Real Talk: 6 Months Post Graduation

I’m not going to lie to you guys, I really thought I was so prepared to graduate. I actually felt over-prepared. I saved up lots of money over the years in case I was unemployed for a while after I graduated, I had applied for HUNDREDS of jobs starting 6 months before I graduated, I was ready. What actually happened was a totally different story.

I have to admit when I first graduated life was a dream. I spent the first 6 weeks after graduation traveling and enjoying life, and during that time I realized I messed up. John and I had not found a place to live yet… We came back from vacation in the middle of July and we had until August 1st to find a rental…. somewhere… we didn’t even know where we wanted to live.

At this time we also were dealing with the issue that I had a job that started mid-July and John did not. We didn’t know what we could afford, we didn’t know where to move… we were really just screwed (or so I thought). We ended up finding a place to live with just enough time and moved into a city we hardly knew anything about. We pay way too much for it and we moved in while I was just getting settled into my job. For the next 3 months, we dealt with the crippling anxiety John was facing being unemployed and the hardship it brought on me trying to support both of us.

The first few months were obviously crazy getting everything figured out, but now that I look back on it, it taught us so so much.

I not only learned John is resilient and smart, but I also learned that he has the world’s biggest heart. It was very hard for both of us dealing with his unemployment. We were both not handling it well and taking it out on each other. The problem was we were both facing insecurities we had never had to face before. John was faced with the idea of not feeling good enough to get a job. As the months passed, I could feel how he was questioning himself and his worth. All the while, I was so insecure about not having enough money. My identity is wrapped up in money. I run an affordable lifestyle blog for christ’s sake!

We learned we had to be there for each other to pick each other up where we were lacking and the insecurities we were facing were temporary. We didn’t run out of money, John got a job, and everything we were worried about became a lie we told ourselves.

I also learned moving to a city away from all your family and friends is not as exciting as I thought it would be. Don’t get me wrong I love where I live, but I wish all my friends and family thought the same. I thought once I moved to a cool new city, that all my friends and family would want to come here and visit. Instead, everyone says it’s too far and not worth the drive and it honestly sucks. It’s so rejecting when people don’t deem it worth it to come to see you.

Not only will no one come to see us, but we have made no friends. I expected to make friends at work, at my gym, in our neighborhood, and none of that turned out. We are so much younger than almost everyone we meet. We also don’t have much in common with people and it’s actually ridiculously hard to make friends. We’re doing our best, honestly, but it’s hard to be stuck in this place with just each other. We want community around us and we lack that so much.

Although this may seem terrible and not fun, I actually am that best version of myself I have ever been in my life. I am so much more focused on my passions and making sure that the people in my life are the people that matter. I have learned who’s here for me and who isn’t and I’ve gotten to improve every aspect of my life.

My business is thriving more than it ever has before, it’s going in the direction I want it to go, and John helps me with it more than ever. I’ve gotten my physical and mental health in check and I feel so strong and beautiful! I also love where I live. It brings me so much joy to have a house with space. I love decorating and exploring our fun new town, and also I never want to live any further from DC ever again!

I don’t miss homework; I don’t miss being in college. I miss having my friends nearby and a bar that John liked to go to. Six months post-college is a good place to be. We’re settled in, we’ve grown up a lot, we’ve realized so much, and we are in the best place in life. I can’t wait to see what the next six months bring.


Consignment vs Thrifting

I get asked a lot about how I find good pieces thrifting or why I even bother to go. I think there’s this misconception from social media that every time I go thrifting, I find amazing pieces or every used piece I have is thrifted.

Honestly, I go to the thrift store and consignment store… a ton. I probably go once a week to a few different locations. This works out well for me mainly because of the location. My house is super close to a GoodWill and Evolution Consignment, but also there’s another giant thrift store right near my Costco so I always just pop in. If I didn’t have these so close to me, I don’t think I would go as often and going to the stores often is the key to finding great things.

The good pieces at thrift stores don’t sit long because they really are a dime a dozen. When it comes to cosigning, this is much easier to find some gems. The biggest difference between the two is the items you’ll find and the prices.

