Wow I have a lot to cover here! But I’ll make it easy and say I didn’t do the best job on possessions and media.
Let’s start with possessions. I did actually make a big box of things to donate. Did I count 7 things a day? No. I’ve sorta already been in the habit of adding to this box daily though, so I didn’t feel this week was very much of a stretch for me. Still, encouraging myself to GIVE things away, rather than sell them on swap sites was a little stretch. I didn’t find it terribly hard to just give it away though, seeing as a baby is coming in the next few weeks and I just want things gone! Ha. Still, I’m excited to share that our book club has decided to combine all of our items and have a yard sale, where we will raise money for a sweet woman in need. Though I sold a ton of stuff a few months ago when we had a yard sale, knowing someone else would benefit from these items I could no longer use was great motivation to clear out a little extra!
This week’s challenge was media. In the book 7, Jen gave up 7 forms of media for a month! Her listed included TV, video games, texting (to an extent), Facebook/ Twitter, iPhone apps, radio, and Internet (also to an extent). We don’t watch a ton of TV (no cable, and we just moved our TV to the living room… really not a huge thing for us), nor do we even own video games. I have a love/ hate relationship with texting already. It saves time when needed, but it’s super annoying (in my opinion) to use it just to “chat.” So I’m not too worried about that one. Basically I just re-examined her list. I had gone on a social media fast completely for three days last week, so I wasn’t super motivated to do it all over again. I did decide no Facebook while Lilleigh is awake. No perusing Pinterest or Instagramming at all. This goes for Twitter too, but that falls in the category of texting for me — why?? Also no blog reading.
So how’d it go? Well, let’s start with blog reading. I totally failed at this one, daily. I think I just don’t realize how often I read blogs. Usually it’s for a recipe, and I did make an exception for recipes, DIY projects, or homeschool ideas. But still, one thing leads to another, and I’m off reading post after post on different blogs. So a total fail there. I stopped trying. As for Facebook, I have been good about not looking at it while Lilleigh is awake for the most part, but originally I had also said no Facebook on the iPhone, which again was a fail. I made the exception of allowing myself to post things on swap sites. (It’s easier to do from the iPhone.) And well then I see my little notifications light up, and fail. Still, I’ve been excellent at not using Pinterest or Instagram! Those have been challenging actually. Instagram more so because I can do that from my phone.
Now for what I learned. Since I recently had a successful Facebook fast, I do feel I had a good time of rest. I realized I depend way too much on Facebook as a way to “zone out”. I hate that. Does it really matter that one friend just made an amazing apple pie and another is taking a stand against GMO’s? And do I really need to comment on such things? Will the world be okay without knowing I have a craving for s’mores? And more than that, what else can I do with my time other than Facebook? Surely there’s something more productive I can do, even if I just need to zone out. I could actually talk to my husband or read a book or even fold laundry. I found that my weekend was much more productive, and I loved not having a distraction from loved ones. It was actually refreshing to sit at book club this week and hear other moms discuss this same struggle and sense of relief from the fast. We aren’t alone in this battle, and we can’t let social media take the place of sweet interactions in our families.
Alright, so let’s talk next week — waste and spending. A double whammy. We are short on our weeks, so we are combining these two. This post is getting long, and to spare y’all, I’ll just say this — I’m not feeling the whole spending thing. Or at least not the way Jen did it. She chose only 7 places for the month where she could spend money. Honestly I don’t feel our spending is out of control. The main reason for that truly is our envelope system and the fact that getting a toddler in and out of the car to go spend money places is so not appealing. Since I’m also in “baby is coming any day now” stock-up/ nesting mode, I am not putting myself through the spending fast. I still think it would be a good one to try at some point though!
So moving onto waste… When I think about cutting back on waste, I get giddy. I think this has been my latest phase of my simplification journey. I’ve said this before, but 7 really isn’t a new concept for me. It’s something I’ve really resonated with though. I feel like I’ve been on this journey of simplifying life, living on less, and striving to be a better steward of our resources for awhile now. Instead of taking months to process one way to do this, Jen jumped right in, and I love that. Here are some ways I feel like we already cut waste…
- Using very few paper products. I try to use real plates and utensils when people come over, and we always use cloth napkins. I am actually struggling with the idea of using paper goods for a few weeks when the baby comes. I am still thinking on that.
- I have also invested in a couple of reusable snack bags for Lil’s car snacks, as well as made a sandwich size one myself. I would love to buy more of these. Etsy is a great source for these.
- We tried to compost. It was a major fail. Not ready to take that one on again yet.
- We do have a garden and chickens, providing use with some of our own produce (far from even close to all of our produce, but it’s a start) and all of our own eggs.
- I love to reuse items and repurpose them.
- I have been using mason jars to store items I buy in bulk, such as beans, rice, raisins, nuts, etc.
- Often I clear out the fridge and freeze as much as possible, which saves me some time and money for food later and also prevents excess waste.
- Cloth diapers and wipes. Sometimes even when we travel.
- DIY laundry detergent and wool dryer balls.
Y’all I really can’t handle waste. I hate it. Still I know there are ways I could be better. To approach this topic, here are a few things I’d like to do this week…
- Avoid using plastic zipper bags. Except when freezer cooking. I hate that exception. I just have yet to figure out a better way to store freezer cooking! But to avoid excess spending on freezer storage bags, I know I am keeping my FoodSaver on the counter to use it more! But as far as when we go out and about, no ziplocs!
- Recycle more. A few times after reading this chapter, I found myself throwing away mini humus containers, out of pure laziness of not wanting to rinse them. So none of that.
- Conserving water and energy. This pregnant woman isn’t about to turn the thermostat above 73, but I think I could be better about making sure everything is off when we aren’t using it. And I could certainly conserve water by combining some laundry loads and using our cups more than once before placing them in the dishwasher.
I’m a little stuck on what else to conquer here with waste, but I am open to ideas. How do you conserve our environment?