“andare” by foreverinmotion on deviantArt
First in were wide-mouthed glass jars, their squat shape perfect for my ideal beverage portions. Ah, mason jars, glorious chalices that sustained my butter-fingers better than ordinary glasses. I was nearly twenty and had just moved into my first apartment with a lively baby and a slim wallet. Not to mention, recession was in full swing. Indeed, these were the declared staple of country living that I’d heard so much about… Slowly my kitchen cabinet was made up of nothing but them. I filled and capped them with soup, and created a prepared work lunch. I filled and capped them with tea or coffee, and I had a travel mug. Microwavable, reusable, dish-washable, free cup ware! A purchase of spaghetti sauce, a jar of pickles; they came in regular and unappreciated bulky packaging, with greasy paper labels that left sticky tattoos. But like a gift that keeps giving, with one sterile wash and steam, they transformed into gleaming grails of godly cheapness of infinite proportions! So induced my thrifty bottle and jar hoarding, which extended well into both glass and plastics.
Did you know that for every $11 that you spend on at the store, an average of $1 is paying for packaging costs? (See Purposes of Packaging, by Ohio State University.) That is like 9% of your spending. At the same time, while modern technology is gaining efficiency, the energy and expense put forth to help people recycle that crap is practically equivalent to not doing it at all. (See Is Recycling Worth It?, by Popular Mechanics) Now, that is not to say one should quit recycling. Here in the Pacific Northwest, not recycling is as good as heresy. But perhaps surrendering the responsibility of recyclable materials to unseen forces is hardly a healthy behavior; one trip to your city dump would put that into proper perspective. Here are a few examples of items you, like I, could place on hold and brush up on some long lost arts in the process.
- Baby Food Jars
Moms on Ebay and Etsy are actually making a small fortune off these little buggers! Why? The average range for baby food jars is between 2 and 4 ounces, perfect for artisan cosmetics and home crafts. They are a hot commodity, trust me. They adapt to the kitchen pantry in more suitable ways than mushed bananas and vegetable medley too. I, personally, use them for storing herbs and spices that I have supplied in bulk: Rosemary, Cloves, etc. If there is excess residue where the old label was, leave it. The extra glue will keep tighter to the labels you stick on there yourself.
- Spray Bottles
From house-cleaning to hair care products, the majority contain harmful chemicals like ammonia and ingredients that alter hormones. Many have natural alternatives that are simple and even do a better job. Spray bottles are typically plastic and kind of pricey, considering you have had a lifetime to cling to a pair or two for free. That said, I still recycle those that don’t have removable labels. When mixing these yourself, you want to have the recipe on-hand in case you need to tweak it. Therefor, a little acetone nail polish remover to wipe away the residue from a label and make a little room for your scribbles is a good investment.
- Beer Bottles
May the Lord bless and keep beer bottles. Don’t partake in beer? Okay, then. How much do you spend on soft drinks or any other bottled beverages? Yeah? And how much time do you spend mindlessly surfing the web or watching Adult Swim? Here’s a thought: don’t throw the bottles out next time and don’t turn on the TV. Go to the nice health food shop (you know, the one of the cool part of town), buy some quality ingredients (in bulk ;)) and make that sh*t yourself. Rejuvenate that old, dusty sense of pride and productivity. You’ll probably save yourself from an increased chance of diabetes, in addition to a couple bucks! Get a kindle book on tasty recipes; Google a soda keg. I promise Adult Swim will still be playing re-runs by the time you finally sit back down to enjoy the novelty of your own cold drink.
The whole trick for container-hoarding to be prosperous is to find ways to utilize them.
The satisfaction of getting a bunch of free organizational tools is kind of liberating. In the hopes of entertaining myself whilst being too broke for cable, I have learned to make just about everything I would ever need to buy. New skills and hobbies don’t necessarily flock to people. You’d be surprised how much the world expands without consumer marketing schemes to narrow your vision. At least if I ever become homeless, I’ll have all the more glass and plastic to trade for some nickels on the West Coast… eh?
Ever truly your favorite prairie muffin,
❤ Nellie Ann