ThredUp Goody Box: Like Stitch Fix, but Earth Friendlier.

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You’ve probably already heard about Stitch Fix. You give a few details about your sizes and what kinds of clothing you like to wear. And some magic fashion elves put together a  box of stylish clothing pieces that you hopefully like and you pay for the ones you keep (plus a $20 styling fee unless you buy all pieces).

Well now ThredUp has a similar service.called Goody Boxes that offers all the fun of the mystery fashion package, minus the environmental impact of new clothing—because Goody Boxes are filled with secondhand clothes! You just answer a few questions, and get a box filled with 10 unique finds. And you only pay for what you keep (you have seven days after delivery to return any unwanted items) plus a $10 non-refundable deposit. It’s like having a personal shopper pick out looks for you from a giant thrift store.

I just ordered my first Goody Box and it was super fun. I received 10 (TEN!) items—all of them cute and definitely things I liked. Sadly, I may have marked the wrong size when I filled out my information because many of the items were too large. I wish I could’ve been more specific with some of the information. I probably would’ve marked a size smaller for tops. And when I marked “dresses,” I imagined breezy throw-on dresses, but I received more dressy-dresses. I liked them and all. I just didn’t really have an immediate use for them.

The Goody Boxes are new to ThredUp, so I think there are still a few kinks to iron out. But all in all it was really fun and I’ll definitely try again. I love that it might encourage more people to give secondhand clothing a try. I also love that someone else does the shopping for me.

Goody!

Give Back Box: Giving a Second Life to the Cardboard Box.

imageFile this away in “Things I’ve Been Meaning To Do But Haven’t Yet”: Give Back Box.

I try not to buy a lot of things online—both for environmental and clutter-phobe reasons. But when I do, now I can give the corrugated box a new life by filling it with things I want to donate, printing and slapping on a postage-paid shipping label and sending it off to a charity organization who could use it.

When I first heard about Give Back Box, I thought it was a special box you had to request from Amazon (or REI or wherever you ordered). And Ward knows, there’s about zero chances of me remembering to do that. But it turns out, you can use any ol’ cardboard box you have lying around the house. Here’s how it works.

According to the Give Back website, not only are the boxes reused, but they’re recycled too.  Donating with Give Back Box helps charities carry out their missions and provides more options for people who like to buy used (or have to because of economic reasons). And it makes de-cluttering and donating convenient and hassle-free!

Next time I get a cardboard box, I’m going to set it in the corner and little by little, fill it with things I’m no longer using. (And if a couple of my husband’s 8 billion tools scattered randomly throughout the house happen to fall in said box, so be it.) Wanna try it too?

The Dirty Consequence of Taking a Shower (and 3 Ways to Remedy It).

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De-plastic your bathroom one product at a time.

I’ll admit, I had a bit of a Shea Moisture Body Wash problem for a while. I blame my mother-in-law. She convinced me that liquid body soaps didn’t leave soap scums in the tub and who was I to turn down less cleaning? The body wash did in fact leave the tub cleaner. But when I started thinking about all of the plastic bottles I was going through (recycling, yes, but sill), I knew I had to kick the habit.

Look around your bathroom and count how many plastic containers you see. What if you switched just ONE bath product to a non-plastic container? A few ideas::

  1. A Sudsy Solution: Do you have a local co-op or bulk store that sells shampoo in bulk? Just bring in your favorite bottle/dispenser and fill it up. Did you know you can buy shampoo in bulk on Amazon? (I’m never sure how much plastic you’re saving when you buy a giant bottle instead of many smaller bottles.) I haven’t tried shampoo bars yet, have you? The LUSH ones are very popular (but contain sulfates). These look like a more wholesome (and pretty yummy) alternative. I do hear that shampoo bars do tend to get a little messy on the shower ledge—a small price to pay me thinks. And lookie here! Smart people are hard at work coming up with solutions to an overabundance of bathroom plastics. Check out this innovative solution.
  2. Hit the Bar: One very simple thing you can do is you’re currently using a liquid body soap, just switch to a good ol’ fashioned bar of soap. My friend Amy sometimes sends me Soap of the Earth for my birthday which I love (sadly the ones shipped to me came wrapped in plastic). Currently Tom’s of Maine soap is wrapped in paper—fingers crossed it stays that way.
  3. Why Stop at Containers?: Consider replacing disposable plastic bath products with more earth-friendly alternatives, like bamboo toothbrushes (I know, I know,  free plastic ones from your dentist) and metal razors (my husband and I share a crusty old Gilette Sensor razor—shh, he might not know we share it.

So far, I’ve done #2 and I’m working on #2 (shampoo). Do you have any favorite plastic-free bath products? Share in the comments. And let’s clean up together!

Pretty Up Your Pasta Sauce: How to Turn an Ugly Jar Into a Pretty Jar in 8 Easy Steps.

In the past, every time I opened a glass jar of something I would always think, I could totally use this for something! But then, said jar would sit on the counter for weeks before I finally tossed it in the recycle bin. If only I could get this stupid label off it! If only there was a resource of information at my fingertips that would tell me how to do such a thing!

Turns out removing labels from a pasta sauce jar is easier than I thought (Thank you, Google!). And now that I know how to do it, I can’t stop. The more I remove labels, the more uses I find for my clean beautiful glass jars: Vases for quick flower drop-offs (no returns necessary!). A paper/binder-clip holder for my desk. An attractive receptacle for my bulk-food purchases. A container for soup delivery for a sick friend. Pasta sauce jar with a label? Not so pretty. But a clean glass jar? Girl (or boy), please!

