Bathroom Essentials

Hey everyone,

I feel like it’s been a long time since I last posted about what I now use/don’t use in my bathroom/morning routine. Things have changed a bit, so here’s an update on my minimalist/zero-waste bathroom essentials.

Consumable products:

The first things I ever changed over were my toothbrush and toothpaste

win_20170227_133514

They have stayed the same. The bamboo toothbrush is compostable (except for the bristles) and the toothpaste is completely natural made from only coconut oil (Bought in glass jars with metal lids that I reuse for all sorts of things) , baking soda (that I buy from the bulk bins) and peppermint oil (optional ingredient).

Next up is deodorant

win_20170227_133627

I rotate between using an Alum stone and my homemade deodorant, I like the alum stone for lighter days when I know I won’t be sweating a lot, but I break out the homemade stuff for the crazier days. Made from coconut oil, baking soda, corn starch, and tea tree oil (again, optional). This bad boy can handle just about any amount of stinky sweaty pits you can throw at it.

For moisturizing and such I only use olive oil or coconut oil, but I only find I need to moisturize slightly during the dryer winter months.

Bar soap is my favorite thing, it comes without packaging at my local health store (except for one particularly pesky barcode sticker), and when it’s done, it’s done. No muss no fuss, no empty container to dispose of 🙂 I use this baby for hand washing as well as washing in the shower. Double duty, two for the price of one!

win_20170227_133706

Shampoo/Conditioner…..

faucet-running-water-shutterstock_153406115

Yes I only use water, which sounded crazy to me at first too….but it totally works! The only time I use anything but water is in the rare case when my ends are crazy dry and need a bit of olive oil. I’ve been using the water only method for about six months now and absolutely love it. No stinkyness, no artificial fragrance, and bonus is I only have to “wash” my hair once or twice a week. Easy peasy.

On the days when I look a bit greasy and need to run I brush on some corn starch as a dry shampoo and comb it through.

Cleaning….win_20170227_133554

Baking soda, vinegar, a wash cloth or scrub brush (even an old toothbrush) and a little elbow grease will get just about anything out. I use it to clean everything from the bathroom sink to the tub and toilet. It also gets a lot of use in the kitchen, but that’s another post…

*For those of you wondering, Yes I still use toilet paper, and unfortunately it comes in plastic packaging. I live with other people and this is the only area I have not transferred to a zero-waste alternative as of yet…but stay tuned, I plan to try out my options sooner rather than later 🙂 *

Tools:

Essential to the water-only washing for my hair is these babies right here…win_20170227_132932

The first is a Boar bristle brush with 100% boar hair bristles, no plastic in sight. The second is a wooden comb, and the third a wood brush. I use the BB brush to push all those lovely natural oils from my scalp to the tips of my hair, keeping it naturally beautiful and conditioned. The comb and brush simply help with detangling. One hand mirror, a few homemade hair-ties out of old socks, a bit of cornstarch(a.k.a. dry shampoo) and a brush for it.

Then we have the basic tools of the trade…tweezers, nail clippers, a nail file, etc. Followed by my safety razor and razor blades. (If you haven’t tried out a safety razor yet, I would definitely recommend it!)WIN_20170227_133319.JPG

For my towels I made sure to buy 100% cotton towels and wash cloths. I’m a firm believer WIN_20170227_132621.JPGin keeping the synthetic fabrics to a minimum, especially ones that are going to be touching my face.

 

 

 

And of course, no post about  bathroom essentials would be complete without mention of reusable menstrual products for us ladies. Namely 100% organic cotton pads, and a menstrual cup. And a glass basal thermometer for tracking your cyclewin_20170227_133015

 

All of these products have saved not only the planet, but also my wallet and my sanity as well. There aren’t anymore midnight trips to the store to buy pads for this girl, it’s all ready to go whenever I need it.

win_20170227_133729There are a few products I bought a long time ago that I’m finishing and then finding replacements for….such as lip balm and a herbal salve for burns and such.

The salve I already have a replacement for….say hello to my new Aloe Vera plant! 🙂

WIN_20170227_133426.JPG

I plan to try and make my own lip balm once this one runs out. The last two things are ear WIN_20170227_133752.JPGwax remover and eye drops. I haven’t completely figured these guys out yet, but if you have any good ideas I’d love to hear about them in the comments!

 

This all may sound like a lot, especially if you’re just starting to change up your routine to be more eco-friendly. Don’t worry, take it one baby step at a time, I’ll still be here. Take a look around and check out all the links for more information on each product and for answers to any questions you may have.

As always, I’d love to hear about your minimalist/zero-waste bathroom essentials in the comments!

Much love,

Candice

 

Advertisements

This one’s for the ladies…

Alright ladies here’s a question for you…it’s a bit personal, and perhaps slightly taboo to discuss openly…but how much do you really know about your monthly cycle?

Yep, I’m talking about the monthly (or thereabouts) reminder of the empty status of our uterus. Mother nature, our monthly bout of crazy, Aunt flow…You got it, I’m talking about periods.

Right about now I’ll bet you’re wearing a stank face and grimacing at the thought of your period. Or better yet, like I was a few months back, simply shaking your head and wondering how any female on the planet could possibly have a “normal” cycle when yours is so completely out of whack.

But what constitutes “normal”? A 28 day cycle with ovulation on day 14? A 3 day period, or a 7 day period? What about fertility, when are we supposedly fertile? When our handy dandy period app tells us, or is it wrong?

I don’t know about you, but I had lots of questions just like those running through my mind, especially when I happened to talk to my doctor about how I can skip up to three months in a row each year and not have a period for 90 days or so….her response? “As long as you’re having a period once every 4 months or so, you’re fine”…. you can imagine my reaction to that one, it was somewhere along the lines of WTF are you talking about?

