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Small Blog, Small changes, Big difference

I've been trying to wrap my head around how to feel confident enough to write a blog about what is essentially my day to day life. I'm not the typical face of a movement and I'm definitely not someone who has refined skill in almost anything.

Still, I want to make a difference in the way I do things, and in the way my children learn to do things. I hope that if I make steady, consistent, changes and share them, that perhaps I can inspire at least one person to do the same. So in the future as you stumble across, and maybe even read the stories I share, you may see that I am doing something that could be done better, or you may even see that a blog today will be revisited in 6 months and my views on how to do something will change. I hope the that the chaos and fumbles caused from being a real person, doing real things will be forgivable to the real heroes of change.

Just a little bit about me. My name is Danielle. I am 35, married, and the mother to two children ages 8 and 12 (prayers/positive vibes are welcome, lol). We live in a small rural community north of Wichita, KS. We are in a lower income bracket, but not destitute. We just have to think twice before purchasing basically anything. I'm sure more than one of you can relate.

I've always had a knowledge that I should be concerned for the well being of our planet. Growing up in the 80's/90's, we had Captain Planet, The Crocodile Hunter(and many other stellar wildlife specialists), Nickelodeon, MTV, and basically every magazine you can think of geared toward young people, telling us how important it is to recycle, not to litter, to turn off the water while we brush our teeth, turn out lights when we leave a room and plant trees. All of these things are absolutely important. However, there is so much more that you can do as an individual. In order to preserve natural habitats and reduce pollution, and minimize waste and your greatest strength seems to reside in who you are as a consumer. 

Some things I've opted to do at this point in an effort to make a change are to:

  • Research items that I purchase, on the regular, to see if there is a less wasteful/more sustainable alternative.
  • Purchase durable items. When making a large purchase, such as furniture, I do my best to purchase used items.
    • Grandma's table might need a little TLC but it's proven that it can stand the test of time. When this is not an option I purchase as environmentally friendly as I can, within my limited budget. Sometimes this is as simple as purchasing an item for its durability. I want to be able to keep/use something for a long time.
  • Maintain and repair items I purchase instead of replacing them. This has saved me hundreds of dollars in appliances alone and my items didn't go to the dump.
  • Switch out onetime use items for reusable items. Disposable straws to metal or glass, cleaning wipes with washable rags, dryer sheets for wool balls.. Think of the huge difference just those three changes could make if everyone made them. Staggering...
  • Cook/eat at home.
    • Fast food=equals bags, wrappers, napkins, boxes, plastic ware, paper cups and straws...Oh my!
  • Be mindful of clutter. When your home is overwhelmed by things, you will often purchase unnecessary items to either deal with the mess, or because you cannot locate something you already have. 
  • Set up systems in areas of your household to deal with the inevitable need to purge items.
    • I keep 2 totes under my laundry table so that I can put items in them to donate. One is my "for sure" bin, one is my "maybe" bin.
    • I keep the maybe items a bit longer just to be certain. This also works with toys, kitchen tools, decorative items, and so on. It saves me from having to repurchase an item I may have purged too quickly.
  • Know what your local donation centers can actually use.
    • Basically donating items that cannot be used makes them garbage, you just didn't throw it out in your bin. 
  • Shop local.
    • Driving 30 miles to save 25 cents on a gallon of milk is like a big F you to the planet spelled out in emissions.
  • While shopping bring reusable shopping bags and purchase items that have minimal to no packaging, or can be purchased in bulk to refill existing containers.
  • Be willing to change.
    • Stay open to new ideas, and to putting in a bit more effort to avoid the waste often created by convenience.

Now, after all of that, probably the most important thing to remember while making changes is that you need to be patient with yourself.

The changes you make, have to be changes you can maintain long term. Haste often makes waste.

As an example, I'm working towards composting but I have a few obstacles in my way, living in an apartment. I know that one day I'll be able to do so, however if I had jumped into it blindly, like I wanted to, it's very likely that I would have been unsuccessful. I would've ended up wasting the items used in my DIY attempt(s).

Sharing a blog here, at FFAC, will give me a chance to learn from others as well. If I write about something and you have some knowledge on the subject, I invite you to share it with me. That's why we're all here together, right? 

So this is me.

I'm just a girl, sitting in front of a computer, asking you to share in my journey of trying to be both a bigger person and leave a smaller footprint.

Thank you for reading.