Today, you get to enjoy this guest post from fellow waste hater and blogger, E.M. Enjoy her words:
I think we can all agree that food waste is a huge problem for many of us, but what about other items? From clothes to cosmetics, and office supplies to technology, I’m sure a lot of you have things sitting at home that barely get any use. I want to talk about the non-food waste that happens all too often, the reasons behind it, and what you can do to get as much use out of these items as possible.
I’m sure a lot of us have more clothes than we could imagine wearing. Personally, I have a hard time parting with clothes I don’t like, but received as gifts. I feel so guilty about it that I keep them. However, they’re wasting valuable closet space, and someone else out there could really benefit from my unwanted clothes. I’ve resolved to clean out my closet more often in order to make donations and make more room for my boyfriend’s clothes (we only have one closet!).
Additionally, it’s not uncommon to look in a closet and be overwhelmed with choices. Forgotten clothes can also be hiding in the depths of our drawers! By getting rid of the clothes and accessories you don’t wear, you can swiftly sift through your selection and know that you’ll have no issue wearing whatever is in front of you. It could make your morning routine a bit easier.
Do any of you have multiple e-readers, tablets, cameras or laptops? How often do you use them? In some cases, people receive new technology as a gift, and have no interest in learning how to use it. Most of these items can probably be sold for a nice profit, too. Since purchasing a tablet a year ago, I never use my laptop (which was mostly broken anyway), and only use my computer for blogging-related activities.
My boyfriend had a laptop that was nearing its death as well, and instead of replacing it, we take turns using my tablet or computer. I had lent my Kindle to my dad a while ago, but since he got a Kindle Fire for his birthday, he gave it back to me. Now it sits unused in our bedroom since I use my tablet for reading. Either find a use for your things, give them away, or sell them!
I have to admit, I had a horrible obsession with buying new makeup every time I heard a great review on a product. I acquired way too much of it, and realized the error of my ways last year. Now I only make a purchase when something runs out. I avoid the temptation of buying new things by staying away from the beauty aisles in stores, and not listening to reviews. If what you have works for you, stick with it!
Likewise, I purchased way too many hair and facial products when I was on a quest to find that one item that would work wonders. While I haven’t quite gotten there, I made my choice and bought the products, so I may as well use them up. Even though they’re not the best, I would hate to have a bottle to go waste. Do you need motivation to use up the last of that moisturizer? Tell yourself you’ll buy that new product you’ve been eyeing after you finish the bottles you have.
This can happen even with the simplest of products: toothpaste. How many of you really try and squeeze every last ounce out of the tube? Lately I’ve been doing this, and I’m shocked at how much is still left in the container after days of wrestling with it. If you’re paying for it, you might as well use all of it.
When my parents moved last year, my mom emptied her desk out and had so many unused office supplies. Pens, paper, notebooks, envelopes, cards, every drawer was full. The same went for a bag of school supplies that was hiding in a spare closet. Over the years, between my mom and grandma, I had amassed at least ten packets of loose leaf paper and five notebooks.
Thankfully, we were able to donate it, but there’s no reason to acquire that much unless you actually work from home and have a need for these products. I tried my best to use them in college, but since I brought my laptop along with me, I ended up going paperless most of the time.
Have you ever been interested in trying a new kitchen appliance only to dislike the end result and never use it again? Sadly, this happened twice with my mom. My dad bought her two things she kept saying she wanted, she used them once, and they never saw the light of day again.
These gifts were purchased for my mom years ago, and she only just got rid of them during the move. When you’re faced with picking and choosing what to take with you, your priorities get straightened out pretty quickly. It’s best to pare down routinely, though, lest clutter start to accumulate; cabinet space is precious to me!
Use It or Lose It
I think the mentality behind this is caused by tricking yourself into thinking you need the newest and the best (and also listening to tempting advertisements). The thought of getting a new and improved cell phone is too much for some people to pass up, even though their old phone works perfectly fine. The purse that catches your eye every time you walk by the window display at the mall is calling your name, even though you just bought one recently.
The lesson to learn here is that the feeling of having a new toy doesn’t last, and if you start the cycle of giving into wants, you might end up with way more than necessary.
No one really needs 5 different shampoos and conditioners, 2 pairs of shoes that never get worn, or gadgets that lay around without a charge. Your goal should be to use up all the things you have and get rid of the ones you can’t tolerate. Make peace with the bad purchases you’ve made, and resolve to contemplate a bit more the next time you do need something.
Simply considering all your alternatives and making an educated purchase is often the best way to acquire something new (if you must). I always read reviews before buying an item I’m not familiar with, or if there are too many choices out there. Ask yourself if you really need an item – would it make your life easier, or make you happier? If not, revisit your decision after some time has passed. You might find you’ve forgotten all about it!
What things do you own that are going to waste? How have you combated waste issues?
Author Bio: E.M. is the founder of Journey to Saving, a blog on saving money and appreciating the beauty of life.