Written by Pamela Hawley, Contributor to The Good Trade and Founder of UniversalGiving
You're a busy professional. It’s easy to think you need to run certain errands or buy certain things to keep your life going. Here are a few things to save time and money while reducing your environmental footprint - so you can focus on what matters most to you.
1. Shop Your Closet
If you’re thinking about a pair of new shoes, or that fantastic new sweater, or that your wardrobe really needs an update, think again before you buy. Is it something that can go with a skirt you already have, and with the pants in your closet? Take a look at how many outfits can you get out of it. Can it be dressed down and made elegant? Shopping less and having more re-worked outfits is a great way to save time and reduce your environmental footprint.
2. Buy For Durability
Next time you eye a great new scarf, sports coat or funky new sweater, think about whether you will want to wear it in ten years. Somehow, our media has educated us that we need to shop two, three, five times a year. We continue to build up our closets with clothes that we don’t wear—and don’t give away. Instead, encourage yourself to think about whether this piece is something you would love to keep for five or 10 years.
3. Don't Let Office Lunches Go To Waste
You walk by a tray of crackers, a handful of olives, or sandwiches and fruit in the conference room. If you don't take it, it might get thrown out, and what a waste considering that nearly 1.3 billion people in the world are living on less than a dollar a day.
We can be grateful for what is available. Put any extras in a plastic bag and save it for a snack or lunch later. You just saved time in putting together a meal, and a trip to get take out or to the grocery store. You likely don’t “need” to go out to eat from your nearest café everyday.
4. Raid The Pantry
Sometimes, we think we don't have any food at home. Yet if you pretend you are moving, you'd want to use up what you have. There is probably plenty of food in your pantry. Put together a simple, make-shift lunch for a day. You can use what you have, and save an hour of grocery shopping. And what a nice feeling to 'start over' in your kitchen – not to mention the food waste you will be saving when those less-used items go bad.
Enjoy this process of valuing what we have, saving time, reducing waste and making your life a little bit easier. Often you might find you already have what you need.
Pamela Hawley is the founder and CEO of UniversalGiving, an award-winning nonprofit helping people to donate and volunteer with top performing, vetted organizations all over the world. She is a winner of the Jefferson Award (the Nobel Prize in Community Service) and has been invited to three Social Innovation events at the White House. She also writes Living and Giving, a blog with the mission of “Inspiring Leaders to Live with Excellence and Love.”