Top 5 tips for an Eclectic Minimalist Wardrobe

Time for a wardrobe update!

Finding the perfect balance in a minimalist wardrobe can be challenging, especially if you’re like me and are not a fan of having a “uniform” or a wardrobe composed of only 1 color….but I think I’ve finally found the perfect balance for me 😀

So I’ve compiled my top 5 tips for having an eclectic minimalist wardrobe

1. Choose your “Core colors”

Your “core” colors are colors that you love and are flattering to your skin tone. 

I used to have clothes in all the colors of the rainbow but as I minimized the number of pieces I realized having fewer colors was better for me.

I’ve narrowed my core colors down to 2. These colors are staples and cover a good 50% of my wardrobe.

My core colors:

*White

*Navy blue

2. Find your coordinating colors.

Coordinating colors complement your core colors and are easy to mix and match.

My Coordinating colors:

*Dark purple

*Grey & Black

Now even though I love patterns and have a lot of them in my wardrobe, having them in a minimal amount of colors makes them all work together cohesively.

It sounds crazy but having LESS colors has given me MORE.

More outfit combinations.

More space in my closet because things are multi seasonal because they all coordinate and can be layered or worn alone.

And more satisfaction with what I’m wearing everyday!

3. Choose pieces made with  100% natural fabrics like cotton, wool, etc.

They’re better for the environment and easier to mix and match!

4. Shop the thrift store first!

Why? Because they section their clothes by type AND color, which makes it easy to find your core colors. They’re also a lot cheaper than buying new. Also they’re already in the waste stream so you’re being friendly to the planet…..what can I say? I love thrifting.

5. Make sure they’re pieces you LOVE.

If you like patterns and unique pieces than own it!

Don’t settle for pieces you aren’t completely in love with. If you feel good in an outfit then you’re going to look good and project confidence too.

I love all the funky eclectic outfits I have in my wardrobe and I feel great when I wear them. What more could you want out of your wardrobe?

 

 

What are your core colors? Do you like patterns in a minimal wardrobe? I’d love to hear about your wardrobes in the comments!

 

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New uses for old things…

A lot of people use minimalism and Zero-waste as an easy excuse to get rid of things. Things that don’t fit their lifestyles anymore, things that aren’t useful or aesthetically pleasing, etc. They donate or sell the unwanted items, or even give them to family and friends, which is great. But what do you do with the things that can’t be donated/recycled/ or given away? I’m not against downsizing by any means, I’ve done it myself. But now that I’m at a happy equilibrium with my things, when something loses it’s usefulness I have to ask myself if it’s really “dead” or if I can save it somehow so it isn’t wasted.

A big part of my new minimalist/zero-waste approach to life is finding new uses for old things before they find their way to the trash. Making as little trash as possible necessitates getting a little creative.

For example, I found a few of my socks have gotten new holes in them. I’ve patched the holes before, but the poor things have finally bit the dust. Now, normally I would’ve thrown them straight into the trash….but, I found myself thinking if there was anything else I could use them for to extend their life.

I thought about turning them into rags, but the holes were in the way, so I came up with something else. I cut the stretchy parts off the tops and am going to save the soft fabric of the foot of the socks to stuff a pillow later. But for the stretchy parts (which would be quite uncomfortable inside of a pillow), I had to do something else.

 

For the long socks, I decided to fold the stretchy part down and turn it into wrist sweat-bands.

And for the shorter one, I folded it over on itself and did a quick hand stitch to hold it in place. Now it is a stretchy hairband/scrunchie 🙂

So, I now have new sweat bands, a hair tie, and some fabric to save for a future pillow. Not bad for a few old socks, if I do say so myself. 🙂

It might not seem like much, but it’s a small change in a way of thinking that not only helps give things a second or third life, but it also saves simple things like old socks from ending up in the waste stream before their time.

This isn’t the first time I’ve repurposed/upcycled old items. I’ve turned an old pair of shorts and an old t-shirt into handkerchiefs. I’ve turned an old t-shirt into a reusable bag. Repurposed old worn out sheets into soft cat bedding for my kitties. Used an old coffee pot, punch bowl, and baking dishes to create an indoor garden. I’ve even used old trash cans as catchers for rain water from our porch, which I then use to water my garden.

Now I know some of you are thinking “Candice, don’t you thinking you’re taking this a bit too far? I mean, socks, really? Just toss them.”

But that’s the thing, they are socks, but their not JUST socks. They are a purchase I made that I am now responsible for disposing of when they have ended their usefulness. So, instead of simply tossing them, I found a creative new way to use them. This might seem crazy, but it is how I apply my values to the way I live. I want to produce as little trash as possible, and take into account the amount of resources I’m using to minimize my harmful impact on the planet.

