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Eco-living aside, communication is number one when living with others, and communication doubles in importance when it comes to eco-living. It may sound petty, but if you’re going to change the brand of dish brush your house uses, without consulting your family or flat first, there will most definitely be an uproar.
Ask your housemates before you change anything. Request their opinion on changes, let them know you’re open for suggestions, and brainstorm options together. If you make an eco-swap, check in with them a few weeks later to see how they feel about it.
Tip: Communicate more than you think is necessary.
If eco-living is important to you, and not equally important to your housemates, you’re going to have to take on more of the household tasks. This all depends on how you structure chores and shared utilities. Here’s an idea that works for me:
I purchase all shared items in our household of four people. This includes tomato sauce, salt, pepper, cleaners, cleaning brushes, toilet paper, spices and herbs, hand soap, oil, and laundry detergents. It is my responsibility to have these items stocked, always. Of course, we all split the bill, but it’s my sole responsibility to source these products. This takes extra time and energy, but it’s important to me that these products are bought in bulk, and are eco-friendly. It is hard at first, but you slowly get into the groove.
Tip: Be prepared to take on more household responsibility.
Describe your why
Changing things in your home will be harder for others to embrace if they have no idea why they’re happening. Kindly, and in little bursts, explain to your housemates why eco-living is important. Again, avoid the ‘preachy hippy’ persona, but don’t be shy about describing your ‘why.’
If your housemates know there’s a reason for the changes, and can tangibly see facts and figures behind the impact of their lifestyle decisions, they’re more likely to get involved. No one will go out of their way to do something if they don’t have an apparent reason why.
Tip: Explain why you’re changing things.
Inhabiting the same space as other human beings can be difficult. Throwing controversial views on home habits into the mix adds another layer of difficulty. I assure you: it’s 100% possible.
Sometimes, I wish I lived on my own with 20 cats. But watching your flatmate’s orders arrive from The Natural Co. without you encouraging it, and seeing them think hard before they put something in the colour coordinated rubbish bins, is all worth it.