I think about my Oma often, many times it's because I find myself doing many of the things she used to do. When I was little I thought she was being so silly for doing certain things, but now... they may still be a little silly, but I do them too! Oma may have been doing these things to save money or by habit, but most of these habits are some that we should put into place in our own homes to live a more sustainable and zero-waste lifestyle. There has never been a more important time in history to start making little changes that will make a big difference in the future. It's hard at first to change, but let's take the lead from Oma!

These "silly" things include, but are not limited to
  • Dusting plants
  • Folding aluminum foil to re-use
  • Rinsing Ziploc baggies, drying them over the faucet and re-using them later
  • Folding and saving plastic grocery bags or bringing her own tote bag to the grocery store
  • Saving rubber bands from green onions, broccoli etc.

    Broccoli with a blue rubber band
  • Using that "washlappe" wash rag for everything (no excessive paper towels)
  • Saving all the glass jars
  • Being obsessed with turning off the lights
  • Saving all the Obstler bottles (perfect for homemade Glühwein in December)
  • Buying in bulk and freezing for later
  • Opening the windows just a crack in the dead of winter for a little "frische luft" (this isn't energy saving... just a German thing)


dusting plants

These things may have seemed silly then, but a lot of them are really important to keep doing now that we as a society need to focus on sustainability and reusable energy!

Using those ziploc baggies more than once helps keep plastic out of the landfills. Or better yet, all those jars you saved... put your leftovers in those instead of the baggies. Instead of bothering to fold plastic grocery bags, take reusable totes and produce bags to the store! Together we can make those little changes to save our planet. Oma would have wanted us to make sustainable changes "für die Kinder" (for the kids). So let's turn off those lights when we're not in the room!   

drying a ziploc bag
stacked empty jars

Are there funny things your Oma, Opa or parents did that you thought were a little crazy but now you find yourself doing too? Have you made changes in your habits and routines at home to live a more zero-waste sustainable life? I would love to hear all about it, so put your experiences in the comments!

Ever wonder which dirndl style you are? Click here to take our quiz and find out now! 

March 31, 2020 — Erika Neumayer


Shirley Jean Haney said:

I buy fruits and vegs in bulk to freeze but ppl should know that unless you slightly cook vegetables before you freeze them, it alters their enzymes and they aren’t as good for you. It’s probably on the USDA website somewhere. I forget where I read it.

Julie said:

My grandmother was the original reduce/reuse/recycle lady. I have inherited many of her ways BUT, unlike her, I refuse to save every produce-bag twist-tie I ever got. When she passed, we found an entire drawer full of the veggie rubber bands and those twist-ties. I miss her so much. Her funniest, true (especially when grandkids were all together) saying: “Too much laughing leads to crying.”

Leave a comment

Please note: comments must be approved before they are published.