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

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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

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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!

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Shampoo/Conditioner…..

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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! 🙂

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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

 

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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

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!

A question for the ladies ;)

Hi everyone.

I hope your holidays are going well 🙂

I have a specific question for the women out there, especially those who are trying to achieve zero-waste…

How do you stick to Zero-waste when you PMS?

Let me clarify.

I am not talking about pads, etc. I have that covered. Reusable cloth pads and a Divacup are my go-to waste-free alternatives.

I’m talking about food.

I don’t know about you, but when my first day hits and I feel like I am dying, everything goes out the window. I could honestly care less about the fact that chip bags aren’t recyclable when my insides are ripping apart.

Chocolate, chocolate, and more chocolate. Bags of chips, and copious amounts of junk food are consumed for one day out of every month.

I am also one of those women whose stomach is quite the monster that time of the month…I’m talking about it growling constantly through the night, making me get up multiple times to feed it. And quite frankly when I am interrupted from sleep I want snack foods, I don’t want to have to warm anything up.

And before you say it, no. Fruit doesn’t cut it.

So the first day tends to be me, in the store, clearing out the chips and chocolate, and walking out of the store with a bunch of waste.

After the first day, my mind and conscious return with a vengeance.

But by then I have consumed all of the food anyway.

My question to you, is do you indulge that time of the month? Or do you have any zero-waste snack foods you make ahead of time?

Zero-Waste/Minimalist changes in the bathroom

Hey everyone, since starting this journey I have made quite a few baby steps in the right direction. Since it has officially been a little bit over since months since I started this blog, I thought I would give you all an update on my bathroom progress.

I live with other people, so instead of starting with changes in the kitchen, I originally started changing things in the bathroom first. The first ever change I made was switching from store bought toothpaste to making my own, and I haven’t looked back since.

Here is a comprehensive list of my minimalist/zero-waste bathroom changes:

  1. Toothpaste– instead of buying plastic tubes filled with chemical goo, I now use baking soda mixed with coconut oil and peppermint oil. Very easy and simple to do. Six months in and my teeth look and feel great. 🙂
  2. Deodorant– I switched from deodorant in a plastic tube, to crystal deodorant that comes sold loose in a cardboard box. It is not an antiperspirant (so you will still sweat occasionally) but it prevents the stink. The only time I notice any stinkiness is if I do an intense workout, then I shower right after anyways.
  3. Soap– no more plastic pumps or wraps for me, I swapped out the plastic wrapped version for loose bars that I buy at the health store. Easy swap, and they are cheaper too since I don’t pay for packaging.
  4. Shaving– I swapped out disposable razors for a safety razor, and the cans of shaving cream for shave soap from chagrin valley. I absolutely love this switch, the safety razor blade has lasted over two months now without needing to be replaced, and I get a much better shave.
  5. Waxing– Instead of waxing in the summer, I sugar. It is completely edible and much gentler on your skin. Check out my post here.
  6. Lotion– swapped for coconut oil and avocado oil when it is extra dry outside.
  7. Face scrubs, etc.- I can’t believe that a few years ago I flushed plastic beads down the drain with the face-wash I used to use. I’m ashamed that I ever bought the stuff. I now just use water or a gentle fragrance free bar of the loose soap for washing. I also use castor and argon oil and rose oil for any moisturizing that needs to be done.
  8. Nail file-swapped out the cheapo one with a metal one.
  9. Shampoo/Conditioner– I originally used shampoo bars, but it wasn’t working with my hair type. They cleaned very well, but I found that my already oily hair ended up feeling waxy. Now I am using the no-poo method, but I am still playing around with the measurements of baking soda and apple cider vinegar.
  10. Make-up -I stopped using it. See why here.
  11. Nail polishnixed it too.
  12. Brush/comb– swapped out the rundown plastic brush with a bamboo brush.
  13. Tooth brushes– swapped the plastic ones for bamboo.
  14. Hair– I always keep my hair long, it just is easier for me… that and I hate short hair. The problem was that when I emptied my hairbrush I used to just throw the pieces away into the trash. Now I stick them in the compost. I do the same thing when I trim the ends too, hair is biodegradable after all. Same thing goes for nail trimmings.
  15. Tools– all of my tools are now metal or bamboo. Ex: nail clippers, tweezers, brushes, etc.
  16. TissuesHankies are the cure!
  17. PMS– swapped out disposable pads for reusable cotton ones, and tampons are gone and I now use the DivaCup.
  18. Cleaning Supplies– I ditched the harsh chemicals and now clean with lemon, vinegar, and baking soda.

Quite the list! The only things I haven’t found switches for  yet are toilet paper, ear wax remover drops, and floss. I also need to buy a bamboo toilet brush.

Are there any other changes you have made to your bathroom?

Baby-Step #13- Sustainable purchases

WIN_20150609_173614This is a picture of our Tupperware drawer. It is full of plastics, and it isn’t even the plastic that bothers me the most……it is the fact that it excessively difficult to match any lid with its proper container. This drawer used to be full to the brim of mismatched food storage containers and lids that didn’t have matches because nobody had purged the drawer in almost ten years. If you want something done right, or even just done, you usually have to do it yourself.

