 11:00 am Leave a comment

Swap Before You Shop

Much of the advice out there for reducing your fashion footprint involves buying more sustainably made (and often expensive) clothes. But there are a number of ways – many of which we explore in our new Fashion issue – you can lower your impact that save money, both in the short- and long-term.

One way is to hold a clothing swap, which is exactly what it sounds like: a group of people get together and trade clothes with one another. Swapping is an extra-familial version of hand-me-downs, and something friends – particularly those who can’t afford to buy new clothes all the time – have been doing intuitively for years. But more formally organized swaps of all sizes – including city-wide events – have been gaining recent popularity. My tips here are for smaller-scale events.

Read Swap Before You Shop by Lauren MacDonald at the Alternatives Journal.

September 12, 2016 at 10:09 am Leave a comment

What We as a People Can Do

shoesTackling the energy transition, climate change, and energy inequality will require collective action and policy. So the most important thing we can do as individuals is to support equitable solutions to climate change, and support local democracy and engagement in local decisions about energy.

Nevertheless, our personal actions and choices also reverberate through our communities and can back our words with the authority of personal experience. Start by doing what you can to reduce your use of energy in general, and especially of fossil fuels. That requires developing awareness and changing habits. How much energy do you use? Where and how? Find out by doing a personal and household energy audit. Don’t just look at your electricity consumption (though that’s essential); also examine your gasoline and natural gas usage. Then make a plan, using a footprint calculator.[1]

Read What We as a People Can Do by Richard Heinburg and David Fridley at Resilience.org.

August 22, 2016 at 9:12 am Leave a comment

Top 10 Ways to Save Money through Sharing

Sharing stuff and services conserves resources and builds our ties with our neighbors—but it also saves money, sometimes a lot of money. The first step is to do an inventory and look at the ways you’re already sharing; I bet you’ll be surprised. Then ask yourself, what else can I share?

Read Top 10 Ways to Save Money through Sharing by Jeremy Adam Smith at Shareable.

July 27, 2016 at 10:41 am Leave a comment

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