Are you shopping for treats this week?

How do you go shopping now?  It is 2021 and things are not the same as they were a few years ago.  The topic came up when I told a friend that I was going to the store to get snacks for the family. They immediately chastised me for putting lives at risk over snacks. Let me tell you that snacks are life and I am happy to take that risk in order to live a normal life and have a happy family. I want to let you know that the need for anything outways the risk of freedom and if you need to get some top-of-the-line candy boxes to keep the peace and happiness in the craziness that is 2021.

So many people are going too far into the fear that the news has spread.  We now know most of the news was lies last year.  Food is essential, and life, liberty, and the pursuit of justice are as well. It is when someone goes and tells me that any kind of grocery shopping is not essential that I must protest.  I live in the United States due to freedom and going shopping is part of that.  I take a massive risk of driving to the store. The risk of getting into a crash is always there and that is higher than any other health risk in the world. I say this to let people know that they are at risk of dying every day. It is a normal thing and we all have most likely been in a car wreck or no someone who has died from one.  No one ever says that we risk our lives simply driving every day but we do.

Safe shopping practice during a viral epidemic outbreak in Pennsylvania, USA.

No one should ration food and that just blows my mind.  If your family is going crazy from being locked inside together going on a year then anything to save your sanity is essential. That is how I look at many things these days.  It is no one’s right to tell you what food is good and what is not. That is part of why we live in this country and that is the freedom that it brings.  Yes, that even comes down to the candy boxes we choose when walking down that lovely aisle. So indeed don’t let anyone tell you what food is essential or even come close to taking away the choice as to that. It could mean later on that some choices for food for your children may be limited. The FDA says aspartame and corn syrup are healthy. While so many studies show they are the worst things we consume daily.

Shopping should be simple and fun. It should be allowed anytime and there is no reason to ever tell someone not to go.  The right to freedom is involved and even in 20201when pandemics that don’t seem to be causing much harm are happening essentially has taken a different turn. So do not fret, but go out and be free. Enjoy your amazing groceries and don’t be afraid of news that is proven to be false every day.  We know now that the world is safe and that most of the lies are simply that, lies.  So enjoy living and go shopping without fear.

Cardboard Boxes 1

If you were anything like me during the COVID shutdowns, then you did more online shopping than you thought was humanly possible. (Seriously, at one point I could barely get out of my apartment door due to all the cardboard boxes that were piled up to be taken to the recycling bin.) If you’re still like me, you now realize how much of a mistake it was to fill up your apartment with somewhat useless junk that you really didn’t need in the first place. I mean come on, who actually needs yet another decorative pillow…. Much less 20 of them? After my realization of this, and seeing my final credit card bill, I decided I was going to simplify my life, and give the whole minimalist thing a try. I had seen a ton of influencers on social media rave about the benefits of living simply, and after the 100th time of making my bed with a million pillows every morning, I made up my mind I was going to do this, even if it killed me. As it turns out it didn’t kill me, although it was extremely painful to let a lot of them stuff I had bought over the years go, rather it brought quite a bit of serenity into my life. And if you’re thinking about dipping your toes into the minimalist lifestyle, I would love to be able to share a pointer or two with you on how to make the transition. 

Tip number one. Find a friend who can be objective about your things. Let’s be honest, sentimentally is where neat spaces go to die. Sometimes it’s hard to be truthful with yourself about what is and is not truly “junk”. For instance, that slap band you had when you were 10 and haven’t worn since but kept because you’re sure they’re going to be cool again someday should be the first thing to make the junk pile. (Seriously, they’ll never be cool again, throw it away.) A friend, however, can come alongside you and help you see what should and should not be kept. 

Tip number two. Donate as much as you can. Just because you’ve decided to go minimalist doesn’t mean you need to just throw everything away. Plus, it’s not good for “going green”. Instead, start a donate pile. Let your friends and family know what you’re doing and ask them if there’s anything they’d like you to set aside for them. Then, whatever is left overtake to your local homeless shelter or goodwill. 

Tip number three. It’s ok to keep things you don’t use all the time. Some minimalists would disagree here, but there are going to be those certain items (Christmas decorations for instance) that you won’t use often but are still ok to keep. Just pack them away neatly and safely in some sturdy cardboard boxes and put them on a shelf in your closet or slide them under the bed. Out of sight, out of mind, but still there when you’d like to use them. 

Tip number four. Just do it. It’s one thing to talk about simplifying your life. It’s another to actually do it. And cleaning your house or apartment and getting rid of things here or here does not count. If you’re going to be serious about minimizing the amount of stuff you have, you need to just bite the bullet and do it. It may be a little painful at first, but I promise you, if you’re anything like me, you won’t regret it. Unlike all those online shopping bills. 