To start, thrifting usually consists of a lot of junk. You will have to spend time digging through it to find the good piece. The pricing is very straight forward and everything is usually really cheap. The problem with this is that you have to dig so it takes time. If you get overwhelmed when you can’t find what you’re looking for, looking for things during this process may be a bit overwhelming for you. If you’re like me and love to casually peruse the aisles looking for charming treasures you definitely don’t need, this will be a great time.

Consigning is almost always better for finding stuff you’re looking for, but it’s also much more confusing. Consignment stores can also look like they’re filled with junk, but they’re run similarly to antique stores in a way (a whole other ballgame). There are vendors who come into the store and pay for a space to sell their things. The vendors then control their prices and how things roll.

There are normally 2 ways pricing can go. The vendor can either come in and mark a price that’s on a tag and that’s that (left photo) or they can do a date tag (right photo). The first option requires the vendor to come in more to adjust prices based off what is selling and what isn’t. Vendors like to do this so you think they won’t drop the price ever, but they will if it sits on the shelf for a long time. The second option is very hands-off. The vendor sets dates and corresponding prices. If the item is still in the store by that date, the price drops. The table with this tag on it is currently $1,050 and then the price will drop again on October first.

One thing you have to be careful within consignment stores is if the pricing is good or not. The vendors set the prices and sometimes the item isn’t worth that much. For example, the table that the price tag is from is used, in good condition, but nothing fancy. It is definitely not worth $1300 and hence it has sat in the store for MONTHS! Those green glasses, the vendor wanted $20 for a set of 4 or $39 for a set of 9. I thought that was pretty reasonable considering they’re in great shape, but you can find glassware like that pretty often.

p.s this table is what they wanted $1300 for… like what?!

Consignment stores will also have a good mix of old and new. Thrift stores do as well, but it’s rare you find really cool antique pieces in a thrift store. The things in a thrift store usually need a little tender loving care, so you just have to decide what kind of effort your willing to put in.

Both thrifting and consigning can save you tons of money and are great for the environment. Don’t let the stigma of “used” keep you from finding some awesome things. Everything from both places can be washed, disinfected, scrubbed, painted, whatever it needs to feel new to you. Giving pieces from here new life is honestly rewarding and fun. I hope you guys give it a try soon!


Why you need to save for the holidays NOW

The last 90 days of the year is fast approaching and you know what else is coming up fast? The holiday season. Christmas is a distant thought for most of us until we walk into Costco and are reminded that we can buy a 9 ft pre-lit tree for $399, and if you’re like me you see those and think, that’s crazy, it’s September! This is your wake up call to say, DECEMBER ISN’T THAT FAR AWAY!

We all know when Christmas (or whatever holiday you celebrate) is, and we all know that the holiday season can run our bank accounts dry. Every year, we all get sucked in by deals, the spirit of the holiday season, or absolutely nothing at all into overspending. So many people do not spend enough time during the year saving for this time and then they can’t afford to get the presents they want, get on a plane to see family, give back, or buy gallons of eggnog.

I’m not saying you have to set back a fortune to spend over the holidays because that is not what that season is about, but statistically, you are more likely to spend more money during the last 3 months of the year over any other time. You need to decide what your expenses are for this season and PLAN AHEAD. I think plan ahead should be my life motto after, “Reach for positivity” because these are honestly the 2 things I live my life by.

Let’s walk through what this looks like step by step

1. Determine your purchase costs

For me, I know I get presents for as many people in my life as possible. To keep track of everyone and budget, I make a spread sheet of who I’m buying for and the MAX amount I will spend on them. Then I leave a column for how much I have spent on them for later when I actually start buying things.

2. Determine your travel costs

I live about 2 hours away from where all my family lives, so I will definitely have to make the trip back and forth there many times over the holidays. I also try to make it to John’s family outings during this time as well which is another 2 and a half hours from my parents (or about 5 hours from our house). Thats a ton of extra gas I will be using that is not normally accounted for in my budget that I should keep track of.

If you have family far away, start watching flight costs now also so you can get good deals!

3. Determine leisure costs

You always have to guess how much you’ll spend on the added fun of the holidays. Living so close to DC, there are tons of activities of the season John and I love to do. We always have a fancy Christmas date we go on together. We also go to the Christmas market in downtown, we go look at Christmas lights, there’s bar crawls, ice skating, and these add up. Adding this in now might save you from having to miss out on the fun of the holiday season and if you’re like me and up to your ears in work at this time of year, you will plan for this and won’t go and then you’ll have some extra cash for later!