But let’s go back and give you a bit of background information…
I was an early bloomer, with my first period happening in the sixth grade. I still vividly remember when I got it, and my reaction (which I’m not going to detail) but the gist is I knew it would be coming soon (thanks to a bit of prep from my mother and a very uninformative sex-ed class in the fifth grade where they skimmed over everything) and so wasn’t particularly surprised by it’s arrival except for the sheer amount of discomfort and pain that came with it. That “Oh dear lord I must be dying” sort of pain, that was me every month without fail. It was miserable. I despised my periods.

Fast forward a few years, many periods, ridiculous amounts of cramping and other unmentionable yuckiness, and lots of skipped months and I had simply determined that my cycle wasn’t and would never be “normal” because I was never able to predict when the next one would happen. The unpredictable nature of my period was a huge stressor for me because once you’re about 50-60 days past your last period you start to get paranoid about when the next will show up and surprise you. My cycles were anywhere between 19 and 94 days, and it was driving me insane.

Periods were not only stressful, but completely debilitating for the first two days. I was literally beside myself with pain to the point where I ALWAYS took a sick day from school if my period started anywhere from Monday through Friday.

Now I knew that certain foods and exercising before my period would help with the pain, but I never knew when my period was going to show up so I was never prepared for it besides always having feminine products on hand.

I’m very aware that my problem was lack of knowledge about my own body and it’s internal processes, but I was quite ignorant beyond the fact that those parts of the female body were useful for sex and babymaking and a period was the shedding of your lining when you didn’t get pregnant.

Thirteen years of miserable cycles and I finally now know a lot more about my body, and I’m quite thankful that I do.

I’ve gone from never being able to predict my periods to knowing exactly when they’re going to show up within a 24 hour margin. I also know why I get a random day of cramps halfway through my cycle (hello ovulation), and know what a basal body temperature is and how it has the ability to save my sanity. I also know what estrogen and progesterone are and their roles in my body. Safe to say I’ve learned a LOT.

Where’d I find this wealth of knowledge? This lovely gem of a book, I randomly picked it up at the library 13920478_10153992047306725_339519138044329955_oon a whim and it’s been the most informative book I’ve ever read. I learned more about my lady bits in a hour of reading this than in the first 23 years of my life combined.

*Fun Fact- did you know as a woman you’re only fertile 1 day of your cycle, the day you ovulate. It’s the combination of a man’s swimmers that makes your fertile stretch longer because they can last 4-5 days before they die!

The book has sections of information on how to track periods, fertility, a whole part on pregnancy, menopause, and even advice on how to use your tracking to prevent pregnancy (or ensure it) naturally and effectively. (Which is pretty handy information of you would like to apply Zero-waste principles not only to your period, but birth control as well)

It has completely changed my views of my cycle and I no longer dread my periods. The biggest part of knowing when your not only fertile but when your next period will be is charting your cycle. It’s a fancy way of saying you take your temperature first thing every morning before you get out of bed, and you keep track of it.  Your temperature alone can tell you if you’ve ovulated, if you’re pregnant, if your body is trying to ovulate but is having problems with it, etc. The rest is just listening to your body, like when you cramp and where, a little friend called cervical fluid (sounds gross, but it’s really not as bad as it sounds), and the changes in your body during your cycle (like bloating, tenderness, etc.).

I know, it sounds like a lot of work, but it is very easy to do and takes less than 5 minutes a day. It actually can help simplify your periods, believe it or not.

I’m three cycles into charting (where each cycle has varied in length by 10-20 days) , and I have predicted my last three periods down to the day. Since I know WHEN to expect it, I can now prepare for it by increasing my intake of vegetables and garlic beforehand (look it up, garlic does wonders for your time of the month), I also make sure to fit in a bit of extra stretching and exercise right before I start to lessen my cramps. Not to mention, I know when I should carry my menstrual cup and cloth pads with me to be prepared for it 🙂

The difference is like night and day. Granted the first day still sucks, but I can actually function like a normal human being during it now, no more sick days.

So if you think your period is as elusive as the wind, or that your body is out of your control, I would highly recommend checking out Taking Charge of your Fertility, even if you don’t read the entire book, copy the charting pages in the back and read the section on how to use them…it’ll make your life, and your cycles, so much easier to predict and handle. Plus I totally feel like a badass now that I understand the functions of my body. I am no longer ignorant, and believe me, when it comes to periods, ignorance isn’t bliss.

If you have any comments or questions I’d love to hear about them in the comments!

Xo

Candice

Ten myths of Zero-Waste

Hey guys,

I’ve been noticing a few articles floating around that, in my opinion, completely misrepresent the lifestyle….hence today’s post on the myths of Zero-Waste.

Here we go…

MYTH #1

Zero-waste is a movement for only middle to upper class Caucasian women who are single and childless.

TRUTH #1

The Zero-waste movement is for ALL people to participate in. Now it does seem as though a majority of those blogging and promoting it do fall into that stereotype, but there are men and other ethnicities as well as parents living the lifestyle. There’s a comprehensive list of bloggers around the world who live it at zerowastebloggersnetwork.com

I personally fall into the stereotype, except for the middle/upper class thing…which brings me to my next myth…

MYTH #2

You need to have at least a middle class income to attempt Zero-waste.

TRUTH #2

I personally skate by each month on a very small income. Zero-waste has helped me lower my spending because I no longer need to buy things like tissues, lotions, hairspray, deodorant, toothpaste, etc.

That’s right, Zero-wasting has helped me SAVE money. Ka-ching!

