Waste Not, Want Not

Nov 29, 2015 | Conscious living

I‘ve been in a fairly closed off mood lately, and writing hasn’t really been something I’ve been motivated to do, but I’m going to do it anyway just to keep me on track. So pardon if today’s post is more “here’s what’s going on in my life” rather than a guiding lesson… it is at least related to conscious consumerism.

Construction on my first floor is moving along pretty quickly. We’ve got about a week, maybe two left (hopefully less) and the closer we get to finished, the more excited I am about it. I’m a little sad that I had to miss out on Halloween this year – it’s usually my favorite holiday, but I’ve decided that Christmas is coming with a vengeance.

There’s a couple of things that I’ve enjoyed about this whole renovation project. One is the fact that we’re doing quite a few environmentally-friendly upgrades. Dual-flush toilets, shower heads and sink faucets will save gallons upon gallons of water each year, better-insulated hot water heaters will use less energy, energy-efficient appliances that not only use less electricity, but are incredibly quiet – unlike the appliances at my old house.

The dishwasher sounded like someone was running a chainsaw in the kitchen. So did the garbage disposal. And the garage door was like the Tin Man after a thunderstorm.

We sold our extremely noisy 20-year-old washer and dryer a few years ago and picked up a pair of high efficiency ones from an acquaintance of mine. She’d only had them for six years, but wasn’t taking care of them properly – I don’t think she realized that you needed to use a certain type of detergent or allow the washer drum to air out after washings, so mold had grown around the drum and her laundry smelled. She wanted nothing to do with them.

I gladly took them off of her hands for $300, spent a couple of weeks running it through a cleaning cycle and voila. No smell. No mold. They were $2,000 when they were brand new. Score.

Our new dishwasher is so quiet, there’s actually a light installed on it to let you know if it’s running or not. Our garage door is so quiet. It’s the little things, I suppose.

The other thing I’ve enjoyed is figuring out ways to reuse some of the things that we’re pulling out of the house. Some of the old cabinets from the kitchen are being installed in our laundry room (after I painted them) and in our garage. The rest are being donated to Habitat For Humanity along with our old sinks, faucets and other fixtures – the ones that my mom and aunt don’t use in their houses, anyway. I spray painted one of the light fixtures from the kitchen to put in my step-daughter’s closet.

Cabinets bottom Cabinets top cabinets before and after

We’re selling our old appliances and light fixtures and what doesn’t sell, we’ll probably also donate. Even some of the carpet that we pulled up was given to one of the delivery guys to use while working under cars in his garage.

Instead of purchasing all new doors (which would have been cheaper), we opted to keep what we had – which were solid wood and very high quality – and just paint and stain them ourselves.

I’m even impressed with the guys who installed our new floors for being incredibly conscious of the cuts they made in the hardwood to create the least amount of waste as possible. They were so efficient, in fact, that we ended up having an extra 150 square feet of hardwood leftover – enough to do our upstairs hallway and pretty much use every last inch.

Our contractor was even using pieces of old baseboard to replace damaged trim in other places around the house.

Have I mentioned how much I love people who don’t waste things or throw perfectly useable items in the trash?

A good chunk of the furniture and decor in my house was either handed down to us by my husband’s family or left over centerpiece supplies from our wedding – all of which I purchased at thrift stores.

I did decide that I probably didn’t need 20 silver trays so the ones I didn’t hang on my wall or keep to use as holiday chargers, I collected with a bunch of kitchen and other home decor thrift store stuff that I was planning to donate and ended up giving all of it away to various family members over Thanksgiving.

Our countertops were installed just in time to have people over… but still no sink, stove top or refrigerator. We have, however, at long last, taken up residence in our living room. I finally feel like I live here, rather than a squatter. lol

Some updated pics:







In case you were wondering what it looked like before….




We’ve come a long way, baby. I’m very satisfied with the results and very satisfied with our ability to save, reuse, recycle, donate or sell much of what was already here. Waste not, want not. And the environmentally friendly upgrades are also satisfying.








  1. Absolutely beautiful!

    • Thank you 🙂

  2. I don’t know what I like more, the beautiful décor or the fact that you upcycled everything you possibly could! The living room floors are amazing! These after photos look right out of a high end style magazine. I’m drooling. Well done!

    • Thanks!

  3. Looks beautiful! I love to get rid of unwanted, still useable stuff on freecycle.org
    Keeps things out of the landfill and hoarders are always happy to take your free stuff 😉

    • Never heard of it! I’ll have to check it out.


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