What are we talking about today?

Some days have themes. I don't necessarily post something in each of these topic areas every week.

Sunday: Church-related or spiritual things.
Monday: Running.
Tuesday: Books.
Wednesday: Transportation.
Friday: Green living.

16 March 2012

Clearing Out

A long, long, time ago, I wrote a post about using less-- basically, cut back on the soap or the shampoo or hairspray and see if you can get by with less of the product in one go, thus stretching your resources and your budget. I meant to do a follow-up, but never have, so here it is: Do make good use of your things.

This is along the lines of people who suggest that you use your good china more than once a year, and I think it's true: Don't be afraid to use the resources you have. Someone gave you a bottle of nice lotion for Christmas? Great! Use it (a little at a time)! Have some bath salts kicking around in a drawer? Dig them out and have a relaxing evening. 

I'm trying to take this advice in my own life, but for some things I've waited too long and it's time to toss them. Which has brought me to another dilemma: What on earth do I do with products that are no longer usable?

The taking-up-space culprits.
So here we have my three bottles of stuff that have to go. I have a spotty memory-- that is, I remember word-for-word conversations from 20 years ago, but can't remember that massively important thing Chad said this morning. So don't be freaked out when I tell you that these three things were bought (from the left) in 2009, 1998, and 2004, respectively. Yes, really. The sunscreen lasted this long because I've only used it for my face; the perfume, because I used it a little at a time in the first place and then married a guy who's allergic to it; and the hair gel I bought when I started working at Chick-fil-A in the (vain) hope that it would keep my hair under control in a ponytail.

I've been meaning to get rid of them for a while, but as you can see, the perfume and the gel still had stuff in them that I had to deal with. (There was a bit of runny sunscreen left, too, which I just poured into my other sunscreen.) I knew I didn't have to get it perfectly clean, because the processing at the recycling center will get rid of the goop, but I also didn't want to put this much stuff into the recycling. Finally, after I had considered as many avenues as I could think of, I gave in and dumped them down the toilet. Yes, there are a lot of reasons not to do that, but if I tossed the bottles altogether, then the liquids would eventually try to seep out of a landfill somewhere, which is even worse. No, there are no easy answers when it comes to disposing of stuff.

Goop is now flushed, bottles are on their way to the recycling center, and my bathroom sink is a bit clearer. And I'm determined to use the rest of the stuff I have before it also goes bad. So, today's tip is not strictly green living, not strictly budget living, not strictly healthy living, but a combination of the three: Use your resources, use them wisely, and don't let clutter stress you out.

How do you get the most use out of your things? What do you do with it's time to toss them?


Rachel Morgan said...

I have a number of soap-y type things that I put in a cupboard when I receive them and then... never seem to get around to using a lot of them!

Anonymous said...

We have a facility called "household hazard waste" in our city dump. Chemicals (that includes toiletries) go there. I don't know what they do with them. To drop off is free and that's the important part to me (that and the fact that they are no longer in my house).

erica and christy said...

Some things just have a permanent spot in my house. That's what I had kids for - to clear them out after I die in 2069. ;)

That said, I've been told if it takes much water to clean it out, it's counterproductive to recycling. (my local recycling center won't take anything that contained soap or oil)

The Golden Eagle said...

Good point. If you have it, why not use it? (Provided it isn't really old, of course.)

JEFritz said...

Your advice is spot on. I try to use everything before it goes bad, which is why I don't like to buy expensive things (they never seem to last long enough to justify the money). If I don't think I'll use it, I give it to my sister--I always know she will.

Su said...

@Rachel: Me, too! I'm trying to work my way through them now.

@Delores: Yet another reason I should consider moving to Canada.

@erica: That's starting to shift now as technology gets better-- we can put containers in the bins with some stuff still in them in Austin.

@Eagle: Yep! Especially since if you don't use them, they WILL get old.

@JE: Also a good point.

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