Monday, January 28, 2013

Use it or Lose It Week

Four plastic devices for microwaving eggs

Last year I created "Use it or Lose It" week in my house in order to de-clutter and really prioritize space in the house for items we actually use. I'm instituting this again for 2013. I'll go through my house a room or two at a time, looking for items I really don't use and can do without.

I've started in the kitchen, and the first things I will recycle are three of these microwave egg containers. You crack an egg into one, pour in a tiny bit of salt and pepper, perhaps some butter, stir with a fork, then microwave for 50 seconds. Sounds gross or like a cheap shortcut, but it works pretty well. Plus you end up with a much smaller container to clean out than if I used a frying pan. It turns out I use them less than once per week, and never needed to use four at a time. The plastic is fortunately recyclable, so I've just tossed three of these into the recycle bin. It only cleared up a tiny bit of space in one of my kitchen cupboards, but I'm just getting started!


  • Make meal plans for the week ahead; create your grocery list
  • Find two things to throw away (or donate, or recycle) right this instant. De-clutter!
  • Look over your calendar for this week. Any appointments you need to go to? Any birthdays you should send cards, gifts or make a telephone call to celebrate?
  • Enjoy one of your beautiful possessions today. Pour your morning cup of coffee or tea (or your evening cocktail) into a beautiful antique cup (I know you own one!) instead of just a mug. Serve your evening wine or cocktail in a gorgeous goblet, not just a plain wine glass.

TODAY'S PROJECT: Use it or Lose It

Torrance Magazine Basket, from Pier 1 Imports

Pick a room to de-clutter (your bedroom? Kitchen? living room?) Look over the objects there, including furniture, decorations, useful items, gadgets, and accessories. Touch each item and be truthful with yourself: do you use the item often? Is it useful, or beautiful?

If you find things you haven't used in the last month, definitely stop to decide whether it's worth keeping that item around. I have a chair I haven't sat on for a couple months in my living room, but I know it will come in handy next time I have a dinner party. I'll keep that, but I have a stack of magazines I haven't read since Christmas. Those need to be recycled.

The more items we own, the more stressful our lives in some ways. Items require care, cleaning, maintenance, and may have costs associated with owning them (in both time and money). Be sure the items you're spending your time on are useful, used often, or beautiful.

This week I challenge you to sort your kitchen (gadgets), DVDs/movies, bookshelves, garage, crafts room, attic/basement, linen closet and other places where unused goods seem to make permanent homes. Find new homes for your items by donating, recycling, or throwing away items not good enough to donate.


I hesitate to recommend these teas to you, since I haven't tasted any of them. I'm just getting a kick out of the fact they are Jane Austen inspired. There's a tea here called "Compassion for Mrs. Bennet's Nerves," (made with chamomile, as you might suspect) and one called "Marianne's Wild Abandon." "Longbourne Wedding Tea" has a champagne flavor, "Mr. Darcy" evokes leather, chestnut and plum. The packaging is elegant - the teas come in little book boxes. How fun!

LOVELY BLOGS: Premeditated Leftovers

I don't normally enjoy frugal advice websites. This one, however, I've found immensely useful. Practical and not at all preachy, it offers tips on living fully while spending less. There are a lot of useful cooking tips here, plus tips on frugal living (don't buy fitted sheets, for example) and gardening. As I'm trying to make food stretch to feed more people in my household lately, I'm sure I'll find this blog useful to check in on every week or so.

LOVELY DESSERTS: Chocolate Jewels

These jewel-shaped chocolates are just gorgeous! I might not send them as a Valentine's Day gift, but I'd love to offer some at my next fairytale or pirate themed party. (I throw parties like that for grownups, not kids!)

Chocolate Jewels at Dean & Deluca

LOVELY SHOPS: Dolls and Daydreams

This Etsy shop sells PDF sewing patterns you can use to make a variety of absolutely adorable soft dolls and toys. I'm not sure my sewing skills are advanced enough to attempt this cute Snow White doll, and I'm scared this site would inspire me to go out and buy even more craft supplies that I will end up never using. Check out the cute Wizard of Oz doll patterns!

Dolls and Daydreams, on Etsy


Buttermilk Cinnamon Chip Scones (Give Peas a Chance)

Cinnamon and Sugar Roasted Chickpeas (Adventures in My Kitchen)

Easy Cinnamon Puffs (The English Kitchen)

The Incredible, Edible, Perfectly Cooked Soft Boiled Egg (Eat Drink Better)

Magic Winter Squash and Bean Soup (Edible Living)

Maple Glazed Cinnamon Buns (Sasaki Time)

Raspberry Meringue Hearts with Chocolate Pudding (Flour Arrangements)

Ten Deliciously Edible Stadiums for the Super Bowl

WikiCells - Edible Food Membranes (Little Bits of Intrigue)


Lori said...

I'm on a use it or lose it kick too. Good luck on your quest! And I have to say, those teas are ridiculously adorable, thanks for sharing!

Carrie said...

Ooh good for you Lori. What have you managed to get rid of so far?

Lori said...

A lot of things! I've given away clothes, pans, some glass bakeware, even some of my yarn stash to people who will use it. It's such a relief to give things away and have some extra space. :-)