Monday's Food for Thought

Monday’s Food for Thought: All my family’s waste for one year fits into just one small jar

new food for thought

Lately, one of the things I’ve become much more conscious of is how we go about teaching our son to care for the environment. So, when I ran across this article on one of my commutes, I found myself challenged to review and rethink our own family’s sustainable practices. Could we reduce further waste and continue to make our lives easier at the same time? While I may not go as far as Bea Johnson, I do appreciate the simplistic graduate life we do live.

Bea’s book, Zero Waste Home: The Ultimate Guide to Simplifying Your Life can be found here.I’d love to hear your thoughts on it!

What steps have you taken in your Graduate Journey to simplify your life?

Happy Monday,

~Mandy

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Beauty and the Budget

All Things News: Part II (storage)

I was inspired by Deanna’s post a month back on  ‘All Things New’ and I decided to share a similar ‘trash to treasure story’ today as the second post for our series.

Just as Deanna shared…the amount of waste in our world is sobering.  It makes me sick to my stomach at times when thinking of all that we throw out and that gets chucked into landfills.  A while back I was working at a big fancy pants event (event consulting is my part-time work) and was overwhelmed at the amount of money and excess that went into this particular event.  Don’t get me wrong; it was lovely and amazing, but indeed overwhelming.  There were gifts for the attendees of the event and an entire hotel room (at a five star hotel mind you) was booked for almost a week straight, just to hold these gifts. No one even used the room…it was used solely to store the gifts.  The price of that room for a single night was more than some people make working part time for a month.  Gulp…

It is easy to point fingers and get angry at the way our world seems to waste so much…but I have learned that doing this doesn’t really get you very far.  I’ve concluded that we can make a difference by the little things we do and the ways we live our lives.  Cheesy but true, change starts with you.  Recycling, reusing and refurbishing, are all incredibly worth it and quite compatible with graduate wife lifestyles as well.  The below project was super easy and took me a whopping 2 hours to complete.  Sometimes it seems easier to just order the newest thing, but I challenge you to look around, see what you can re-use and what treasures you can come up with.  I know on a grad wife budget these opportunities sometimes present themselves, and I hope that even after this season and this budget, I will continue to live with the mindset of re-using and re-creating.

So I found this little guy in a sad, dilapidated state. Wobbly, missing a tub container and quite filthy. “ We need more storage in our tiny living room,” I thought…but this is almost hopeless, not to mention I really have an aversion for Disney princess characters.  Especially when the little tubs have ridiculous phrases written on them like (No LIE!) “One day I’ll ride on a big white horse and wear a crown and of course a gown.” And, “Watch me dance, watch me twirl, there’s a princess in every girl.”  Yes, I want my daughter to feel like a princess…but not quite in the Disney character sort of way. I took another look and thought, “what the heck” and drug it home.

I left it outside and later gave it a good scrub.  I tightened wobbly bits and I brought it inside.

Next I laid out some contact paper (I love this stuff) and then laid the shelf on top of it and traced the siding.  I then cut the paper out and simply stuck it onto the side of the shelf.  I also cut little pieces of the contact paper out to cover the princess phrases that were on the tubs.  You could also choose to spray paint the structure if you have the space to do so, or even decoupage it!

Viola!  I was done in no time and now when you look behind our door you don’t see this eye sore (cardboard box) which used to hold all the toys…

you see this! -M.C.