Wednesday, October 19, 2011

disclaimer for saving pennies post - don't become a hoarder!

So I got to thinking about my last post, ways to save money, and becoming a conservationist, and I saw how easily one could error in this regard. While it's all well and good to save plastic tubs for leftovers or small plastic bottles to put shampoo in for traveling - this does not mean that you need 50 of them if you really only need 6 bottles for any given vacation (my mom). Or the 100 hundred cardboard boxes in your garage for the packages you mail...if you only mail 20 said packages in a given year, you can feasibly get rid of 80! The key words are Downsize and Simplicity - not more clutter! Physical clutter not only clutters our minds, and if not that (because I do realize to some people clutter isn't clutter...I don't work that way so that's as far as I can go with that thought - but I know those people exist) it will make guests uncomfortable, and the neighbors will talk about your 'hoarder' garage.

Speaking of hoarders, have you ever watched those hoarder shows on tv?! I love these shows - and audibly cringe! I love it because they help people psychologically but also to get rid of stuff and organize. But YOU DON'T WANT TO BE A HOARDER - for your own well-being. I know - I was in a hoarder house once before I ever knew what a hoarder was. And honestly, think about going through your stuff for your kids. I've already talked about this with my mom (who agrees with me), and thank the Lord, she just started going through her boxes of papers (she's not a hoarder, just has lots of papers)!

Just don't be this! Instead watch Hoarders on A&E or for motivation!
Photo Credit: Hoarders via

Another thing that got me thinking about this are websites where people sell stupid stuff (cuz yes, I wasted some time looking at these ridiculous posts the other day). Now garage sales can kinda get away with selling some junk cuz some people come to these to buy junk they will sell at their garage sales next year (you are I are the exception here - we buy 'finds' and 'treasures'). But we don't need to save junk which we see some hidden use for - that we actually would put forth the effort put together that 'thing' for it's 'great use' is fantasy! The too-ripped jeans in the wrong place which you're not going to wear or patch (you better not), throw out - especially if you have 5 pair! You can't (and won't) reuse your broken lamp that's been sitting in the closet for 5 years!

So with these 3 easy to remember, simple steps I think we can be helped from erring:
  1. Don't be a HOARDER.
  2. Get rid of it.
  3. DO IT NOW.
I'm writing this as much for myself as for you. On our altruistic journey to conservation (not really?), let's be nice to our kids, our visitors, our neighbors, and ourselves. Let's take out the trash.

What's your story (while being nice to other people you mention)? Are you a hoarder or just keep too much of something? What is that stupid thing you save for a 'good' reason? What will help downsize and simplify?

Monday, October 10, 2011

how i watch my pennies...roll away less fast (a budding conservationist?)

You may not know, but I like to think that I can do my little bit to help the environment and to conserve less. I am probably spurred on by my lightweight coin purse, and being a missionary, some things can be hard to find and/or can cost more overseas so I'm not completely altruistic. But in today's consumerist society, maybe I can consume less, reuse, recycle, and save a little more. Maybe I can take a little time to wash and reuse, spend a little more on replaceables, and find that my wants are not really my needs. 

I know that I am not an expert, and there are probably a lot more things I should be doing but am not. And you may laugh at the things I do, but you can laugh along with me and adopt a few.

  • So I cut open by facial cleanser container to get every last drop. When your at the end of your shampoo or lotion, turn your bottle upside down into a cup. Store these in ziplock bags to keep between uses.
  • Wash and reuse ziplock bags...unless they are yucky. 
  • Eat your leftovers. Don't let your food spoil. This may take more planning, but think of how much we waste (even if you have to think of 'starving children' - I'm okay with guilt trips).
  • Put the plug in the sick, and run the water faucet less. Learned this in countries where there are water shortages.
  • Downsize and De-clutter. Donate to Good Will/Salvation Army or yard sale the clothes/stuff that you never wear/use. Identify which clothes don't fit well and get rid of them. Save the ones that do fit and make you feel great. Save (even spending a bit more on better quality) for a few items which are essential, can be dressed up or down, and are timeless. Spend less money on items that will be in season and out the next.
  • Shop Second Hand (Good Will, Salvation Army, garage/yard sales), but be educated. Basically, know the going price at Walmart or Target, and have your list of what you NEED so you don't overbuy. You may think you are getting a deal, but many deals add up to big bills.
  • You know the saying, "If it's yellow let it mellow. If it's brown flush it down"? Sounds gross, but think of the gallons of clean water (in the U.S.) you will be saving! Exceptions to this are if it's smelly, you have company, or are staying with friends. :)
  • Patch your jeans. Mend rips and holes. Cut off your outdated dress, and you have a shirt. Okay, that one may take more skill, but mending isn't rocket science and can be done during your less favorite tv show.

This doesn't mean I don't ever have a Starbucks coffee or a meal out (or buy a new shirt), but saving your treats actually makes them treats - they will taste better. These are just a few hints. But if you have a suggestion that you're doing, let me know and comment below!