Monday, February 9, 2015

What's hiding in your pantry?

I know I could save money on groceries by clipping coupons, shopping at multiple stores, and a slew of other time-consuming strategies. As much as I respect anyone who masters these tactics, they are just not for me. 

I also don't believe in these 30 day grocery spending freezes that I see people blogging about. First of all, we would have no bread in my house. My kids would (rightfully) freak out. Second of all, we would have no bread in my house.

With that being said, I do like the idea of spending way less on groceries- especially considering the fact that my pantry is full of things I've already spent hundreds of dollars on. So this weekend I decided to take some time to inventory my pantry just to see what gems were hiding in there that I should be making use of.

So what did I find lurking on those dusty shelves? Several items expired beyond safe use. Even more things that's were salvageable but needed to be used very soon. Many expensive items that I had bought for recipes that I never even made. And an overall system that was disorganized and not effective in ensuring that purchased items were actually used.

I took some time to quickly wipe down the shelves. I tossed the expired items. In order to ensure the shelf life of opened packages of baking mixes, pasta, etc., I transferred the remaining contents into air-tight containers with simple labels (I cut the name of the item from its original packaging and affixed it to the front of each container).

I made sure all similar items were stored together (I often unknowingly buy items that I already have at home).

Most importantly, I stored all of the items that needed to be used quickly (opened, nearing expiration, etc.) together in one designated area. I also made a quick inventory of these items in a note in my iPad. This way, when I'm perusing the web for recipes, I can focus on meals that include these ingredients. 

I also shared my new system with my family so that they too will know where to look for the items that need to be used first. Some of the foods that were expiring soon were snacks like popcorn and even yummy dessert mixes- what a shame to waste!

I've decided to aim for a pantry inventory every month or so. Even done quarterly would be effective. I definitely think it was little time spent for a decent financial payoff. Not to mention, I only needed a few items from the store after seeing what all I had on hand- this saved me a good bit of shopping time. 

This little endeavor also left me with an uncomfortable reminder of all that we waste simply because we have too much to even know what we have. That's scary.

Friday, March 30, 2012

less is more

I have recently seen a lot of posts on the scrapbooking message boards related to "fasting" from buying supplies. In a time and place where we all likely have way too much stuff in general, I like seeing people talking about buying (and wasting) less and actually using more of what they already have. This is something I am trying to do in all areas of my life, crafting included.

At this point I am not purchasing any craft supplies whatsoever. I do not include actual photo printing in this catergory. In the event that I actually run out of adhesive, album space, page protectors, or solid cardstock, I will reconsider my fast. I strongly doubt this will happen anytime in the year 2012.

I have also undertaken a massive "purge" over the past year or so. I have less craft supplies now than I have in years.

What started this change?

A couple of years ago I realized that I had been happiest and most productive when all of my supplies fit into one rubbermaid bin. That was in 2001. Back then I scrapped daily. And I made super-cute layouts. And I didn't spend a ton of time trying to decide what paper I should use. And I actually got together with friends and went to crops regularly because there was no prep involved. And clean-up took about 5 minutes. And "organizing my scrapbooking supplies" was unheard of.

Since making that realization I have gone from having a "large" stash to a "medium" stash. Who knows, maybe one day I will fit it all into a rubbermaid bin again, or at least my crop-in-style.

People ask, "How do you stick to the fast when you go online and see all of the new scrappy goodness that is available??" I really don't have a good answer. I just don't want anymore stuff. I have enough. I think you have to get to the point where you are inspired by the choice that you have made to stop hoarding things you will never be able to use.

To my fellow scrappers who own their weight in patterned paper and could literally carpet their homes in ribbon I challenge you to give fasting a try.

Think about all of the other things that you could do with the space that is currently storing that massive quantity of patterned paper and ribbon... maybe an extra craft table in your scrap room for your friend or child to use? maybe a sofa bed so there's more room for guests? maybe space to exercise or meditate?

Think about all of the other things you could spend the money on... more trips? more in savings? more donations to charity?

Think about all of the extra time you will have to actually scrapbook when you aren't having to organize your supplies constantly in order to find somewhere to put your latest haul.

Last but not least, think of the environment.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

52 weeks of my life {2011}

This year I will be creating a photo-a-day project like so many crafters do. I am not using any particular kit or format. My idea is that the book will showcase 52 weeks of my life, from my perspective. I am going to try to limit the number of pictures that I include of my kiddos since my "regular scrapbooks" are overflowing with those. My goal for this album is to capture the things of my life that I don't usually record. I am also vowing to limit the number of pictures taken of my coffee mug. I will be using these supplies for my album:

I choose this particular album b/c it was already living on my shelf. The divided page protectors are also something I already had on hand. I am not allowing myself to purchase anything new for this project except for refill page protectors.

Side note... I am not premitting myself to purchase anything new for crafting this year unless it is something like adhesive or photo paper that I have completely used up and can't go on without.

The page protectors will allow me to simply slip my photos in each day. I am creating some "journaling blocks" that are really just scraps of paper cut to 2" x 3" so they will be ready to grab as I go along. Any extra pockets will be filled with little bits of my life- receipts, shopping lists, dental floss (ok, not my dental floss). I may also add some stamping and doodling to the album here and there if time permits.

You can expect a weekly update post each week on Sunday showcasing my photos from the previous week and my progress on the album. If you are working on something similar-ish for the new year please share a link to your blog ;)

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Beanie Cap Gift Card Holder

(click on the images for larger views)

This morning I made this cute little beanie cap gift card holder to hold a starbucks gift card for my mom. It swivels open and closed to hide and reveal the gift card. I followed a nifty little tutorial on the splitcoaststampers website. The tutorial was really easy to follow and the card only took about 30 minutes to make. Thanks for looking! 

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

love this...

re-using plastic bags

and I'm thinking about all of the super cute shopping bags that you accumulate while Christmas shopping- I bet they would fuse together to make some really fun Christmas gift bags.