Things that have gone this week – 1

I thought it might be fun if I start to post about the items I’ve gotten rid of this week. I may not always have photos, unless I can get really clever and learn how to make a digital collage of them. The annoying thing is that the eBay app doesn’t save the photos from the listing, into your photostream. It would have been fun if I’d done this from the beginning, but it’s never too late!

  1. Casio Keyboard
  2. Casio keyboard Softcase
  3. Keyboard Stand
  4. Piano pedal
  5. Piano power supply
  6. Music stand
  7. Set of tea, coffee and sugar storage cannisters
  8. Pair of gold ballet flats
  9. Mother & Child Standard Lamp
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Philanthropy – A Potent Motivator for Decluttering

It seems I have finally found my biggest motivator for decluttering – philanthropy. I guess it’s the most logical too. I have finally concluded that having items sat in my cupboards that I am not using, is preventing them from being used by someone else. Talk about wasteful! That is your most potent motivator, right there – for being Zero Waste and decluttering.

I don’t know if something has changed in me as well, but it’s like a pair of fresh eyes for me. I’ve got 2 pairs of sandals in my wardrobe, both were bought to go with a specific outfit to wear to a wedding. Neither the shoes or the outfits have been worn since! Let that be a lesson to me, never to buy something ‘just for a wedding’ again. Well, I’ve decided to donate them all. I’m sure plenty of people will be thrifty enough to use a charity shop for their one-time wedding purchase. That’s what I should do next time! Far better that someone wears that Bridesmaid dress, perhaps to their prom than it sits in m wardrobe forever. I am never going to be that slim again and besides, I have photos and my memories.

Another great motivator has been recognising that there are some things I am just not going to fix and therefore, it’s either time to throw out those items or Freecycle them on to someone who might like to fix them. There are a great deal of people out there, looking for a project. I had to admit that I was never going to glue those shoes back together, I had moved on. And that fridge magnet, no-one cares enough to glue that back together and it probably wasn’t going to last, even if I did! There are plenty of other fridge magnets on my fridge, but I felt attached to it as my parents had brought it back from holiday for me. Yes, I was ‘attached’ to a fridge magnet. Like I felt they would notice if I threw it out!

I am getting much better at putting unwanted gifts straight into the bag to go to a charity shop. I just don’t want to even have to deal with that kind of guilt anymore. What matters is that the person wanted to give you a gift and that you graciously accepted it. That doesn’t mean that you have to keep it. I often receive gifts that are duplicates of items I already own, so however thoughtful the gift-giver thinks they are being. I am sure they would rather someone use them, than they sit in my cupboard forever and a day. It’s also better for the planet if we use the things that have already been made, rather than storing them.

Over to you, what’s your biggest motivator for decluttering? I think big life events can also be a great initiator – especially if you are boxing everything up for a move (as we have done several times before), or preparing for a life change – like the arrival of a baby or an elderly parents coming to live with you. All these things mean that you need to clear some space and take some time to sort through your belongings with a more critical eye.

Swagbucks – Spring Reading, Team Challenge

Here’s another fun team challenge to help you earn SB from Swagbucks!

For those of you who don’t know what Swagbucks is, it’s a website where you can earn cash back on everyday tasks you do online like shopping, answering surveys, discovering deals, and watching videos. You can even earn for searching the web!

If you’ve never tried Swagbucks before because you didn’t know where to begin, their Team Challenges are a great way to learn the ropes! Their latest, the Spring Reading Team Challenge, begins on Monday, 20th March.

Here’s how you can join the challenge and the site:

1. Click here to join the challenge and be assigned to a team. Pre-registration is going on right now! If you don’t already have an account, you can sign up on this page as well.

2. Starting 20th March at 4pm GMT, in addition to earning SB you’ll contribute points to your team’s total as you complete different activities on Swagbucks.

3. Check back on the page often to see the scores and what you’ve contribute so far.   All members who participate and contribute at least 400 points to their team’s total will receive a SB bonus in the form of a SB Swag Up Rebate on their next gift card! Not only that, but if you earn 300 SB before 1 April, you’ll get a 300 SB bonus (as long as you’ve signed up under me)!

Members of the 1st place team will receive a 40 SB Swag Up Rebate, members of the 2nd place team will receive a 20 SB Swag Up Rebate, members of the 3rd place team will receive a 10 SB Swag Up Rebate. Your SB Swag Up Rebate will be made available on Friday, 24th March and will expire on Sunday, 9th April at 7:59am GMT.

Lush Mouthwash Tabs – Zero Waste Mouthwash

I was unable to find a Zero Waste alternative to the regular mouthwash I had been using. I tried making my own, but I was worried about the safety of the essential oils I was able to source, as you could technically be ingesting some. Plus, it really didn’t taste all that great nor did it seem very effective. So it was back to the standard off the shelf stuff for me.

Then, my favourite store for Zero Waste bath and body products – Lush – decided to invent mouthwash tabs! They come in this tiny plastic bottle – OK, not perfect by Zero Waste terms, I would prefer they come in a little glass bottle or a little tin. But I can’t choose – though I will feedback to them. The massive plus point is that they are dry tablets, so they are much smaller and lighter to ship which has a massive impact on the environment/carbon emmissions. They are perfectly portable, ideal for travelling or just keeping in your bag, to freshen your breath at any time.

