27 February 2010
This one's going to be short.
One way we all know how to save money and energy is with those CFL light bulbs--the spiraly ones that last forever. I use them in all of my overhead lights and some lamp lights. And I promise, when we run out of the other bulbs we own, and when all the lights burn out, I will just buy those.
But one thing about the CFLs, that I always forget, is their mercury content.
We're supposed to recycle them when they burn out--not just pitch them.
Remember: Recycle your CFLs!
But the looming question remains: Where do I recycle? I found the answer, easily, in a writing conference with one of my students the other day (her MultiGenre Research Paper is about the environment).
Go to these Websites, and you can discover where you can recycle in your area.
Earth911 has resources for where to recycle or dispose of everything that we're not supposed to throw in the trash. Some of the stuff is surprising.
20 February 2010
I'm still here! I still haven't bought the cute cardigans or lip gloss! I did do some thrifting today, and I found a Bob Dylan album for my husband that cost me a mere $3. And I discovered a lot of vintage buttons for $9 that I plan to use for gifts come the holidays and birthdays.
It's been super busy lately at school and in the evenings, so the house is a mess. And today is laundry day. The most charming thing to do for the Earth in this category is probably to air dry my clothes--and I do air dry some, and I usually use the low heat setting. But it's February, so a clothesline is out of the question. I've also been using concentrated detergent, but I wonder if powder detergent would be an even better choice when that runs out. But there's one thing that's for sure: I don't need to keep buying dryer sheets. I do hear that you can use used dryer sheets for sewing projects, but I don't have sewing projects that would need it.
Now. There are many options out there on how to reduce the waste and cost of dryer sheets. And I found a cool website awhile back for DIY options. I chose the one I had materials for at home, and I LOVE it. When we registered for our wedding, I discovered that there were some things we just didn't need, but we registered for--we didn't need 24 drinking glasses, we didn't need 12 dinner plates, we didn't need sateen dinner napkins. I don't mind having these items, and I find good alternative uses for them like using drinking glasses as vases and dinner plates as platters, but we didn't need them. Another item we didn't need in surplus is wash clothes. We registered for 10 if I remember correctly. And I rarely use them in the shower (I'm stuck on using my bar soap in my hands or one of those un-recyclable loofahs), but with this project I may need to bring back the washcloth.
But until then, I'm using them as dryer sheets. I simply soaked four washcloths in fabric softener--literally soaked them for a good 3 minutes each. Then I wrung them out (I did all of this in an empty Tide container). Next, I hung them to dry overnight and into the next day on our drying rack. I was skeptical at first, but they are amazing! My source said they'd last 12 washes, but I think they last longer. You just throw the rag into the dryer like you would a dryer sheet--no static, no rough clothes, no waste! And I marked mine with sharpies so that I have designated dryer sheets. Before reusing them, run them through a regular load of wash. So simple, so charmed Earth.
13 February 2010
Ugh! I have been so out of touch. I hope someone is still reading this.
Well. For starters, I'm still true to the challenge: I haven't bought anything new. I've been tempted (T.C. Boyle published a new book, Cowgirl boots were on sale at Nordstrom, the girl at the MAC make-up store was very convincing, and Ann Taylor's spring neutral is my favorite shade of gray/taupe that I could only find in Italy this summer. Oh, and I am falling in love with new fashion trends and a desire to organize). But with all of that, I've held strong. No new purchases.
Now. I did buy a new vintage Flinstones drinking glass with Betty Rubble painted on the front (to store my Sharpies on my craft table) at an antique store. But that's something old, so it's allowed. And I did come across a few vintage blazers that belonged to my mother-in-law that she let me keep, so I'm not totally deprived. And to be honest, I actually feel a sense of calm and appreciation. I don't spend as many weekend hours at the mall and Target, I don't get all anxious about swiping my credit card, and I don't have too many plies of junk cluttering my closet and storage room. I've found that I have more time to read, more time to send friends cards, and more time to meditate. I'm still busier that I've ever been (I feel) with work, but I do have more time to relax. Not buying is calming.
So today's post is something magnetic. A few weeks ago, my magnetic-grocery store-list-paper-pad ran out. I love lists. And I love that pad of paper stuck right on the fridge so that I can list away as I realize I am out of baking soda or sugar or eggs. It keeps us on budget at the grocery store, too. I know that buying a new magnetic pad is clearly out of the question, so I simply stared at the empty cardboard stuck to the fridge, trying to figure out the best way to attach more paper that I could easily rip off week by week. Ah. It was so simple.
I started by cutting a few pages of my stash of leftover sheet music in half. Next I aligned the top with the top of the cardboard backing (magnet still attached). And I simply stapled the sheet music to the existing back. Simplicity. It stays on the fridge easily. I even got the urge to pull out some old stamps and ink to decorate the list.
It didn't cost me a penny. I used all materials kept at home. And I think it's even cuter that the paper that was there before.