10 tips from Grandma for a greener home

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laundry on the line

credit: Rennett Stowe

1. Hang laundry out to dry

Whenever I visit my 85-year-old grandmother, I’m impressed by the way she runs her household. She is a modern woman, with a university education, a successful career, and years of international work behind her, and yet she’s the most efficient housekeeper I’ve ever met. She is a product of the Great Depression, the youngest of seven kids growing up on a farm in southern Ontario, and so she learned how to be frugal from a young age. Those hard lessons stuck with her and, still today, nothing goes to waste at Grandma’s house.

We could all learn a lot from our grandmothers about environmentally friendly living. My grandma might not be able to talk about eco-friendly, green, sustainable products, but the way she makes do and is creative with what she has is an inspiration to me. It turns out her old-fashioned methods of running a household are often the greenest – and entirely devoid of new green technology.

Grandma doesn’t use a dryer. All her laundry hangs outside, where it smells fabulous – no synthetic “spring breeze” fabric softener required. The sun bleaches the whites beautifully. It also saves a pile of household energy by not running the dryer. It’s possible to hang laundry all year round. During the cold, snowy Canadian winter, I set up racks inside the house and the clothes dry overnight, thanks to the dry environment.

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