I started by purging all of the random pieces and this is what was left. My family is adamant that they are going to keep their Tupperware, so this is now their own drawer. I have commandeered a shelf in one of the cupboards for my own food storage. WIN_20150609_172207I no longer use plastic food containers…I instead bought two different colored sets of mason jars, and a small jelly set for keeping sauces and such. The two colors are blue and purple. They are glass jars with metal lids…that are interchangeable for ALL of the jars, no more hunting for lids for me! I keep my dry snacks in the purple jars, and any meats or wet stuff in my blue jars. The jars were pretty inexpensive as well, they were about $11.00 for 6 jars. While I was at it, I also bought a few glass bowls with lids and a metal lunchbot container to carry my lunch items in.

WIN_20150609_173642I figured that I had better start myself out on the right foot and buy quality items now, that I will be able to use for years to come, instead of plastic items that are bad for the planet and that start deteriorating within a year.

I have made a few other sustainable purchases in the past month as well. I bought a bamboo hairbrush and makeup brushes (I used to buy 2-3 plastic ones per year because they broke easily). I also bought a set of 4 compostable toothbrushes instead of buying a new plastic one. I purchased both a menstrual cup and reusable cotton pads.

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Aspiring to be both Zero-Waste and minimalist, these purchases have enabled me to simplify my daily routine into one that is sustainable. Some of the purchases were more of an investment than others, but they will pay for themselves in the long run because I will not be using any more money to pay for their disposable, cheap, plastic counterparts.

Investing for a more sustainable future, one step at a time 🙂

Baby-Step #9 -Eco-friendly PMS

There is one thing that connects every female on the planet…..we all have periods, every month. No one I know really talks about PMS….like it is some sort of taboo state secret or something. Come on ladies, let’s face it, if it weren’t for “that time of the month” NO HUMAN would be ALIVE.

That being said, I am going to go into detail about periods, if you are squeamish then I wouldn’t recommend reading the rest.

If you have gotten this far, congratulations, you must be really interested in having a more environmentally conscious period 🙂

I’ll start off with my PMS story….I started having periods when I was 11 years old. The only things I knew at that point were that 1. Periods hurt…..really bad. 2. Having blood drip out of your nether regions can be really exhausting. And 3. The only options to catch said blood (that I knew of) were tampons or pads.

I hated tampons with a passion….they were a pain to get in, and then they dried up your hoohah like the Sahara desert. Then somehow you had to get them out after they sucked up any moisture that would help the process along….yuck. So safe to say I decided that pads were the lesser of two evils. They feel like diapers and still make you feel like the Sahara, but at least I didn’t have to pry them out of my vagina.

Fast forward a few years and I found out that my uterus is tilted to one side, which is basically like having a kinked hose inside of you. It makes PMS a nightmare because blood was trying to run through the kinked part, which can be extremely painful. Basically the entire first 24 hours of each period felt like I was dying.

I literally had no clue that there were any other options to PMS up until about six months ago when I found an article on menstrual cups online. Shortly after I found out about reusable pads as well. I was quite skeptical about both options but I figured it would be worth it to try them out. I figured I would save some money and help save nasty pads from going to the landfill.

Buying both the menstrual cup and the reusable pads have been the best decision I have ever made when it comes to PMS. 🙂

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Now, let me explain why I use both. For me, with my tilted uterus, the menstrual cup doesn’t sit inside of me thee same way it would sit in a normal vagina. Remember the kinked hose analogy? Well the cup automatically adjusts itself inside of me to where it goes to the kinked part…and it props it open, basically forcibly removing the kink. Since the kinked part is higher up inside of my vagina, there is a bit of my lining that still sheds underneath where the cup sits, hence the pads as well. The cup takes care of 95% and the pad catches the other 5%.

Why don’t I just use the pads then? Well, since the cup props open the kink…..it completely got rid of ALL of my period cramps and discomfort. That’s right, I said ALL. Yep, no more period cramps for me! If I had known about this sooner I would have bought them years ago.

Alright, let’s talk about the products and care of them. I bought the Diva Cup (for those of you who do not know, it is a silicone cup that you place inside of you to catch the blood as opposed to absorbing it like a tampon would), and it is really easy to care for, each time you take it out you just rinse it and wash it with a very small amount of mild soap. When you are completely finished you just place it back inside of its’ cotton pouch for next time.

I would definitely recommend giving any menstrual cup a trial run before your period, that way you get the hang of getting it in and out. I did a run a few days before and it definitely helped me become comfortable with it. What I love about this product is that it can last for years and it does not absorb the natural moisture down there, which makes PMS very comfortable. When it is in, I don’t even feel it. You do get up close and personal with your own blood, but it isn’t that gruesome haha. Also there is no chance of ever getting toxic shock syndrome, which you can get from having a tampon in for too long, the cup can safely be inside of you for twelve hours without any problems. After that it will probably be full and need to be dumped.

The pads I bought were Luna pads, and I got the organic cotton version in plain white. They are very comfortable to wear, they snap right underneath your underwear. They recommend to rinse them and get most of the blood out before you wash them, the easiest way to do this is to take your little water-proof bag with the used ones into the shower with you and just do a quick rinse before putting them in the washing machine.

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I am not going to get into the exact methods for using the menstrual cup or all of the features of the pads, otherwise we would be here all day 🙂 There are plenty of how-to videos for each on youtube which are very informative. I watched probably a dozen of them before actually purchasing mine.

Honestly, both options are very eco-friendly, they can last for years…which saves you time, and money. Also you won’t have to worry about what happens to all of those used pads and tampons that you would have thrown in the trash each month.

Has anyone else tried these products? Would you recommend them? 🙂