Recently I’ve become obsessed with finding ways to reduce the amount of single (or short term) use items I throw out.
So, I started doing some research and looking into different things I could use over and over again.
Some of these aren’t technically decor, but by getting these items you are reducing the amount of packaging in your home so it can help make things look a little cleaner and nicer.
As a student who works part time, I’m often on the go and end up bringing food with me wherever I go.
This used to include lots of sandwich bags, plastic cutlery, single use water bottles and single use coffee cups. We have a cupboard filled with these items but I feel guilty every time I have to throw out a plastic bag or single use item. The endless cardboard boxes that hold these items don’t tend to look very nice either.
So, I went out and got myself a set of stainless steel straws, a set of beeswax wraps and I found some old cutlery that I can bring with me (and won’t be upset about losing by accident). I also began using my reusable mug a lot more.
These items are all super simple.
I went to a local supply store and I got a pack of two stainless steel straws so I could keep one in my purse and one in my backpack. This way I never forget to have one with me. When I do store them in the cupboard though, it’s a lot cleaner and nicer to look at than an abundance of colourful plastic straws that take up space.
I got this set of two straws that come with a cleaner. But you can also buy colourful ones too.
I also got a set of three beeswax wraps (small, medium and large) to pack my snacks with. This way, I can wash and reuse the wraps for food and they take up way less space in the cupboard (plus it looks nicer than the bright blue cardboard box of sandwich bags).
Next, I went looking through some of our old things to find some cutlery that didn’t really matter all that much. I don’t like taking our main cutlery from home just in case I lose something. So, having this extra cutlery set to the side is really helpful and helps to get rid of (you guessed it) the ugly cardboard box packaging and extra space it takes up. You can also buy sets of bamboo cutlery that are really awesome too.
I also used to store extra single use takeout cups at home too. They’re easy to just get rid of after you’re done and that way you don’t need to worry about carrying a mug. But, I also don’t like how much waste this produces (especially since I take a coffee or tea with me every morning).
So, I started using more of my reusable takeout mugs. You can get some really nice looking ones and even a set of two is enough. I love using my tea steeper mug from David’s Tea (and again looks WAY nicer than having paper cups that only make more clutter).
Next up is mason jars. I love these. There are so many uses for them and they can be reused over and over again. Mason jars can be used for storing different foods in your pantry or on your counter. If you buy in bulk (with reusable produce bags) you can reduce your packaging purchases a lot by using mason jars to store your food instead.
You can also use these for packing lunches rather than plastic containers too.
This looks so much cleaner than boxed and bagged packaging on your shelves and it’s a great way to reduce your waste too!
Another way to reduce your consumption is by using things that were previously loved by someone else.
Instead of buying new products all the time that only cost more money (and more resources in terms of production) you can pick up different items at the thrift store.
I went to Salvation Army with my mom the other day and found the most adorable watering vase to use for my plants. I’d been looking for a new one for a long time but the ones I really liked were always too expensive. This one that I picked up cost me $2 and is almost exactly what I wanted.
I also managed to find a cute mug set ($2) and bowls set ($2) that I can use at home instead of buying newly produced (and more expensive) goods.
Reuse what you have and do some D.I.Y.
A couple of weeks ago I made a picture frame with hanging photos out of an old mirror frame I already had at home. I had seen almost this exact picture frame in stores before but instead of spending the money (and buying something new – again), I decided to make use out of what I had.
I also always reuse my empty Coal and Canary candles as glasses or mini planters for succulents. These can also be brought back to the store for a discount too which is really awesome because that means less of them are being thrown out as waste.
You can reuse so many things in your home that you might not even consider – so try to take a second to see if there’s a way to do what you want with what you have. It’s more cost effective and environmentally friendly because less things being bought means less production which can mean less pollution and less energy used.
I’ve been trying to lower my consumption of new products because of the issue of climate change and pollution – but also I don’t really see the need to buy more and more stuff. Finding things that can be reused and repurposed can go such a long way.
I know this isn’t a traditional decor post, but even just getting rid of the cluttered packaging and single use items can help your home look a little cleaner (and you’ll be helping the environment too!).