I personally love Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas and I try to make this time of the year as fun and easy as possible for me so I can enjoy the extra time I get to enjoy with my family and friends. I hope you give this a try and let me know if it works for you!


How to Pack Your Pictures

I just want to start this by saying, at this point in moving, I see why people pay for moving companies…

Anyways, there are certain things that are harder to pack than others. Things can be oddly shaped or sharp or fragile and you have to pack them accordingly. The one thing I’m always concerned about is my artwork. I have tons of handmade pieces and others I’ve collected from my travels and they are my pride and joys. I know not everyone will pack up their artwork as precisely as I will, but this is still a great way to pack it all in one place and make your move much easier.

Ok, first thing’s first, you have to get it all off the wall. Since I always live in rentals, I hang my things with Command strips 75% of the time, so I just take them off slowly. Then, you should try to find a box as long as your biggest piece of artwork. I’m working with boxes I dug out of a dumpster, so they weren’t big enough for my BIG pieces of art but perfect for most of it.

Next, lay all the pieces in the box next to each other side by side with no packaging. see how much space they have between them so you can gauge how much room you have to wrap them or separate them. I recommend just having a little wiggle room between them, but probably nothing more than a half inch between each piece.

I had a little wiggle room, as you can see, they all slid over and that’s plenty of room for me to place some protection between them so they don’t get scratched or move around.

Finally, I put some protector in the box. Now, I don’t want to pay for bubble wrap or anything, so what I do is take t-shirts of mine or towels that also need packed and use them to protect my other things. For this, I took wash cloths and stuck them between each frame. Once they were all separated, I filled the empty space in the box with a big towel so they wouldn’t move around while being transported. I also wrote “artwork” on the box, so I will know that baby is one that should ride along in the front seat with me (Maybe strapped in with a seatbelt too). Better safe than sorry!

Also, if you have a letter board, don’t worry about taking all the letters out to move! Just wrap the bad boy in cling wrap and the whole thing won’t move! Super easy! (Yes I know my sign is missing a letter)

Now all of your beautiful artwork will make it to your new home safely! Stay tuned later this week for some more moving tips, and if I don’t post, you know I died from the stress of starting a new job and moving all at the same time. Let’s hope for the best!


Moving Plans 101

As a new month approaches, the worst thing on Earth is approaching…. the thing we all hate the most…. the epitome of my existence, and no I’m not talking about a bikini wax, I’m talking about moving. Moving, in my opinion, is the absolute worst. I have moved every year since 2015, since this is the year I came to college. I have moved from my family home to my dorm to an apartment to a different apartment building to a different apartment in the same building and now off to a new city in my first townhome.

Yes, I know it is very exciting to be moving on to this new chapter of my life, but ITS FREAKIN STRESSFUL! I have a new job, I’m moving to a new town, I’m moving into a space 3 TIMES as large as what I live in now and I don’t even own a mattress, let alone a couch! I have approximately 7 hours to move all my crap 45 minutes away with 2 SUV’s and 2 people…. No I’m not stressed….

OF COURSE I”M STRESSED! But believe it or not I am prepared. If you know me, you know I’m very organized. I feel like sometime I have nothing planned and sometimes it just works out and I pretend and say YeS I wAS ToTALLy prePaReD fOr THat. For this particular event I have a plan and it, not only is going to save me money when I move, it will also save me some headaches.

1. Pack with a Purpose

The first thing to prepare for when moving is to make sure you stay organized. If you keep track of your stuff, you will do much better than most. Pack it by room or by something you understand. I currently live in one room so the whole room thing wouldn’t work so great for me. I would sort by dishes and glassware or kitchen things. I also would pack electronics together or bathroom products. Keep things together that make sense and be prepared to not fill boxes. If there is extra space in a box, fill it with newspaper and keep it organized. Don’t throw some random dos stuff in just because it fits. You will thank me later.

