Nothing New update

So, as the year progresses and we try not to buy anything new, I have come to some "road blocks" and am having to make some compromises. Let me explain....

As you all probably know (maybe more than you want to) if you read this blog, I am a huge fan of trying to reduce our waste and to be kind to our earth. Which is why I am doing this "nothing new" thing. However, I also have goals that I want to achieve to make our home less wasteful, and some of those could require me to buy "new" things. Here are some examples:

1. I want to stop using saran wrap (and BUYING it), so I think it is worth it to invest in some new things like these so I don't use more plastic. 

2. I use a swiffer to clean my floors. I bought the disposable wet covers at costco awhile back and still have them. But, I hate myself for buying them. Every time I use them, I wish they were gone. I am thinking about getting something like this swiffer cover

3. I want to start composting this year. Hopefully in the next few months. I may need to buy a receptacle to keep my compost in. I have been researching how to compost when you don't really have a yard, and I am finding some good resources. Are you interested? Maybe I will write a blog about it.

4. Produce bags. I already do fairly well at this, but I still use plastic bags for some things: bulk spinach or lettuce. MOST everything else I either don't use a bag, or I use a paper bag (which can be recycled, but I would still rather reuse than recycle. Here are some that I like:
found here
found here

Maybe you guys have some ideas for other things I could use that are not NEW instead of buying these. But I feel like the principle of "reusable" things is more important sometimes. So, I find myself in a dilemma. What do you think?

More info on our nothing new adventure:
Other things we have bought new (besides food):
a printer (business expense)
paper for the printer (mostly a business expense, but we will use it for personal use too)
crayons for arlo (i didn't look at goodwill, but it doesn't seem like something you can buy used? am i wrong)

So, I feel pretty decent about what we have done so far. Definitely not perfect, but definitely an improvement and we have learned a lot (and saved a lot). 


Christy Wheeler said...

Do you have a sewing machine? If so you can probably sew several of those items. You can find fabric at Goodwill sometimes, either the regular goodwill or the outlet on tv. For the top one it looks like you might need oil cloth... I haven't seen any of that there yet but you never know.

I might try making some produce bags, that is a good idea.

And you are totally justified with buying the crayons. Also if there are other things like that you are looking for, you could do a blog post or send out an email seeing if anyone you know had some they are willing to part with or sell for cheap. I know I have a box of barely used crayons I would have given you. Just an idea.

Courtney B said...

Thanks! I will check into that more! The problem I have found with making/sewing things myself is that I would either have to buy fabric, elastic, oilcloth etc. I would have to buy SOMETHING, so I might as well buy it handmade on etsy? I do have some fabric at home I have not used, maybe I could ask if friends have any of the other materials. I definitely can be more creative!

that's what she said...

My opinion is this. From what I remember, the whole point of 'nothing new' is to cut down on waste. So if that really is the reason why you're doing this, you could reuse all kinds of things to prevent needing to buy any of the things you mentioned that you want to buy.

Saran wrap-to be completely honest, I've had the same box of saran wrap (and it's not a big one) for probably the last 2-3 years. I just never use it. Everything goes in a container with a snap on lid. if you're somebody that uses it a lot, make them.

The swiffer-you could easily attach a towel to the bottom of your swiffer and clip/rubberband it on top for dusting and mopping.

the composting bin would be harder but you can find big garbage cans at gw that have lids that could serve this purpose.

The produce bags are easy enough to solve-goodwill sells TONS of bags that are tote-size that people have donated that would work just fine for produce and could easily be washed in between use.

I think a lot of the 'save the planet' stuff is also a bit vanity. Let me explain. I don't mean that in a bad way. But buying all this stuff on etsy in the cutest fabrics is nice-but if it was truly about saving the planet, your house or goodwill would be your first stop for most of these purchases. Although it is fun to have cute bags to do it in so I can understand that. :) But you know what I mean.

you're way ahead of the rest of us-way to go.

Courtney B said...


Thanks so much for the info! You are definitely right about what you are saying. My tube of saran wrap has also lasted me since I have been married. I bought it when we moved in and I still have a ton left. I use it rarely, but I want to use it NEVER.

There are the rare things that are too big for snap on lids (i.e. I made about 24 muffins this weekend and had them stacked on a plate and used saran wrap to cover them).

I bet I could find like mesh laundry bags at goodwill. I will have to make a trip this week, I have been meaning to for other things as well.

And, if you do come into my house and see what I use, it is mostly reused stuff. I dream about the cute etsy stuff, but mostly don't buy it. The rags I use to wash my kitchen and such are just that, rags (old t-shirts cut up, old towels, etc). I mostly try to do stuff like that, I try to re-use before I buy new or throw out. I store most of my food in reused containers or my canning jars when I am done with them.

that's what she said...

it is fun to dream though, huh? :) like that pinterest site you mentioned the other day-holy smokes! i want it all. lol.

the Carroll clan said...

