How to Reduce Household Items
We all know there are many problems directly related to our wellbeing such as overloaded waste, deforestation, air pollution, etc. How do we as a consumer improve the situation?
It turns out our awareness about our own habits and relationship with things around us are the starting point of changes we want. In daily life, building the awareness, reducing consumption and demanding higher quality is the most effective way to make our life more sustainable.
Here are some ways that you can help to switch your attention from fast, cheap, disposable goods to high-quality, long-lasting investments.
Wise money spending
Money is not equal to your wellbeing. But we need to learn our relationship with money.
How many hours did you work or what did you do to earn $100? You can buy 5 of $20 shirt that will not look good after 3 washes and break after 10 washes. Or, you can buy 1 shirt that costs $100 but it maintains the quality for years. You know which one has better value for the same $100. The way you spend your money shows the value of your time. If you believe yourself and your time are highly valuable, treat your money as it is. Here’re things you can do with money spending habits.
Cash over card
You feel swiping a credit cards easier because it take the sense of hard-earned money away from you. A 2011 study by MIT revealed that people are prone to spending 20% more with credit cards as opposed to cash.
So why cash? Cash is harder to give away and having a set amount of it at your disposal. It helps you to spend within a budget, reducing the level of temptation.
If you have just started getting a steady income as a new graduate, get a routine to allocate your money for bills and savings. Then, take the leftover in cash to buy what you want.
Resist the urge
Speaking of temptation, you are bombarded with advertisements everywhere. There are always deals, limited offers, new designs, etc. Rather than taking the marketing message straight, picture yourself using the product. What does it mean to have the product to you? Find why you want the product. Is it because of the pretty package, discounted price, or convenience? Being aware of your buying pattern and making the most of what you already have will make you clear on what really matters.
Read as much as possible
Read anything about the item you want to buy before purchasing it. Whether it’s a cell phone, car, or anything else, read the fine print before deciding if it’s okay to fork out your money. The internet is an excellent resource. You will find reviews and articles about any specific product, material or how it is made. Do your research, you could find a better option or deal out there that will give more value with your money.
Don't be influenced
Never let your financial decision-making become influenced by what others do and never let others tell you what to do with your money. Peer pressure from friends or fellow shoppers can cause you to buy items you didn’t plan to get. Shop by yourself, shop with a list and stick to that list.
Buy only the best of the best
Take your time to select items only you truly like and take care of them.
Living in a clutter doesn’t contribute to your wellbeing. For example, you have your wardrobe filled with clothes and most of them were used only once. Even though each of them were only $10, 100 of them cost you $1000. They are just sitting in your wardrobe for nothing... What would you like to have if you had $1000?
Choose high-quality and long-lasting products
We tend to look at the price tag to make instant purchasing decision, but VALUE is what you should look at. The product may not show you the real value, and this is why doing a research is important.
Choosing quality over price will be the sustainable choice because it eliminates waste, resources are used more efficiently, and it supports businesses that prioritizes value. Investing in a quality product ends up saving you money as well since it will need to be replaced less frequently. And focusing on quality will create appreciations to the materials, the producers, and other things involved to make.
Look for multi-tasking or multi-purpose products with quality rather than buying a single item for a single purpose. Here are two great examples of multi-purpose products...
One Wrap is the worlds first reusable cling wrap in a roll! Its also multi-purpose, durable & customizable. If you found it difficult to collect all sizes of silicone food covers, silicone food storage bags, silicone mat, wrap for bread, etc, One Wrap replaces them all. It even replaces baking paper. It is made from non-toxic, BPA free silicone.
Shower Balls are single-use size shower tablets come in home compostable packages. They are especially handy for traveling and camping as tablets themselves are readily biodegradable. Body wash range has coffee scrub option that will do cleansing, exfoliating, and moisturizing in 1 step. Shampoo for Dry Hair works as 2-in-1 shampoo for short hair.
How to choose multi-purpose products
The multipurpose approach can be effective when simplifying, but be careful not to overdo it. You can waste countless hours trying to find all-in-one solutions that work.
Multipurpose products can compromise the quality of the individual task at hand. We see this happen all the time with phone apps. Instead of focusing on solving one single problem well, the creators try to pack too many features into the software to the point where it doesn’t do anything well.
Upcycling refers to the method of repurposing a used item into something else. For example, you can take an old piece of clothing that’s tattered, worn, broken, ripped or frayed and giving them a new life so it can be worn or used again. You can upcycle almost anything: from clothing to books to furniture and more.
