Thursday, 26 May 2016

Living Lagom with Ikea: the final post

Disclosure: I've been an Ikea, LiveLAGOM ambassador for the past 6 months

I can't believe that the project is coming to a close, that our 6 months of focussing on making our lives more Lagom is nearly at an end. That said, I think the sponsored part of the project is wrapping up, but there's plenty that I hope will stay in our lives for the months and years to come.

I'm writing this on a gloriously sunny early summer afternoon with the sun pouring through our open patio windows. Outside I can see our potatoes growing in bags, our planted up veg patch, apple and damson trees, a peek in the distance of the gooseberry bushes and around the corner are my pots of herbs. Harry's paddling pool and sandpit are on the lawn, and his toy watering can and the trug of compost we've been using for him and his friends to plant up their sunflower seeds is still on the patio.

 The cold of those winter nights seems a long way behind us, yet I'm working on another crochet blanket to layer up on our bed this year to mean those radiators stay off (or at least down). The thermal linings on our curtains are now keeping lots of heat in too, and the beautiful Cath Kidston-esque blind in the kitchen does the same. 

We've changed energy supplier recently, but a couple of months after starting the project our direct debit was reduced considerably and we were sent a rebate because we spend so much less on gas and electricity than was expected by our old energy supplier. We've also invested in a wireless programmable thermostat that means we're managing our central heating even more closely. A bit like an intelligent version of a Nest it helps us to ensure that the central heating is only as warm as it needs to be to keep our house warm. This is a much more efficient way of running the boiler.

There's no doubt our new bulbs and light fittings have helped - we're now totally LED lit, and I have to say I much prefer it to our old CF lights. They're so much brighter and the light is cleaner which if you're a crafter like me is of no end of help.

One of the things I've noticed a huge change in is our rubbish production. Prior to the project our bin would never quite fit a week's rubbish in - there was always one bag to carry over into the new week. Which was an annoyance as far as I was concerned. Now, our bin is only ever about two thirds full. Our food waste and recycling bins have made all the difference.

I've always been quite good with food waste, but was pleasantly surprised at how our new dishes made me even better. Leftovers no longer languish at the back of the fridge, waiting for me to chuck them out because I've forgotten to use them, but are neatly portioned up and labelled before being frozen for M's lunches - which is another area we've saved money, as sliced ham and packed lunch bits are one of the most expensive parts of our shop.

I've also made a conscious effort to cook more veggie and vegan dishes. They're allergy friendly for Harry and I'm a keen advocate of 'one family one meal' style cooking. They're also so much healthier - recipes I've recently blogged include:

Overall - our LAGOM experience has been a definite success - we were already a fair way into sustainable living so were never going to have enormous changes, but to us the changes have still been significant and I would say to anyone interested in a more LAGOM lifestyle to definitely embrace it.

Thinking of the future, things I'd like to do to maintain and move forward our LAGOM ethos:
  • For any future babies - I'd like to cloth nappy. Because Harry was premature, it wasn't possible at the start for us, and then when we'd finally got a handle on his allergies our local nappy library has shut down. I'm currently looking at training pants with reusable inserts for when we start toilet learning this summer.
  • Our spare bedroom - this will eventually be Harry's 'big boy' room when he moves out of the nursery. We've such a lot to do in there - the window will need to be replaced, so we want to make sure that it's incredibly thermally efficient. The walls need stripping, skimming and repainting, and I don't want to spray paint his wardrobe doors as the smell lingered in our room for ages, so we're keeping our eyes open in Ikea's 'Bargain corner' for some that we could replace them with.  Truth be told, Harry's room is a project in itself - I'd love his bedroom to be sustainable, so furniture that transitions with him as he grows. But for now, we just need it clean, safe and livable. 
  • Our kitchen is my dream. I firmly believe that redoing our kitchen will push our focus for living LAGOM right ahead. New lighting (which we have partly done), replacing the door and window from the metal framed ones that lose so much heat, and designing a space that really works for us. I'm not thinking just of day to day living, but to enable us to grow herbs, and cook and pass that love of cooking onto Harry. For us at the moment, whilst it's on the list... it's not high up because of the cost. 

I have loved our time working with Ikea, it's been such a fun project, and I've thoroughly enjoyed our workshops too - making Terrariums with Harry was just a joy. I hope that it's something we can continue in the future.


Helen - family-friends-food said...

Wow - sounds like small achievable changes have had a major effect! We also try to do things sustainably, and we did a combination of cloth nappies & eco-disposables. Washing cloth nappies yourself is quite a commitment, it turns out! We're also changing to LED bulbs at the moment, but lots of our lights have dimmers which complicated it a bit. But as long as we're moving in the right direction!
Good luck with your spare room project :-)

Kavey said...

I really like how you've taken onboard these ideas for energy efficiency over the last few months and have a focus on how to take them forward too. I really like the idea of sufficiency - just enough, as you explained in your first Lagom post - a good way to find happiness in what we have, I think.

Lucy Allen said...

It sounds like the Lagom principles have really helped! I will have to look into LED lights as they sound much more efficient. I also need to reduce our rubbish waste so will be reading your other posts for some tips!


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