IT’S FALL!! From what I hear, we’re ALL obsessed with this gorgeous season and dreading the impending cold (except me, I love winter too)! As a self-proclaimed hippie, I always enjoy feeling connected with nature and the changing weather; but especially during the stunning transitions of autumn all around, I find myself turning towards ways to be more mindful of how I live my life. It’s time to reflect on what I wear, eat, decorate with, and definitely how I prepare our gardens and land for the coming freezes. Brr!
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I had so much fun putting together the 7 easiest ways to live more sustainably post back in May, and it’s time to circle back around to ways we can be more conservative in our use of natural resources for the fall and winter seasons. As usual, these are just the ones I’ve thought of so far, and I LOVE learning new ways to respect the planet (#nerd, I know – but again I embrace it!) so please share your favorite tips for sustainable living in the comments!
— Eliza S (@happycreativeHC) October 20, 2016
These first few tips take advantage of nature’s gifts as they come – the trick is strategically using what we have and planning for changing weather accordingly.
- Shop seasonally – then dehydrate, freeze and preserve/can food. In New England, it’s apple season – so now’s the time to stock up (go pick ’em if you can, it’s SO fun and rewarding!) on fresh, local apples and then store them for the winter instead of paying more financially and in resources to get them shipped here during that off-season. I like to make apple chips in our dehydrator, but you can make them in the oven too. To be honest, during the winter I don’t tend to crave whole apples as much as I enjoy eating apple chips by the handful. Gotta get those servings of fruit – the World Health Organization recommends 5 servings of fruits and vegetables every day for optimum health!
- Around here, we celebrate seasonal food like we mean it – check out this list of 13 farmers markets and festivals in the area. Bring your appetite!
- Remember that gardening doesn’t have to make a quick exit upon the first changing of the leaves! Winter gardening is a thing, and I love that here in New England, it’s only days until Halloween and my lettuce and carrots are still happily growing away.
- Capture rain that will fall anyway with rain barrels! Water may seem like it’s everywhere (unless you’re in California); but purifying and transporting it for our use is expensive and time-consuming. Conserve water by using rain to water your gardens and lawn. Get your rain barrels set up now so you’ll be all ready for those amazing spring storms! Since we set up our rain barrels, I do a happy dance when it rains – I’m SO happy knowing we’re taking advantage of the natural cycle of precipitation and we get to water for free!
- Fallen leaves make excellent cover for over-wintering gardens and/or for compost. I’ve found that shredded leaves decompose much more easily, allowing air and water to flow through them and reducing chances of just flat-out mold forming. Check out these great tips for putting your gardens to bed for the winter!
- Program your thermostat to make life a little easier and save money and energy. We talked about doing it for months last year, putting it off since we weren’t entirely sure how to do it, but I finally threw up my hands and just walked over to the darn thing with my game face on. It took about 45 seconds and not much brain power to actually program the thermostat – plus I felt like a genius 🙂
- Wear layers! Fall is CLEARLY the chicest season, and it’s so easy to feel like a million cozy bucks because layers are always in. I keep a basket of hats and scarves by the front door, and my coats and floppy felt hats hanging in the mudroom (Hi, my name is Eliza, and I have an accessories problem) for total outfit convenience. I’ve found that the more stylish I feel, the less inclined I am to swap my daytime outfit for sweatpants as soon as I get home, and if I’m in a cozy sweater and scarf with warm socks, I probably don’t need the heat cranked up (which saves energy and money).
- Keep blankets handy. If you’re anything like me (blanket-obsessed) you may have handfuls of blankets, throws, and afgans lounging around your home, waiting to wrap up a shivering guest at a moment’s notice. It gets so hot here during the summer months that I tend to store most of our blankets in the linen closet, so now’s the time to haul them all back out and incorporate them into the living room décor with our fall throw pillows. I’ve also seen throws stored in a basket for convenience – you do you, but blankets beat turning up the heat! Plus, how cozy are they?!
7. Time your towels right: Hop in the shower 5 or so minutes before your towels are done in the dryer. It’ll encourage you to keep your shower short, and when you hop out you can wrap right up in a hot, fluffy towel. Ahh!
8. Make or reuse seasonal products to reduce the amount of waste introduced into landfills this year. Using nature-and-people-friendly ingredients, make or find stunning holiday décor like wreaths, scented room sprays, and centerpieces.
- Take any of my DIY home or beauty products and turn them holiday-themed by swapping in a few strategically chosen essential oils: scented bathroom spray and sugar hand scrub can quickly become pine and eucalyptus or cinnamon-scented, and the first two are naturally anti-bacterial! Yum (scent) and yay (natural)!!
- I’ve crafted wreaths for the past few years, and I honestly look forward to the activity. Solo or in a wreath-making party with friends (what do you think, guys?!) it takes focus and a little organization but is a ton of fun. Just like mis-en-place cooking, well-organized and though-out crafting is a fabulous and productive activity that many can enjoy! I surprised my best friend K with a wreath for her front door last year, made entirely of fresh fallen pine branches, pinecones, holly leaves and berries trimmed from our bushes, and cinnamon sticks all carefully twine-wrapped around a biodegradable craft wreath. Also, I’m pretty sure the wreath came out better because I had hot cider with extra cinnamon sticks in it while I crafted 🙂
A photo posted by Eliza – A Happy Wife (@happywifecreativelife) on
That’s all I’ve got for now…let me know if you try any of these tips, or if I missed any of your favorite tips!! Happy fall, my sweet friends and family!!!
A Happy (and cozy) Wife