Hey babe how are ya doing. I think that the first thing new you need to actually purchase is a sewing machine and then some material and few good how to sew books. You can also call me and we can play. I can not tell you how much I can and do DO with some thread and material. There are times when you have to use paper towels, or a plastic bag, but I agree that if you try not to you will be very suprised at how easy it is. We are moving again in a few month and the house has a compost in the backyard. I am super excited about it and you are welcome to drive up here (waste of gas he he he) and use it whenever you want. Miss ya. Talk to ya soon.

Courtney B said...

Gemia! I miss you too! I do need to sew more. I actually do have a sewing machine, but it sort of sucks. It works (but the reverse stitch doesn't, I just flip it around). Anyway, yeah... I can make a lot of this stuff myself. When are you moving??? We do need to get together soon! :)

I do have to say though, that I cannot remember the last time I used a paper towel in my house. When you just don't have them around, you find other things to use. I just have different towels for different messes!

Brady and Brittney said...

I really like those covers for the bowls. Where did you see those? I hate buying saran wrap and paper towels! I never thought of just not using paper towels but rags instead... how silly of me. I also like the mesh bags for produce so you can see what's inside. I like the video of the 'zero waste' family and how she used glass jars. You can find all kinds of sizes at good will. I so wish we could compost but there is just no good way to do it in our little place. This may seem like a silly question, but why would someone compost if they don't have a garden? What do you do with it? I could see myself collecting compost then fertilizing random neighbor's yards!

Ksenia said...

I didn't read all the comments yet, but I wanted to commend while i have time.

1 -- I almost never use the saran wrap (which I inherited from my mom). You could just use tupperware.
2 -- I am thinking about making some cloth bags, I can make you some :) you can make them from old t-shirts though.
3 -- I am going to compost using red worms this year and you can just use a giant storage plastic bin. Those can even be kept inside.
4 -- Can probably put old rags on the swiffer and call it good.

I would say that these are not big enough road blocks to give up on your goal for "nothing new". Let's get together soon and chat about these great ideas! :)

Rob and Marseille said...

First of all, I loved that 'zero waste' movie. I even got my hubby to watch it and he liked it. I love the idea of using mesh laundry bags for veggies. And it seemed all the things she showed around the house are little things that every day people can do. And we still need to sign up for recycling. we are so behind. also, save old, broken crayons to make new ones (especially if you have cute shaped chocolate molds...I've seen hearts/flowers)

Christy Wheeler said...

SO your goal is to buy as little as possible but when you have to you want to buy used? Not just buying nothing new, but actually limiting all buying right? In that case going to goodwill to get he items used is probably not the first option.

I think we should do a swap met. We should get a couple friends together and swap anything that we don't need anymore. Then we can donate whatever is left over. Maybe Danielle and Ksenia would be interested? I would be happy to do it at my house if you want to :)

Courtney B said...

that's a good idea Christy! i have recently donated a lot of items, but i still have some that are waiting to be taken to goodwill/DI.

maybe in a month or so???

Mandee said...

This is a great/challenging/fun goal! You can usually get used crayons and other art supplies on craigslist. Something that Greg does to save lots of money for business related things is buy refurbished stuff. He just got this really pro $3000 cd duplicator for around $1700. That price included a warranty, shipping and extra ink! Maybe you can get a big opened box of printing paper on ebay?

NeilPatrickHarris said...

Oh! And I forgot to add that for valentines day I got a really cool vintage sewing machine and have been trying to make new things out of my old things. There are a lot of really cool clothing reconstruction videos on youtube that show you things like how to take a man's t-shirt and turn it into a funky fitted top. I love stuff like this! It's always fun to find creative ways to save money, but I didn't fully realize all the extra earth friendly benefits until you. Thanks :)

Mandee said...

Oops, that was Mandee! LOL, I was signed in to my music blog account, haha.

Lex-a-roo said...

Let us know what you find out about the composter, that sounds interesting.

Stephanie Córdova said...

Hey Courtney, I know I've never met you but I went to high school with Dan and love to read your blog. You've got so many great ideas! One thing I'm going to do to "go green" is I'm going to start making my own cleaning products for our home. I have a great book called "Homemade" by Reader's Digest my mom got me a few years back and it has some great ideas for making your own cleaning products, homemade recipes, and other things for ailments, etc., even dog food. I look forward to more ideas you post in the future!

Claire said...

I love those reusable produce bags. I want. Actually, I'd like to make myself some, but from what I found online (after reading your post) it is best to use certain fabrics in order to allow for air flow and so the cashier can see the produce ID on the stickers. :P I might still give it a try though. And if I figure it out, I'll send ya a few!