what to do with my peeps [day 332]

I used 6 boxes of Peeps to make a video.  Peeps are food, however I didn’t buy them.  After spending some quality time with my Peeps, I really didn’t want to get rid of the little guys.  I took a bite out of one and quickly remembered why I don’t eat them.  They’re cute, but not tasty.  I like the artistic uses for Peeps, but what do you do with them after you play with them?  I handled them for about an hour and they sat in chairs where other ‘peeps’ have been sitting.  I’m quite sure nobody wants to eat them now.  Poor Peeps.  I guess it’s time to get creative and use them in a photo shoot before I send them to a compost pile.

the sky is falling [day 283]

Giant, shrink-wrapped books.  They’re everywhere.  I think it rained phonebooks, although I don’t remember seeing that in my weather forecast.  Flint Lockwood must have made another machine, but this one storms phone books.  They’re on top of the mailboxes, on the sidewalks, in the grass, they’re pretty much everywhere.  They’re taking over the neighborhood.

Why do the Yellow Pages still exist?  Simple, because advertisers are still giving them money.  Let’s look at the logic here.  Are these businesses just clutching on to a past dream of advertising success, unwilling to let go?  I walk my street twice a day and nobody is bringing these books in the house.  Now the advertisers are probably paying for internet and print, so as long as they’re getting new customers, they’re probably not concerned with the details, they just want the results.  How many people still use phone books?  I’m sure there’s a small percentage and I’m all for print some for the people that want them.  But why are they mass producing them to throw them in people’s yards when 99% of them will go in the recycling bin, or worse yet, the trash?  I find it funny (the disturbing kind) that they have a dumpster specifically for phone books.   Continue reading

the clothing experiment update [day 237]

Here’s the experiment.  I decided to reduce my wardrobe by 50%.  I also threw out a mini-challenge.  Take 25 pieces of clothing from your closet, place them in a box or plastic tote.  Put it away for a month and see if you miss any of the stuff in it.  If not, take it to the thrift store.  If so, take out the item(s) you missed.  Here are some updates.

50% reduction

I still have a long way to go on achieving a 50% wardrobe reduction.  I’m close, but I still need to purge some more stuff.  I went through my drawers and got rid of about 40% of that.  I need to make my 2nd and 3rd passes there.  I also had 2 loads of dirty laundry that were not included.  I didn’t count the pieces, but just guessing, I need to get rid of about 75-100 more pieces.  I’ll do that later in the week.

my boys did the mini challenge

I had both of my kids pull 25 clothing items out of their closets.

My youngest, 10, has some emotional attachments to his clothing, and to stuff he’s never even worn. Wow, we all start this process early. He has a lot of hand-me-downs that he intends to wear. The process was not easy for him.

My oldest, 11, is way pickier than I thought. I learned a lot about him in the process. He hates yellow and thinks it makes him look like a clown. He won’t wear anything with a collar. He had a lot of clothes in the back of his closet that were too small, and some clean laundry. I thought he had a lot of clothes, but he doesn’t because his brother, being the same size, has hoarded them all.

50 pieces of clothing is going to the resale shop.  And my boys? They feel good about it. It’s easier to keep their rooms clean.

others taking the challenge

I have gotten some great responses to the mini-challenge.  Besides the several people doing it, here’s some great feedback.   Continue reading

11 rotary dial phones & 1296 gift cards [day 231]

A few years ago, in my “excessable” art show, I had a gift card rug made out of 1296 gifts cards from different stores.  The show was in July and I left the rug in the car a little too long in the heat, melting a good portion of it.

I recently used some of the gift cards in a video shoot.  I had to take them out and clean them up, as they’ve been sitting in my garage for years.  I’ve added a few to the collection, with thoughts of putting the rug back together.  Problem: no box tape and no retail shopping.  I need to get creative with the pile of cards.  I have a few ideas…

I did get creative with the pile of rotary dial phones that were used in the show.  I really had no intention of keeping them, but they’re just fun to have around.  I’ve used them for many photo shoots, video shoots and props.  Right now, they’re a permanent art fixture in my foyer.

