Thursday, July 19, 2007

Why Cardboard Is Cool

I’m kind of a women’s magazine junkie. I love being able to read an article and then say things like, “A recent study at the University of Smarties found…” or “According to George Brainyman Ph.D….”

Lately, I’ve been reading a lot of articles about becoming more self-sufficient and practicing more sustainable living. As an LDS woman, I have been hearing this for as long as I can remember. Live within your means. Grow a garden. Eat foods in season. Store the necessities of life for a rainy day. I’ve heard the principles many times.

But one summer, as I lived in an apartment furnished with only what I could fit in my car and four pieces of rented furniture, I really got to test out my ability to live a more sustainable life. And I must admit, I learned so much, I just had to share it!

With almost nothing to fill my apartment, I soon became acutely aware of my gratitude for everything I had. I began to see everything that came into my hands and my home as a true blessing and soon discovered things I never had before.

Five Cool Things I Discovered:

1. Packaging. I used to think of cereal boxes and salsa tubs as the stuff that holds the goods. Now, I see them as products in themselves and think of ways to use them.
2. Those baskets fresh berries come in. If you wash them and cut off the lids, they make great clear organizing containers.
3. The reverse side. Of computer paper, that is. Instead of using expensive notepads, I cut used computer paper into quarters and used the blank side for notes and lists.
4. Vinegar. It’s an awesome non-toxic all-purpose cleaner. One small bottle costs less than window cleaner and cleans mirrors, fixtures, and floors.
5. Cardboard, cardboard, cardboard. I used cardboard as a coffee table, a nightstand, a portable computer tray, a card-making station, and a bill organizer.

Sure my little apartment with all its cardboard furniture was not gorgeous, but it gave me a sense that I could live with less, that I could make do. And that was a powerful lesson.


Tristi Pinkston said...

I agree, Elodia -- sometimes we have to live with less, and we learn that we really can survive on very little. That's important to remember these days when there's so much to want! Like a flat screen monitor . . . I really want a flat screen monitor . . .

Karlene said...

I want the 30" Cinema HD flat screen monitor with the built in camera. I also need a new laptop, I'm thinking the 17 inch MacBook Pro. And a few other techno thingees.

Oh wait, we're supposed to be counting our blessings and living on less. Sorry. My bad.