I’ve been called a “hippy” before, but it’s a title I wear with pride.

Have you done any upcycling lately? Reinvented an old appliance/piece of clothing, etc? I’d love to hear about it 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.

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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

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.

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    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. 🙂

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    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!

Minimalist Equilibrium

 

Hello lovelies, it’s a beautiful Monday afternoon. The sun’s shining, my garden is starting to produce little harvests of lettuce, herbs, and the like. And I’m sitting here thinking about how much minimalism has changed my life, but most of all- my stress levels.

I started this journey a little over a year ago as most of you already know. Back then I was stressed-out, big time, all the time. It was like this giant cloud hovering over me whispering about all the things I needed to get done and what I wouldn’t have time to accomplish that day. It was exhausting.

These days things are much better. I hardly have any stress, and I’ve found my minimalist equilibrium.

That’s right my equilibrium. I’ve finally hit the magical minimalist sweet spot in my life, and I’m loving every minute of it.

Now there isn’t a set number of things that makes up the “perfect minimalist feel”, it’s all personal and varies by individual. For me, I have finally found that I am happy with the number of things I own. I have my needs and a few wants, and that’s about it.

The benefits of finding your equilibrium are many, but I figured I’d list a few here for you:

Every single thing I own has a specific place, and there is extra room around everything for it to breathe. This has lightened my mental load by tons, I don’t feel surrounded by stuff or like I’m trying to cram things into tight spaces anymore. No more claustrophobia in my own home!

Cleaning- no minimalist list can be complete without mentioning how little I now have to clean. I’m not a big fan of cleaning in the first place, so this was a very attractive motivation for me to have less stuff. It used to take at least a half hour just to clean my bedroom! Now 30 seconds with a dust cloth, a minute with the broom, a swish to clean my mirror, and a bit of laundry and I’m done! (Think about it- less clothes=less folding=less loads of laundry)

I have more free time then I’ve ever had. I gained a good half hour a day that I would’ve spent cleaning, another 20 minutes from how easy it is to get ready in the morning, 2 hours I would’ve spent watching television (minimalism isn’t just about the stuff, it’s about time too), 5 minutes looking for missing objects…you get the idea 🙂

By minimizing my shopping and errands during the week, I’ve prioritized my time, so I can now spend time in the garden, cooking, reading, writing, etc.

Less stress! Less to clean, less to do, less to worry about, less to go searching for when it goes missing…

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Things that used to be extravagant luxuries (like taking a bath and sitting on the porch in the rocker doing nothing) are now things I have time for.

And finally, since I’ve also minimized my waste (both food and actual trash) I now no longer need a giant trash can but only have a small metal bucket for trash and a compost bin for food scraps.

This has also led to minimalist grocery shopping that is also zero-waste, as well as making my own condiments and just eating healthier in general 🙂

Now, my equilibrium is not going to look like your equilibrium, or the next persons. Each of us have different needs and wants, and that’s perfectly normal. It’s human. But I thought, just for fun I’d show you a bit of my equilibrium in pictures…enjoy!

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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.

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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 🙂

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. 🙂

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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?

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

Minimalist Wardrobe inventory…

The sun is out for the first time this week, I’m sitting in my comfy pajamas, and eating a yummy paleo pizza that I made yesterday…life is good 🙂

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Before I really dive into the topic of my wardrobe I wanted to give a few brief updates. The first is that, as promised, I started up a batch of apple cider vinegar…this picture was from day 1, and today is day 8. Its looking a lot more like ACV now 🙂

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I also have been doing pretty well about not spending on unnecessary items. For the month of January I have spent a total of twelve dollars besides my regular bills. $2 was on a lotto ticket that I said yes to before I remembered that I wasn’t buying anything, the other $10 were on a pair of fuzzy slippers. (mainly because I am wearing holes in my socks walking around in them all day).

Besides that, everything has been going really well.

Now, onto the wardrobe…

Let me start by saying that my original wardrobe took up my entire closet as well as every square inch of dresser space…it was overwhelming to say the least. In the past year I have downsized my wardrobe to probably 25% of what it used to be.

I am loving the extra space that I have now, everything has space to breathe. WIN_20160121_125829

Now I’ll admit it, there is still a bit more than I am comfortable with. This is my closet currently, I also have a dresser with the smaller things like Tank-tops, underwear, leggings etc. But as of January first I hung all of my clothing backwards. (the hangars are facing the opposite way) as I wear the pieces, I am putting them back the regular way, this way by the end of summer I should have a pretty good idea of what I actually wear and what I don’t. Anything that hasn’t been worn will be donated. I’m pretty sure I already know a few of the pieces that will go, but I’m going to give it until the end of summer to find out.

