Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Waste Not Want Not

"Waste not want not." It's a quote I'm sure many of us have heard before but never really took to heart. It means "never wasting anything results in never wanting anything." For a few years now, my family has been pretty good about the 3 R's - reducing, reusing, recycling - and we even compost, and this has led us to not have an overflowing trash can at the end of the week. I remember times when I would see my husband literally in the trash bin jumping up and down trying to make room for more trash. He looked pretty silly doing it, and he would always come in saying, "how did we end up with so much garbage?" Truth is, we were pretty irresponsible in what we chose to consume and throw away. We just started having a family, and we weren't thinking about how we were truly living. Years later, I believe we have done a pretty good job of turning our life around.  And although we may be better at living a "waste-less" lifestyle than others, we definitely are no where near being as conscious as the family in this video.

Who would have thought you could reduce your waste to so little? Is it difficult to do? I'm sure it's easier said than done. We have reusable bags we take to the store, but we have yet to use those kinds of bags for produce and bread. We reuse glass jars for the kids' crafts and my husband's nails and screws in the garage, but we don't use them for meat and cheese. It is something for us to consider though. If they can do it, I'm sure we can, too. And it helps when a store can make it easy for you.

Recently, I found this article on a grocery store called in.gredients. Opening it's doors in Austin, Texas sometime in the fall, it'll be the first zero-packaging store in the United States. I live 3 hours away from Austin, so driving down there and wasting gas wouldn't be helping my mission, but I hope that it'll become very successful and that the concept will become nationwide. We need a little push in the right direction, and if we can't motivate ourselves to waste less, hopefully this store will.

Waste not want not. Four little words from way back when, yet they have come to mean so much in this day and age.

Monday, July 18, 2011

The Story of Stuff

I decided that in order to truly have a better understanding of when and where our planet went from living simplistically and being "green" to being obsessed with having more, destroying more, and not caring about the history of what we have and where we live, I needed to educate myself more. I found this video off a website called "The Story of Stuff Project."  Though you may not agree with a lot of what the video says, it may still make you think about the next time you decide to buy or throw something away.

Living Green For My Children

I am 34 weeks and 3 days into my 3rd pregnancy, and I have never been more in tune with my "green side."  I have always tried to be eco-conscious, but it wasn't until I was pregnant with my daughter in 2006 that I realized just how much I needed to do my part in my life and hers in order to help keep our planet green.  Two children (and one on the way) later, my husband and I have fully pledged to do the best we can in contributing to the betterment of the Earth.  We recycle, compost, use electricity only when we really need to, use cloth wipes for cleaning instead of paper towels, reuse glass, fabric, and anything else that can be 'upcycled' to other useful and/or decorative things, run errands only once or twice a week at most, make our own household products such as liquid hand soap and cleaning solutions, grow our own little garden in our little backyard, buy our food from organic/all-natural stores, CSA farms, and farmers markets, and that is just to name a few.  But the one thing we have started to do, rather will do when the baby is born, is use cloth diapers and wipes.  Sadly, I did not do this with my other children, and I don't know if I was just overwhelmed or intimidated by all the information that was out there about them, but this time around, I forced myself to research, ask questions, read up on blogs to absorb the information, and even create an Excel sheet to make it easier to see the pros, cons, costs, etc. to the different types of diapers that are available.  I made myself not give in just because I read negative comments from other Moms.  And although the initial cost of having a well-prepared diaper stash was not in our budget, which many times made me rethink about going in this direction, we kept on with the game plan, had a successful baby shower that brought in a great start to our stash, and I have even won a couple of cloth diaper giveaways.  And I still have 5 weeks to go.  I'd say we've got enough to go by at least two days without laundering them.  Woohoo!

I know I still have a lot to learn about cloth diapering, and there may come times when I may get frustrated that the diapers didn't come out clean or that they may start going through a "leaking" phase, but you live and learn, right?  I've already started this process.  There is no turning back now.  As for the rest of our "greener living," a lot of that involves raising healthier and happier children, living debt-free and frugally, enjoying a minimalistic lifestyle, and realizing that people may not agree with us, may think we're crazy, and may even socialize with us less, but you know what, we'll be better off in the long run, and we'll be happier, too.  

I hope you'll find my blog to be helpful and useful in assisting you to simplifying and upcycling your own life.  I hope you'll enjoy my posts that from time to time will include no-fuss recipes, financial tidbits, easy DIY projects, reviews of green and/or user-friendly products, and maybe some giveaways that will help you get started in the right direction, if you're not headed there already.  Good luck, good day, and good life!
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