An influx of electronic devices has empowered us but has also made us dependent on them for our communication and entertainment needs, apart from of course, finding new ways to add to our energy bills. But when you take a look around your house and notice the many gleaming and blinking electronic devices (both the wired and wireless kinds), you will realize that many of them are redundant and some actually breed unhealthy habits. It is time to unplug!
We live in an age of abundance and yet, more is not always merrier for some people. “Living with Less” is the credo of the Minimalist movement that has got some people curious and others inspired. For some, a minimalist way of living is akin to acquiring freedom from material objects and habits. For others, going minimal in their lives and houses is necessitated by the need to save money. Some others go minimal purely from environmental concerns and to reduce their carbon footprint. And one of the most common measures of minimalism is to “unplug,” an action that serves all the three purposes mentioned earlier.
Living with less electronics is a choice that has been embraced by many householders and contrary to popular opinion, life really doesn’t come to a halt if you have one less television set or use fans instead of air conditioners. So, here’s a list to help you pare down on your electronics possessions.
1.Unplug the Desktop Computer
Unplug the desktop computer and save loads on your energy bill. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, many electronic devices like the television, computer, VCR, and the microwave oven continue to draw on power even when they are switched off. This “phantom load” contributes to as much as 10 percent of your energy bill. So, unplug! Besides, you also need to live a life in the “real” world—make friends outside Facebook, communicate in ways other than Skype messages, and catch up on what’s going on around you without Twitter.
2.Get Rid of the TV in the Kitchen
So, why do you need a television in the kitchen in the first place? You spend most of your time here cooking and baking, so television actually seems a distraction—what if the food got burned while you were engrossed in a soap? Instead, place the TV in some other room and turn the erstwhile television counter into a workspace for your kids. They can do their homework here and you can watch over them as you go about your kitchen work.
3.Get Rid of Garage Fridges
It is most likely that your garage is right next to your house and it takes only a minute to come home and pick up the beer and the soda from the fridge. So, why do you at all need a separate fridge for the garage? Besides gobbling up loads of energy, this device isn’t a great labor-saver either.
4.Unplug Lamps on Sunny Days
Even if you use CFLs (the more energy-efficient variety compared to the traditional bulbs), there is no earthly (that is, environment-friendly) reason to keep them on when just opening the windows and drawing the curtains will let in a flood of sunlight. What is more, lamps consume energy even they are switched off but plugged in. So, make it a habit to unplug the lamps often and let in light from outside on sunny days. You will thus save on your electricity bills on two fronts—the lamps will consume lesser energy and with sunlight entering and warming your rooms, your heating bills too will get slashed.
5.Let in Natural Light
Whenever possible and especially on sunny days, open the windows and draw the curtains to let in natural light. You might even consider installing skylights in areas of your house that receive the most sunlight. Natural light is not only more cheerful than artificial lights but will also help you save oodles on your lighting and heating bills.
6.Switch off the AC and Switch on the Ceiling Fan
The average air conditioning unit uses 3,500 watts when in use while a ceiling fan, even when whirling at full speed, consumes only 60 watts. This makes the latter far more energy-efficient than an air conditioner. What is more, a ceiling fan circulates the air around your room thereby simulating that refreshing breeze effect. Thus, switching to a ceiling fan from an air conditioner will not only slash your energy bills but will also keep you more comfortable on a hot, sultry day.
7.Get Rid of the TV in the Bedroom
Now this is another one of those electronic devices that not only feeds on precious energy but also serves no great purpose. What is more, multiple research studies have shown that electronic devices with their huge and glaringly bright screens affect your body clock and disrupt your sleep pattern when you stare at them just before going off to bed. That is why, researchers advise that you do not keep any electronic devices in your bedroom. When you eliminate or displace the television in your bedroom, you will not only be one TV less but will also be rewarded with a good night’s sleep.
8.Ditch the iPad for Basketball
Agreed that your iPad takes care of all your entertainment needs in one neat little package but that doesn’t justify being addicted to it. You can be entertained even when you are not wired. In fact, if you ditch the iPad for a game of basketball or a walk in the park with your dog, your body will thank you. Increased digitization may have expanded our horizons but has cramped us in many other ways. Foregoing physical activities and exercises is one of these.
The above-mentioned ways of unplugging are actually imminently achievable ways of banishing the superfluous from your life. You do not need to go off the grid but learning and adapting to live with less electronics is one of the surest ways of being eco-friendly and curbing your carbon footprint and thus saving on your energy bills. But probably the most striking unrecognized benefit of living with less electronics is the way you enrich your life.
When you reduce your dependency on electronic communication and entertainment devices, you have more opportunities to nurture human relations, get out in the open and be active, and thus enrich both your inner life and physical health. So, becoming a minimalist on the electronic front actually adds more to your life.