2. Start packing beforehand

Pack up little by little leading up to the days you move. There are so many things you have to do on moving day that most people forget they take FOREVER. You have to clean and move the boxes and spackle the holes you made, you don’t have time to pack the stuff up too. Pack it before and leave out the bare minimum. Maybe a suitcase you would need for a two day weekend and a few dishes and nothing else. Pack it up, you will survive without it for 2 days.

3. Find boxes, don’t pay for them

There are so many places for you to get FREE moving boxes! People will have free moving boxes listed on Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace. There are also tons at stores! Call your local grocery store, Target, Walmart, clothing store, and just say hey! I’m moving and was wondering if you had extra boxes you could put in back for me? 75% of the time they will say yes! If you’re not up for that much social interaction, check the recycling dumpsters! They’re so clean, and they’re usually filled with boxes! Just make sure it hasn’t rained recently. No one likes soggy boxes.

4. Unpack the bare essentials on the first day

The suitcase you’ve be living out of for the last 2 days? Wash the clothes and the dishes and use it for another two days while you figure this out. Start by unpacking the most important things like frozen food and them move on to the dog raincoat and letter board. Find your laundry detergent and underwear and make it through the week. You got this!

There is no need for moving trucks, moving crews, paying for boxes, etc. All of us here are here to save some coin and move on to our next big step in life. When we make it big, we’ll pay for the hunks moving junk, but until then, this is our strategy. I hope this is helpful and make sure to check out my Instagram stories to see our live move in all its chaos.


My Summer Reading List

This summer I will probably end up reading more than these books, but I wanted to share some books I’m really excited about reading this summer. I would say the type of books I love to read are usually informative. I love self help books, non-fiction, a little bit of everything, but I also love a good romantic book (Elin Hildebrand is one of my favs). This summer, I decided I wanted to grow a little more, keep my creative spark, and feed my passions, so these are the books I can’t wait to read all about.

1. Daring Greatly by Brene Brown

I decided to buy this book after watching her Netflix special, “The Call to Courage”. It spoke to my soul and the fact that she’s a researcher just gave me so much respect for her. I tend to hate motivational people who just preach cheesy stuff all day, I want the cold hard truth. I want you to lay it on the line, call me out, and give me the facts.

I think we all improve by looking inward and being self reflective. You have to examine yourself and see where you need to grow as a person based on your goals and values. I’m hoping this book will do that this summer and give me the courage to continue to be vulnerable here on my blog and in life.

2. Girl Stop Apologizing by Rachel Hollis

Okay guys, I’m going to be honest, I really don’t want to read this book. I would not have wasted my money on it, but my mother bought it for me so I figured why not?! I know all the Rachel Hollis fans are writing me DM’s right now, but I really don’t think Rachel Hollis is that great. I read her first book while I was in Guatemala and yes, I liked it, but would I recommend it to people? Would I read it again? No.

To me, she is one of those cliche people who I see as just making money to say things I already know. In her book, she didn’t tell me anything that changed my life. She hardly told me anything I remember. I know this isn’t the case for everyone and I love that she motivates women to be their best selves and take chances, but I just don’t like the way she goes about it.

I want to give her a second chance and see how this book goes, but we’ll see if I make it the whole way through it.

3. Southern Living Magazine

This is the only magazine I ever read and probably ever will. Technically I live in the south, but not really…. This magazine has a little bit of everything I love; fashion, gardening, the best recipes ever, and travel. This magazine is fun to look through and keeps me inspired and don’t worry, I always recycle it when I’m done.

4. Outer Order, Inner Calm by Gretchen Rubin

I actually have this book signed by Gretchen Rubin. I have read her two other books, The Happiness Project as well as The Four Tendencies. She gives great advice and has a Ph.D in phycology which reflects in the way she writes. I love to read books by academics because they do their research to back up what they say and they usually write in a similar way to myself. This book specifically is about how organizing your life can help destress your life. If you have order in your home, schedule, etc, then you will have more peace of mind and less stress.

5. The Omnivorous Dilemma by Michael Pollan

This book is amazing. period. I have already started reading it and it’s a book made for Clark. This book is very academic heavy so if you don’t like to read about science and research I would say skip this book, but it is so interesting. This book is all about food; how we eat it, where it comes from, the agriculture industry, everything. Michael Pollan really dug into this book and wants the reader to think about our food and get connected with it and the choices we make. If you still want to learn more about the topic, he has a Netflix special called Cooked (the name of another book he has written) or you could watch Rotten on Netflix.

