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Living on Less: 10 Trusty Tips

Do This Now

What, I ask Santoro, are 10 simple things our Tonic readers can do now? All, she admits, are things we’ve heard before but just don’t always do:

  • Unplug appliances/power strips when not in use.
  • Reach for the broom before the vacuum.
  • Instead of turning on the AC, open a window when there is a breeze.
  • Compost kitchen scraps, either in the backyard or in a worm box if you’re in an apartment.
  • Walk, bicycle, use public transport when possible. When running errands in your car, consolidate trips.
  • Reuse your plastic grocery sacks, or use cloth ones.
  • Air-dry clothes when possible, indoors or out. Hang the heavy items like jeans and towels if you’re pressed for space.
  • Shop used: Check out thrift stores first for good used household items, clothes, toys, etc.
  • Reuse your paper coffee cup/water bottle a couple of times before throwing it away or better yet, use glass or ceramic.
  • Use both sides of paper for multi-page printing.

Other tips, in addition to her Facebook campaign, can be found at Santoro’s blog, The Obvious Observer.

Since Santoro and Julian live 25 miles from the nearest town, they need a satellite Internet connection their highest bill at $80 a month. It is their only extravagance. “I have pieces in shows all over the world, and I can conduct my entire career as if I was living in Brooklyn,” Santoro says. “We’re just living a very simple life and it’s very rewarding.”

Read more: Conservation, Green, Reduce, Recycle & Reuse

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88 comments

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6:39PM PST on Jan 25, 2013

I already do 8 of the 10 hints. Can't garden as I am also in a desert and if I miss ONE DAY everything wilts and dies. I do not have a printer as it is rare I need to print..but when I do...the library is fine.

6:36PM PST on Jan 25, 2013

There is a goodwill clearance center in the city where I live .So..instead of hitting a big box store I go to the clearance center .REALLY REALLY cheap .Clothes 30 cents a lb and odds and ends 40 cents a lb.Items as chairs and appliances are different prices . I never go early because it is INSANELY busy and the guys grab the furniture first ,Definitely worth a trip if one is near you .There is a regular GW attached and they also have great things at times with higher prices .

11:31AM PDT on Oct 20, 2011

Thank you - off to look at her blog now.

9:42AM PDT on May 29, 2011

thanks for article, it's good to see

8:21PM PDT on May 14, 2011

I'd leave a more thoughtful comment, but I have to go unplug the appliances I'm not using! ;)

6:15PM PDT on Oct 8, 2010

Thank you so much!

7:49PM PDT on Sep 12, 2010

Buen artículo

3:10AM PDT on Jun 16, 2010

I fine myself any change i get when shopping and put it in the charity boxes everytime i go into a shop and realise i don't have a cloth bag on me and have to use a plastic bag from the shop. i have lots of bag for life bags and cloth bags but im amazed at how many times i forget to take them.

5:07PM PDT on Apr 20, 2010

This is a list we have all seen before. The key is to get creative like the artist in the article. You have to find out what uses the most energy for you and find a way to lower it. It may be that you eat food that has been packaged and sent across country or sea. Then you can change your eating habits and eat local. I have friends in Northern cal that have been living off the grid for over a decade now. They have tried to get me to convert to that way of living for years. Ten years ago I was not ready but I have changed my thinking enough that I am headed in that direction now and it is not going to be a big deal because my EXPECTATION of what I want from life has changed. Change your mind and change your life. It really is that simple.

2:50PM PDT on Apr 20, 2010

I do all of these. Need some more tips please.

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