Lazy and Cheap Ways to Be Green

My husband mentioned that all my posts seem to be about cloth diapers. So here is a post about something else.

I save the environment and money in many ways just by being lazy:
  • Shower less often (remember, they almost never bathed during the middle ages, and look how well that turned out!) 
  • Bathe your kids less often (I bathed my first baby every single night, but my second baby is lucky to bathe once a week -- this is due more to lack of time than my desire to conserve water. Until babies are mobile, how dirty are they really getting anyway?) 
  • Wash your own clothes less often -- we don't wash unless it is noticeably dirty or smells 
  • Wash your kids' clothes less often -- my infant definitely wore the same clothes several days in a row until she started eating solid foods and playing on the floor more often 
  • Clean your house less often (save money on cleaners!) 
  • Use the same plate, cup and silverware more than once in the same day 
  • Wash more in the dishwasher, less by hand (almost always saves water) 
  • Use and reuse cloth napkins (leave them on the table between meals) 
  • Don't flush the toilet for #1 (if it's yellow, let it mellow) 
  • Water your lawn less or, even better, plant a wild low-water ground cover plant like clover that needs little water and almost no maintenance (or a rock garden) 
  • Stay home instead of going out to eat or to a movie 
  • Send e-cards instead of real cards (although, who doesn't love a snail mail card?) 

These ideas mostly seem related to a lack of hygiene and cleanliness. You may not want to admit you do these things to your mother-in-law (I definitely don't). But it's good to know that even if you are a bit slothful, at least that makes you somewhat virtuous in another respect.

For all posts on Lazy and Cheap Ways to Be Green, click HERE.

Any other ideas?


  1. I agree with ALL of your points. Some people complain about the amount of laundry and housework they have to do, and I am amazed. Why is one family of four doing seven loads of laundry a week? (This is the national average.) I did less laundry than that even when we had diapers to wash--and I use rags instead of paper towels, cloth napkins instead of paper napkins, etc.

    Laziness is not a virtue, but maybe it should be.

  2. Rebecca, your comment makes me want to figure out how many loads of laundry I average a week. Definitely not 7. And I also know folks who are ABOVE that average because they bathe their kids daily and wash their towels after every use. I think our modern-day conveniences have led to this over-clean business. When everyone had 2 outfits -- one they wore, and one being washed by hand -- do you think they washed their clothes every day?

  3. Have you read the book Angela's Ashes? He has ONE outfit, and one day he has an interview or something and decides he needs to wash it. So, somehow he ends up wearing his grandma's dress so that he can wash his outfit. This kid was doing less than a load of laundry a YEAR!

    We are a family of three, and my daughter is now out of diapers. We do one to two loads a week.

  4. Great post, Betsy!
    I would add the following:
    -Line drying when possible, or drying on the lowest appropriate setting.
    -Using reusable containers instead of disposable ones for lunches and snacks. I have some great little plastic 1-cup containers with lids that I started using to freeze individual portions of baby food. They're great now for fruit, goldfish, etc.
    -Not treating your lawn or garden with chemicals.
    -Washing your sheets less often. Once a week might be the standard, but it truly seems excessive. Plus, I am also lazy.

    I do feel sheepish sending my kids to daycare 2 days in a row with the same clothes, but that doesn't mean that they don't rewear them later :) Oh and, much of the time I just skip the PJs and put the boys to bed in their clothes. It's quicker in the morning and they totally don't care.

  5. Rebecca, Have not read Angela's Ashes, but when I went to my Great Aunt's funeral, someone read an excerpt from her journal where she mentioned wearing her ratty dress while her only other dress was being washed.

    Carrie, you have some good frugal/cheap ideas, but not all lazy. I like the idea of line drying too (have done it at various times), but is it really EASIER than the dryer? I am filing that idea away for my FRUGAL (and not too hard, but not necessarily easier) posts. But putting kids to bed in their clothes instead of PJs. Awesome. And definitely lazy. Some say it's the only way they get to morning church on time. Thanks for commenting!

  6. Betsy - I'm glad you've heard other people admit to putting their kids to bed in their clothes. I sure haven't! I think they do it secretly and feel guilty.

    Haha, on line drying I don't even have a line. I just drape stuff all over my laundry room and bathroom if it dries quickly. I guess it isn't EASIER than the dryer...but not really all that ambitious either :)

  7. This definitely sounds like me! Except the laundry kids spill stuff/roll in the mud so much that they often go through several outfits a day (not because I'm proactive enough to change them--they change themselves).
    I save on electricity by strictly limiting my vacuuming--none of this daily vacuuming stuff for me. :)

  8. I love that people are finally coming out against our 'over cleaning.' I never took showers daily--my skin would be sooooo dry if I did. I could work on doing less laundry. :)

  9. My husband and I wear the same clothes over and over, and the little guys certainly don't take a shower everyday. But us bigun's seem to need showers every day even if we don't wash our hair. And the kids that go to school? Well, they need to shower and change everyday or they probably wouldn't be let in the door after what they seem to get into during the day! We do hang the laundry out, though, and only wash the stinky diapers in hot water. Everything else is cold all the way!

  10. I love the comments about bathing babies! Really daily baths for wee ones is just nuts, when they're dirty clean them the rest of the time just love them!

    I am finding that my wonderful children are prone to throw all clothing in the laundry hamper, I really liked the idea of adding a "re wear it" bin especially for my 6yr old daughter who changes outfits like a model!

    This was a truly refreshing post!!


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