Here’s some of the photos…

I know it’s crazy to keep all this stuff from my art show, but it’s not in a landfill and I do use it occasionally, or some of it, all the time.  I think I’ll hang on to the phones and gift cards for a while.  If I do get rid of them, I’ll make sure they go to a great home.

what retailers should you support? [day 222]

I found myself being irritated at the grocery store, stirring over the little yellow tags again.  (day 160… trained shopping monkeys)  Upon a very deliberate observation, I would guess 60% or more of the little yellow tags are ‘low price‘ tags and not ‘sale‘ tags.  How am I supposed to grocery shop for the best prices?  My kids have been yellow-tag-trained too, as they shop thinking anything with a yellow tag is one sale.  Isn’t marketing wonderful?

Even with the irritation, I have found a few retailers that are doing some really good things.  Competition is fierce and I think all retailers succumb to the manipulative marketing at some point or another.  Here’s a few retail stores I would support, you know, if I could shop.  😉  This is not a comprehensive list, just a few I’ve run into lately.

Lowe’s hardware store. Of any shopping I might miss, I do miss my home improvement / hardware stores.  I’m going to be a little generic here since I’m not sure how public this information is, as some companies do things under the radar to stay out of the corporate ball of red tape.  Lowe’s has not only donated the materials, but also the labor to add restrooms, showers and laundry facilities to a local homeless shelter.  Not only that, but finishing off the rooms, painting, and many other details too numerous to mention.  Need some screws?  Go to Lowe’s.

Again, probably under the radar, but not sure, Market Street grocery store donates a lot of leftover foods to shelters in the area.  There’s a lot of stores putting perfectly good food in dumpsters, but not MS.  Shopping at Market Street is a treat, as it’s a little on the pricey side for my shopping habits, however they carry foods you can’t find anywhere else.  Their cafe is also a great deal for lunch or dinner, as the prices are good, portions are big and the food is great.

Yes, Kroger.  Even though I’m not so happy about their little yellow tags, they still do good things for the community.  On day 55, I blogged about how Kroger gives away $1 million dollars a year to organizations that help people in need.  All you have to do is print their little bar code and have it scanned when you shop to support organizations in your area.

I don’t know the motivation of any of these stores, but I do know when I choose where to shop, I want to know I’m not just making some fat pockets for a few executives that don’t need more money.  I want to support businesses that strengthen the community, minimize waste, treat their employees well and participate in the good of people.  :)

trained shopping monkey… yellow [day 160]

Trained shopping monkeys. I went grocery shopping last night.  After reading the statistics about how Americans throw away almost half of the food they purchase, either by the food going bad before they cook it or plate leftovers, I was trying to be more conscious about my grocery shopping habits.  I don’t like grocery shopping, and add two griping boys to it, and I really don’t like it.  I was thinking I need to be more intentional about planning meals and making more frequent, smaller runs to the store.  Kroger is almost walking distance from my house, so it shouldn’t be a big deal.

When I got home, I cleaned out the pantry, fridge and freezer.  I did have to throw away some bad food.  It really bothered me.  I bought things I could freeze and fresh stuff in smaller quantities.  We’ll see how that plays out.

I also realized that Kroger has been training me on how to shop.  I like Kroger, but this made me a little sad.  I always look for the little yellow sale tags.  I like to get a deal and I don’t really want to pay full price.  I shop by price instead of brands.  Sometimes I look to see what my savings is over the full price and last night, I got a surprise.  The yellow tags are now in more places, but not with sale prices, but instead showing their everyday low price.  No sale here, just a highly visible price tag that looks like a sale price.  Yes, I’m a trained shopping monkey.  Yellow…

Helpful shopping tips I learned last night:

  • Budget. Know how much you’re willing to spend on groceries and shop within your budget.  If you bring cash instead of a debit card, you will have to stay within your budget.
  • Read the fine print. Look to see what your savings are.  I have seen items that say “on sale” and they have knocked off 1 penny.  Seriously?
  • You determine the deal. If you think it’s a good deal, then buy it.  If not, don’t.
  • Branch out. Be willing to try new brands or generic store brands.  Sometimes the product is just as good, and sometimes even made by the same company.
  • Duct tape.  Put duct tape on your kids so they can’t complain, fight and run around like wild banshees.  Okay, I’m kidding, but it does make you just throw stuff in the cart and hurry out when you have your restless kids with you.  For some of us, it’s not an option to leave them at home.  If you have that option, just do it.