MYTH #3

You need to buy fancy matching Mason jars, bamboo cutlery, and a butt-load of stuff to start your Zero-waste journey.

TRUTH #3

This one irritates me the most because it’s total bull. You can go zero-waste cheaply by saving glass pickle jars or spaghetti sauce jars and wash the label off before reusing them. Instead of buying a pack of hankies, cut up an old T-shirt and use that. Instead of getting a fancy set of glass jars for storage, check out your local dollar store or thrift store. Easily 3/4 of my containers I got really cheap from both of those places. Or if you have a friend who uses glass baby food jars, ask if you can have the jars when she’s done with them to use for bulk spices.

WIN_20160510_161947
jars (The one in the middle used to be a mayo jar) 😉

The order of operations: Use what you already have, ask a friend, thrift, then lastly buy new.

I think I’ve made my point 🙂

MYTH #4

It costs a lot of money upfront to start.

TRUTH #4

The only upfront costs I had were for a few jars from the dollar store, my divacup, cloth pads, and a safety razor. These were all investments that have paid for themselves in the past year since I am no longer buying their disposable counterparts. These products will last for years and years to come since they are resusable, so I expect they will pay for themselves multiple times before they finally wear out.

The other zero-waste purchases like bamboo toothbrushes, soapnuts, and alum stone deodorant are going to be repeat purchases, but their cost is similar or even less than the regular products.

MYTH #5

You are failing if your trash doesn’t fit in a Mason jar.

TRUTH #5

If you are even reading this post you are already winning and one step ahead of the game. Most people simply aren’t conscious of their waste- or, more likely they don’t WANT to be conscious of their waste. So they ignore it. Even if your only step has been to bring your own reusable bags to the grocery store, you are contributing to having less waste. EVERY STEP COUNTS!

My personal trash from the past two months does happen to fit in a small jar, but I don’t include pet waste in that factor because my pets do make quite a bit of litter waste and such. Which, for obvious reasons, I am not collecting in a jar lol.

But like I’ve said, I have been on this journey for over a year already, each person’s situation is unique and individual to them. Some have pets, some don’t, some have kids, some don’t, etc. As long as you are trying, you are pretty awesome in my book.

MYTH #6

You have to have special equipment to go Zero-waste. Bamboo utensils, jars, produce bags, etc.

TRUTH #6

So, okay, I have a glass water-bottle. I also have some jars for storage, and a reusable tote to take to the store. But do I have portable bamboo utensils to take with me to restaurants? No. Have I bought specific bags just for produce? No.

If I want to go out to eat, I pick a place with reusable flatware. If I want to buy produce I put it loose in my cart and loose on the cashier belt, and then loose in my big tote.

Now, that being said. There are things you will find you use and would be convenient to have for Zero-wasting. I personally like my water-bottle, and would it be nice to have bamboo utensils? yes, but I don’t need them right now.

The only things you will NEED to go zero-waste are a few containers that you can refill with bulk purchases, and a reusable tote for going to the store. End of story. Everything else can be improvised. (Except if you’re a woman who happens to PMS, then a menstrual cup or reusable pads are kind of necessary. The joys of being a woman, huh?)

MYTH #7

To go zero-waste you have to give up everything good like packaged chips and candy-bars, and the only way you’ll ever have good food again is if you become Suzy Homemaker.

TRUTH #7

Oy, where to begin. I do not buy chips, personally, since none come in packaging I find acceptable for ME. But I do cut up a potato and throw it into my little deep-fryer I have at home. Or a skillet. A few minutes later, voila, fried potatoes!

I also make things like salad dressing, because it’s easy to make. I have the skills to make my own mayo and barbecue sauce as well, but given that I use so little of them and they have enough ingredients that it is easier to buy BBQ sauce in a glass jar with a metal lid than make it myself, both materials being completely recyclable.

If I want a chocolate bar I make sure to find one that is in paper packaging that is easily recycled. (I simply won’t give up chocolate, sorry guys, I need it for that time of the month 🙂 )

MYTH #8

If you Zero-waste, you must not use contraceptives or toilet paper.

TRUTH #8

Whether you use contraceptives or not is a personal choice, I personally am a fan of not spreading diseases or getting pregnant unexpectedly. The trash that comes along with that is inevitable unless you get fixed, which isn’t an option if you want to have children.

Toilet paper is a touchy subject. I still use it since everyone in my household does. I haven’t gotten up the nerve to look into other options just yet, but I’m sure I probably will eventually. For now the best options are if you can get it wrapped in paper, or at least without the inner cardboard tube. Recycled is even better, but it depends on what your preferences are.

MYTH #9

You have to have tons of free time in order to worry about all the extra “work” that goes along with Zero-waste. I.e. grocery shopping, making products

TRUTH #9

Zero-waste grocery shopping is no harder that regular shopping once you have your system in place. I have little labels for my jars, and except for the first trip to the store where I had to get them weighed, grocery shopping takes me the exact same amount of time it did before. No big deal. You just take your jars or bags (if you are buying bulk items), fill em up, and pay for them. Easy peasy. It just takes a little big of gusto to make that first trip, but once you get the hang of it it’s a breeze.

You don’t have to make your own products to be zero-waste. It’s easy and convenient to make them yourself mostly, but it isn’t necessary. I only make one product regularly, toothpaste. 30 seconds, some coconut oil, baking soda, and peppermint oil, and I’m done. That’s it.

Most things have a purchasable replacement. Like bars of soap free of packaging versus body-wash, an alum stone instead of deodorant, soap nuts instead of laundry detergent, etc. It just takes a little experimentation to figure out what works the best for you.

MYTH #10

There is no point to Zero-wasting because the planet is already doomed and one person can’t make a difference in the grand scheme of things.