Honestly, I’m a really slow reader so this will probably be every book I read this summer, but I hope you guys find some of these good reads too. There’s a lot to learn from these books and I’m excited to see if I can read them all before my big girl job starts. I guess we’ll see!

My 3 Life Hacks to Help you Budget and Save

I’m a huge money saver. When I got to college, I really learned I had to make the most of every penny I had, and I really needed to start keeping track of my spending. I really never had any idea what to do with my money until I met John. I just spent on what I wanted to spend on and that was that. I didn’t realize the importance of saving and investing, learning about my financials has been a life changer! We all don’t always see where all of our money is going and today, I’m sharing with you 3 things that really changed the game for me saving money, keeping track of my spending, and allowing me to make the most of the money I had.

1. Mint

Mint is a finance app that literally changed my life. This app has so many amazing features like setting up separate savings for big purchases like a tv, a down payment on a home, or a vacation. The best thing about this app is the budgeting aspect. It averages how much income is going into your accounts every month and then based off of your bills that you input and your savings goals, it tells you how much you have let over to spend. Once you know that amount, you can divide it up based off what you want to spend it on, so you can decide you want to spend $100 on eating out and $200 on shopping and thats it. Or you can decide you want to spend $120 on hair appointments and $50 on alcohol and thats it. If you spend too much or get close to your limit, it sends you a notification to hold you accountable.

If you’re like me and have lots of accounts, you can link them all up along with your credit cards to keep track of everything in one place. It even lets you set up automatic bill pays so you don’t have to worry about that either. If you are willing to stay within the means you set for yourself, this app will help you save and reach your financial goals without you having to think twice about it.

2. Acorn

Acorn is another app for your phone that I use to save. John actually taught me about this app and it is the best place to put your long term savings. Acorn is a long term investment app that allows you to independently create easy investment portfolios to help your money grow over time; basically it’s an investment app. If you’re trying to save for a wedding, a down payment on a house, a new car, a huge vacation, this is what you need.

This app is meant for you to save money in for 5+ years. You add money into the account like a savings account, but your money is in an investment portfolio that you pick out. No, you don’t need lots of knowledge about stocks and all that for this! You just select the amount of risk you want to take, they show you where your money will be going, and you can change your portfolio at any time! Your money can grow around 5-10% in a year, which is 5-10% more than it would in a savings account at a bank.

3. My vacation savings sheet

So I downloaded this off the internet probably 3 years ago and I don’t remember where I got it from, but it has helped me plan every trip I’ve ever taken, big or small. It lets you enter in every aspect of a trip to see how much you’re estimating to spend before you even go. It’s so much easier to plan, when you can see how much each aspect is going to cost you so there’s no surprises.

I heavily recommend over estimating how much you think you’re going to spend on things like restaurants, souvenirs, and gas/taxis because you’d rather plan for too much than not enough. If you do this before you even book a single detail of your trip, you can use this to put into Mint to start saving for the trip! No surprises and you can see where you can cut costs to go on as many trips as you want!

To download the travel budget sheet click here and follow the instructions!

Later down the line, I will share my tips with you guys on how I set up my accounts, how much I’m saving out of my monthly income, and how to make the savings grow and not be inclined to touch it! I hope these tips get you started on the right track to start saving some money in the long term!

Sustainable Fashion

With Earth day being Monday, I felt this was the perfect time to talk about this topic. This is something that was brought to my attention by some of my followers and other bloggers in the community that I follow. I felt that a major part I was missing from my blog was focusing on sustainable fashion. This is such an overwhelming and overarching topic. Over the past few weeks I felt overwhelmed by it. I wasn’t sure how to relate it to my blog, keep it affordable, or transition to sustainable fashion in my own life.

I am still very new to the sustainable lifestyle and I think that’s where we all are! I’m trying to make the best choices possible now as I make this transition, but I still have all my old clothes and products that aren’t so sustainable. I’m not just going to throw out all of my clothes/products since they’re not sustainable! I’m also not going to avoid buy certain things because they’re not from a eco-friendly company. I want to integrate this into the lifestyle I already have and make the best choices for myself, where I’m at in my life, and for the environment.