Personally, I’ve only tried the mint ones as I have a preference for minty dental care products. Call me traditional if you like! There are 2 or 3 other flavours in the range, for those who like something a bit different. All you have to do is take one tab and crush it with your teeth, add a mouthful of water and swill like a normal mouthwash. Then spit it out and voila, minty fresh breath is yours!

I think this tiny little  bottle will last me 2-3 months, possibly more and that’s with daily use. This is way better than my old, standard option which I needed to purchase every month in a huge bottle. I therefore suspect that these are much better value! The frugal-natured part of me wants to try and calculate exactly how good these are, when I have some time.

Aside from all of this, these are much more natural; with ingredients like: sodium bicarbonate, essential oils and stevia. I am super-happy not to be putting Triclosan into my body anymore. For this reason, I’ll be sticking with these from now on – no matter what the cost. My only other minor criticism is they use a ‘frosty holly lustre’ in them which is man-made and to my mind, totally superfluous- it makes the tablets look sparkly. No-one needs a sparkly mouth, quite literally! I wonder what impact this unnecessary ingredient has on both human health and the environment?

When all is said and done, I think they’re a great option if you’re aiming to be Zero Waste, but why not let me (and Lush) know what you think! By feeding back to manufacturers, we can encourage them to make even better products!

Cheltenham Festival = The Best Time of Year to Start Matched Betting!

Next week is Cheltenham Festival and if you’re anything like me, that would be fairly meaningless to you. Until last year that was, when I found out about Matched Betting. I’ve written before about a site called Profit Accumulator which talks you through the whole process. It was exactly what I needed to walk me through, step-by-step and I was quickly on my way to having several thousand pounds in the bank! It paid for me to do renovations on my home.

If you’ve been thinking about it, or are unsure – I’d really encourage you to give it a go next week because the sign-up deals from the bookies will be the best they will be all year! Make sure you go through a cashback site to get even more free cash!!!

You can start with nothing, but it will be easier if you have £100-£200 spare in your bank account. There are forums where you can ask any questions and they even have a support team too. You’ll very quickly get the hang of it and please post here, to tell me how much cash you’ve made! No luck required, it’s all in the maths!

When being Zero Waste & Minimalist has to go out the window, temporarily.

I’ve experienced a sudden and unexpected period of ill-health this week and it is set to continue for a week or two more. I’ve suddenly encountered some of the pitfalls of the Zero Waste and Minimalist lifestyle.

  1. First up, although I cook everything from scratch – I instantly regretted the lack of more convenient meal options in my freezer. It’s not even that we would resort to ready-meals, but just a frozen pizza, or portions of Shepherd’s pie or similar would have been fantastic. OK, so often we would have portions of things stashed away. But it just so happened that we’d eaten things down since New Year, partly because I’d been ill then too and partly in preparation for our recent holiday. It had helped us save money too. My husband is not adept at cooking and unfortunately most of my recipes are kept in my head. I’ve been cooking from scratch for so long now, that I just know what to do, off by heart. A Minimalist freezer does not assist much in such circumstances!
  2. Thank goodness for internet shopping! This enabled me to get some easy-to cook options back in the freezer & cupboards quickly and without needing to rope in someone else to do my shopping. Downsides are that our shopping bill just about doubled, plus there’s the added expense of a delivery charge unless you’re going to spend a small fortune. Also a lot of these things are not just over-priced but also over-packaged. But, I am afraid needs must when it comes down to eating or not eating at all. Other annoyances include that despite requesting my shopping came with no bags, all the loose fruit & vegetables I’d chosen arrived in little plastic bags. Alongside all the meat items being individually enclosed in little plastic bags and then all the frozen items being put in a large carrier bag. I don’t understand why people do that! I mean, the containers they put meat in are pretty robust, I’ve never ever had one leak on me. And anyway, unfortunately everything else is also so well-packaged that’s there’s next to no reason to think anything would get contaminated. The frozen items wouldn’t have harmed anything else, if they had touched. It’s not as if a little wetness wouldn’t dry.  I had to rely on supermarket meat rather than a trip to a local butcher with my own containers. Supermarket meat is vastly inferior in taste and quality (and probably welfare too!)
  3. A family member kindly did buy us a few ready-meals as a very thoughtful gesture, seeing as they live too far away to help in person. I’m extremely grateful for them in my current situation, but it does generate a whole lot of plastic waste which we wouldn’t normally have.
  4. I’ve also had to buy medical supplies in an emergency which I had to send a family member to get. This meant that they ended up purchasing a plastic carrier bag because we really were caught out and they wanted to easily carry the items, plus maintain some privacy around the items that had to be purchased. Normally I’d always have a cloth bag to hand, but not when I’ve been rushed to A&E! Then I required a prescription which another family member went to get and it seems to be customary now to be handed your prescription in a little plastic carrier bag. I remember when they used to use paper! I’m sure they’ll say it’s for privacy reasons also. Cue – more unexpected expense, especially as you can’t always guarantee the best price when you’re buying things like this. But needs must!
  5. The medical supplies consequently generated more landfill waste as they are the type of disposable items, that involve some level of plastic and need to be changed and disposed of frequently.
  6. Currently, when I’d normally walk I’m having to take the car instead which also causes extra expense and pollution. I’m not able to do as much as I normally would which means my trips are also less efficient. But I know that all of this is only temporary and really, what else can you do in an unexpected, emergency situation? Life happens, but I still find it a little frustrating as it feels like all your best efforts can go out of the window so quickly.