Avoiding Waste During Covid-19

Growing up, I frequently heard such idioms or proverbs as “Waste not, want not” and “Eat all of your food. There are starving people in the world.” As the years went on, these mottos were no longer the standards by which I lived my life.

As I am avoiding stores, I am trying not to make light of those old standards.

I’ve been lucky. I’ve never really wanted for anything. My home is not extremely big, but it is comfortable. I’ve never wanted anything fancier. The same is true of my car. I’ve been able to buy what I need, when I need it.

Because of my compromised immune system, I now avoid going into stores. The last time I went into a store was the crazy morning at the grocery store I describe here. I found myself smack dab in the center of a large crowd. That was, almost three weeks ago but once bitten, twice shy. On day fifteen from that trip, I mentally swiped my hand across my forward in mock relief as I woke up healthy. I felt like I dodged a bullet.

I am not a hoarder or a prepper. I don’t particularly like shopping, though. I buy many staples at Costco and was there about a month ago, not long before the madness. I also buy a little extra when things are on sale. I am adequately stocked on our normal staples for a month or two, as I always am. The day I was skating on thin ice at the grocery store, I filled my cart with a little of this and a little of that to be sure I had enough other foods and snacks to last me.

Sometimes, though, when I buy large amounts, I find that things go bad on me.

  • Oh shoot, I stuck that big ol’ container of nonfat Greek yogurt in the back of the fridge and it slipped my mind.
  • Darn, why did I buy that many bananas, or grape tomatoes, or cuties? I really just wanted one or two cuties for goodness sake.
  • I guess I shouldn’t have gone out to eat three days in a row and left those chicken breasts sitting in the refrigerator waiting to be cooked. Now I’m afraid I might get sick from them.

The silver lining is that I have others I can rely on for the perishable food and those must have snacks.

My neighbor now texts me anytime she goes grocery shopping to see what I need. She, like others, is trying to spread her trips further apart. The same is true with my daughter and son-in-law. When people are nice enough to shop for us, I don’t want to cause them to stay in the store longer than necessary nor do I want them to go on a wild goose chase. I try to keep my list short, even though these younger people may have the vim and vigor for longer trips.

In our area, the stores are now limiting the number of people allowed in the store at one time. They also say only one person per family. That will encourage people to wait even longer to shop.

Now, when I can’t just drop by the grocery store on a whim, I am looking at my food as a precious commodity. I hate to throw away a brown banana or a half container of yogurt when I am not sure how long I will have to wait to get more. I am trying to keep an eye on the open food in my refrigerator and eat things before they go south. I can count on the fact that this effort is helped by not eating out.

This morning I found a partial package of frozen green peppers in the bottom of my freezer drawer. I’m not sure how long they were buried in there. I cooked them with my eggs. This was after banging them repeatedly on the counter because they were all frozen in one lump. I soaked the somewhat freezer burned green lump in warm water before cooking. They were fine. Good actually.

This desire to use what I have rather than ask others to shop for me has extended to items other than food.  I normally buy matched sets of shampoo and conditioner. One hair product inevitably runs out before it’s mate and that last two inches of remaining conditioner gets shoved in the linen closet. Then there are the shampoos and hairsprays that don’t make the cut. My hair does not look perfect when I use those products.

My social life is now Zoomed. I guess people can’t see those little flyaway hairs on that small fuzzy picture, so I might as well use up those abandoned products, right?

A few months ago, I was looking for a new pair of walking shoes, but never found what I wanted. It is challenging for me to find just the right shoes. Now, when I am walking more than ever, I am afraid my old shoes might wear out before I get out to find some. Guess what? I found two pairs of slightly worn shoes in the back of my closet. These shoes didn’t work well on the slippery mall floors where I usually walk but they are great on concrete sidewalks!

I wonder what else I have squirreled away that I can use during lockdown. It’s an incentive for me to do some cleaning.  Yep. I’m turning over a new leaf during lockdown – and even recycling old idioms.


How many idioms can you find?

(My apologies. This post changed right before I hit the publish button. I found myself rewriting this with the intention of including as many idioms as I could. It boggles my mind how many can be found here.)

5 thoughts on “Avoiding Waste During Covid-19

  1. I noticed the same, but for different reasons. I was so happy to see so many empty packages of food being tossed. Nothing is going bad. Nothing is here long enough for it to go bad. No one is grabbing dinner in between sports practices, or grabbing lunch on the go. Everyone is eating here and the food is going the right way. I love it!

    Liked by 1 person

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