Monday, February 20, 2012

Not Going Gandhi

For Christmas we received a new toaster oven.  Our old one was fine, but the giver felt it looked, well, used.  The minimalist producer of trash in me was not happy.  And the toaster sat in the living room for almost 2 months in its box.  I asked if we could return it, dh thought not for a myriad of reasons.

I reasoned we could please the giver and use the new one.  The old one could find a new home with someone who needed it.  I have to confess I considered keeping it, to cook the kids modelling projects in.  That clay always says it should be kept separate from your food prep areas.  Thing is I don't trust that clay.  We have had it in a shoe box since we bought a 'few' packages back in college for some projects.  We did break it out the other day for our sons school project.  Please note that 4 months after project completion the whole thing has ended up in a landfill!

One look at our storage area proved there was no space for it.  I put the new box on the counter and told my dh the plan. We discussed it and he thought the toaster oven for his work place could improve his lunch choices, so it was decided. 3 days later it was still there and my dh took it upon himself to swap it out and took it to work.

At first I was immensely pleased at the action.  Then I noticed the little dent in the corner, sorry, it bothered me, my old one was not dented!  I did not use it that day. The following day I was over the dent and we began using the toaster oven.  It was terrible, there was no 'toast' button, so the kids had to turn the dial to start it for reheating their pancakes, etc.  The dial was so stiff that a tremendous amount of effort had to be put into it and then the dial went way to far, but was near impossible to turn back.  They had to stand there and watch it cook, when done take it out, and then unplug it.

Of course, with all of the things that they have on their mind (legos, dolls, play , ................getting ready for school), I knew it was just a matter of time before they forgot something and start a fire.  I called dh, and explained the problem.  He agreed that he would bring the old toaster back.  He was not pleased, it felt awkward to take it back even though we fully intended to switch it out with a new one. Several days later he had made the switch.

We learned something for the hassle.  First, if possible do not replace something that works for something 'new'.  It is wasteful of money and time, and you are promoted use of resources to produce something that is not truly needed.  Second, if you do replace something, give yourself a buffer period to be sure you made the right choice before sending out the old.  We often do this with the box of new products too, keep them for a few weeks--but we really are reducing the number of occurrences of new in our home.  Luckily in this case, we hadn't donated it and were able to remedy the situation without further purchases

We had made a similar mistake a few years ago. Every time that I use our tiny shop vac I wish that i had kept the rigid hose extender that went with it.  Upon receiving the new vacuum I promptly marched down the stairs and brought the old one to the curb.  I had even taken the time to write a not to would be takers there was a crack that needed repair.  THEN I went and used the new one, which had only flexible hose, and nowhere to hold on!  by the time I got to the curb it was gone :(

I know for a Blog about Simply Reducing there is a lot about purchasing in this post.  Remember I am on a Journey, and hope to get there.  And I simply want to reduce my waste, not go Ghandi.  Also, you can tell how much thought I give to new things--at least sometimes, and that is a step in the right direction.

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