The Finished Back Entertaining Deck


Putting on one’s own shoes, our ‘Little One’ escapes through the back ‘doggy door’.  “Put your rain jacket on” I call out.

Kids love playing in the rain!  I watch our Little One, play in water puddles collected ontop of the outside chairs.  The back deck is now a safe area for children to play.

When we moved here (over a year ago) the deck was in desperate need of staining and the railings were dangerous – a falling risk for not only children.

We employed a professional to repair and secure the deck but we were the ones who sanded, stained and painted over numerous days. 

The renovated back deck was completed just before Christmas – in time for our house warming with the neighbourhood.   We invited our neighbours and all we had met in our new town, as a way of saying “Thankyou” for welcoming us.  People joked that half of the town was at the party.

In 2015 we will again be focusing on the outside of our home.  Not only the gardens but also painting and repairs. Most of which we intend doing ourselves.

Simple Ideas to Clean Up the Garage

Now that we have been living in our new home for over a year, there was no excuse for the state of our garage.

First project for 2015, was to clean and organise our ‘little bomb zone’.

It took over three days (started on the 31st of Dec), but I have finished.  Feeling pretty good about it too.

This will actually save us money, as we can find what we have and hence limit the need to buy more. I don’t have to tell you how this benefits our planet.

First we cleared the garage floor of ‘stuff’ – it all went onto the driveway.

Cleaning up the garage

Can you find our Little One amongst the mess?

Now we have space to get creatively tidy:

Using a huge left over lattice sheet, I made a hanging wall for tools.

Using scrap wood lying around, I created a ‘spice rack’.  Then old glass jars were used to sort screws, nuts, bolts, nails, latches etc. Everything now can be easily seen and hence found.

Scrap wood and glass jars used to tidy nuts and bolts.

Using scrap wood planks and saved baby Nan formula tins, I very easily created shelves within the existing bigger shelves.

Saving Nan baby formula tins.

Garage shelf made from Nan baby formula tins and scape wood planks.

Now I am sitting on the front verandah,  enjoying the satisfaction of a finished project.

What summer projects are on your list?

Sustainability Report & Consumption Trial Update

TODAY – Danny Morgan from ‘Synchronicity’ came over to our house in Sydney, to conduct a sustainability assessment on behalf of the Federal Government.  Danny walked through our home, looking at our energy and water usage, so to establish actions that can help us save energy and water.  This assessment was totally free.

Now that the assessment is over, we will receive a tailored home sustainability assessment in the mail, which is valid for six months.  The assessment recommends the best water and energy saving changes we can make to our property and it will outline practical ways for us to get started.  Obtaining your free sustainable home assessment report is the first step to qualify for an interest free Green Loan of up to $10,000 from the Federal Government.  The idea is to use this money to install solar, water-saving and energy efficient products.

Our number one goal is to install solar electricity and our number two goal is to install water tanks.  Believe it or not, installing water tanks is going to be harder to achieve because of our home’s space limitations.

If you live in the City of Sydney, you are mad not to ring Danny Morgan right now to organise your FREE sustainability report.  There is no obligation to proceed with the report’s suggestions.  You will however get great information on how you can save money on electricity and water and of course make your home more environmentally friendly.  You can contact Danny at or his mobile 0411 715 770.

If you don’t live in the City of Sydney, call 1800 895 076 to organise a local assessor to undertake your free sustainability report for you. 

For more information on the Federal Government green interest free loans, check out or

UPDATE – On earlier posts, I mentioned that my household is taking part in Sydney’s Home Energy Consumption Trial.  The trial is limited to 100 households within the City of Sydney Local Government area.  The key objective of the trial is to educate household members about the operating costs of electrical appliances and to encourage energy efficiency within the home. 

Looking at our quarterly electricity bill (1.9.09 to 27.11.09), our average daily usage is 6kWh.  This is down from 17kWh from the last quarter and 11kWh the same quarter last year.

My thoughts on the results:

I feel we have definitely lowered our average daily electricity usage but to be honest the real test will be the next quarterly bill.  The reason for this is obvious – we have been away for three weeks during this twelve week billing cycle.  25% of the billing cycle we were not in the home to even use electricity.  To be fair we need to add 25% to our average daily electricity usage to  perhaps get a more accurate result of what our usage might have been if we had not been away.   This equates to an estimated 7.5kWh average daily usage.  This is still down on the last quarter and down on the same quarter last year.

It was suggested that the difference from this quarter compared to last quarter may be the result of heating costs i.e. last quarter was in winter.  We are not big users of heaters but it still may have made a small difference.

Personally I think the reduction of energy use, is due to me not having our office lights on during the day (now that we utilize the sunlight coming through our window). Read more on this.  There are six, office down lights using 50kWh of energy each.  This is a saving of 300kWh for each hour or 2400kWH for each day. Of course some days the lights have to go on, when the sun isn’t out (like today in Sydney being rainy and overcast).

FUTURE – It will be really interesting to see what will happen once we get our sustainability report back.  Just imagine the difference if we do get solar electricity installed! 

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What I have achieved so far on my green journey!

Here is a list of practical things I have been able to achieve so far on my ‘green journey’.


·                     Now ‘air ratting’ my worm farm so it doesn’t become a mini methane producing landfill. 

Read ‘Are Worm Farms any better than Landfill’.


·                     Recycling all my tissues using the worm farm.

Read ‘Winter cold & flu’s produces tissue waste’.


·                     Have come up with a system for recycling our dog poo waste.

Read ‘Why is dog poo so interesting?’


·                     Planted trees on National Tree Planting Day at Sydney Park (27.7.08).

Read ‘The Day of National Tree Day’.


·                     Learnt that the livestock industry is creating more methane greenhouse gas than any other industry.  Thus I have decided to cut back to on eating meat.  Instead of meat every night we have it ever 2nd night.  Also from now on the meat I buy from the grocery store will be cruelty free.

Read ‘A Pig Feeling’.


·                     Learnt that living in the Sydney City Local Council means I don’t have to remove staples from paper or those plastic windows from envelopes before recycling.

Read ‘Do I need to remove staples & plastic windows from envelopes’?


·                     Currently learning about Australian Carbon Credit Schemes.  In the process of offsetting all my carbon emissions (will update you when I have done this).

Read ‘Australian Carbon Credit Schemes’.


·                     Had my very first no waste week!

Read Zero Waste Goals’.


·                     Using a bokashi bin and a worm farm together to reduce our kitchen organic waste.  Now only bones are thrown into the rubbish bin – everything else is recycled.

Post still to be written


·                     Sarhn McArthur Photography is now using 100% post-consumer recycled copy paper.

Read ‘Why I will NOT BE buying Reflex 100% Recycled Paper!’

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Blog Ethics Page

Just thought I would add a quick post, about my blog ethics.  I have just recently added a page on this subject for all to read.  For regular readers who may not have noticed the new page here is what it says:



‘Greener Me’ is my (Sarhn McArthur) personal and business journey to live a greener, sustainable life.  I write with the intention of being honest, open and accountable.  Therefore any favorable comments I make about brands, products or companies are from my personal response.  I have not or will not take any form or payment, commission or kick backs for any of my comments on this blog.


If however in the future I decide to add any advertisements onto my blog, they will be separate and easily identifiable.  My comments will always be unbiased, unsolicited and free.


Thank you for reading and following my journey.  


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