TRUTH #10

One person can make a difference. It might not be a ginormous impact, but you can impact yourself and the people around you. I’m not a perfect environmentalist by any stretch of the imagination, but every single time I go to the store I always get asked about my jars, and those two minutes spent talking to another person may or may not end up encouraging them to try it, or it might just remind them to bring a reusable bag to the store.

I might not save the planet, but I’m saving one plastic bag for each jar I use. One plastic bag every time I use my reusable tote. One plastic water-bottle every time I bring my own reusable one. One disposable toothbrush for every bamboo toothbrush. One more bit of empty space in my drawers for every cheap freebie I turn down.

It adds up.

I’d also like to think I help out by spreading the word through this blog, for those of you who read it.

So, if any of you have any comments or any other myths you’d like to share with me, I’d love to hear about them in the comments!

XO

Candice

Lessons from going one year makeup free!

For those of you who’ve been following me for a while you might remember a little blog post I did towards the last week of July last year about giving up makeup. Check it out here if you haven’t read it yet.

Anywho, it has officially been 1 whole year without makeup for me and I wanted to talk about a few things I learned along the way.

But first let’s talk about the reasons I gave it up in the first place.

  1. First and foremost I’m pretty lazy when it comes to my morning routine. I get up brush my teeth run a brush through my hair and that’s the gist of it. Maybe I’ll do a ponytail or braid if I’m feeling particularly adventurous. But having makeup in the routine was taking up too much time in my opinion, and quite honestly I was only using it to cover up blemishes anyway, not to turn myself into the next Victoria’s Secret model lol
  2. That stuff is expensive, and there’s so many brands to choose from. I’d walk into the store and it was time-consuming enough to find something that matched my skin tone, let alone wondering what the heck the different between a bb cream and a cc cream was.
  3. Most of the time I only managed to put on eyeliner and a bit of concealer and that was it.
  4. And quite frankly I was irritated that men could go out with a fresh face every stinking day without anyone making a peep but if I went out without eyeliner everyone asked me if I was “tired” and “doing okay”. As though my fresh face looked like one of an ill person. Oy.

So I decided to do a little experiment. I got rid of it all. Every last bit. GONE.

WIN_20150723_103805

Quite honestly, I’m glad I did it.

Now I’ll tell you, for someone with acne scars and nice discolored bits on my face it was definitely an adjustment to go out without any “war paint” as it were. But you know what? Eventually I got used to it, and so did everyone else. I no longer bet any comments about my appearance except for those who say “oh, you look great today, where’d you get that skirt?” etc.

I’ve learned quite a bit from this experiment…

  1. Most people aren’t scrutinizing your face to see if you’re wearing makeup every single day. As a matter of fact, most people simply don’t care. So don’t base your choices on what others might think of your fresh makeup-free face.
  2. Makeup can be used for two purposes, the first being to hide imperfections, the second to enhance your favorite features. I prefer the second reason to the first. Everyone has some sort of imperfection and most are quite interesting and beautiful, like freckles. Now acne scars aren’t what I’d personally consider beautiful, but I can deal with others seeing them. If anyone asks, I simply explain I have food intolerances that caused a lot of acne growing up and these are the battle scars, so to speak.
  3. Don’t be embarrassed by your face. Everyone breaks out occasionally, just like a lot of people get weird sunglasses tanlines in the summer, its inevitable. Its HUMAN. It’s nothing to be ashamed of.
  4. If you are insecure about breakouts or blemishes, try not looking into the mirror for a week. Soon enough you’ll realize it isn’t that big of a deal and there are much more interesting ways to spend your time.
  5. Guys go out without makeup, and it’s perfectly acceptable for us women to as well. End of story. (I’d also add here that we can go out with hairy legs and braless as well, but I’ll save those bits for another post:) )
  6. Nixing makeup saves both time and money. And energy. If I don’t put anything on in the morning, I don’t have to spend copious amounts of time scraping it off at night.
  7. My last point is that society can be pretty demanding, always trying to sell you the next beauty treatment or wrinkle remover, but quite honestly we don’t need them. If you’re young you’ll probably have some breakouts, if your older you’ll be betting wrinkles and smile lines, but its all a normal part of growing up and growing older. So embrace your age as well as your face, they are stunningly unique after all (unless you’re an identical twin, but I digress) and they’re all yours.

I’ll admit I had a few times the past year when I was tempted to get some concealer to cover up a few things, but now that the year’s over I can now say that I don’t really miss the makeup…except on Halloween. Then, yeah I’ll probably make a bit of DIY makeup just for the hell of it. But the rest of the year I will enjoy going makeup free and embracing me, scars and all.

Have any of you tried going makeup free? Do you enjoy it or did you regret it? Have any zero-waste/minimalist makeup recipes for me? I’d love to hear about it all in the comments!

Plastic free july!

It’s that time of year again, Plastic Free July, a time when individuals are encouraged to forgo single use plastics like straws, cups, bags, etc. in favor of reusable.

Now, honestly, I never really did the whole plastic free July thing when I started transitioning towards zero-waste. But I think its a great place for people to start learning about the impact they can have on their environment.

It amazes me how many people are simply ignorant of their waste, or on the other hand those who ignore it purposely. I was told at the checkout today of my favorite bulk store that I am the ONLY person who brings in their own jars…yep, the only one. Little ol’ me. Everyone else uses the provided Plastic bags. (insert facepalm here)

It made me sad.

