Friday, March 28, 2008

where to begin...

I don't know exactly what has brought me to this point, but I'm glad I'm here. I think it's a combination of some recent traveling, watching people around me bring beautiful promising little people into the world, having a lot of time on my hands to think, and just generally feeling sick and tired of knowing that I'm not doing what I know is best a lot of the time. I'll confess...I'm cheap. So a lot (most) of the time, I end up not buying organic. Food is expensive even when you buy the stuff sprayed all over with pesticides. I have a huge stock of cleaning supplies filled with nasty chemicals - because they cost less. I hope my sister doesn't pass out when she reads this, but I don't think I own a single pair of organic cotton underwear. Too expensive.

The interesting paradox here, however, is that I definitely let myself be lured in by the marketing gurus out there. For the record, I'm not a huge impulse buyer of flat screen tvs or new furniture, but I often come home with lots of little trinkets that I DO NOT NEED. I am sick of seeing and cleaning all this stuff around me, I am sick of thinking about the environmental impact of getting this stuff into my house, and then again when I throw it away because it's cheap crap and it broke, or because it's not useful and I don't know why I bought it in the first place, I am sick of worrying about money because I'm spending too much of it on things I do not need.

I have often felt that it's too expensive to really be environmentally friendly. What I have finally realized is that this just isn't true for the most part. What is sadly happening in our country is that the people in charge of selling us stuff have realized that a lot of people out there want to be more environmentally friendly. A lot of these people have a fair amount of disposable income. So the people in charge of selling us stuff have found a way to capitalize on our desire to buy stuff AND our desire to do the good/green thing at the same time! I don't think I really need to spend more money to clean my house in a green fact, I think I can do it for less. So this is one of the areas where I am starting this journey. The organic cotton undies still seem expensive to me though. But I'll think about it.

My new life mission then (which sounds more serious and weighty than I intend it to), is to make a better life for me and everyone I share this world with, by living greener, more simply, and more frugally - a trio that I think complement each other so well, I don't think I can do one without the others creeping in.

I'll keep a few lists to track progress and keep thoughts and mind organized. Organization is a key part of all this for me. Just one example, but how many times have you bought something at the grocery store, come home, started putting food away, and realized you already had two or three of that item in the back of the cupboard? I know I waste money and resources when I'm not organized.

One of the first things I will do is establish a new set of life rules. I've been playing by the "buy stuff...more...still not enough" rules for too long. So I think it'll be helpful if one of my lists is comprised of new rules I make for myself to live by. The good news is that if I make the rules, I can change them at any time. I'll post updates on the new rules, as well as the old ones, how I'm implementing them, and how that works out for me.

My rule for today comes straight from the pages of everything ever written about how to save money on groceries: Make A Shopping List. I'm going to do this too (I already do when I shop for groceries, actually), but I'm going to do it for everything. I think I need some seasoning time too...maybe two weeks? Every non-grocery item has to remain on the list for at least this much time before I make a purchase. This includes online as well as in-store.

Also up on the agenda today is trying out the VTA, our local public transportation. I have a feeling it won't be easy to use, but be that as it may, I will try it at least once before dismissing it!

Enough out of me for now...enjoy the day!


Debbie said...

Go Green! You would be proud of me - I just came home from the grocery store and I remembered to bring my own bags this time. I always use a list - and I am going to start using one as you suggest for all shopping, not just grocery shopping. I also joined a CSA this week. Who says you can't teach an old dog new tricks? Your blog is off to a great start.

Paula said...

Hey, my new year's resolution this year was to be more environmentally conscious. I started to investigate recylcing only to be disgusted at how difficult it is to do in Colorado. Can you believe it?! I would have to drive approximately 15 miles each week to recycle my papers and plastics which seemed too contridictory for me. In buying our new home we will be signing up for pick up recyling immediately. Additionally, i use my reusable grocery bags every time i remember them which is unfortunately not as often as i would like. I nearly passed out at Super Target when i bought the reusable bags and the check out guy put my new bags in a plastic bag!!!! You really have to be on your toes to keep your waste down. Also, at the despair of some of our house guests we have switched to recycled toliet paper. :) I think just being more conscious of your actions is a great first step. We all have to look at our lives and see what is doable AND affordable.

Melissa said...

Sadly I can believe it...Congrats on the new home, btw! I still can't believe how difficult it is to recycle in most places - in nh, I had to take all the recycling to the transfer station. Luckily we lived really close by, but since basically none of the cities offer it, I was not only taking the home stuff there, but also carting all the shredded paper from the office up there.

LOL about the bags...some people just don't get it, I guess!

maya said...

Hey Melissa! I'm enjoying your blog though haven't found the time to say so. Thought of you as i just finished cleaning the bathroom with vinegar and baking soda. How did we ever get convinced that we needed toxic products to make things cleaner?

Melissa said...

so glad you like it...I'm having a lot of fun with it! I just freecycled a big bag of clorox wipes. I opened one and almost threw up when I smelled it. I kind of felt bad giving them to somebody else actually...but I figured better than throwing them in the garbage. enjoy your sparkling loo :)