Since it’s been over a month since I set my goals for reducing the “stuff” in my life, I thought I would give myself a report card (because, I seek not only attention, but also approval!). It’s a little tough to be objective, but I’m going to try my best.

1st Goal: Used Kids Clothes Only

Grade: B

Comments: I was lured into a new hat and fleece onesie at MEC in Ottawa – but haven’t bought any other kids clothes, used or otherwise. After having organized my stash of baby gifts…I realize I’ll probably need a few 6-12 month items, so I’m going to keep my eyes open at the local consignment shops over the next few months.

2nd Goal: Switch to Enviro Friendly Cleaning Products

Grade: A

Comments: We’re trying Melaleuca products, and I’ve also switched to their biodegradable shampoo; I’m also using bar soap instead of body wash to that I save on packaging and the necessary pouff (no – a wash cloth just doesn’t work right!) I tried the biodegradable kids soap but Nate broke out in a rash that is just now clearing up after a week of the regular Johnson and Johnson’s…so if you have any other recommendations for kids soap, I’m all ears!

3rd Goal: Organic Products

Grad: C

Comments: I wasn’t buying everything organic at my Mom’s, mostly because it was more expensive and I was worried things would go to waste, but now that I’m home I’ll be looking into organic options. I’m also planning to hit the local farmer’s market on Wednesday mornings to see what I can score from local producers.

4th Goal: Switch to cloth products, instead of paper where possible

Grade: A

Comments: I’ve purchased some handkerchiefs, but still used a bunch of kleenex when we were sick; I tend to still reach for paper towels, so I think I’m going to take them out of the kitchen altogether; but, I’m going one step further and going to try making the switch to cloth wipes instead of TP. You can all call me crazy if you like…but I figure it can’t hurt to try, especially when I already wash diapers every other day. Oh, and I also use a Diva Cup and Mama Cloth…which you really should try if you haven’t already!  I am also trying to use reusable, cloth shopping bags and am pretty good at remembering to bring them to the grocery store, but seem to always forget them when I am in other stores!  I’m thinking of putting one in my purse so that I’ll always have it with me.

5th Goal: Animal products

Grade: C-

Comments: Not doin’ so hot in this department. I have started buying free run eggs, but that’s about all you can buy at the store I shop at. I’m hoping I’ll have some more luck at the farmer’s market.

6th Goal: Coffee

Grade: B-

Comments: I needed some coffee the other day and the store only had organic, not fair trade. So once this tin is gone, I’ll have to search out a new source.

7th Goal: Scrap Paper

Grade: A

Comments: I haven’t bought anymore paper since I’ve been home. Not that I’ve done much scrapbooking either! But I have used scraps on almost all the pages I have done. I think I need to sticky this goal to my debit card though….so I’m reminded of it when I’m actually at the store…lured by all the delicious looking patterns!!

8th Goal: Freecycle

Grade: B+

Comments: I’ve joined the group, but haven’t actually used it yet. Or even checked the listings for that matter! I am planning on de-cluttering my basement in the near future…and hopefully I can give away a few things on freecycle.

9th Goal: Generally buy less stuff

Grade: B

Comments:  Here is where I am still struggling a bit, although I have definitely improved!  I still love to shop…which I hate…so I think I have managed to convince myself that if something is environmentally friendly, it is worth purchasing.  This is certainly better than nothing…but it is still giving in to the lure of consumerism, which is wha I ultimately want to stop.  One other thing Dale and I have done is to implement an allowance system for “frivolous spending”.  We each get $100 a month in a separate account (and to be fair we put $100 in a savings account for Nate).  This has certainly helped me curb my scrapbooking and photography purchases.  I have also been avoiding places where I can shop, and when I do have to go into them I make sure to go armed with a specific list.

Now I just realized that my orginal post only had 9 items…even though I alluded to 10.  Ooops!   So overall I think I’m improving.  I still have a few tricks up my sleeve…and I’m getting new ideas everyday.  One blog I have been visiting a lot lately is Crunchy Chicken, who definitely pushes people to go outside their comfort zone.

I also picked up a book the other day by a local author (found it randomly at the scrapbook store) called Clutter’s Dirty Secret.  It is very much along the same lines as the Story of Stuff, but talks more about the personal gains, in terms of more positive energy, you will experience by consuming less and watching less t.v.  The author, Alison Roberts, is a professional organizer and considers the book her political manifesto. It is little bit heavy on the anti-establishment side, but an intriguing and inspiring read nonetheless.  I’m almost finished it after two days…which says a lot considering I haven’t read much in the last 3 months at all!  Although…the fact that I have stopped watching t.v. has certainly freed up more time around here, especially in the evening once Nate is in bed.

Hope this inspires you just a little more to consume less…it’s tough, but every little bit counts and hopefully leads to bigger “bits” too!  Here’s to finding another way!

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