Here are some ways to upcycle clothes:
1. Dye it: Whether it’s an old bridesmaid dress or a shirt with a stain on it, dye can give a once-worn item new life.
2. Patch it: You don’t have to be a whiz with a sewing machine to patch over holes or rips. Use a needle and thread (or a sewing machine) to attach a patch, or even try gluing it on.
3. Embroider it: Everything from T-shirts to jeans can be embroidered. All you need is a needle and thread—and a little time to learn a new pastime.
4. Cut it: Every time you wear your too-short jeans. Instead, whip out the scissors and start fresh. The simplest way to do this is to just cut them into a pair of short and your ready to go.
5. Turn it into a quilt: Start by selecting old garments with fun colors or patterns that would look good together. Then cut each one the size you want for the quilt. Stitch or sew the T-shirts together. Once it is all put together, stitch or sew the quilt’s border.
6. Turn it into a tote: Stop getting single-use plastic bags (or even paper bags) at the grocery store, and instead, make your own eco-friendly tote bags. Use an old sweater or T-shirt for this project. You can use them as produce bags, grocery bags, shoe bags, shopping bags and anywhere you would use a traditional cotton bag.
7. Turn it into a scrunchie: It can be as simple as cutting your fabrics from an old T-shirt to use as a hair ribbon or stitching together a piece of cloth to make a hair tie (without an elastic). You can even tie-dye it!
8. Give it to the dog: You can turn old fabric into anything from a pet bed or blanket to even a toy or pet-sized T-shirt—and your pet will love that it smells like you. For small dogs and cats, use an old pillowcase to make a bed. Take old clothing and cut it into strips and fill the pillowcase with it. Stitch with a needle and thread, or sew the opening of the pillowcase.
9. Use it to clean your house: If your clothing is too worn out to upcycle, don’t toss it out, instead, cut it into squares to use as reusable cleaning cloths around the house. Once they’re all dirty, simply run them through the wash and keep them in a bin under the sink
10. Transform it into gift wrap: Instead of wasting money on single-use wrapping paper, “gift wrap” presents using fabric-wrapping techniques. Fold the fabric over the gift, gather the fabric edges, and pull upward, then knot the fabric tails. So simple!
Be creative with your time
Most “convenient” products are disposable. They often give you an idea that you can save time. But, on the flip side, they take time away from you to be present or creative.
Focus on One Thing at a Time (Don't Multitask)
While it may feel more productive to multitask and work on more than one thing at a time, you will find it hard to live in the present moment. For example, instead of drinking coffee from a takeaway cup while you are rushing back to your office, enjoy your coffee with a proper coffee cup and be present. And you don’t need to use a disposable coffee cup.
Be Mindful of Everything You Do
Especially when you are eating, you should be mindful of the fact that other animals and plants gave you their life to you. How often are you eating your lunch while watching TV at the same time? This is one way you might distance yourself from what you are doing and not live in the present moment because all of your attention isn't on that task or activity.
- Instead, try to focus on each meal while you eat.
- How does the food smell?
- How does it taste?
- How is your body reacting to what you have eaten so far?
By focusing on these details and being mindful of everything going on around you will help bring more present-moment awareness into your life.
Review how you spend your time
If you spend an hour to watch a TV every day, you can have extra 5 minutes to wash reusable water bottles instead of buying bottled water."The real cost of convenience"
Australians purchased over 726 millions litres of water in 2015. The average cost of the most popular bottled water in Australia is $2.75 per litre. Therefore Australians may have spent up to $2 billion dollars on bottled water in 2015.
Bottled water has to be pumped out of the ground, packaged, transported and chilled before it gets to us. This creates over 60,000 tons of greenhouses gases a year in Australia alone.Here are some facts to keep in mind before buying bottled water:
- It takes up to 3-7 litres of water and one litre of oil to produce one litre of bottled water.
- Bottles used to package water take over 1,000 years to bio-degrade and if incinerated, they produce toxic fumes.
- More than half of water bottles end in landfill or the ocean.
- The average Australian drinks 30 litres of bottled water per year.
- Australians buy more then 118,000 tonnes of plastic drink bottles a year.
- It takes 8 years to recoup the cost of a bottle of water by refilling the bottle with tap water.
Are you going to go back to the tap? Just remember, a simple change can make a big difference.
I hope these tips and ideas have helped you consider a shift in our culture—from disposable goods to sustainable, high-quality items. Not only will this save money but it also has many other environmental benefits!