Frugal Family

This Hardest Thing Is Saying No- when battling the war on waste

I am sure by now you would have heard that we are trying our hardest to reduce the amount of waste that our home produces. I have been on a huge decluttering mission, keeping only what we use regularly and love. The rest has gone to charity shops or been sold. We have lovely clear cupboards and as our food items go down, I am replacing these items with plastic free/ waste free versions. So far, it’s been tough but great fun and I am already seeing the benefits this lifestyle offers us.

But, one thing I have found really hard has been to say ‘no’. Friends have bought round food gifts and the grandparents have bought the kids treats and the odd little toy. At the weekend the kids were gifted new lunchboxes, magazines (with free gifts wrapped to the front) and books. These are wonderful gestures from family, that means so very much but deep down, we didn’t need these items. Oh gosh, just saying that makes me feel so ungrateful! But I really do not mean to be. There is a fine line between reusing things and becoming a hoarder!

Free can be tempting, but dangerous!

People know how much I have really appreciated these kind gifts in the past. My kids are always being given some wonderful clothes for free from friends, when their children have outgrown them. Being given clothes, reduces our need for spending money on new items, and it keeps those old items out of landfil. It gives us a chance to be less wasteful, and the previous owners to know that their clothes are still going to be loved and used for years to come. We have clothes in larger sizes in the loft ready to be worn once the kids get big enough. I always pass on clothes too when my children no longer need them. But there needs to be balance. Too many clothes in our wardrobes just collect dust and is also wasteful, so I make sure that I only keep what is needed. The rest is passed on.

People also know that I love vintage! I think it’s great that I can save a retro piece from ending up in landfill of wasting space in storage. I have a beautiful vintage kitchenette, that I love dearly and use daily. But sadly, I have also collected a lot of vintage items that have no use to me. Ornaments, tins, memorabilia now clutter shelves and cupboards. Nearly every item was gifted to me because the gifter thought of me when they saw it. This is so thoughtful of these people. They see things which they know I will take pleasure from. But now I have enough, I have to politely decline these gifts. I have no space left, and I really do not need any more items to dust. Those items that I have and have no use for I shall pass on to someone else who will love them.

My kitchen curtains. Classic 1960’s flower power.

It’s so easy when in the shops to say “yes” to a receipt or a bag.  It’s easy to say “yes” to extra protective packaging and plastic additional items. But we really don’t need these extra items. Canvas bags can be used again and again and washed when needed. Glass jars make great storage when shopping for meats, cheese and fish. Just hand over your jars to the butcher of fishmonger and refuse the plastic bag from the counter.

Overall, this week I want to learn how to say “no thank you” with ease. I shall only accept items that I really need and can reuse time and time again. I must remember not to feel guilty or ungrateful when I decline something. If I politely explain my reasons but still give thanks I am sure people will understand. Heck, they may even be inspired to do the same!

Hazel Newhouse

Hazel is a mum to 3 daughters and a son, she lives in Bedfordshire with her husband, kids and pets. Hazel has written for various publications, and regularly works alongside popular parenting and gardening brands.

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1 Comment

  1. Beautiful Hazel [my daughter’s name also!] Thank you for sharing the message that hoarding and over-zealous collecting is not necessarily the answer to personal feelings of lack and inadequacy.
    Creating space, silence and simplicity is such a powerful way to connect with yourself.
    Thank you

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