8 Ways to Reuse & Simplify Each Day

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Our world is currently quite electric. We’re living in an age of progress, where new items become available on the market every day, where throwing something away dissolves it from our minds (but not our planet), and where buying something new seems easier and faster than reusing. I come to say to you that habits can be broken, and alterations in your daily routine are absolutely possible if you introduce them over a period of time.

Now, anyone that knows me knows that I’ve got a procrastination streak and that I love to sleep. Changing behavior can be difficult, but I’ve spent the past two years figuring out ways that I could:

  1. Lighten my footprint on the earth and reduce waste.
  2. Support locally by spending money where it will go directly back into my community.
  3. Save money.

This ain’t an easy job, and I definitely still contribute my fair share of waste, but I’m here with just a few ways that you too can join the train in simplifying and living consciously of your community and environment.

 

Towels vs Paper Towels

I know this seems like such a trivial one, but think about it. How much money do you spend on paper towels? Cloth towels absorb more, can stick around for years and turn into retro looks (Mom—I’m looking at you), and look way cuter in your kitchen. I keep a single roll of paper towels (biodegradable, if possible) around just in case. By only having one, I conserve and use them when absolutely necessary.

 

Vinegar & Other Friends

We spritz a bit of cleaner on our counters and call it a day. Well, I don’t know about you, but my food often sits on my counter and I surely don’t want to ingest what I just used to “clean” those surfaces. Powerful cleaners are for powerful messes, so what about your daily messes? Counters, sinks, toilets. Vinegar. I’m not kidding. Vinegar and then a wipe of lemon. It’s amazing. Clogged toilet? Vinegar & Baking Soda. It works like a dream. Pour some baking soda and hot water in the bowl, let it sit, then flush it down.

You can buy vinegar in big jugs as well–so now you’ve cut costs, cut wasteful containers, and avoided toxic chemicals. Triple wins are the best.

 

French Press & a Filter Toss

I switched over to a French Press about a year and a half ago and I’ll never go back. Maybe forward, but never back. Once you boil the water (stovetop or electric kettle), you let it sit for 5 minutes and presto-chango! You have a rich cup that didn’t use any paper filters. Just one less thing you need to add to your grocery list this month! Already have a coffee maker that you’re in love with? Substitute those paper filters for a reusable plastic and mesh one. Keurig? Refillable cartridge. Boom.

Bring Your Own Bag to Work Day: Veggies & Fruits Edition

There are 2 tiers of this one:

  • General grocery bags that you reuse each time you shop—easy, breezy, beautiful.
  • Smaller cloth or polyester produce bags to eliminate the plastic bags or plastic containers that veggies and fruits come in—requires commitment to cutting up veggies instead of buying them pre-sliced. But can I share something else I’ve discovered? Pre-sliced loses flavor from the time it’s sliced to the time it’s in your mouth. I kid you not.

 

Heads Up! Dryer Ball Coming ‘Atcha!

Now this is probably my newest addition to the hippie toolbox I own. Again, I love it and won’t go back. Instead of dryer sheets, I purchased a wool ball from Harvest Table Restaurant store. Sheep or alpaca, both work like a dream. Put a few drops of your favorite essential oil on that puppy and throw it in. In addition to the Harvest Table, there’s a good chance that you can find dryer balls at a local farmer’s market near you!

 

Farmers Do It Best

Farmer’s Markets? Why would I be mentioning that here? I’m a fanatic for farmer’s markets because they have changed the way I look at food. I cook more, I make better choices when it comes to meats and veggies, and I’ve actually saved money. When you purchase items in season, they’re often less expensive than your town grocery store. And where you pay a buck or 50 cents more, flavor makes up for. I’m also over-buying less, and all this money goes directly back into my community.

 

Hippie Razor Blades

Now, I think this might make you laugh. It made my friends laugh. My razor is made by a company called Preserve. Get this—it’s made from recycled yogurt cups. Yup. Best part? The blades are compatible with Gilette Sensor and Personna Acti-Flexx brands, so purchasing a new base isn’t necessary. The blades work incredibly, and it’s supporting a company committed to environment-friendly solutions. They also carry kitchen tools, storage, and oral care products.

 

Farmers Do It Best

Farmer’s Markets? Why would I be mentioning that here? I’m a fanatic for farmer’s markets because they have changed the way I look at food. I cook more, I make better choices when it comes to meats and veggies, and I’ve actually saved money. When you purchase items in season, they’re often less expensive than your town grocery store. And where you pay a buck or 50 cents more, flavor makes up for. I’m also over-buying less, and all this money goes directly back into my community.

 

Cardboard Every Dang Day

I try and buy products that use cardboard packaging over plastic, since almost every county in the country takes cardboard. Plastics are a little harder, but if you can recycle them, do it! All this being said, sometimes you just have to give in to plastic. That’s okay. The main purpose of all these actions is to become more aware of what each of us uses and wastes. It’s important to realize that consumerism is relatively new on Earth, and small steps taken by many people can drastically slow down our impact on it.

2 thoughts on “8 Ways to Reuse & Simplify Each Day

  1. A lot if those ideas are great! I’m hesitant to give up my Greenworks cleaners, but other than that I’m with you 100%!

    I have a few more ideas for you, if you haven’t thought of then already.

    We have a no ziploc bag rule. We use only reusable Tupperware for lunches and storage. We do have 1 box of bags in the house for those rare only-a-bag-will-do moments, but other than piping icing onto cupcakes once, I can’t honestly remember the last time I truly needed to use one!

    To reduce food waste, we only buy food we have a plan to use. I pick out 2-3 recipes a week and only buy the produce for those recipies, because otherwise it has a tendency to go bad before we get around to eating it.

    Starting last spring, I started composting all of my kitchen scraps. Veggies, egg shells, coffee grounds, my loose leaf teas… with that and recycling, we put next to nothing in our trashcan!

    If you have a place to take the compost after leaving your kitchen, I’ll swear by this little, almost entirely odorless compost bucket:
    Full Circle Fresh Air Odor-Free Kitchen Compost Collector – 1.5 gallon

    Keep up the good work!

    1. This is all fantastic! Thank you! I just moved into an actual house, so I’m trying to readjust my habits to match the larger space and temptation to waste.

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