Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Day Three: Reduce!

So we all pretty much get it, right? Reduce, Re-use, and Recycle, the three R’s of living in a happy, healthy planet. I think the recycle part may be catching on, slowly but surely… but the other two?

Day Three in my Spring Cleaning series is all about REDUCING… probably the one part of the Three R’s that people are least likely to embrace. Well, wait a minute… no one likes to re-use, either… ok, so we’ll get to that one on Day 4.

There are probably a lot of us who could stand to reduce in a few areas: the clothes we keep that are no longer worn, the unmatched Glad Ware lids in our kitchen cupboards, the extra dessert we sneak when no one’s looking. The hardest step to accomplish in this arena is to avoid the excess to begin with. Reduce the amount of money you spend on “things” in general, and you may find you have less to deal with when de-cluttering time rolls around.

I’ve learned, through the course of having to move six times in three years, that there are a ton of things people carry with them that weigh them down, emotionally and physically. It can be a positive experience to purge your life of things you’ve been hanging onto, rather like “giving up the binkie” can be for a toddler. Your life moves on, bringing you into a new era; sometimes things you held on to anchor you to a phase that is better off part of your past.

Another thing I’ve learned throughout my travels is that I am capable of surviving on the bare minimum. At one point in my life, I found myself living in a trailer home in the woods of Northern Minnesota. I had no dishes or flatware when I moved in, no bed to sleep on, and not a stick of furniture in the living room. I was slowly able to find the things I needed to make the trailer resemble a home; at that point I had decided that quality was of far greater value than quantity. I did not have a lot of money, but I quickly discovered that if the need were great enough, God would provide.

Re-evaluate you purchases. It will save you money, as well as time you will spend cleaning out closets & throwing away spoiled food from the fridge. This one’s a no-brainer: If you usually buy a magazine, go to the library and check it out. Find some friends who would be interested in hand-me-downs, maybe they’ll have some for you, too. Instead of buying 3 cheap suits, get 1 really nice one and an extra sport coat to mix things up, then accessorize for a different look. Buy in bulk if it will save on packaging and money, then freeze things if you won’t use it all at once. Instead of eating out, cook extra for dinner a couple nights a week and learn to enjoy leftovers. And I mean it! No one is too good for leftovers; no matter what you picky ones may think! Just be sure to mark them with a date so you know when something’s been sitting around too long! If you think you need a gallon pail of ice cream, settle for the ½ gallon box – your waistline & pocket book will thank you.
I’m out of time for today, so I will have to post an extra recipe tomorrow!

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