Simplifying in 2017

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As 2017 begins, many of us are setting goals and resolutions for the new year. One that I’m seeing pop up quite a bit among friends, family, and many bloggers I follow is that they’d like to simplify. In my own case, that’s a constant challenge for our family, especially with the “glut of stuff” that we’ve discovered during our move. So, I thought today it would be neat to share one of my favorite tips for simplifying - going green! And, odds are, you’re already doing one of these suggestions already. (If you’re on the Thirsties website - and you are - chances are good!) Why does going green help simplify your life? Some people think that adopting a new lifestyle is actually a huge chore, filled with to-do lists and the purchasing of new stuff to help fulfill it. But, going green is actually the opposite. Simply put, when you go green, you think about your impact on the Earth. You think about how much you buy, how much waste you create, and how much you actually NEED (vs. want). Oftentimes, when you start analyzing you and your family’s waste, you end up buying less stuff in the long run, using what you have in a wiser way, and enjoying “the little things” tons more. Here are just a few ways that you can go green to simplify your life in 2017: - Buy cloth diapers. This may seem contradictory to what I said about buying less stuff, but what I really mean is that you buy only what your family needs to get by - and, in this case, one large-ish purchase of cloth diapers will mean hundreds and hundreds fewer dirty diapers in a landfill in the long-term. So, yes, sometimes you have to invest a little, but the dividends far outweigh the initial cost. Plus, never having to buy a box of diapers again definitely simplifies things, doesn’t it??  

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- Do a house walk-through. Analyze everything you have in your house. Do your kids play with all their toys? Do you wear every article of clothing? Do you use all of your kitchen utensils? If there’s anything you don’t use, donate it. If there’s anything that could find better use elsewhere (in my house this often means reorganizing baskets and bins), go ahead and adjust. And, of course, anything that’s broken, be sure that you find a way to reuse or recycle it properly to avoid more landfill waste. - Meal plan. Here’s my *simple* method for planning weekly meals. Ready? First, make a list of your family’s favorite meals (namely, dinners). Then, pick 7 that you can use for the next week and jot down any ingredients you’ll need on your shopping list. Bam. That’s it. I don’t even fill out a calendar or anything (I do often put the meals on a dry erase board and check them off depending on what we ate). But, it does help knowing what you’ll be eating for the following week or so in order to buy only what you need. Our food waste can be astounding, so meal planning is a great step to reduce that AND simplify your life. - Use reusable. It sounds so super simple and almost ridiculous to say these days, but by purchasing a reusable water bottle or coffee mug, you will reduce your waste SO MUCH. Just think about it. I’ve fallen into this trap myself (drive-thru is so much easier and I’ve just never asked if they could fill my cup instead...guilty!) but am working to squash this problem. Plus, the BPA-free lining of most reusable options are far healthier for our bodies than many of the styrofoam options. And, of course, the same goes for food storage, lunch bags and boxes, and more. My simplest, greenest favorite? The humble mason jar. See? Just a few ideas, but all greener ways to simplify your life a bit. Do you have a favorite tip for simplifying your life? We’d LOVE to hear it in the comments! And, as always, thanks for reading!

About Our "Written by Mama Monday" Blogger: Megan is a wife, mother to two young children, freelance writer, and educator. She shares her attempts at simplifying, among other things, at her blog, Meg Acts Out. When not busy meeting deadlines and chasing cats and kids, she enjoys acting in community theatre (where she met her husband), watching old movies, and sharpening her history buff skills.

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