Here’s how to easily remove a pesky label from your jars, so you can become an obsessive label-removing freak like me!

  1. Fill a bowl with warm water and stir in about 2 tablespoons of baking soda.
  2. Completely submerge jar in water for a few hours.
  3. Remove jar from baking soda/water. The label may automatically come off. Most the time it will require step 4.
  4. Create a paste of equal parts vegetable oil and baking soda (you really probably only need about 1/2 teaspoon each). Spread it all over the label (I just use my fingers, but you could probably use a pastry brush if you’re fancy).
  5. Let the pasty substance sit on the jar for an hour or so.
  6. Scrub it with your scrubby of choice while under warm running water. I find a wire scrubby works best. (Don’t worry, you won’t have to scrub too hard.)
  7. Hand wash your new beautiful jar with dish soap and water.
  8. Pat yourself on the back. Look how crafty you are!
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Share some of that crockpot yogurt you’re making!

 

Check it Out: 3 Reasons to Book On Over to Your Local Library Right Now.

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Yay, libraries rule!

Wanna know what’s cool about the library? EVERYTHING.

When Amazon was still fresh, I loved to order new books. The anticipation of the latest bestseller. Then, once it arrived, the smell! The crisp pages! But buying a ton of books is not going to help our planet friend at all. Books also take up space, and even the unremarkable ones are hard to part with.

If you’re a bookworm and want to be more green (or KonMari) your local library’s the way to go. Here’s why*:

  1. Online Catalog/Book Reserve – Whenever I hear about a good book from a friend or Entertainment Weekly magazine, I just plug the name into our library’s online catalog and either place a hold on it or put on my “For Later Shelf” if I’m not ready to read it. A few days, weeks, or sometimes months later, depending on how in demand the book is, I get an email letting me know when it’s ready to be picked up from the branch by our house—it’s like a special little bookie surprise in my inbox! I’m almost embarrassed to admit how excited I get when that email comes. Sure, sometimes there’s a wait for a new or more popular book, but that just adds to the excitement when the email shows up. When it comes down to it, the local library makes reading pretty much any book ridiculously easy.
  2. The Sheer Magnitude of Available Resources – You can find magazines, CDs, DVDs, internet access, not to mention some interesting programming like kids reading clubs, knitting groups, job search assistance, film clubs, and movie nights. When hulu failed us, my family checked out seasons 1-7 of Modern Family (love me some Phil Dunphy!). And I love seeing people who may not have a computer or internet access at home using the library computers to apply for jobs, do papers, etc. (however, I can do without the pervs checking out a monitor full of scantily clad ladies).
  3. A Tidy(ish) Home – If I bought every book I wanted to read, not only would it be not the earth-friendliest thing to do, but I’d have stacks of stacks of books lying about. I hate accumulating stuff in our house. I love the fact that I can check out a book, read it, then get rid of that sucker right away. And if I’m not enjoying a book, I’m don’t feel bad about quitting it since I didn’t pay for it (directly; I know libraries are funded with our taxes).

So if you haven’t been to the library in a while, go see what you’re missing. I think you’ll see that today’s library is not the one you grew up with. Go get yourself a card. And if you read anything totally awesome, leave it in the comments.

 

* My county has the most awesome library system ever (Holla, Hennepin County!). It’s possible that yours doesn’t and all of these features will not be available. I’m sorry. : (

Say “Please”: How to Ask a Company to Be More Green.

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Photo by Stokpic on Pexels.com

I sign a lot of online petitions asking companies to reduce plastics. But so far, I have not started a petition. What I HAVE done is written emails and letters to politely voice my opinion.

My most recent request was to Target. See, I’ve been buying their Up & Up Clear Comfort Contact Solution for years—YEARS! Everything was all fine and good—until it wasn’t. Now, every box of the solution includes a new plastic contact case. WHY? How many contact lens cases do people need? Do people really switch out their cases every time they open a new bottle of solution. And if so why? Have they not heard of soap and water? WHY, OH WHY, TARGET? Honestly, nothing gets my goat more than unnecessary plastics in packaging—or some kind of added plastic tchotchke just “for fun.” A new contact lens case with every bottle of solution is completely unnecessary. Target, I love you but you’re breaking my bullseye heart!

You can tell companies how you feel about unnecessary plastics too! Your favorite shampoo start adding a giant plastic doohickey and you no-likey? Send an email! Doggo’s food switched from a paper bag to a plastic bag when paper worked just fine thankyouverymuch? Send an email! The pasta you eat once a week switched from a cardboard box to a heavy-duty plastic wrap? Send an email! Once you have the words, sending an email is super-easy. (You don’t even need to talk to anyone!) You can sometimes find a contact email address on product packaging. If you don’t find it there, check the “Contact Us” page of a company website. And if you don’t find it on the company website, just print it out send it by mail to the corporate office (attn: Sustainability Department — or something like that).

My letter to Target was a bit long (I had a lot to say), so instead, here’s an example of a simple letter that someone so nicely shared in a thread about unnecessary plastic packaging. Feel free to customize as you see fit, then email your little hearts out!:

 

Re: Please stop including plastic spoons in your Quinoa Quick Meals

Dear Kitchen & Love,

I love your Quinoa Quick Meals. But I don’t love how much plastic waste they generate. I am therefore writing to respectfully request that you no longer include plastic spoons in your products.

If you were to stop offering spoons, you could make a larger profit and reduce your company’s environmental impact. If you make this change, I will also be more likely to continue purchasing your products, as I am making a conscious effort to reduce my waste and to support companies that are willing to reduce theirs.

Thank you for your consideration of this request. I look forward to your response.

 
See? It doesn’t have to be difficult.