Make sure you have the right treat for the right time

I really love throwing parties.  I don’t care who they are for but when they are for the family it gets to be even more fun. Last year we threw a party for my mom-in-law.  She was super excited to get into the retirement theme and wanted a special day.  So she let us know that this day was going to be special and that she wanted the whole family there for a day.  She planned out the entire day hour by hour and wanted to spend it sharing all parts of her life with us.  Now in reality it was a bit boring, but it was also very special.  Taking the time to learn from someone who has many more years of living is important and a wise move.  Now she loves treats and we decided to go to the store and pick up her favorite candy boxes and set up our own little surprise for her.

Luckily, I have a great wife who loves to plan and do these kinds of things.  She set the whole thing up.  Our goal was to add a surprise to her special day and with that, we wanted to throw a party at the end.  We planned for weeks to find all of her favorite foods and colors.  We implemented really cool birthday gifts that were all themed.  The main theme was to take her favorite candy boxes of almond joys and make the theme flamingo.  This was a rather crazy task because ti meant everything had to be pink and yet coconut-themed.  It was very colorful and cool.

It was my mom’s day so we let her do her thing and when we had time to sneak away we did.  We took those breaks and instantly made the basement a super special place for a surprise.  The first goal was to fill it with balloons.  So on the first break, we went down and locked the doors.  We then proceeded to blow up several hundred balloons.  This was breathtaking as you might imagine, and we made some crazy fun decorations with them.

The balloons falling from the ceiling were pretty cool.  This made a bed on the ceiling with a pull string.  The idea was when she went down the stairs we would pull the string and the sheet which was taped to the ceiling and filled with balloons would fall.  We put about 50 ballons in the sheet and packing taped it to the ceiling.  We also used scissors to cut the string to the right length in order to have a good pull.  This took some time and many strips of tape to get it to stay in the correct position.  We had to use the pinata and it was a cute sloth.  It was so much fun for her.

We filled the pinata with her favorite treat of almond joys and provided a nice bat.  It was a flamingo pinata and she loved it.  Then we taped balloons across the ceiling and had all her gifts surrounded by a giant set of balloons.  It was a pretty awesome setup and by the time the fourth break happened we finished it up.  Finally, it was our time to surprise her and it was incredible.

Don’t get ripped off on tape at a big box store

We all know that 2021 is the true year for online sucess.  Our economy is ready and primed to be more than successful online. My industry has shown that this is the place to be and I am seeing thousands upon thousands of new companies popping up and actually surviving.  I have also seen a lot of companies not make the cut and end up burning through all their startup funds quickly.  There are a lot of reasons for companies succeeding and failing, but there are some sound things that every company should follow and that is to buy their supplies at the best cost.  Ecommerce is about success and if you are selling online then you already know that you have to ship those items to the customer.  One way or another this is going to be a cost and you want to make sure it is not going to be a cost that will shut down your company. If you are shopping in the wrong place you may just be putting your company into a quick death.  I want to go over some simple basics that can save thousands or millions of dollars.

Don’t just do what is super simple to start with.  Think about it and give the possibility of saving a chance. This means different things for many people too.  For some companies, I have seen them buy all of their shipping supplies locally and then brag about this as a selling point.  What we found is that they supported local companies and that is something that we all liked.  But the downfall is that they only had a small sampling of options available to them.  They had to use the packages, tape, and cardboard boxes available to them within a 20-mile radius.  What this turned out to be for the companies that did this was a plane-looking shipping platform for a very high cost.  The cost was simply just too much and even though some of it was cool and custom that is not enough to be worth it. 

Obviously, lots of companies are buying on Amazon.  That is easy, but not always wise.  Now if you are simply getting office supplies I would say this is an acceptable option.  But people were buying thousands of cardboard boxes, rolls of tape, and bags on a platform that boasts good shipping.  Well, they got their supplies within two days, but they did not get bulk discounts or any advice at all on the products they ordered.  This was a major issue because the fact is these companies were generally not competitive on the shipping section and ended up losing out to the competition that was always cheaper or able to offer free shipping and low prices.  Don’t let this blow your minds, so many higher-ups can’t fathom it either.

Online packaging companies are simply the best and most cost-effective for a company to use. Not only do they give advice on the products you are purchasing when you call in but can help with bulk discounts on the whole order.  They always beat amazon and end up giving companies advice that lowers costs even further. Just take a little time to be wise and make sure you are getting the best deal for your company.