Why? Because its so EASY to cut down on your plastic waste and consumption. It just takes a few easy steps to cut out the junk. Here are a few easy beginner tips:

  1. Ditch the plastic bags…they’re ridiculous and entirely unnecessary. I bet if you go look right now you have that one giant plastic bag FULL of other smaller plastic bags. Go take a look at how ugly that thing is, don’t worry I’ll still be here when you get back……………You can’t tell me that horde of plastic looks pretty. Reusable bags are the way to go. I have a big old sturdy canvas tote myself. If you’re afraid you’ll forget, keep some in your car, by your shopping list, fold one and stuff it in your purse. Personally, I write my list and get my bags ready right before I leave for the store so I don’t forget anything.WIN_20150724_120334
  2. Get rid of those plastic disposable water bottles, it is easier and cheaper to get water from the tap. There are different things you can replace them with like metal canteens or water bottles, I personally prefer glass (mine is pictured below during a trip to the park)
  3. Next, let go of your love for disposable straws, stainless steel and glass options are WIN_20160706_114101better for the environment, but they also look better and you kids love them, they even have colored options if that’s more your style.
  4. Here’s another crazy idea for you beginners, leave your fruits and veggies loose at the store, don’t put them in little plastic baggies, let them breathe. I promise, they’ll be just fine. I buy my potatoes loose and put them on the conveyer belt loose, the simple solution is to simply wash them when you get home, easy peasy.

 

All right, some of you are reading this like “I already know this, how bout some tips for those of us a little further along in the journey.”

Here’s some mid-grade tips:

  1. Buy in bulk. Not in giant bulk packages like costco, but from bulk BINS. Big difference. Bins let you get exactly how much or how little you need, no muss no fuss. You may think there are no bulk stores near you, but I guarantee there probably is one and you don’t even know it. I found 2 near me when I was convinced there were none.
  2. Better yet, when you buy in bulk…..bring your own jars or bags! Tare them when empty, write the tare (aka weight) of the empty jar on a sticker or tag. Fill em up, and then they’ll take off the weight of the jar at checkout. (Be warned though that just because they have bulk doesn’t mean all the cashiers will be trained on how to deduct tare weight, if in doubt have them ask a manager)WIN_20160510_162025
  3. For those fruits and veg scraps you have left over, regrow them! Once potatoes sprout you can plant them in a pot of dirt and they’ll regrow into many potatoes. Green onions will regrow if you keep the bulbs in a jar with a bit of water, same goes for leaf lettuce bottoms and celery. Sprouted onions and garlic can be planted to go to seed then you have free seeds to plant for next year 🙂

Now, there are some of you who scoff at those tips above. Those of you that are on another plane of zero-wasting entirely. Here are a few tips for you…

  1. Plant a garden. Window box, potters, or a good sized backyard…it doesn’t matter. You can make space to plant food. Best part, is it’s automatically organic if you keep it clean and don’t use any pesticides or fertilizers. Cheap organic produce is the bomb. I am lucky enough to have a yard where I’ve planted potatoes, onions, green beans, lettuce, spinach, peas, spaghetti squash, carrots, and watermelon. I also have chives, thyme, peppermint, and spearmint that grow back every year on their own. If you don’t want to go gung ho on the veg, try out a small herb garden first. Fresh herbs are the best anyway, and bonus because they don’t sprout out of the ground wrapped in plastic.WIN_20160706_105933
  2. Make your own stuff, whether it be deodorant, apple cider vinegar, salad dressings, or homemade mayo and ketchup. Try out new recipes. I guarantee the first one will probably be a failure if your luck is anything like mine, but don’t give up. I made 7 different BBQ sauce batches before finding ratios I liked.

    WIN_20160613_123513
    home-made ACV
  3. Ditch the plastic from the rest of your house, I got rid of unnecessary plastic tupperware and opted for glass jars instead. I also ditched plastic storage containers and utensils. If you can’t let all the plastic go, please at least try to keep it away from your food. Nasty leaching chemicals are not good to ingest. Glass and metal are much better for food storage. 🙂

    WIN_20160510_161947
    jars
  4. Ditch the harsh cleaners. Opt for soap nuts, castile soap, baking soda, vinegar, and bars of soap. Better for you, better for the planet. Cheaper too, which is just an extra bonus.

 

Are you participating in plastic free July? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!

10 Motivations for becomining a Minimalist

I’ve been thinking  a lot about how minimalism has changed my entire perspective on life and I’ve met people who ask me…

Well, why did you become a minimalist? What’s the big deal?

So I thought it would be a great question to answer on today’s post.

Here are 10 motivations to become a minimalist:

