Saturday, November 29, 2008

Saturday - Day #14!! Lots to share

So much has been going on... Lots of new things to share and information to pass along.
For starters - I have a few links regarding plastic shopping bags. I will be honest - it is SUPER hard to leave the plastic bags behind when going in for Christmas gifts, especially on my lunch break because even with my purse bag - it isn't enough! But I am doing pretty well. I haven't had to grab to many and all that I take I reuse reuse reuse.

Some good news locally for us regarding this... Our stores will all now have a plastic bag charge of 5cents to discourage people from taking bags... while a few people grumble, most see the need. Thanks to Pam for the links!

Here is the link to our local newspaper here in Ontario...

And one from Toronto -

This plastic "tax" has worked in other countries and regions. We'll see what it does for our consumption around here.

In our family, we have decided not to wrap presents this year as much as possible. I think Santa will still be sending his gifts in the traditional paper but for the rest of the gifts, from mom and dad and aunts and uncles and nanny and poppy it will be cloth shopping bags. When you think about it - a shiny gift bag is often $1.99 at least while a cloth shopping bag is only 99 cents. With this new rule at the grocery stores, it may be more challenging for a little while to get bags so I am going to snap them up for Christmas while I can!

My mom Kathy wrote a great post for us regarding the purchase of Christmas presents and toys for kids - read it right now! Right here:
Christmas is a perfect time for decluttering…the house is cleaned in preparation for decorating and some of our things are packed away while our seasonal favourites take centre stage. As you unpack our Christmas treasures, check for items that are damaged and either repair or discard. Evaluate what you have and using the “one – in, one- out rule – don’t accumulate any more than you can comfortably store.
While on the topic of decluttering, be mindful of adding clutter to your home and others by falling prey to the lure of fancy gadgets and trendy toys that will soon be gathering dust. Before purchasing the latest “must have” gift for children, take some time to learn more about it. Let the child see it “in person”…maybe it’s not as great as it seems on TV. Consider the play value, will it be something that will be enjoyed for months to come ? How about a “disposable gift” like a gift certificate for movies or an indoor playground or a membership to a children’s museum.
Finally, going back to our first 21 days, find environmentally friendly ways to wrap your gifts. Many stores sell reusable shopping bags for less than the price of a paper gift bag that is only useful one day a year ! Use your imagination to decorate the bag with bows or tags to give it the festive touch. With a little effort we can all enjoy a “Green” Christmas ! Happy Holidays everyone !

Thanks Mom for your thoughts and for the inspiration to change our wrapping habits. I know we have definitely decided that less is more this Christmas - and we have also limited the number of gifts we are exchanging. We already have all that we need... so we will still have lots of presents to enjoy I am certain of it - but we are sharing our bounty with all of the charities we donate to, the sending of our old toys out for others to enjoy, the Angel Tree (we have always given to this amazing group), and getting just a few good toys that they will really play with is making a difference.

Ok - I am not a super uptight person except for a few things. Mostly if you open a drawer in this house - expecially the kitchen - it is probably cluttered and unorganized and you have to dig for the item you want. It's in the right drawer mind you, just not all lined up nice and neat. I have more interesting things to do than line up my wooden spoons, you know what I mean? With 2 kids and pets and a husband who from time to time puts the dishes away, I can't really enforce a line 'em up set of rules around here I don't think.

But, 2 things I get a little uptight about - the fridge (where I store my family's nourishment!) and my cupboards of spices and cans. I forward face labels like at the grocery store most of the time, kinda like that guy in the movie Sleeping with the Enemy only not in the same creepy scary way I hope. My fridge is usually super organized. Not today mind you... but on Sunday when I am back from grocery shopping - I clean it out. So much easier to do it all the time. Here is your job for this weekend if you have time. You need about an hour for this job depending on how your fridge looks right now. Mine takes less time now because I do it often but the first time was about an hour for sure...

1. Open fridge. Take a "Before" picture if you want. I find it satisfying to look back after - but it's up to you...
2. Get a pen and paper and put it beside you.
3. Grab a bowl of soapy water and a rag or other cleaner for the shelves.
3. Grab your kitchen garbage can and have a bag for recycling next to your sink.
4. Start on the top shelf. Take everything off the top shelf and take it right out of the fridge. If there are any jars that are almost empty and you know you won't use that little bit - put them in the sink for rinsing and recycling. Don't start washing them yet - just put them in the sink. Check inside your cream cheese, sour cream or other containers and see what's doing. You may find the source of funky odours this way. Better out than in right?!
5. Before you replace what is left - add any items you have to replace on a list (a ha, the reason for the pen and paper!) - but don't buy things you didn't finish unless you know for sure you need them for a recipe this week. It can wait until you need it and then you are saving money too.
6. Wipe the shelf.
6. Replace the items. I line stuff up or put them in groups that make sense together when I put them back - but you don't have to.
7. Repeat on the rest of the shelves
8. Do the crispers and the door. Take all the junk out and wash or wipe these down too.
9. Get the garbage out and rinse and either find a use in the house for or recycle those plastic containers and glass bottles... But here is the thing - you can't keep them if you aren't going to use them RIGHT AWAY - then they are just clutter again!

When you are done you will have a good grocery list started - just check the cupboards and the freezer and away you go!

The other cupboard is my spices. Did you know spices go bad? I didn't realize that until I recently watched one of the many cooking shows I love (that's the only tv I actually watch - food network, so fab!) and they were talking about getting rid of old spices. Makes sense because you know who have opened that package of rancid walnuts or funky almond slivers in the cupboard - or ack - pine nuts! Right? Can't you smell it right now just thinking about it?
And who wants icky nuts in your baking - not me! Spices, as it turns out, same deal. You gotta check for freshness and replace. I think buying those giant bulk sized packages are maybe a bad idea unless you feed large crews of people all the time. I like to use a large variety of spices all the time - so I have small quantities of many. The only exception maybe is at canning time...

Here is the inside of my mom's spice cupboard - doesn't it look FANTASTIC! All label maker-ed up! Gooooo mom!

Going to a Christmas party out of town tonight. Trying to get revved up. Not super pumped just yet because I don't know what I am wearing and what the kids are wearing. Gonna get off this computer and go get that done!

Have a great day everyone! Have a wonderful Saturday!


Kimberley said...

Comment testing

Ladybing said...

I have to admit, the Christmas Shopping plastic bag thing was hard - but I was Black Friday shopping and had to store my stuff somewhere until I got home. There weren't a lot of cloth bag options in Michigan yet.

Now as far as not wrapping in paper - I am not so sure I can do that yet this year but I will compromise - I'll wrap the baby's gifts in pretty things and will find alternative ways for the adults!

KathyP said...

If you get the weekend paper, the colour comic section might make good wrap for kids..maybe not a baby but older ones.
I did the fridge clean out last night and wow I felt great going in for the cream this morning. My garbage and recycling pick up is today so I'm fresh as a daisy for the rest of the week !