Summer-Proof Your House

I love it when living green and thrifty living intersect. What is best for the earth often turns out to be best for our pocket books, too. Enjoy a thrifty summer this year as you learn to “summer-proof” your house.

Last week temperatures in my part of the country soared above 100 degrees. We couldn’t play outside, take the dog for a walk, or even use the grill—it was too miserable. I put the hot breeze and the blistering sun to good use, though. In preparation for our upcoming vacation, I did massive amounts of laundry, and hung all those clothes out to dry. I planned ahead so that I wouldn’t be hanging laundry during the heat of the day.

Sure, we have a dryer. Sure, it’s more convenient to transfer clothes from washer to dryer than it is to lug them out to my clothesline, but it’s worth it! Not only do we cut electric costs, we put free resources like sun and wind to great use. My thrifty soul was thrilled to see those neat rows of wet clothes blowing in the wind all day.

Laundry isn’t the only area where living green and thrifty living have coincided in my home lately. I’ve taken stock of each room in the house, and here are a few more “summer-proof” ideas I’ve come up with.

We don’t use one half of the house much during the day, so I’ve begun closing it off. I put down the blinds, draw the curtains, and shut the doors to our bedrooms and bathroom. Hanging a curtain over a doorway can also make a significant difference in regulating temperatures. We make sure to open up the rooms in the evening so they aren’t stuffy at bed time.

Even in the kitchen and living room, on a blistering day I will close the blinds and draw the curtains. The natural light is fabulous, of course, but running the air conditioner constantly is too high a cost!

I’ve made a few changes in the kitchen as well. In the summer I try not to use our oven at all; we have a toaster oven, and it is amazing how much that little appliance can accomplish. I have found that I can bake cookies, bread, and casseroles in the toaster oven. The one time this summer that I hosted a dinner which required the big oven, I hung a curtain over the kitchen doorway, and it allowed my guests to enjoy a cool living room, despite the heat created in the kitchen.

Staying cool in the summer doesn’t have to cost more. It just takes a little creativity.

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