Author: Jen Merritt
1) Paper towels - up-cycle old t-shirts and towels
2) Napkins - cloth napkins
3) Plastic Wrap - mason jars, plastic containers or beeswax wraps
4) Tin Foil - it’s just not necessary for most recipes, choose those meals!
5) Sponge - silicone sponge
6) Batteries - rechargeable batteries!!!
Every time I open my cabinet that has supplies like tin foil, plastic wrap, plastic bags I am filled with a pride that I haven’t touched them since 2013. I didn’t even purchase them. They originally belonged to my grandpa, and when he passed away I thought, “I don’t buy stuff like this or use them, but I don’t want it to go to waste.” When I see these supplies, I also feel happy because it reminds me of someone I love. It’s now 2018 and they are still in my cabinet. I have barely touched them and I am finally ready to give them a new home.
It was easy for me because:
One, I have never thought of paper napkins as easier than cloth napkins. I am doing laundry anyway, and I feel happier using cloth. I also feel really happy when I visit a friend and they also use cloth. It’s like a cool club I am in, that we appreciate putting the time and energy into living simply and with less waste.
Two, I never used tin foil in cooking. I just learned recipes that don’t require it. If anything I thought that “Tin Foil is so easy to crumble up and rip. How is it possible, that little pieces of tin foil are not getting in my food? I don’t understand it.” That thought just grosses me out enough to not be interested.
Three, I have had the same plastic containers for-ever. I use plastic containers and glass jars above anything else. Mason Jars, for sure, keep food freshest the longest. I wonder if plastic wrap might keep some foods fresher longer. But, personally, if I wait that long to eat something, I’m not interested in eating it anyway. I would rather grocery shop more often. Recently I purchased a bees wax replacement for plastic wrap, and I am curious to try it and see how it holds up. I probably won’t use it nearly as much as my mason jars, because they are the best!
Four, paper towels are the easiest thing for me to use at someone else house that I don’t use at home. If I’m helping in someone’s kitchen, and that’s what they use to clean a counter, I will also use them. At home, I use old towels and cloth napkins for cleaning. It’s the same as napkins, I just throw them in the wash. They have a good life-span. I feel good that I am not being wasteful. Honestly, my pride that I don’t use them at home, makes me feel bad when I use them at other homes. But, I love those people so much, at the end of the day that’s not a big deal.
Five, for a pretty long time I have felt icky using sponges. They get dirty. I hear the best thing to do is replace them every week. I feel wasteful purchasing new sponges. Even though, I wash them as much as I can, to get the most use out of them. So I recently purchased a silicone sponge. So far, I love that it’s not trapping dirt. It’s holding up really well. I wonder “Is this the best replacement for a sponge?” So far, the silicone sponge is the best that I have found.
Six, last one, I have been using the same rechargeable batteries for possibly ten years … and both the charger and the batteries work great. There is really no difference using rechargeable batteries. Rechargeable batteries, you have to plug in sometimes. But, it’s just as much energy to go to a store and purchase new ones. It also saves money.
I have a lot of respect for families that make changes to be environmentally friendly. You are truly our role models on how we can be. Especially when different people in a home, have different ideas and opinions of how they want to live. I understand the thought “it’s not possible”, or “it will be difficult.” I love the ideas that Marie Kondo offers in her book “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.” We don’t have to insist everyone does the same thing, we can choose what we do and respect the individual choices of others. Other people in the household either will be inspired by us, or they will do their own thing. You can still feel good about your choices and everyone else can benefit from your happiness.
Some people want to make these kinds of changes but there is some roadblocks in thinking thats getting in their way.
If you’re the one going to the grocery store, then it’s a little easier to make some changes. Some people will say “I’m not buying it for me, I’m buying it for them.” I would explore the thought using a tool like emotional freedom technique (EFT Tapping), or another form of self-inquiry.
QUESTIONS TO EXPLORE FOR SELF INQUIRY (If emotion comes up, do some EFT tapping!)
I use EFT Tapping often for myself and in my coaching practice. I also teach online classes so that more people can learn the technique to use at home. For those that don’t know what it is, it is tapping on reflex points that calm the mind and help shift ways of thinking.
If you really look at it, underneath the thought “I’m buying it for them” might be:
“I want them to be happy.”
“I’m afraid they might feel forced if I make a change, and then they will be angry.”
“I want them to accept me. I know they accept what we are already doing”
Some questions I might ask would be
“Why would they not be happy?”
“What are some ways you’ve made changes that your family went along with and didn’t mind?” “How can you communicate so that your family feels apart of the change?”
“Who is to say they wouldn’t quickly get use to these changes and then be happy about it?”
There is a lot of other questions I would ask around self-acceptance and accepting others and EFT is helpful for the emotions that come up around all of these questions.
I have used emotional freedom technique (for myself and many others) to help shift thoughts, negative emotions, and beliefs around many things one including habits around cleaning, reducing waste and clutter. Sometimes the habits we’ve started in the past don’t align with how we want to be. If I can be a support for you in making changes in this way, please find me on www.EmoFreeFit.com
I am not only a fan of my mason jars and cloth napkins but I love that taking actions like these help me feel better about the environment and my relationship to the earth that we all share as a home.