In a nutshell – Ikea have given me £300 to help me become more sustainable with their products. This is part of their Live Lagom project and fits in with the ethos of less-stuff because it’s about being just right – not having too much or too little.
Long post warning…… I have a lot to digest and I’ve done that by writing it all out.
Yesterday I had a home visit from Amie and Tara from the Bristol Ikea store. Amie is from Marketing and Tara from Interior Design and between the 3 of us we worked on solutions and ideas to make my home more sustainable.
I do a fair amount of sustainable living already. Bristol City Council make recycling easy because they pick it up weekly. I compost and grow fruit and veg in my tiny garden. I’ll seek out bargains and materials for making or mending before buying new things – this is from my granny who lived through war time austerity and I can still hear her say “you could make that yourself for half the price”.
By the end of it my head was reeling but we had narrowed down the main objectives which are now to:
- Save money on energy coming into the house
- Save money on energy going out of the house
- Save my energy with better storage
- Save my energy with better lighting for work and relaxation
- Produce my own salad all year round
The first task will be to change all the lightbulbs to LED’s.
- For our normal, centre of the ceiling and most lamp bulbs, Ikea only sell screw fittings
- These come in large and small
- You can buy converters to make your bayonet fittings into screw ones
- Some of the Ikea bulbs are dimmable but not all
- LED lights use up to 85% less energy
- LED bulbs can last 20 years
To be quite honest I feel like charging you for that information, it took a very long time for me to get my head around it and eventually I went to Ikea to have a look at the things which helped a little. Now I have worked it out I have got a list of bulbs I need to replace. I’ve managed to get the (now obsolete) energy tracker from Eon working so I’ll be able to report back actual figures and £ saved.
On the shopping list: loads of bulbs and converters.
Task 2 is to insulate.
This met with some resistance from me. I don’t want my kitchen window cluttered up by a blind, no matter how much money it will save me. Ditto for my bathroom. Also, the cats spend a lot of time observing birds and catching the odd fly so any blind would be at their mercy. I did agree that putting a curtain around the back door (which is in our kitchen) would make a big difference and we worked out a solution to do the same at the front.
On the shopping list: curtain pole and fabric.
I live in a perpetual state of DIY so I need the tools close to hand. They live under the stairs which is a L shaped space. I’ve already put shelves around the back for things that are not used much, seasonally this means that the camping stuff is at the back now, and in the summer the sledge of snowy hopefulness and a bag of dry coal is at the back. Tara suggested boxes on wheels that I can roll out. I love this idea, lots.
On the shopping list: wooden storage boxes and castors.
Task 4 is better lighting for relaxation and work.
I’ve lived in this house for 16 years and it took other people to make me realise that I knit in the dark and there is no need. I work from home in what is the middle room of the house, it has natural light only in the summer and in the winter I have large curtains to block out the Siberian wind coming from open arch to the kitchen. I didn’t know that you can get LEDs in different colours, so a bluer white is better for work and a warmer white is better for relaxation. Yesterday on our nip to Ikea I got a 1000 lumen bulb to replace the 600 lumen bulb in my anglepoise and it’s already radically different. The lighting solution for crafting on the sofa is to get a standard lamp. I’ve chosen one that you can replace the bulb in, it’s not the most beautiful of objects but we are intending to spray paint it.
On the shopping list: a standard lamp and another anglepoise.
Task 5 is to grow my own salad and stop buying bagged supermaket stuff.
Last year I noticed these neat little hydroponics kits in Ikea. Having been stung before by buying something that was discontinued the next year I held back from getting one. I’m assured that Ikea have poured so much money into developing them that they are going to be around for years so it’s all systems go!
I have a deep, dark shelf in my workroom that has some dinosaurs and a lamp in – it is the perfect size for the larger grow kit. Normally I’d balk at spending £75 to save £1.50 a week but this time I’m able to spend the last of the £300 on it. It comes in 2 bits, a smaller cultivator that you start seeds off in pellets then the larger unit with a light above it. I have priced it all separately and it works out more expensive. I’ve thought about using my own cultivator but this is a treat for me and I’m going to get the proper set and see how it works. My clever son reminded me that the lights would work anywhere and we wouldn’t need the whole thing, but I repeat, this is my treat.
On the shopping list: grow kit with 15 pots and light.
Our mega Ikea shopping trip is booked for 2 weeks time. It was liberating walking round Ikea with my teenager yesterday knowing that we could afford things (with our £300) that we normally wouldn’t consider. Amie asked me to describe how I’ll feel in 6 months time when this project ends. I said “I will be better off financially, I’ll be more comfortable, I’ll be working more efficiently because my lighting will be better, I’ll be able to get to things under the stairs, I’ll be spending less on washed salad, I’ll know that I’m doing better than before for myself, my son and the environment.”
The other thing that I felt last night browsing round Ikea with my son was an overwhelming sense of gratitude to be part of this project and very lucky to be chosen out of thousands of other applicants. It is also great to get my 13 year old on board with this idea of living just right – not minimalism, not hoarding, not binging, not starving, not freezing, not boiling; just like Goldilocks – just right.