Wednesday 25 May 2016

Live Lagom - Living Sustainably - The Final Blog

When we started on this journey back in the autumn I never expected it to change our lives. I was the person that signed up in the hope of saving money and the joy of being given £500 to spend at Ikea! But it has honestly changed our lives. It's changed our house into a home. It's made us more aware of where things come from and if it's from a sustainable source. It's made us recycle more, which I didn't think possible. It's made us declutter, donate and share on. Somehow, it has given me more confidence, more faith in myself and what we, as a family and individuals, are trying to achieve.

Yes, we have saved money and yes, we got to spend £500 but the task the team at Ikea set themselves, to teach about living lagom and sustainability teaches so much more than that. 'Living Lagom' is about living just right. With just enough, not too little or too much. With that comes an awareness of your waste and how wasteful you can be. Our waste was in food and energy.

A selection of ikea products

We were the family that would do a weekly shop and then have up to three takeaways a week (grown ups, not the toddler). The result being us throwing away food that has gone out of date or limp, which was perfectly good enough to eat a few days previously. In fact we probably chucked stuff that was still good too. We now have one takeaway a week, normally a Friday. Leftovers use to be thrown away but now they go in the 365+ container for hubs to take for his lunch. If we make something big that we're happy to have again the next night or are saving some for the toddler, we use one of the Fortrolig range. A glass dish to cook in with a plastic lid to cover over. We are using more and more fresh produce, cooking from scratch and enjoying home made food again.

A slow cooker filled with casserole

Our energy wastage came from large draft ridden windows, tumble dryer usage, our house being lit up like Blackpool illuminations and the hidden source of energy evil, the underfloor heating!!!

A group of four pictures, one of fluffy socks on a thick rug, a window with thick dark curtains, ceiling lights and a thermostat showing off

Even our usually incredibly warm upstairs, known among our family and friends as Barbados, had started to feel cold, causing the baby to wake up on colder nights. The Hampen rug soon fixed that!! Our downstairs drafts were solved by the Gaser rug (doubles as a crash mat) and the Marjun curtains. I no longer have to sit with my Yoda dressing gown over my clothes and a blanket to keep warm.

A group of 3 photos, including a redheaded child playing on a rug, a bunny rug and a ginger child playing

The Mulig cut down on our tumble dryer use, which I now only use for towels in the winter and when I'm desperate. Once we had figured out how to fully turn the underfloor hearing off (long story) it is kept off as much as possible but is our only source of heating in the conservatory. We flick it on now if we have people over (our dining table is in there) or to take the last edge of dampness off the washing.

A large airer covered in clothes

After some initial disappointments with the LED bulbs and me seeing no energy savings, the results are in and they are great!! But it did involve going back and forth with Eon, with one of their representatives laughing when I told her about the project and telling me LED bulbs make no savings. Well my usage is down as will be my direct debit so who's laughing now. Mwahahahahaha!!!

A statement of electricity and gas useage

The only bad product I've had is the Senior pan. It sticks no matter what you do. After much debating at who's using it wrong we have decided it will go back at some point.

It's been quite a journey and has opened up different paths and possibilities along the way. Just the SY sewing machine as opened up all kinds of opportunities! The excess from our curtains became a waistcoat for world book day and I made a sack with old fabric to store lego! Off this people have started to ask me to do little sewing jobs and alterations!

A red haired little boy in a homemade waistcoat, dressed as a chimney sweep

A homemade red sack with lego block ribbon and lego head pictures

A birthday tshirt with the number 2 and JJ stitched on to it in a Thomas the tank engine fabric

The Facebook group has been a huge support and a great source for ideas and reflections. Kerry, our leader, has been beyond supportive, full of knowledge and encouragement. We couldn't have done it without her.

A group of four photos, including a couple holding a plant and three of the inside of an ikea store and an ikea assistant

A picture of a woman with Ingvar the founder of ikea

I'd recommend the project to everyone and have. You don't have to be 'right on' or a full vegan, organic type person. You might just want to save a few quid but in doing that you can unwittingly help the environment too. Ikea and Kerry deliver the information in a fun but knowledgeable way, with the added bonus of free gifts. There's no preaching. No you MUST do this. The smallest changes such as recycling more or putting a rug down are as keenly supported as, perhaps, solar panels.

The result is a more homely home, more money in our pockets and a knowledge that we are doing our part for the environment by living a bit lagom. I think we will forever live a bit lagom as we've added more along the way, like nets and blackout attachments and the next time I get my hair cut it is being donate for a wig.

A redheaded child hiding in net curtains

A woman with her hair over her head and glasses over the top

I might not be an aging hippy, skipping around in recycled clothes, growing dozens of crops (the later we have tried and failed at repeatedly as we live on an old quarry and the soils crap) but both myself and my husband are a bit more conscious of what we are doing. A bit more thoughtful. We don't care if people think we are a bit geeky or 'right on'. The smaller bills reduce the stress and we enjoy our lives more. We enjoy our home more. We enjoy family time more.

Thank you Ikea. Thank you Kerry. Thank you fellow Lagomers. We will be forever grateful.

Mummy Snowy Owl

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