There are many ways to make sustainability a part of your life. You must focus your perspective as if you looking through a funnel that goes from the local to the global because that is one little home does make an impact on our large shared home that we call the Earth.
Forget the hype! New doesn't necessarily mean better. Back in the days, heirlooms were cherished and passed down generation to generation. Before the advent of planned and perceived obsolescence (read: companies designing items to break or be thrown away on purpose!), products were made to last. Metal, wood, and glass meant that items were beautiful, hardy, and useful. No family heirlooms at home? “Used” is still better (and cheaper too!).
Thrift stores and yard sales give items a second-life, and it also means one less thing being sent to a landfill. If you are in need of a quick-fix use, visit a neighbor or a friend who will let you borrow what they have. If those aren't options, but you are dedicated to living an ecological lifestyle, you should also consider renting an item or appliance that you need.
Forget disposables! Life is too precious to be thrown away after just one use. Anything that you need that can be reused on a long-term basis deserves a place in your home. Some examples are washable containers that can be used to store food (instead of disposable plastics), along with cloth towels that are more durable and resistant than what you see on some paper towel commercials!
Forget bigger is better! Bigger means heavier, and it has been written that ten pounds will add about one third of a billion more gallons of jet fuel used annually. Less is more, especially if you go digital! Accessing digital media has never been easier. With the way online companies make their offer of online only statements known, it may just be that paperless billing is the norm now! Forgo hardcopy CDs, DVDs, and magazine/news subscriptions. Do your reading of printed publications online! When it comes to water, less is more! Low flow means more efficiency and there are plenty of faucets and fixtures which can help. Appliances with the “WaterSense” label make it easier to choose what you need to get the job done.
Forget the exotic! Choosing native will mean drought tolerant plants. This will mean helping your local ecosystem by not overdrawing life-giving water. Also, avoid overly colorful exterior paint patterns. You should choose something neutral, or match the exterior color of your neighborhood, to reduce the energy consumption of your home – a warm climate house will benefit from a light colored paint, and a cold climate house will benefit from a dark colored paint.
Forget commercial cleaning! With some hot water, baking soda and vinegar, you can clean your home efficiently and with a much cheaper price tag. You will also be avoiding some nasty, toxic chemicals in the process. If you want the convenience of what you can get at a store, choose those products that come with an EPA Safer Choice label. Another way to avoid commercial cleaning is by not going to a laundromat to dry your clothes. Why would you when you can do it at home and in comfort? Stringing up a rope for a drying line is a very insignificant cost.
The wind and air is free; your clothes will be sun-kissed and smelling good! Or if you live in a city apartment, avoiding the laundromat will save you stress; there are ways to hang dry clothes in confined places. This will mean consuming less electricity and exchanging bad habits for sustainable practices. Extend this idea of using what is already available by going local! If you get your produce and other foods from locals, you will be supporting your community and their business. This in turn will mean the consumption of less natural resources that would have been used in packaging and transporting your necessities.