Monday, December 6, 2010


One of the tenants of being environmentally friendly is the "reuse, reduce, recycle" mantra that we've all known since grade school. I am really good at the recycle bit, and not so much at the other parts. I don't like to have stuff around that doesn't have a purpose (I know, I know, my house is full of stuff), so generally, if I decide something is no longer useful, I throw it away or donate it (depending on what it is, it's condition, etc). I don't normally store it to reuse it.

And "reduce" is just really hard to measure. I mean, I really like all of those adorable mugs that you can find in nearly every coffee shop everywhere. There's something really cheery about drinking a nice hot beverage out of a cute cup. But I don't buy them. Because my mug cabinet is already full. Is this reducing? I am reducing my random consumerism. But I never used to buy them, so I haven't actually changed anything.

I guess I'm willing to reduce where it's easy. I've stopped taking two showers a day, but a lot of that is how time-consuming it is to wash my hair twice a day, combined with how expensive water is in California. I contemplate reducing my consumption of meat, but since I never measured it in the past, I really have no barometer. But I'm really not willing to reduce where the reduction would make my life less enjoyable to me. What's the point of saving the planet when you're not enjoying yourself? Especially when you can't really measure what your impact is.

This week, I managed a "reuse" that I'm quite proud of. I have been searching for a photo box. You know, one of those sturdy cardboard boxes with the little metal frame for the label, that are usually covered in some sort of floral design, that are used to store photos and other mementos? Well, I can't find one. And I'm tired of looking. I used to see them all the time when I wasn't looking for one.

So, I came home and thought, what else can I use? And then I remembered that I once collected postcards. Over the years, I've decided it's silly to hold onto a collection of things that I'm not doing anything with, and that's just being stored in a drawer (see the first paragraph above), but postcards are about the perfect size for making lists. So I've actually been using them.

I stored my postcards in empty card boxes. I still buy cards, so I'm not sure why I'm not acquiring more card boxes, but whatever. I figured that perhaps some of these card boxes weren't quite full and I could consolidate them. Voila! Photo box! Mission accomplished! And bonus environmental gold star for Virginia!

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