I didn’t want to talk about this on my blog until I really dived into this and found out how I could really put my money where my mouth was and I think I’ve found a happy medium that works, not only, for myself, but I think it will be easy for you guys as well!

The way I wanted to approach this was making sure we all could fiscally make good choices, be conscious of the choices we already made, and not feel guilty if we don’t make the best choices in the future in regards to sustainable fashion so this is my guide to how we can implement this into our own lives.

1. Don’t buy what you don’t need

There is a large over saturation of poorly made and bad quality clothes on the market now from the “fast fashion” industry (I linked a really great video on this topic). We all try really hard to stay on trend and keep up with what everyone else is wearing, but we pay a price for this; not with our wallets, but in another way. We influx tons of cheap clothes that we hardly wear and then donate, throw away, or try to resell. In reality, how many black v-necks do you need? Don’t over stuff your closet just because something is trendy and really grabbing your attention. Take a second and really think about if you need that purple faux leather jacket from H&M for $29.99 because it probably came from fast fashion and is having a horrible impact on our global economy and our environment.

But on the other side of this, if you really will wear that jacket, then buy it! Wear the heck out of it and love the heck out of it! If that’s what you can afford that do it, but don’t make this your first option and don’t feel bad about all the fast fashion you already have! I have tons of cheap clothes in my house! You would not believe the amount of t-shirts I have for NO REASON! I’m still going to share clothes from amazon, forever 21, H&M, Zara, and other fast fashion companies, but I want you guys to remember that I’m sharing them if you need an affordable alternative or if you really want them and feel you will get the use out of them. As long as it’s not your go to thing and you make the effort, that’s what counts!

2. Buy second hand/ rent/ or swap

Whoa never though this was helping the planet did ya? Well guess what?! It’s helping the fashion economy as well! Buying second hand means less clothes are coming into the market and more clothes are being used as they should! I agree there are lots of clothes that are not what I want to wear in thrift stores and I don’t have time to go digging through thrift stores to find stuff that I like and that fits me, so guess what? Someone put it all online for you! Yes! You herd me there are online thrift stores sorted just like Forever 21 online where you can find cheap clothes that are up-cycled, clean, quality, and ready to be shipped to you. I know I was just as mind blown as you are!

(blog post reviewing some of these coming very soon)

There are also websites where you can rent, share, or swap clothes with people as well! This way if you have a special occasion, you can rent an outfit, wear it, and return it! It doesn’t take up space in your closet, you save money, and we keep extra clothes out of the market!

3. Make the investment when necessary

Last week, I asked a lot of you guys on my Instagram what you invest in, and a lot of you said different types of clothes like jeans, bikinis, athletic wear, or designer handbags. If you’re willing to spend money on quality, why wouldn’t you want to put that money into the hands of someone who is doing good? Why wouldn’t you want your athletic wear to be made with fair trade goods or your purse to come from an independent artisan who makes one of a kind bags? Think about where your money is going and the impact it has. Personally, I splurge on athletic wear sometimes and now I think I may be finding a new favorite brand of leggings.

4. Buy timeless

What I mean by this is remember classic style. A classic white tee and jeans will never go out of style. Sometimes it’s so easy to get wrapped up in what everyone else is wearing and think that we need it and we don’t. Especially with how much influencers push products these days. There’s nothing wrong with sharing products/clothes you love, but I think we are so bombarded with this on social media that we forget about the good stuff we already have hanging in our closets! Even a $30 pair of brown sandals probably won’t go out of style for a solid decade so if they will last you, then why do you need 15 pairs of rhinestoned, bedazzled, funky brown sandals that won’t be in next year? Remember when an influencer is sharing a product with you, that you don’t have to buy it. Remember why you have the stuff you already own, what makes it great, and that you don’t need 40 scrunchies because you only have one head to wear them on.

What I really want you guys to take away from this is that we need to be conscious consumers. We are so disconnected from where our things come from, how they get to us, and who makes them. Even as a college student on a budget, I feel that I can make smart choices that, not only save me money, but that are better for the environment and for our economy. I was not aware of this and I am an affordable and SUSTAINABLE lifestyle blogger! We need to be aware, we need to be smart, but we still have to stay fashionable. I hope this helps.

