use what you have

The other night I was sipping wine out of a little acrylic wine glass I purchased in a set last summer at Target, and realized a tiny crack had formed along the bottom, leaking wine on me and my table. I quickly poured it into another. Same thing. I’ve had them for less than a year and they have already become useless for their function!

The old me would have made a mental note to pick up some new glasses the next time I was shopping. But my new mentality isn’t to replace an item, but just fill a need. I don’t need new wine glasses; I just need something to drink wine from. And that can be anything. I have a cabinet full of drinking glasses and coffee mugs. I have a second cabinet full of mason jars.

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It turns out I prefer drinking my wine from a mason jar anyway. 🙂

This story isn’t really to illustrate that I’m a genius – it was a really obvious solution. It just seemed worth mentioning, because I’m finding that my days are often filled with chances to make more responsible choices. Of course, you don’t have to declare a specific goal to improve your choices. But for me, it took a change in my lifestyle to *really* slow my cycle of consumption.

Zero Waste Pyramid

It is so easy to feel like you need to buy something to fill any and every need, but there are so many other (better) tactics to apply first. I love this “Buyerarchy of Needs” graphic. I mentally refer to it all the time! (Side story: I decided to track down the illustrator of this (not hard; her website is right on the graphic). I discovered she published an amazing project book called “A Bunch of Pretty Stuff I Did Not Buy.”  I love obsessive projects, so the idea of illustrating rather than purchasing everything I want.. makes me wish I could draw. I love this idea. Just one more tactic to break the cycle of shopping.)

I obviously love multitasking items like mason jars, coconut oil, and Castile soap. But I’ve been finding lots of creative ways to repurpose what I have. I now mentally prepare for my day ahead and figure out how I might need to avoid waste. The other day I needed to go to the garden center to get plants for the garden (to replace some seed starts that failed). Hauling home plants requires some type of dirt/mess catchment in the vehicle, which previously meant I would accept some of their plastic flats and plastic bags to contain the mess. This time, I looked around the garage for something to haul my plants home in. I had already repurposed our cardboard box stash as weed block in the garden, so instead I grabbed our plastic sled. It worked perfectly! I could even drag the plants to the back yard on the sled, like a little cart. Rather than think “I need plastic trays to haul my plants home” I think “I need something to keep the dirt from getting all over my car.” In this case I reused something I already had.

As for my cracked wine glasses that can’t be donated or recycled – they are going in Hannah’s stash of scooping/dumping receptacles for playing in the dirt and water outside.

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