Thanks for visiting my blog. Hope you find some helpful hints for organizing your time and space. My passions are to help you make home a refuge instead of a crisis center, and to help you function in peace rather than chaos - at home or at work. I have switched my main blog to 1-2-3 ... Get Organized on WordPress, so please visit me there.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Declutter by Becoming Package-Free

When we lived in Kenya, we were struck by the lack of packaging in comparison with the United States. Everyone carried her own bag when shopping. People recycled and re-used everything imaginable! It was refreshing! We felt so wasteful when we returned to the US and threw away so much packaging. 

I ran across some ideas from Emily Ho on living package-free. Some I find are a bit of a stretch. Let me know what you think.

"• Buy less. Curbing the impulse to shop and learning to live with less will help put you on the path to a packaging-free life. 

Buy used. When you do shop, rather than buying new, check thrift stores and salvage shops
Bring bags. Don't forget your reusable shopping bags. Need help remembering? Check out these tips

Get crafty. Take up urban homesteading practices like growing your own food, home canning, and baking bread. Develop a network of friends and neighbors to share your individual efforts.

Buy from bulk. For other foods, shop at farmers' markets, produce stands, butchers, and bulk bins. Bring reusable containers like produce bags and empty jars.

Pack lunch. Take your lunch to work in a reusable container with eco-friendly sandwich bags

Carry provisions. Pack a reusable water bottle and snacks in reusable bags so you don't find yourself running to the vending machine or corner store. 

Do it yourself – house cleaning. Making your own cleaning products might not eliminate packaging completely (you still need to procure the ingredients), but it can help you cut down considerably. If possible, buy ingredients like baking soda in or from bulk, and if you're really ambitious, you can make your own white vinegar

Take a break. Re-think your grooming habits. We're not suggesting you let yourself go, but take a break from hair product, foundation, or anti-aging cream for a week or two and see whether you really "need" it. Chances are, you'll look and feel perfectly fine with less.

Do it yourself – personal health. For the personal care products you do need, explore DIY options. For example, you can use baking soda for toothpaste, deodorant, and shampoo. Buying the raw ingredients might involve some packaging, but it's a step in the right direction. 

Go the extra mile. It's not for everyone, but you can also eliminate packaging by going toilet-paper free, switching to reusable feminine products, and using cloth tissues

Shop smart. Inevitably, you will buy some packaged goods, but consider packaging that's reusable and recyclable. Avoid excessive packaging like individually-wrapped produce and look for products in bulk, concentrate form, or refillable containers. If you regularly shop online, you might also consider buying more things locally to reduce packing material waste." 

Challenging, isn't it? Do you have some package-free suggestions?

More on going package-free:

Swap Parties - Decluttering, Saving Money

10 Eco-Friendly and Wallet-Friendly uses for Olive Oil

Wait - Don't Throw That Away!

Getting Rid of Stuff While Saving the Environment