Living with less: Electricity


When I first set out on this journey to simplify our lives by scaling down I had originally planned on scaling down our possessions. I felt that our things were beginning to own us and I really needed to get back to the basics.


My plan was to go through our house and slowly de-clutter and scale down our lives. So far I have reduced my wardrobe to fit in 3 drawers of a dresser,  have removed a toaster, a ton of kitchen utensils, pans, baking dishes, etc.  from the kitchen, and gotten rid of about half of our baby toys (don’t worry…she never even noticed they were gone). Now don’t get me wrong, the journey is far from over. We have tons of stuff that still needs to go, but I wanted to try something new to break things up. I decided to scale back our electricity use.

We rely a lot on electricity as a family. Our dryer, oven, electronics and lights obviously all use electricity, but what would happen if we scaled back our usage? So we took the last month to see what would happen…and you’d be amazed at how small changes have made a big difference.

The rules:

Every good challenge needs rules, so here they are.

  • No lamps or lights can be turned on during the day. If you need light, open the blinds.
  • All clothes will be air dried. (I did put them in the drier for 3 minutes to get the wrinkles out).
  • The dishwasher could no longer use the heated dry.

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We probably could have gone really hard core and limited all of our energy usage during the day by not using computers or tvs, but let’s get real…I have kids and Mama needs a break once in a while!

The results:

We used 30% less electricity this month. 30% that is huge.  It could have been even more if we had really tried hard, but we had house guests and it’s hard to enforce the rules on those who used to enforce the rules on me!

Overall it was actually pretty painless and we will continue to follow the rules. I run the dishwasher after dinner and just open to door before going to bed. When I get up the dishes are dry and I didn’t use any electricity to dry them.

The one rule that surprised me the most was that I actually like hang drying our clothes. I built an awesome drying rack out of PVC pipes I already had in the basement (no extra cost there) and I found some awesome perks from air drying! One awesome thing about hang drying is the time savings. Say What?! Yep you heard me! I save time because I no longer have to iron dress shirts and can hang them up and let them air dry and they have zero wrinkles. I used to spend about 4 hours a month ironing my husband’s dress shirts, but now I spend an extra hour and a half a month to hang dry (approx. 4-6 minutes per load). I also save money on dryer sheets. If you don’t have clothes in the dryer they don’t get static-y!! It’s awesome!! The one rule I will break is that I will put the bath towels in the dryer…crunchy towels are just plain awful.

Overall I would say the experiment was a success. We saved electricity (and money in the process) and changed our habits so that we can continue scaling down our lives and using only what we need.

How do you save electricity?

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