I hang all the wash up outside, that is something like 12 loads a week (which we are working on getting that down to 9 loads a week soon).
I did some looking int which is better dishwasher or hand washing (in the use of water and electricity) and found that IF you have an energy star dishwasher it would possibly be better to use the dishwasher as long as you didn't have to pre-rinse them. Since we do not have an energy star dishwasher in the house we are renting and because we have to pretty much wash the dishes before they go in the dishwasher we have moved to handwashing the dishes. Surprisingly it takes about the same amount of time and effort, uses less water and electricity and causes Audrey and Logan (or Mike and I ) to actually spend time together talking. Who would have thought?
Another water saving thing we are doing is... "If it's yellow, let it mellow". I know, I know, it seems a bit gross, but what is grosser is the waste of drinkable water. In our house if you calculate that it takes about 3.5 gallons to flush our toilet, there are 7 of use who use it every day and may go to the bathroom at least 4 times a piece.. that is almost 100 gallons of water flushed every single day, that is almost 3000 gallons a month! If we cut that down by even 1/2, what a vast improvement. Right now in Arizona alone we flush 11 BILLION gallons of drinkable water down the toilet (that is like 450,000 swimming pools full of water every month!). If everyone cut down on flushes, even by just half well that is just an amazing amount of potable water saved.
Some of the most challenging changes have been keeping the cooler at 84. That has been tough and we have set it down to 82, for about an hour at a time (remembering to set the egg timer), also leaving the lights out. That has been tough! This house actually gets alot of sun light during the day, yet every room will have a light on during the day.
The next big step is the eating locally. I am going to start hitting the Saturday Farmer's Market every week. Which is really close to the light rail line. I would like to find one of those foldable basket things with wheels, so I can get enough food for a family of 8 and still take the bus and light rail. Maybe the Goodwill will have one.
We clearly have many more steps to take, but I feel we are off to a great start!
Also if you are interested, there is this neat video on how the "No Impact Week" experiment got started, which, by the way, is a great jumping off point in getting started in your own "Lower Impact" life!