  1. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…Less Stuff=Less STRESS. Simply because there’s less to think about. I’m not spending my time wondering if I have a dress to wear to a certain occasion or if I’ll have enough clean clothes for the rest of the week, I already know exactly what’s in my closet (because there’s less and everything is visible and worn multiple times) and when I’ll need to do laundry, mainly because I don’t have as much of it to do or worry about.DSC03866
  2. Speaking of laundry and chores…Less stuff =Less chores to be done! Can I get a hell yeah for not spending your Saturdays cleaning out the garage-again. Or laundry, I went from 5-6 loads a week to 3…maybe 4 if I’m doing all my blankets off my bed in the winter. That’s it! When surfaces are clear it takes all of thirty seconds to dust them too.
  3. Consumerism, ah the beast that is consumerism. Ads on television, ads online, ads at the grocery store and even at gas stations now. They all tell you that you couldn’t possibly be satisfied with what you already own. Why use your perfectly functional grill when you could buy this new fancier version!………😒 Yeah, anywho, once you minimize your stuff you learn pretty quickly that you don’t need to buy 3/4 of what they’re selling. This, in turn, saves you money and useless time spent perusing the malls. 🙂
  4. More time= more time! Once you free up all the time from shopping trips and cleaning, you’ll have more time to do whatever you want. You could spend time reading a book or going to the park with your kids or just taking a nice long relaxing bubble bath….ahhh relaxation…
  5. Less stuff is less to worry about and pack when you move. (This is a big one for me since I’ve easily moved over ten times in my lifetime already, gotta make it as easy as possible)
  6. I’m going to be a bit morbid here, but when you die…and all of us will at some point….do you really want to leave a huge pile of stuff for your loved ones and kids to have to go through and sort and trash afterwards? I already know I’m going to have tons of junk to go through when some of my family members eventually kick the bucket, and frankly I’m not looking forward to having to do it. I’d rather leave future generations a wad of cash or a vacation instead of a pile of crap I’ve been hoarding “just in case they want it”. Just sayin.
  7. On a happier note, minimalism makes it so easy come holiday times, I tell family and friends I don’t want any STUFF, if they want to do something for me they can take me somewhere out to eat or ice skating, or to the park. Experiences trump gifts every time. 🙂 I’d rather spend time at a concert with my mother than have another useless tchotchke sitting on my dresser. Yay for bonding time.
  8. Have you seen pictures in magazines of open airy rooms and nice neat counters without a thing on them…I don’t know about you but I think they are so nice and inviting….psssttt, your place can look like that, all you got to do is get rid of everything that clutters your place up. My bedroom is my pride and joy, it went from cluttered and stressful to calm and relaxing, all by removing unnecessary things!
  9. Another thing that motivated me to start this minimalist journey was my beginning into zero-waste, I am a big believer that each and every single one of us impacts the planet with our daily choices whether they be good or bad. I buy my food loose or in glass jars, not only does this satisfy my environmentalist side, but it satisfies my minimalist side too because zero-waste pantries aren’t cluttered with brand names and tons of packaging.
  10. And last but certainly not least I always wanted to have a deeper connection with nature, and minimalism has allowed me to do that. I now have extra time in the day that I used to spend watching television or trolling on the internet that I use to get my hands dirty in my garden or just to go for a walk around my neighborhood. Its almost spiritual when you get to the place where you have just what you need and not much else, it almost feels like you’re harmonizing with nature. Taking only what you need to survive and respecting the planet.

Some of these may be relevant to you, others not. These were what inspired me to become a minimalist and it is by far one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. If you have any other motivations that you’d like to share, I’d love to hear about them in the comments!

Dealing with pre-minimalist/zero-waste purchases

Hey guys,

I wanted to do a quick post on something that I see questions about a lot…..what to do with those pre-minimalist/zero-waste purchases.

 

I’ll deal with them separately, let’s start with pre-minimalist purchases first:

When holding an item that you purchased weeks, months, even decades ago…it can be hard to let go. Whether it be a piece of clothing from high-school or a set of your great-grandmother’s doilies that sit around collecting dust, there are a few questions to ask yourself.

  1. Is this item being used?
  2. Is this item something that fits my body/current lifestyle?
  3. Do I LOVE said item?
  4. Do I really need it?

If you answered NO to any, or all of the above, then it’s probably time to let the item go. But don’t just throw it away…unless it is actually trash….if you can give it to a relative/friend who actually Wants it…donate it..sell it…recycle it…you get the idea.

Now I know what you’re going to say, “But Candice, I spent a lot of money on this/it has sentimental value/it was a gift…”

My answer, if you don’t love it and it doesn’t fit your lifestyle…then you shouldn’t hang onto it out of guilt.

Onto the pre-Zero-waste purchases

This one is a bit more difficult, because there are things that inevitably have been bought before becoming environmentally conscious that are still in good condition…but they’re plastic or made from something you don’t want near your body or your kids…or they’re hazardous to your health (hello most cleaning supplies, I’m talking about you).

For me, I did a few things.

First, I had a transitional period where I used up what was left of my personal care products like shampoo, toothpaste, etc. I did dispose of their containers responsibly when I was finished. But here’s the key- when I finished them off I found alternatives that were 1. Better for my health 2. Package free 3.or easy to make myself

As for the cleaning supplies, I gave them to family who wanted them. I wasn’t going to keep those carcinogens and neurotoxins near me any longer than absolutely necessary,  I switched straight over to vinegar and baking soda…no need for gloves or surgical masks when using them, they’re edible lol For laundry I switched to castille soap and soap nuts.

As I went through my possessions while I was minimizing, I automatically donated random things that were made of plastic that I was no longer using such as organizing buckets, etc. Since I was getting rid of so much stuff, I didn’t need them anymore.

I did have a few things that were still usable like plastic hangars and tupperware…the tupperware I got rid of immediately because I didn’t want plastic anywhere near my food, switched them all out for glass jars (you don’t necessarily have to go purchase new glass jars, you can always reuse ones from things like pasta sauces and jams, get creative) Same thing with plastic baggies, you don’t need them if you have glass jars. Let them go or donate to a local elementary classroom, they use them quite frequently.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The hangars on the other hand stuck around for a while, but then they started breaking one by one and I found some wood and metal hangars lying around that were my grandparents that no one was using, and I ended up donating the plastic ones. Now, I did purchase one set of 6 new wood hangars to round out my set, but that was a personal decision. Not everyone can afford to buy new things just to replace their plastic counterparts.

So, to date…. I’ve mostly gotten rid of things as opposed to buying new. There were a few exceptions, such as glass jars, a set of hangars, cloth pads, a safety razor when I ran out of disposables, a new hairbrush when mine broke, and an adult laundry bucket (not made out of mesh!). But that’s about it.

The solution for pre-minimalist and pre-zero-waste purchases really depends on your personal situation, but most of the time they can be donated or recycled.

