Tuesday, June 14, 2011

change the way you use

i'm devoting my birthday week to all the little changes that have been made in our lives during the last 2 years.  yesterday i talked about the way we eat - today i'm going to talk about the way we use and how to be a better user and not a waster.

i have not always been a recycler- it just isn't something that i see that's very prevalent in the south.  we recycled newspapers and magazines, but everything else- right in the trash.  when dave & i started dating, i noticed that everything is recycled here- it's part of the regular trash pickup.  when we bought our house in atlanta, i was interested in starting recycling up for our house, but there wasn't a pickup in our neighborhood- even where i nannied- which was in a nicer neighborhood- i didn't see a recycling pickup.  we decided to start on our own, but it took a little work on our behalf.  it's amazing how much trash recycling saved- we normally only had one bag of trash every other week (we took our own trash to a dumpster in our neighborhood).  even here we only have one bag of trash per week.  here's how to recycle in your area if you don't have a neighborhood pickup:  1.  recycling bins:  the sortera bins from ikea are excellent.  they come in 2 sizes and they easy stack.  they took up minimal room on our back porch- and since they have lids, the stuff inside stayed relatively dry when it rained.  they suffered their fair share of abuse- so when we moved up here, we threw them in with our last recycling drop off.  2.  www.earth911.com- when we were in atlanta, we entered our zip and found a facility only a few miles from our house.  3.  when our bins would fill up, we loaded them in the back of the car and dropped our stuff off.  we usually sorted our stuff- we had 3 bins (paper, plastic & glass/aluminum) to make it easy b\c you never knew what bins were going to be at the facility we were at.  we went to the same place for 2 years, yet every few weeks they would have completely changed how they wanted you to sort stuff. 

cutting down on waste and junk
anyone who's ever seen an episode of hoarders probably  has an immediate desire to throw away half the belongings in their home.  having a child has definitely brought more "stuff" into our homes and so we have had to purge our own belongings to make room for baby.  this is a continual work in progress.  we started by going through our closets and drawers and getting rid of stuff that we knew would no longer fit (bye bye size 0's) or stuff we just didn't wear anymore.  we bagged that stuff up- and tried plato's closet (i hate that place- don't go there), when that didn't work, i listed my stuff on smashion.  i am giving my stuff a few months to see how it does, and after that, it goes to goodwill.  dave's stuff went to a neighborhood pickup.  we are slowly going through closets and other bins and trying to get rid of stuff.  a few tips from lifehack.org:  obey the 12 month rule by throwing out anything you haven't used in 12 months- after 3 months re-evaluate and try to get rid of even more.  since we are trying to make a little money this is taking us a little longer- although my friend Tara brought up an excellent point once by saying it might be more cost-effective just to donate and take the tax write-off.  

another huge way we're saving on waste is by cloth diapering.  for those of you who are moms or who aren't and are really grossed out by this- yeah, it's a little gross.  is it any worse than a disposable diaper?  not really.  diapers are full of poop and poop is gross.  end of story.  ian still has to wear disposables at night b\c his skin is so sensitive, but the money we've saved in not buying diapers all the time has been tremendous.  not to mention all the garbage we save by not having to throw out up to 7-8 diapers a day.  they cost a lot up front depending on the route you go, but they were paid for in about 6 months- and i'm all for more money in my pocket.  plus, our water/energy bills haven't changed.  regardless, i will be so exciting when the diapering stage is over.  

the final part of cutting down on waste & junk is a new thing in our lives- composting.  i have wanted to do this for a long time and now that we are working on our own garden i have a better reason than ever! composting is an even better way to have less garbage than we already do...  bought lettuce w\ the intention of eating salad every day (oops) and now it's wilted?  compost it.  tired of your garbage smelling like coffee grounds- compost it.  it's amazing what kinds of junk can actually be composted.  we now have even less garbage, and i don't beat myself up if i find a little bit of rotten lettuce!  

the final change we've made is through reclaiming/reusing.  by doing this we are not shelling out money for the little things- therefore, keeping money for what we actually need.  part of this stirs up my "hoarders" tendencies- that i don't want to throw anything away b\c certainly it can be used for something.  an awesome site for this is freecycle .  this is a great place to give and get stuff for free in your area.  when we were ready to start composting, i went out and bought a garbage can for about $20.  luckily, a few days later, someone posted an offer for a similar trashcan to the one i bought- we were able to claim it, pick it up and return the one we bought- $20 back in our pockets!!  i also may or may not have stolen a drawer for gardening from an abandoned dresser in front of my neighbor's house on garbage day a few weeks ago...  

i love seeing other people reclaim stuff b\c i definitely don't have the same creativity that a lot of people have.  i wanted to share with you a little etsy site that does just that- tea & tangerines.  tea & tangerines was started by friends mary & lauren (l is on the modsquad with me)- lovers of vintage & candles!  do you love candles, but hate when you get to the end of one only to have a useless jar- problem solved.  lauren & mary not only make the candles themselves, but put them in pretty vintage reclaimed containers.  once the candle is done- your pretty container can be used in any way you like!  they have a lot of cute candles in their newly opened shop- but also do custom orders if you like certain scents or are looking for a certain type of container.  my favorite is this one- the glass is so pretty + i love fresh grass scented anything! 

want to reclaim something as your own- right now tea & tangerines is offering a 15% discount when you use the code LEMMEGITTHAT.  come on, go check tea & tangerines out!

i hope you've enjoyed day 2 of my little changes birthday week.  have any additional ideas for ways we can continue to change how we use- i'd love to hear in your comments!
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