Halfway there and frustrated [day 16]

We’re about to hit the road again.  A challenge to use nothing disposable while travelling is really difficult.  There just aren’t any options for eating on the road.  Eating in the car would require prepackaged food, or having prepared things in advance.  Since this was an unplanned trip, for the most part, it was not on my radar to make travel snacks.

5ba0c05a8d0411e2914322000a1f984e_7My family and I visited my favorite restaurant in Wisconsin, LeDuc’s Custard Shop.  I brought in my supplies, so as not to use anything disposable.  They would not allow me to use any of it.  “Health department regulations.  Sorry, we just can’t do it.”  How does a national chain like Starbucks get away with it then?  They have accommodated every request in every state so far.

I think restaurants could to more to generate less waste.  I think as consumers, we could help the process by asking for alternatives.  If we all, on some small level, chose to not take all of the paper and plastic items when there’s a choice, that would make them rethink what is unnecessary.    Continue reading

To Infiniti and beyond! [day 2]

check-engine-lightI took my car in for the illuminated “check engine” light and a pre-road trip check up.  This really has nothing to do with anything disposable, unless you consider a car a disposable item.  If that’s the case, then everything is disposable, some of it just lasts longer.  My referral to disposable items for the challenge is items that are single use and then get thrown away, or in some cases, recycled.  Back to the light, that when lit, should just have a dollar sign on it.  I’m about to take my car on a long trip, so I just want to be sure it’s nothing major.  Well, it looks as though it’s time to start thinking about a new (used) car.  The repairs needed to keep this car in good condition are finally exceeding the cost of getting a new (used) one.  Disposable?  I suppose it could be a long-term disposable item.  Continue reading

Change me! Change me! [day 1]

singing-air-filter-hvac-music-notesI woke up to the whistling sound of my return air duct singing, “Change me!  Change me!  I’ve sucked in as much dust and dirt as my little fibers can handle.”  Yes, of course it’s a disposable filter.  I know they make non-disposable filters, but they’re very expensive and I’ve been told they don’t work as well.  I guess I’ll be researching that today, as I have no plans to just turn it off and freeze to death.  (What?  It’s possible to freeze to death in 50° weather.)  Continue reading

I’ve come to a plastic fork in the road [a new challenge]

plastic fork in the road

This little plastic fork was photographed in its natural habitat… a parking lot.

This has been on my mind for a while.  I try my best every day not to use anything disposable, especially if there are other options or if I can do without.  You might be asking, “What does that mean?  Plastic forks?  Napkins?  Plastic bags?  Toilet paper?”  Here’s what I mean.  Any time I have a choice, I go with something non-disposable.  If I’m eating at work, I’m the oddball that grabs a metal fork, while others clutch their plastic forks.  I’m not saying that to be judgmental, I’m saying it to make a point that it’s the acceptable norm.  We are so surrounded by disposable containers, disposable utensils and disposable gadgets, that finding alternatives is difficult, if not impossible.

Here’s the plan.  For one month, I will not buy anything in disposable containers.  Continue reading

no retail shopping challenge: 1 year later

It’s the one year anniversary since I finished the no retail shopping challenge.  Why did I do the challenge?  Straight from my original blog post:

I wanted to live differently, meaning finding creative ways to not buy stuff I really don’t need, to share stuff with others, to not be wasteful and to be more environmentally friendly.

So what did this accomplish?  Looking at it one year later, it accomplished a lot more than I could have ever imagined.  Since I blogged it every day for the entire year, I have a great record of how the year progressed and all of the lessons I learned through the challenge that many called crazy.  Let me share a few of the posts with you.

Top 3 blog posts, as chosen by readers:

Continue reading

hello? hello? can you hear me now? [minimalist challenge item #346]

[item] Baby blue rotary dial phone… broken.

[purchase info] Purchased on eBay

[time in my possession] Approximately 6.5 years

[last used] Several months ago as a decor piece

[difficulty level in getting rid of it] Medium

[destination] Freecycle

[replacement item] None

[info] I was going to save this and make something artistic out of it.  It broke when I tried to hang it on the wall.  These suckers are HEAVY!  I’m sad it broke.  I still have my collection of them displayed in my entry way.

20 days to iron out the rest of this challenge [minimalist challenge item #345]

[item] Vintage olive green iron

[purchase info] Purchased at a thrift store

[time in my possession] Approximately 4 years

[last used] almost 4 years ago

[difficulty level in getting rid of it] Medium

[destination] Freecycle

[replacement item] None

[info] I used this for art projects like melting crayons.  It’s cool, but I just don’t use it enough to keep it.  I hate getting rid of cool looking retro stuff.  Oh well, I still have my rotary dial phones.

**Only 20 more days in the challenge!!**

I’ll be famous and sell lots of art [minimalist challenge item #344]

[item] Archival plastic art sleeves

[purchase info] Purchased new online

[time in my possession] Approximately 7 years

[last used] Never

[difficulty level in getting rid of it] Easy

[destination] Freecycle

[replacement item] None

[info] It was a bit painful to get rid of these, just because I spent a lot for them.  I had great intentions of selling some of my artwork in a local art show.  Never happened.

you need gold leaf to seal gold leaf [minimalist challenge item #343]

[item] 2 new cans of spray gold leaf sealer

[purchase info] Purchased new at Hobby Lobby

[time in my possession] Approximately 8+ years?

[last used] Never

[difficulty level in getting rid of it] Easy

[destination] Freecycle

[replacement item] None

[info] I have no idea why I have this.

my grandma said, “never do this.” [minimalist challenge item #342]

[item] Necchi sewing machine

[purchase info] Purchased at a thrift store for $30

[time in my possession] Approximately 4 years

[last used] 3.5 years ago

[difficulty level in getting rid of it] Medium

[destination] Freecycle

[replacement item] None

[info] I tried sewing a long, long time ago.  My grandma told me in so many words, that sewing is just not my gift.  She was right.  Not only is it not my thing, I find it kind of frustrating.  I bought this machine to sew paper in an abstract way for crafts.  I simply don’t have time to do that.  If I ever get time, I’ll buy another machine at a thrift store or I’ll borrow one.  I have a lot of sewing friends.