Want to be greener at home?

Easy. Channel Granny.

No need to Google ‘how to be green’ – just cast your mind back to your Nan’s house! These ladies had some serious technique when it came to waste not, want not. ‘Eco-sustainability’ may never have entered her vocabulary, but she knew frugal times and probably rations. How she ran her household was a lot greener than us bunch of product and convenience addicts can muster.

Here’s a few ways to channel Nan.

Granny 8

She may have kept a veg patch, maybe even an allotment. But even an easy to grow tumbling tomato plant in a hanging basket is a good start. A few herbs on the window sill, and you will get seriously addicted to growing and eating your own food.

Granny 9

If you don’t know, a water butt is a big container that’s fills with rainwater. Use the collected water to feed plants, water the garden or wash the dog. During the dry summer, you won’t be wasting precious water.

Granny 10

Stop rushing out for new replacements when something seems ‘done’. Remember Granny’s house? The same chair, new cover maybe. Stuff mattered to her, and didn’t get upgraded as soon as it began to show some wear. It got loved, restored, repainted or recovered.

Granny 11

Never saw a paper kitchen towel in my Granny’s house, or my mums for that matter. Old t-shirts, towels, sheets got cut to size and became dusters, cleaning cloths and dish clothes. Chucked in the wash, and used again and again.

Granny 3

Think before you throw out food. What would granny have done with it? Added it to a new dish? Made stock? Made soup? Compost?

Nothing went to waste. These ladies knew ‘rations’! And everyone finished what was on their plate. Not much overeating in granny’s day either.

Granny 2

Learn the art of pickling, preserving and jamming. Old fruit, green tomatoes (from the last of your tomato plant!) all get pickled, or made into chutneys to fill your larder for the winter. It’s fun, easy and you have fab condiments you haven’t paid a fortune for.


Yes, granny knew a thing or two about replacing buttons, zips, patching holes, hemming – even making clothes. It’s a skill, but not a bad one to have handy. Don’t let yourself think clothes are cheap and disposable. In fact, buy better ones, and learn to care for them. Btw – buy a second hand sewing machine, and you’ll be churning out cushion covers and cool stuff like an addict.

Granny 4

Baking soda, salt, lemon, vinegar, borax. These are the key easy ingredients that kept your Nan’s house sparkling. Say no to the nasty stuff off the shelves and put some elbow grease in with these natural grime busters. You’ll see the difference and not be counting the cost from your purse, or your skin.

Granny 5

Remember those beautiful spreads over beds and sofas? Even if they weren’t so pretty, they were unique. Patchwork, and quilting is an old art and skill that women have bonded over through the years. And each one tells and story. By hand or machine, it’s a great hobby and use of old curtains, sheets and clothes. Turn landfill into something unique.

OK, so not every granny had patchwork quilts and pickled tomatoes, but it’s true to say that the faster we progress, the more we waste, and the more damage we create.

Taking a few tips from the way things used to be done is not just nostalgia, it makes total eco-sense. And we guarantee, some of these tips get totally addictive. Once you start, you won’t stop. Time to channel your inner Gran!

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