I wanted to give you a quick inventory of my current wardrobe, it isn’t extremely minimalist, but it is minimalist for ME. Here we go…

  • 7 Dresses
  • 7 skirts (I think that 2-3 will be gone at the end of summer)
  • 8 Cardigans
  • 2 Hoodies
  • 3 pairs of jeans
  • 2 Dress pants
  • 1 pair of Capris
  • 3 pairs of shorts
  • 3 pairs of workout shorts
  • 1 workout capris
  • 1 pair of sweat pants
  • 5 long PJ pants
  • 1 Capri PJ pant
  • 4 PJ shorts
  • 3 Pj tops
  • 4 T-shirts
  • 8 Tank tops
  • 1 workout top
  • 2 leggings
  • 1 long underwear
  • 4 gowns
  • 1 bathing suit
  • 1 pair of panty hose
  • More underwear than I am willing to count (my one minimalist weakness)
  • 10 pairs of socks
  • 16 shirts/sweaters
  • 4 scarves
  • 2 pairs of gloves
  • 3 hats
  • 8 pairs of shoes
  • 2 coats

Now I do live in a place with 4 very distinct seasons, so this might seem like a lot. I am still in the process to minimizing to what I use/need and nothing more. It may not seem possible, but I can fit my entire wardrobe in my luggage that consists of 1 suitcase, 4 duffle and 1 small carry-on bag…before that used to only fit my winter clothes. 🙂

Baby steps.

What does your wardrobe look like? Do you have an area that you would like to minimize further?

Benefits of a minimalist wardrobe

Within the past six months or so I have really committed to my journey to zero-waste and minimalism. But before I tell you where I am today, let me start at the beginning….

A year ago

I live with my family in your modest suburban home that is somewhere around 1200 sq.ft. There are four of us who currently live in this 3 bed 1 1/2bath home.

A year ago my closet was a disaster. Here in crazy weather state of Michigan, the seasons are not defined into set parameters like other states. Here we could get rain, snow, sleet, and a sunny afternoon all on the same Thursday. So you can imagine the amount of wardrobe that I thought was necessary for this type of weather.

My closet is your average size, not a walk-in by any means, but still bigger than your average linen closet. A year ago it was stuffed to the brim…and it didn’t end there. I have a dresser as well that was also full, so much so that it was difficult to close the drawers. I even had my “winter” clothes packed away in vacuum seal bags in our linen closet.

THAT was how much clothing I owned. And I was lucky if I wore 20% of it regularly.

Fast forward a bit, and I got into minimalism. I started purging. And purging.

And purging some more.

I easily did over a dozen purging sessions, where I would get rid of things that I hadn’t used since the last session that I thought were “must have’s”.

Now….a year later. I can finally say that I am comfortable with the amount of things in my wardrobe. All of my clothes fit….with room to spare…in my closet and dresser. No more vacuum bags, no more stuffing and rearranging to “organize” my excessive amount of stuff. Now it is rather simple.

Easy.

Minimal.

I love it.

So I thought I would talk about some of the benefits of having a minimalist wardrobe…here we go:

  1. Laundry is easy when you don’t have a mountain of clothes to wash. I do maybe 3 loads a week now, as opposed to the ridiculous amounts I did before. I find when you have less clothes, you wear them longer before each wash too. When you have more, it is easy to justify wearing something for an hour and then changing because you have so much.
  2. I always have something to wear. Sounds contradictory right? Less clothes, but more to wear. I now only own my favorite pieces, which means I don’t have to scourge through my closet to “find” something. I can grab anything at random, and I know it will fit and look great 🙂
  3. It is easy to pack for vacations. I can probably fit my entire wardrobe in a couple of large suitcases if I wanted to.
  4. There is no longer any excuse to not know where something is. Since there is less to keep track of, I never have to search for that one pair of shorts…way back in the abyss of the dark closet corners. It is all easy to manage.
  5. Say it with me… “no more dry cleaning!” This one is optional of course, depending on what pieces you have chosen to keep. I like clothes that I can just throw in my washer and dryer. No more trips to the dry cleaner for me.
  6. I can always find a matching pair of socks. I have about 10pairs now, all white, most of them are interchangeable. It makes my life easy.
  7. It takes me less that 5 minutes to get dressed in the morning. Need a dress? Well the choice is easy…purple, blue, white or black? Done!

What other benefits have you found from having a minimalist wardrobe?

Check out my closet:

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