Declutter calendar
31 Day Declutter Challenge

Day 17- Vases

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Some women see a bouquet of flowers as a sweet gesture…I see it as a waste of money.

I know, I know…I’m definitely not a hopeless romantic, but I sure am practical. My husband knows that if he wants to make a sweet gesture, it better not be store bought cut flowers that will turn brown in a few days. For this reason, I need very few vases.

I do still occasionally use a vase if I bring flowers in from the garden, but I truely have no need for the cabinet of various sized and colored vases.

Ideas for getting rid of vases include:

Donating to your local thrift store

Check to see if any brides need vases for wedding centerpieces

If they are glass or plastic, check to see if you can recycle them

Are you crafty? Repurpose a few. Check out this link on pinterest. While you’re there, hit the follow button on my profile to keep up with my pins!

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Simple Living

6 Months of Buying Nothing New- UPDATE

Update on my 6 months of buying nothing new challenge

**Spoiler alert…I bought something!*

As many of you know, part of my simple living journey is learning to buy and consume less stuff.  To jump start this process, I am challenging myself to go 6 months without buying anything new.  I am almost 2 months into my challenge.  See the original post here for more details!

Anytime that I discuss my challenge with someone, I always seem to get the same question.  

'Well?? Have you bought anything new??' 

My answer is yes.  I am not perfect. However, my shopping is drastically reduced.  In fact, aside from my grocery trips, which only occur every 2 weeks, I have not stepped foot into a department store or super market.  

So what did I buy?

I bought the grey and white stuffed animal pictured below (on the right). Unfortunately, I think that Target must have known about my challenge to buy nothing new, because they messed up and sent me the incorrect thing….not just once, but twice.  That grey stuffed animal is what I ended up with, but that is NOT what I purchased.  

6 months of buying nothing new

Allow me explain…

The all white stuffed animal, pictured above (left), is my daughter’s attachment object.  Its name is ‘mini Cooper’ since it is a miniature version of our white huskie mix, Cooper.  Mini Cooper has to be with my daughter for naptime and bedtime.  She will cry and search for this stuffed animal when she gets tired.  This meant that I was constantly lugging the animal to and from daycare everyday to make sure that he was there for naptime and at home for bedtime.  I would even occasionally forget to bring him home…which made for a less than fun bedtime routine.  I decided that having two ‘identical’ stuffed animals would make life a bit more simple…and that is the goal right??

Imagine how happy I was that with a quick google search I was able to find an identical match to her white ‘Mini Cooper’.  A few days later I get the notification that my item has been delivered.  I rush to open the box when we get home, anxious to see what my daughters reaction will be when she sees another ‘mini Cooper’.  Well….it was not a stuffed animal.  It was this Fortnite Elf figure. I obviously got the wrong package. Customer service was quick to fix the issue and sent out a replacement package ASAP.

A few days later, another package arrived. I opened it up and boom, wrong stuffed animal. At this point, I realized that this was a sign that I should not have attempted to buy something. I decided to just give the grey stuffed animal to my daughter and see what she thought. Turns out, it must be close enough, because she loves it. Now, even though they are not identical, I finally have a stuffed animal for daycare and for at home.

My conclusion-

I’m happy that I don’t have to lug a stuffed animal to and from daycare everyday now, but I don’t think I am going to be as tempted to buy something again soon…it was more trouble than it was worth.

Original Post: 6 Months of Buying Nothing New Challenge

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Simple Living

8 swaps that you can make today to use less disposables

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I’m a numbers person.  Let’s take a look some numbers around disposables from  Roughly half of the annual plastic production is destined to become a single-use product.  Globally, humans now buy plastic bottles at a rate of 1,000,000 per minute.  500,000 straws are used in the world every single day.  Check this link out if you are interested in more stats.

Every change makes a difference.  Below are some easy swaps that you can make to reduce the amount of waste you produce on a daily basis.  In many cases, this can also save you money since you won’t have to continue to purchase disposable items regularly.

Help the environment.  Save Money.  Win-Win in my book!

Don’t worry, I’m not talking about giving up all of our daily disposables….I like toilet paper just as much as you do, but the 8 items below are easy swaps to make!

*Disclosure- Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I may earn a commission on purchase.

1. Water bottle/drink cups-  Let’s be honest, most bottled waters are basically just filtered tap water.  Plus, the cheap plastic bottle can leach all sorts of chemicals into the water.  In most cases, your tap water is perfectly fine to drink.  Get yourself a good reusable bottle (preferably not plastic).

Below are two of my favorites.  I use the S’well for cold beverages and the Yeti for warm.  Both of them hold hot or cold beverages, that’s just my preference.

S’well Vacuum Insulated Stainless Steel Water Bottle, 25 oz, Lily Wood

YETI Rambler 20 oz Stainless Steel Vacuum Insulated Tumbler w/MagSlider Lid, Seafoam

If you are unsure if your tap water is safe, take a sample to your local environmental lab and have it tested.  You can also buy water bottles that filter as your drink.

2. Reusable snack/sandwich bags- This is a switch that I made not too long ago.  I pack my lunch every day and typically 2-3 items get put into snack bags.

These reusable bags come in various sizes and are easily rinsed out at the end of the day.

3. Packed lunch utensils-  Again, perfect for that lunch box.  Stop grabbing disposable forks and spoons in the staff breakroom.

4. Paper towels-  I made this switch back when I was trying to save more money at the grocery store.  Disposable items were making up a huge portion of my bill on a regular basis.  I started by hiding my paper towels from sight.  Out of sight= out of mind.  Now we just use more towels.  I also have a huge stack of cut up t-shirts for rags.  We only reach for the paper towels for the super yucky messes that we wouldn’t want on our kitchen towels, even if they run through a bleach cycle.

5. Coffee filter- I love my morning cup of coffee.  I try my best to save money and be eco-friendly by brewing my coffee at home and using a thermos.  This is my next change.  I am still using a daily disposable coffee filter in my mr. coffee pot.  I’m not perfect people….GASSSPP.  I have a huge stack of filters to use.  Once my supply gets low, I am ordering a reusable filter.  I currently have this one in my amazon cart ready for my next order.

6. Straws- Most of the cups around our house come with their own reusable straws.  However, sometimes they get broken or we need a straw for other cups.  Our reusable straws are plastic, but each one has lasted us for going on 4 years now.  As for when I am out and about, I simply elect not to use a straw for my drinks.  I know some people carry a spare in their purse when they are going out…that’s an option too.

7. Grocery bags- Gather up some of those cloth/ fabric bags that you have collected over the years.  Then take them out to your car and put them in your trunk.  After each use, return the bags to your car so that you always have them with you.

If you don’t have a stash of bags, these are amazing.  They hold a ton of food and they are really durable.  My favorite part is that they fold down into tiny little pouches.  I keep them all together on a carabiner that gets clipped to my grocery cart.

TIP** Put yourself a little note somewhere in your car or on your grocery list to help you remember to grab the bags out of your trunk when you get to the store.  Once you get into a habit of getting them out of your car, you won’t need the reminder to use them.

8. Produce bags- Most people make the switch to reusable grocery bags, but have you considered ditching the flimsy produce bags as well?  My guess is that most people haven’t.  I always get compliments and questions about my produce  bags when we get them out at the grocery store.