I’m starting to work on digging out my eco-friendly self. She’s been hidden under layers of guilt, stuff, and other things. But, I did a kitchen review last weekend and she came out to point to a few things I needed to get rid of in order to live a more eco-friendly lifestyle.
The kitchen review happened a bit unexpectedly. I got home from work after a long and stressful week/day, and just started. I hadn’t even unpacked my backpack, I just dumped out my junk box (a small box for random things that I keep in one of my kitchen drawers) and started to sort things. I knew of a couple things that I wanted to get rid of, but I ended up spending about 2 hours doing a fairly ruthless job in my tiny kitchen. I got rid of things I didn’t want, things that I’d been meaning to replace, food I didn’t like (to be donated, where possible), spices that were old, etc.
Of note, I got rid of the following:
- Baggies: I’ve wanted to get out of the habit of using baggies for ages, but I keep finding an excuse to buy “just one more box.” I have more than enough containers (mostly glass, but a few old plastic ones, too), but I kept telling myself that baggies were so convenient. Worse, I’d tell myself that I’ll wash and re-use them even though I hate washing them and would rarely follow through. Like .. just … gahh! I can be so lazy sometimes. No more, my friends! They’re gone (left in the laundry room for someone else to use them – hopefully, they’ll re-use them).
- Silicone spatulas: I’m mostly getting rid of these because they are old and falling apart. Silicone, while not as eco-friendly as natural products, isn’t as awful for the environment as plastic is: it’s non-toxic, it is more resistant to degradation in extreme conditions, and it has a longer lifespan. This post by EcoLunchbox is a good overview of how silicone is better than plastic. This doesn’t mean we should all run out and buy silicone items, but if you must have a rubber spatula, make sure it’s good quality silicone. Personally, I’m going to try living without a rubber spatula. Spoons, knives and such may not be quite as effective as a silicon spatula, but I’m willing to put in the effort needed to get as much out of the jar as I can.
- Large plates: I had 2 large plates and only used them once or twice a year (when I was desperate and had nothing else clean). Instead, I use my salad plates or bowls for every meal. It’s a little thing, but it felt liberating to finally admit that I had no reason to keep these space hoarders. And, I now have more room for my bowls and mugs, which I use daily.
- A large water bottle: Most people I know keep tonnes of water bottles. I was one of those people. Before I moved to my smaller apartment, I had at least 6 in varying sizes and then another 4 or so travel mugs for hot beverages. Me! One person! It took me a long time to admit that I didn’t need them all. I use a large one at work daily, and I used a large one at home for reasons that I can’t quite figure out. I live in less than 350 square feet and my sink is easy to get to – I do not need a water bottle at home! Especially not a water bottle with a narrow mouth that made it hard to clean (rarely bothered, so it was always a little gross). Instead, I’m going to use my easier to wash mug that I love and, if I feel the need to be lazy, a pitcher of water. As for water bottles, I now have one large water bottle for work, one medium water bottle for travel/walks/etc (so I don’t have to remember to bring my work one to/from), one old insulated travel container that works like a charm even on long walks in Canadian winters, and one brand name travel mug that happens to be really pretty (admittedly, I don’t need this one, but it’s so pretty!). It’s still more than I need, but it’s manageable and I use them all.
Sometimes, it’s the little decisions that make a big difference. I’m really pleased with myself for letting go of these things.
All told, I got rid of a banker’s box full of stuff that I don’t use: mugs, a muffin pan, a few random utensils, etc. But, the best part was that I finally have room for all my kitchen stuff in my kitchen. Heck, I have some empty cupboard space and I can now keep like with like (for example, all of my containers are in the same cupboard – before, my extras were stored elsewhere).
It felt really good and it helped me to finally get around to reviewing the few other areas that I kept meaning to review (namely, my outdoor gear – I got rid of a lot of hats and scarves).
And, yes, I do still have my “junkbox”, but it now has a defined purpose (holder of tape, pens, etc.) and it’s no longer full of random things.