Keep in mind that minimalism and zero-waste are both journeys. They aren’t meant to be accomplished in one day or even a week, they can take years to switch over to. Look at me, I’ve been at it for a year and am just now starting to get really comfortable with my progress.

It’s all about the baby-steps!

If you have any questions, or any suggestions for future posts you would like to read…lett me know in the comments 🙂

5 Things to do with that old Bamboo toothbrush

Hey everyone, I did a previous post on how I switched out my plastic toothbrushes for bamboo ones…and this is the update.

I absolutely love bamboo toothbrushes, I have tried a few different brands in the past year and find that most work rather well. Most recently I have used both the Brush with Bamboo brand as well as Mother’s Vault.

The thing is, that eventually you are going to have to replace your toothbrush, it is inevitable whether you use a plastic one or a bamboo one. I find that it is usually time to replace my bamboo toothbrush when the bristles start naturally coming out of their little sockets. Once two of the sockets are empty I retire the toothbrush and grab a new one.WIN_20150823_084825

What I have found though, is five different uses for the bamboo toothbrush before it eventually ends up in my compost pile. Now, this list may apply to some and not to others, but for those of you looking for a way to re-purpose your toothbrush and get a new life out of it, here we go….

  1. Take the toothbrush, minus any bristles that have fallen out, and use it as a nail brush. It comes in pretty handy after gardening when my nails are full of dirt. It saves me from having to purchase a separate nail brush, which saves money, and it reuses something I already have, which is satisfyingly Eco-friendly. 🙂
  2. Once it has expired it’s life as your nail brush it is time for use #2. As a cleaning tool. I use these babies for scrubbing the grout (we have a very old tile shower that has LOTS of grout to be scrubbed). Or cleaning the floor, or just to get into hard to reach places.
  3. Once it has been a toothbrush, a nail brush, and a cleaning brush, then it has a few options. Option 1 is that it can become a marker for your garden. I like to write down the type of plant on the handle of the brush (after trashing the bristles) and then stick it in the dirt as a cute marker.
  4. Option number 2 after you rip the bristles out it can become a craft stick for some sort of art project. This is a great one if you have kids, they can make a few of them into a stick house or a picture frame….get creative.
  5. Or, if you are like me you probably have pets. I currently have 2 birds as well as 2 cats.

    The one on the left is Honey and the one on the right is Lulu. It was incredibly difficult to get them to sit still long enough for a picture…they aren’t keen on selfies 😀 My birds specifically love destroying things, they rip apart their ladders and branches with a single-mindedness that astounds me. They will tear apart popsicle sticks, cardboard, newspapers, you name it they use it to sand down their beaks. Anywho, I can always stick one of the handles in their cage and they will rip it into shreds within a few days. Then I simply take the remains and compost them. If you don’t have birds, I suppose you could always use it as a fetch stick for a smaller dog…

That’s it. My five tried and true uses for old bamboo toothbrushes. Do you have a use that I missed? If so leave it in the comments! 🙂

My inventory of stuff.

All right, this is something that I said I would probably never do…like ever. But I finally did it, I wrote down a master inventory list of all of my stuff. Yep, I said it, I catalogued everything I own.

Honestly, it took FOREVER to write the list, and I don’t have a ton of stuff to begin with! Or at least I didn’t think I did. I’ve already done about a dozen purges, each time getting rid of more and more that I don’t really need but was holding onto for the moment of “just in case”.

Forcing myself to sit down and write a master list of what I own really made me take a hard look at each and every item and wonder “Is this item really necessary?”, I mean seriously, after writing so many different items down you get to the point where you would rather donate an item than have to write down anything else haha.

I won’t kill you all with every single detail of my inventory, but I thought I would share a bit of it.

When I started this list I thought I would make the lists organized by room, then I thought better of it and separated it into further categories. The categories are:

  1. Closet/Clothes
  2. Room Accessories
  3. Art supplies
  4. Technology
  5. Furniture
  6. Wardrobe Accessories
  7. Oils, etc. Consumables
  8. Personal items (pads, menstrual cup, razor, etc.)
  9. Items in my Armoire
  10. Items stored in the basement
  11. Desk contents
  12. Kitchen contents (only pots and pans, I didn’t count food at all)

The majority of items I found were smaller items that everyone has such as pens and pencils, miscellaneous desk items, and office supplies.

My biggest numbers were definitely in the Art supplies category…there I had 11 brushes, 43 paints, 5 sponges, 2 sketchbooks, 3 oils, 10 markers, 1 paint thinner, 16 pastels, 9 pencils, 9 erasers…..well, you get the idea. 🙂

I’ve always had a thing for creating paintings and sketches, it is a great creative outlet that is relaxing and in the end you are left with something either beautifully amazing or half-ways decent. My goal with the art supplies is to use the supplies that I have before I purchase anything else. I would eventually like to get to the point where I make my own supplies like paints etc. There was this book once that I browsed through that said you could make a paint brush out of cat whiskers….I have two cats who drop old ones all the time, I should have been saving them all these years!

Anyways, onto the other categories. I’ll spare you the details of my wardrobe since I already did a post on it here. Since that post I have minimized a few more items, but not enough to do an updated post yet. I also have eliminated most of the plastic from my closet. I no longer have the plastic bins, and half of my hangars have been swapped out for wood ones. But I digress…

The smallest categories tended to be those with larger sized items. My furniture category is as follows:

  1. Queen bed frame
  2. Queen mattress and box spring
  3. Armoire
  4. Dresser
  5. Desk
  6. 2 sitting chairs
  7. 2 lamps
  8. 1 desk chair
  9. 1 clothes hamper
  10. 1 chalkboard- it’s quite large and hangs on a wall so I classify it as furniture

That’s it for furniture, but then again I do live with other people, so I am fully prepared that when I live on my own I will probably need a few more items. 🙂

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Another category that I have kept rather small is my room accessories/decorations category…

  1. 3 blue glass jars/vases
  2. 1 glass tiger
  3. 1 candle
  4. 1 figurine
  5. 3 ceramic masks
  6. 1 African rain stick

The only thing that is sort of a decoration that isn’t in this category is my paintings, I left them in the art category just to make my life simpler.