If you want to learn more, I thought these were some really great articles about sustainable fashion. I also read lots of interesting research papers on the subject! If you’re in college or have access to scientific journals I can share the articles with you as well!

4 Ways to Cut Plastic Out of your Life

Being conscious of my plastic use is something that I was lacking in until about two years ago and I started following @leefromamerica on Instagram. She went 1 week using no plastic AND IT WAS SO SIMPLE FOR HER! I started thinking about where I use the most plastic in my life and how I could eliminate it. The two main places I use lots of plastic are in shopping and in storage. When you look at the big picture of where your plastic is coming from, there are some simple steps you can take to eliminate lots of this plastic from your life all together!

1. Reusable shopping bags

I think this is a really obvious one that we all try to do, but we’re not perfect at. I forget my bags just like everyone else, but are you only using reusable bags when you go to the grocery store or do you take them everywhere you go shopping? It’s not common that you’ll see people at the mall with reusable bags and I think that’s where some of us are missing out. Most of us take a purse to the store anyways, why not grab a reusable bag to take as well or pop a fold up bag into our purse? It’s a simple step that will save you a lot of plastic from ever entering your house.

So what do you do when forget the reusable bags? You take the plastic ones and DON’T THROW THEM AWAY! You can store them in this nifty bag holder under your sink or in a cabinet and take them to be recycled at your local grocery store or target. This will ensure that even if you are keeping the bags, you’re making sure the plastic is being reused!

2. Glass storage containers

This idea can scare a lot of people because we all know that this stuff can get expensive, and we don’t do expensive here at Clark’s Remarks! My best recommendation is to do this slowly. I have an old set of plastic Tupperware that I still use, but I also have a set of glass ones. I also use tons and tons of mason jars to store things like sliced carrots, leftover broth, lose grains, and other things. I have found lots of savings on Pyrex bowls at Marshall’s, but I got a full set of the Pyrex containers from Kohl’s for super cheap because their stuff is always on sale! I also bought a lot of my jars from Home Goods and Kohl’s as well and save old jars from random events or gifts because all jars work the same right?

3. No produce bags at the store

This one is hard for some people to get on the wagon with and I get it! I have tried to get my mom on this boat for a while now, I even gave her some reusable produce bags, and she still uses plastic ones. Sometimes we’re just stuck in our ways, but if you can, try to just put your produce in the cart and go! I tried using the bags I linked for awhile, but I kept losing them so I just throw the produce in the reusable bag because I’m going to wash it when I get home anyways! Nowadays we are very out of touch with the process food goes through to get from the seed to the table and trust me when I say it’s going to be dirty. Whether it’s organic or not you need to wash your produce and wash it well. You can use a produce cleaning spray that is totally safe for you to eat, but also grab a dish scrubber and designate it to be used just on produce and scrub your produce before you eat it. Even if it’s organic, remember they use manure as fertilizer… ask me how I know.

4. Try to purchase foods with no plastic

Doing this can not only help you reduce the amount of plastic you are using, but it can also help you eat healthier and higher quality foods. When you go to the grocery store, almost everything in the middle isles comes in plastic such as snacks, baking products or spices. Some of these are harder to avoid getting the plastic, but I shop at Whole Foods, where you can get all your meat from the meat counter in paper. You also can buy meat that comes wrapped in small amounts of plastic, but the container is recyclable, which is a good step. You also can try getting unpackaged spices and grains. I’m trying to transition into doing this and keeping the grains in glass jars. You can weigh out how much you want and put it in a paper bag and take it home to put in your containers. They have this for flour, sugar, rice, beans, spices, and other things like coconut, nuts, and candy. This step is a little more work, but if you stick to this method, you will only be picking up plastic with your milk carton.

We don’t have to be perfect. We can have plastic Tupperware and take a plastic bag from Target or put your meat in a plastic bag at the store, but I want you guys to be conscious of this. Think about how much plastic you use in a week and be mindful of the impact it has on this Earth. I hope this gives you a new perspective and maybe persuades you to buy some cool produce bags.