More green / life-hacking / time-and-money-saving top tips

Over the past year or so I’ve made a number of small discoveries which cause me ridiculous levels of satisfaction, so I’ll share them:

squeegee with suction hookPreventing black mould in the shower without chemicals

It took me long enough to work this out: get the water off the tiles, shower screen and any horizontal surfaces as required with a wide, rubber-bladed squeegee.

Tips: have the squeegee ready on a suction-hook in the shower; vertically downwards and then along, sluicing the water into the bath or shower tray, works for me; do this immediately before you get out.

Costs: squeegee and good power-lock suction hook c. £5

Saving: money on mould remover or even re-doing your grout and sealant; pollution and packaging; in hard water areas you save time cleaning limescale off the tiles – it just doesn’t build up nearly as fast.

Paper potter for seedlings

You can turn old newspapers into little seedling pots with this inexpensive bit of kit. I feel it does need an endorsement since it looks so improbable. The great advantage of these is that you don’t have to remove the seeds from them when potting on – the paper rots down in the soil and the roots penetrate out through it.

Tips: since these are paper they best retain water and their shape if packed together pretty snugly; feel with a desert spoon if you don’t have a scoop; don’t buy trays – save any plastic packaging trays and use those, or cardboard packaging lined with waste plastic e.g. from junk mail or mags with supplements.

Costs: c.£7 for the potter

Saving: I think this saves time – potting-on and particularly cleaning; space storing plastic pots; perhaps seedling lives since there’s less disturbance at potting-on time.

Spinning wet salad leaves without the spinner

We wash salad leaves (the garden is watered from a slimy old water butt). But who has the space to store a stupid salad spinner or the time to dab the water of wet lettuce? Instead place wet leaves in a clean tea towel, draw the corners together in your hand go outside and whirl the towel round and round to create a centrifugal effect. The water flies out and the towel doesn’t even seem to get wet.

Tips: if you don’t have an outside I think even using the shower cubicle is less silly than having a bulky bit of plastic that is only good for one thing.

Costs: none.

Savings: space, the cost of a salad spinner.

Co-op biodegradable fragrance-free wet wipes

I like to bathe at night but this winter I became soap-shy because of the cold. So I decided to shower only every other day, instead applying a strictly rationed number of wet wipes (one in the morning, two in the evening) to various body surfaces as needed.

Tips: compost the wipes (this is good – our compost is too wet and needs more cellulose); there is an order – one wipe for face, neck, ears, under-croft, then the other for underarms lastly feet. I don’t bother with the rest – it doesn’t get dirty. Is this too much information?

Saving: steam, water, misery

Hair washing over the bath

Why did it take me so long to unhitch washing my hair from having a shower?

Tips: you need to be quite supple to do this comfortably – commence yoga practice early autumn.

Costs: none.

Saving: unsure.

Blanket rather than winter/summer duvet

This winter we made a discovery during a week in Devon at New Year: king size duvets prevent drafts. When we returned I went looking for one in Ilford but even in the January sales the costs were prohibitive. So I went into TK Maxx and happened upon a navy waffle-weave jacquard cotton bedspread, quite heavy, from Portugal. That struck me as a better idea because in summer we could use it over a sheet and stow the duvet. And as it turned out, we were much warmer and as summer advances, cooler too.

Tips: it’s all about keeping out the drafts that come in round your neck so the blanket needs to be big enough and of the right heft to pull up and settle round your neck and come right down over the sides of the bed

Costs: this cost me £14. I’ve seen similarly promising bed-spreads in charity shops and the spare bed sports a white fringed rose-studded candlewick.

Savings: space storing an extra duvet; misery.

And now to the Alternative Vote debate

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