For those of you wondering, I’ll throw out a few other numbers of things that most of us own.

DVD’s- I own 14 (I’m thinking about getting rid of a few)

VHS’s- 17…Yes I do still have access to a VCR, I’m a weird person but I still like my VHS’s.

Books- 225….this is still a large amount, but I used to own TWO THOUSAND, so it is quite an improvement. The one thing I have always loved is books.

Sheets- 2 sets, one for winter and one for summer. I also have 1 comforter.

Hair ties- 20

Hair pins- 20

X-mas stuff- 1 small metal tin of my favorite wood/metal ornaments that I display for the month of December and then put them back away. I can use hooks to display them on a wall or a metal jewelry holder to hold them up, I nixed my Christmas tree.

Sentimental items- I have mine confined to a space rather than a number, all of my sentimental items such as photographs or old school accomplishments are in one cardboard file box. That’s it, if it doesn’t fit then I get rid of something…like pictures of old birthday cakes or Christmas trees lol Who needs those?

Those are some of the numbers, which you may or may not consider minimalist. For me it is a far cry from what I used to have, and I continue to reevaluate my items on a weekly basis. What I like to do is keep one box by the front door and as I go about my daily business I can throw an item in there if I come across it and realize that I no longer need it. When the box is full I make a trip to the donation center.

I never thought I would do an inventory like this, but it has been an eye opener.

1. About the number of things I actually own.

2. About how many of those things are one-hit-wonders or made out of plastic (I’ve been phasing out the plastic on my journey to being plastic -free and a Zero-waster).

3. About how much is truly necessary, and how much is just extra fluff. We can survive on very little, but tend to consume to excess. I am now making more mindful purchases that I mull over for a time to really assess if they are a necessity or if they will add value to my life.

Now, considering the fact that this number is changing on a daily/weekly basis I am not currently 100% sure if it is accurate, but I will finally answer your burning question…right now my total number of possessions is somewhere around 900. 225 of which is books lol Another hundred or so are art supplies. So it may seem like a big number, but surprisingly enough it doesn’t take up a huge amount of space. I have 1 regular size room with a closet, and 1 shelf of space in our basement.

Have you done an inventory of your items? If so what did you learn? If not, would you ever consider making one?

DSC03770

If you have any specific questions about numbers of any item, ask them in the comments. I would love to hear from you!

Baby Steps in the kitchen

Now that it is officially 2016, I am in a minimizing/zero-wasting motivational high. These past few days alone I have gone through my things and donated an entire garbage bag full of unused items.

Most of you know that I live with three other people, which can make minimizing and zero-wasting tricky…I think of it as a challenge.

I started this journey by doing a bathroom/bedroom makeover…I donated copious amounts of clothing that no longer fit/I didn’t wear, I completely re-did my bathroom routine swapping out brand names for home-made toothpaste, deodorant, etc.

These two areas were the “safe” areas. A.K.A. the ones that no one would complain about because it only affected myself.

Now I am moving on to the kitchen, the kitchen has always been a point of contention within my family. I think that we have waaayyy to many items in the kitchen, everything from gadgets to utensils that we never use. They however think that we “need” every item although I do most of the cooking and never use them.

Safe to say that we agree to disagree on the point. Anywho, One of my family members is out of town and I am determined to prove that most of our kitchen “daily mess” is his, not mine. So I started by cleaning everything in the kitchen, and I mean Everything.

Our kitchen counter tends to be a dumping ground for dirty dishes, etc. I cleared it all up, and with permission from my mother I boxed up half of our dishes, and donated a few unused items. I kept just enough dishes for us to use, four people and we now have 6 large plates in rotation instead of 20.

WIN_20160102_153144

It has cut down on the counter clutter, that and a new rule that anyone who uses a dish must wash it immediately when finished. It is easier to wash one than fifty.

So far I will say that it is working beautifully. I also went through and got rid of expired pantry items, and am determined to use most of the items left in there before I go grocery shopping again.

Another part of my kitchen clean up involved shelving our toaster, it used to sit out on the counter and was only used once a day at most. It now has a home underneath the counter and can be pulled out when used then put away. It frees up enough counter space for me to have my temporary compost bin and fruit bowl on the countertop, both of which I use multiple times daily. I think it looks sort of pretty, what do you think?

WIN_20160102_153213

Now of course there are going to be things that I cannot change, like the giant pack of ramen noodles on the shelf in the first picture (my brothers) and the dish drain that I think is rather unnecessary but the rest of the family uses. But I think it is a nice start.

I also have been using my mason jars and the bulk section at the store for my shelf in the pantry…

WIN_20160102_153232

I also have done a bit of experimenting today, I ventured into making my own barbeque sauce, which was easy enough to make since we had most of the ingredients on hand already. I also made my own salad dressing.

Check out my Zero-Waste dinner:

WIN_20160102_170926

From left to right: 1 salad with avocado. 1 jar of home-made BBQ sauce, 1 jar of home-made vinaigrette, 3 small pieces of flank steak (grass fed), 1 glass of home-made mango/orange/apple juice, and finally 1 mashed purple potato with garlic.

It was delicious 🙂

What changes have you made in your kitchen?