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A bit about needs and wants. And a DIY container for your cotton swabs.

Every year for the past five or six years our family has participated in an annual Shopping Embargo. The goal of the Embargo to be more mindful of our purchases and drastically reduce impulse buys. And it works.

Our rule is this: From Boxing Day until the end of February, we restrict our purchases to the bare necessities; groceries/consumables, gas, basic hygiene (shampoo, soap, but not cosmetics), medicine and essential clothing.

That means… no spontaneous purchases of lip gloss (my personal weakness), video games (my husband’s) and a wealth of other non-essential items that would otherwise end up in a landfill.

You can read more about our Shopping Embargo here.

The hardest part about it is probably determining the difference between needs and wants. Everyone has different priorities, and frankly, it’s easy to persuade yourself that a want is really a need. It became an annual debate with my blog readers. One year I felt that I needed a housecoat. I didn’t actually own a housecoat. So was this a want or a need? You can argue the finer points until the cows come home.

One of the items we tussled about was decorative containers for the bathroom, you know, the things that hold cotton balls and cotton swabs. Are these a want or a need? I’d argue that it’s a “want” because you can technically keep the extra Q-tips its original box under the sink. The whole issue of having decorative bathroom containers seems like such a first world problem, doesn’t it? Well, you can avoid all that by making your own.

Easy peasy.

  • Take two matching jars (these are relish jars), soak off the labels and wash them out thoroughly.
  •  Find some pretty paper and trace the lids. Cut the paper out and glue onto the lids.

That’s it! You have your own customized containers for bathroom supplies! And you didn’t need to break the bank (or your Shopping Embargo).

Mother of two imps and wife of one. Writer, photographer, pro blogger, adventure-seeker, Ottawaholic, social media evangelist and lover of STUFF. Also known as @missfish on Twitter.

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