Waste? Not!: Week 1 - The no-waste move in 5 steps

Ok - I'm sorta cheating. Because I don't think it's that challenging to make a move "zero waste". But I'm moving in three days so I get to start with an easy one! 

When I talk about waste around moving, I'm not just talking about the packing materials. I'm talking money. A move is expensive. Especially if you're paying people to put your stuff in a van and take it out on the other side (which I am). So if you can avoid wasting money on packing materials, you should! 

1. Pack it yourself: Yes, moving companies will pack things for you. But they charge by the hour so...

2. Free Boxes: If your friends/colleagues can't help you, our online sharing culture makes this easy. Freecycle and Craigslist are good sources. I scored oodles of boxes through a local Facebook trading post. They've been used at least 3 times before and this won't be their last rodeo.

3. Pay if forward/Reuse: I already know who I'm giving them to when I'm done!

4. Recyclable/reusable padding: I've been raiding the recycling in the basement of my office building for non-plastic packaging materials (pictured above). While I will use some plastic, it's almost entirely the recyclable pillows rather than bubble wrap. Having said that, did you know you can turn bubble wrap into beads

5. Upcycle the cardboard: Finally, to give myself something to look forward to in the world-beyond-the-move, I have a great cardboard upcycling project planned. Watch this space :)

What am I forgetting? If you have advice to share on this topic, please leave a comment!


Winner! Trashy Crafter bracelet

Amanda B. wins!

Time to send this Trashy Crafter bracelet to a new home! As always, I used a randomizer to pick the winner and it chose entry #158 - that's Amanda B. Amanda, congrats! Expect an email from me later today to get your shipping details.  :)  

Thanks to everyone who entered for your interest and for sharing all the ways you've built recycling and repurposing into your lives. Here's to wasting less :) 


Fab: "Tree Change" dolls

I rarely post over the weekend, but a friend sent me a link to this today and I had to share it! Artist Sonia Singh is getting attention for her Bratz "makeunders". She's not just refabbing thrifted dolls. She's bringing them back to nature, so to speak. She calls them Tree Change Dolls, a perfect summary of the process! More in her own words:

"These dolls have been rescued and rehabilitated from op-shops and tip shops around Tasmania. These lil fashion dolls have opted for a "tree change", swapping high-maintenance glitz 'n' glamour for down-to-earth style. I hand repaint the dolls faces, mold new shoes, and my Mum sews and knits their clothing.

My sisters and I grew up playing with second-hand dolls and home-made toys in the beautiful Tasmanian natural environment. I love the satisfaction of repairing and reusing discarded items to give them a new lease on life."

The whole concept is delightful. And sends a message that goes far beyond the dolls!

Sonia's planning an Etsy store. For now, visit her Tumblr for more makeunders and follow her on Facebook


Waste? Not! - Day 5 Trimming my waste ...

Enter the Trashy Crafter giveaway! Closes midnight 1/24

I'm moving next weekend. Not country, or city... just apartment. And I'm looking forward to it! I've moved a lot in my 40+ years and have found that it's always a good opportunity not only to purge and organize, but also change habits. This recent NY Times article by Prof Wendy Wood backs me up! 

"To create or change a habit, you have to think much more about altering your environment and patterns of living than work on steeling your mind, because behavior is very much a product of environment. That’s why it’s sometimes easiest to start or break a habit during a major transition. This may sound counterintuitive, but a new house, job or relationship breaks old patterns...” 

And what habits do I want to change? Well, I want to get a little closer to walking the walk of this blog. I love turning trash into fun or useful stuff. But I still produce too much of it. My recycling fills up too fast. I still buy too much prepackaged food. I have not yet tried to compost.  

As part of the Trashy Crafter giveaway, I've asked people to share their go-to ways of keeping stuff out of landfills. What I'm hearing is inspiring; so ... I'm going to try to take the next step. "Waste? Not!" will now be the title of a weekly post (possibly more often, but baby steps!). I'll share with you the steps I'm taking, the lessons I learn and the obstacles I face along the way. 

I'm going to draw on the wisdom of Bea Johnson (Zero Waste Home) and Lauren Singer (Trash is for Tossers)Bea Johnson's blog and book chronicle her family's transition to living a zero-waste life. For a quick overview of her 10 Tips for a Zero-Waste Household, read this! Lauren Singer, inspired by Bea, took on the challenge herself and the resulting blog is beautiful! Lauren has condensed her advice into two steps (read them here). She's also condensed her waste. Two years worth fit into a jar: 

Bea has a husband and children, is self-employed and lives in CA. Lauren is single in NYC and is launching her own company. I'm employed full-time, live in an apartment in Chicago and am responsible for one little girl who will start Kindergarten in the fall. Ro (my 4.5-yr old) recently made the following comment during an episode of Pocoyo: "instead of throwing all that stuff away, they could make something. Or they could take it apart to see how it works like I did with my clock!"

Truth be told, that little outburst from her is what is really driving me to try this. She's old enough to participate fully. She gets a huge kick out of making things herself. And she's just as delighted as I am by the transformation of junk into usable "items".

So here we go ... :)

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