Fast food without waste? [day 17]

I wonder when the fast food craze will end and the eco food will take over.  What?  It could happen.  Doing this challenge during a road trip was, well, a trip.  2,777 miles in 8 days.


I let my kids buy their own snacks and I didn’t make them participate in the challenge.  They did some of the time, and of their own free will, but I didn’t require it.  We mostly stopped at restaurants, not fast food places.  It’s pretty easy to keep with the challenge at sit-down places.  Our last trek home was a long one, and eating in the car was a good plan.   Continue reading

I don’t like beige [minimalist challenge item #362]

[item] Red professional Kipling camera bag

[purchase info] Purchased new at an expensive camera store — full price

[time in my possession] Approximately 7 years

[last used] A couple of months ago

[difficulty level in getting rid of it] Difficult

[destination] Craigslist

[replacement item] None, yet.  I do need a bag for my cameras and lenses.

[info] I love this bag and I hate this bag.  The camera backpack is awesome, but difficult to reattach.  Love the red exterior, hate the beige interior.  Love the design, hate the way my stuff fits in it.  This is stressing me out.  Bye, bye bag.

yes, this is the second Coach bag I have given away [minimalist challenge item #233]

[item] Coach leather purse

[purchase info] Received as a gift, in beige.  I exchanged it for the orange.

[time in my possession] Approximately 5 years

[last used] 2 years ago

[difficulty level in getting rid of it] Medium

[destination] I decided.  Thrift store.

[replacement item] None

[info] I don’t have a bunch of purses for every occasion.  I now have one.  The one that I’m using.  I have no extras.  I do have a backpack that I use for my computer, so sometimes I carry that instead of a purse.  I don’t get why we need giant bags of stuff to carry around anyway.  And why on earth would I want to take the time to put it in a different bag?  I carry my wallet, which is tiny and my phone.  Sometimes I put a lip balm in there.  Occasionally a journal.

odds and ends [minimalist challenge item #213]

[item] Bag of miscellaneous hardware.

[purchase info] Purchased most of it new for projects

[time in my possession] Approximately 3-4 years

[last used] Some never, some a long time ago

[difficulty level in getting rid of it] Easy

[destination] Freecycle

[replacement item] None

[info] This is a bunch of odds and ends from my hardware and tool cabinets.  Most is project leftovers that could be used for someone… somewhere…

bags & backpacks [minimalist challenge item #206]

[item] A leather (faux) logo gym bag and a camo shoulder backpack bag

[purchase info] Gym bag was free, camo bag purchased at Target new

[time in my possession] Gym bag – 9 years, camo bag – 4 years

[last used] Over a year ago

[difficulty level in getting rid of it] Easy

[destination] Freecycle

[replacement item] None

[info] We have many extra bags, backpacks and bags.  Yes, we could keep them and use them once every few years OR we could keep one or two that we use a lot, lend them out if needed and borrow one when needed.

I just don’t get the purpose [minimalist challenge item #185]

[item] Gift bags and gift wrap

[purchase info] Received with gifts

[time in my possession] Several months

[last used] Never

[difficulty level in getting rid of it] Easy

[destination] Given to a friend

[replacement item] None

[info] I know I go against culture, a lot, but I just don’t get gift wrap.  It just seems like a big expense, then a time consuming wrapping process, all to be thrown in the trash moments after someone receives it.  I just don’t get it.  If I give a gift, it will be unwrapped (yes, including Christmas presents) or it will be in a reusable bag.

am I going somewhere? [minimalist challenge item #184]

[item] Pelican professional camera case, or suitcase…

[purchase info] Purchased new for close to $200

[time in my possession] Approximately 6 years

[last used] A few months ago for storage only.  Last used in the field for a photo shoot was 4 years ago.

[difficulty level in getting rid of it] Medium

[destination] eBay

[replacement item] None

[info] I bought this when I was doing a portrait photography business.  It was great for that, but now I just don’t need it anymore.  I sold it on eBay for around $50.  I clearly don’t need a case this big anymore.  People always ask me where I’m going when I have it.  I’m definitely going somewhere, I just don’t need a suitcase to do it.

young man! you will eat every bit of that candy!!

Yes, I said candy.  If I ever needed to question how much I dislike wastefulness, this would be the telltale answer.  A few months ago, my youngest asked if he could get some Jelly Bellies at the grocery store.  I agreed after glancing at the rack filled with small packages of assorted beans.  I proceeded to finish my shopping when Joe says, “Mom, they came out really fast.”  What came out fast?  The lady with the runaway shopping cart?  No, the Jelly Belly dispenser.  The bag of beans cost Joe $15.81.

Fast forward to vacation a few weeks ago.  We were on vacation, and in a candy shop.  I told my kids they could each get one thing.  Here we go again…  My oldest wanted rock candy.  Those ‘fill your own bags’ might as well have drugs in them for as much as they cost!  I prefer my candy with price tags, none of this ‘by the pound’ stuff.  $10.00 later, we leave with rock candy.  

Once we returned from our trip, I found the leftovers and gave it to him.  My son says, “I didn’t like it that much.  It’s not as good as I thought it would be.”  Wha??!!!?  Dude, you will eat all of that candy!  I spent over $10 for it and you will eat it.  Seriously?  On my budget, $10 is a lot of money.  It’s so difficult to teach kids the value of a dollar when society says you can have, and should have, everything you want, no matter what the cost.  The candy might not be good for him, but hopefully the lesson will be.

back to school… supplies & demand lessons

Yes, it’s time to start preparing for back-to-school.  My kids are in denial that they’re going back soon.  I’m in denial that I have to spend a lot of money on school supplies.  Of all the challenges a year of no retail shopping posed on our lives, school supplies was the most difficult and time consuming.  (You can read about this: Back to school [day 58] and School supply update [day 83])  I think the difficulty is because of the specific list of “must buys” from the school district.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not opposed to providing school supplies for my kids, I just don’t understand why they require brand names and why they don’t let the teachers make their own specific lists.  We have the technology now to do that.

Back to school for us means going through all of last years’ stuff.  On the last day of school, my kids ran in the house, threw all of their school stuff in the back of the closet and it hasn’t seen the light of day since.  I pulled it all out.  My 1st find was a lunch bag… with a partially eaten sandwich.

Lesson #1:  Go through this stuff before it goes into the closet.

On to the backpacks and reusable shopping bags that are filled with who knows what.  Yikes!  Could they really have used this much paper??!?  All of this went into the recycling bin.  Can’t these workbooks be designed to be used more than once?  Is there a way to use less paper?  I’m not a teacher so I’m not even going to pretend that I could suggest a better way.  I think teachers are a huge blessing to our kids.

Lesson #2:  Get backpacks with wheels to avoid future doctor visits for back problems.  Continue reading