Some time ago, I blogged about things I’d decluttered from my home and my life. It’s been some time since that original post, so I thought I’d discuss seven single-use things I no longer buy. No, my blog isn’t turning into a low-waste one, but things are changing in my habits and lifestyle that I know will directly impact my writing schedule (or lack thereof) because they’re all things that were once distractions. And cost unnecessary money. I’m not certain yet how much I was spending on these items, as I always tried to get the cheapest versions of the following items to begin with, but in my current world every penny counts.
Let me preface the following with this: I hope this post inspires you, in some small way, to change up your daily routine. I’m not going to “preach” to you or say, “You MUST do this too because xyz.” I’m not that type. But maybe one of these will be something you’ve never thought of and decide to try for yourself.
Now. Onward to Seven Single-Use Things I No Longer Buy.
Two Christmases ago, Mom gave my sister and I wool balls to use in the dryer. They’re good for at least fifty washes a piece and, with it just being me in my house, I’ve only used three of the six pack. I don’t know the brand name, as so much time has passed, but getting those dryer balls was one of the first changes I made to work towards a low-waste life.
There are other ways of cleaning your floors without using these sheets. Sure, they’re fantastic. Sure, they do the job. But I used to cringe every time one filled up and I couldn’t use it anymore. That’s when I started using Endust and a microfiber cloth to do my dusting. “But Leigh,” you say, “Endust is still a chemical.” As it’s just me, and I’ve heard of/gotten no medical repercussions as a result of using Endust, it works well enough for the task. I may have to bend over or reach up a bit further to do it, but it gets clean. And all I need to do after is throw my cloth in the wash and reuse it.
What do I use in stay of paper towels? You guessed it – microfiber clothes. I will admit that, for certain spills or cleaning up grease, I do wish that I still had a small roll of paper towels on hand. But then I know I’ll get back into the habit of buying a whole package, ruining what hard work I’ve already done to eliminate my use of them.
I bought my microfiber clothes from the dollar store. I know there are better ones out there – everyone seems to have a link these days. But at the time I had zero extra dollars and didn’t want to spend $15-$20 on a single or two pack of clothes. The ones from the dollar store have served me well the past few years, and I’ll continue to use them until they’re completely worn out.
Also, microfiber clothes work gorgeously on stove tops and kitchen cabinets. You may need to use a bit more elbow grease than, say, the level of convenience that the Mr. Clean Magic Erasers give, but you still need very little solution or water to do the same thing.
Individually Wrapped Packets of Dish Detergent
This one, along with the following, made me cringe for years. I know there are all these recipes out there to make your own soaps, but I haven’t reached that level of craftiness yet.
So I decided, what I can do is look for detergent that comes in a recyclable cardboard box, and which brand’s pods are wrapper free. The ones I like come from the brand Finish. It’s harder to find these, but at least it’s one small change I know I can feasibly make.
Individually Wrapped Lens Wipes
I work in retail, in a place where dust and junk are ALWAYS getting on my glasses. Sometimes I’ll get home, take them off, and say, “Woah…how was I seeing through these?” I used to love using those pre-moistened lens wipes (the best ones come from Sam’s Club), and I always had a handful of them in my purse at work.
Now I carry a small spray bottle of solution and a washable cleaning cloth. And, honestly? It’s less streaky and wasteful than always tearing open a packet where you throw both the packet and the wipe away. With the spray bottle, the mister is specifically designed for the cleaner and recyclable. So, in my mind, the switch out is a win-win in my book.
This change was the hardest of them all to make. I adore a good sugar scrub in the shower. Especially since I’m around so much dirt at work. However, and I know you can recycle the containers they come in, I began falling out of love with the packaging on many of them. Why does one need to come with a separate little spoon? Or why does there need to be an extra plastic layer under the lid? If anyone knows of a simply packaged sugar scrub they love, please let me know in the comments below!
“Extras” or “Backups” Of Things
Oooh, it’s a sale! I used to think that way not five years ago when I worked a different kind of retail. Then I realized that, not only do I not have the storage space for said extra things, I really didn’t have the money for them either. I remember one time, freaking out because I’d improperly budgeted and had $22 left in my bank account. I ate ramen the rest of the week.
I still work retail, I still have to eat ramen noodles from time to time. But I’ve been able to more easily pay my bills and limit all those backups of things I didn’t really need backups for in the first place.
I used to always have five extra Bath & Body Works lotions on hand. Or six extra candles. Or two reams of paper ready to go. Or…I think you get the picture. So once I use something up, and I know that I don’t have a backup for it, I have to think, “Do I really need to repurchase this?” And, most of the time, I do not. I only use what I need.
Changes I’m Attempting to Make
Low Waste Grocery Shopping
There aren’t very many places where I live that offer bulk groceries or plastic free groceries. As a result, this change is proving to be a bit harder to make. I’ve used the same three reusable bags for years – it’s just remembering to take them with me. Trader Joe’s now offers composting produce bags, but a lot of their produce is still packaged. There’s farmer’s markets all throughout the spring/fall/summer, but what about the winter?
As you can see, it isn’t easy. I can’t watch those “My Zero Waste Shopping Trip” videos on YouTube because I get jealous at their easy access to such places. They’re still great encourage-rs to continue looking into the habit.
Switching Out My Candles
I love burning candles. They’re relaxing and always, always get me in the mood to read or write. Over the years I’ve found that, as much as I love a heavenly scented candle (be it Yankee, Woodwick, Bath & Body Works, or a homemade indie brand), I can’t handle as much scent as I used to. Everything is too artificial. I also used to always have several tea lights going – the best were once from IKEA, but I think they’ve changed their wax formula and now burn all weird – but I’ve since stopped buying them as a whole because of the outer metal covering. So I’m still looking for the perfect candles that I love to use up and don’t leave behind a lot a loose wax.
That’s it! There’s my seven single-use items that I no longer buy. I’ve found that these changes gave me a peace of mind about my purchasing habits in today’s world, and save me at least a little money each month! Let me know in the comments below what changes you’ve made in your life to better yourself!