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!
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…
Zero-waste is a movement for only middle to upper class Caucasian women who are single and childless.
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…
You need to have at least a middle class income to attempt Zero-waste.
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!
You need to buy fancy matching Mason jars, bamboo cutlery, and a butt-load of stuff to start your Zero-waste journey.
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.
The order of operations: Use what you already have, ask a friend, thrift, then lastly buy new.
I think I’ve made my point 🙂
It costs a lot of money upfront to start.
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.
You are failing if your trash doesn’t fit in a Mason jar.
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.
You have to have special equipment to go Zero-waste. Bamboo utensils, jars, produce bags, etc.
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?)
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.
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 🙂 )
If you Zero-waste, you must not use contraceptives or toilet paper.
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.
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
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.
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.
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!
As I’m writing this I’m sitting at my little desk in my room, my cats dozing away on the bed behind me, and I’m watching the twenty or so birds having fun in my garden searching for some bugs to munch on.
Life is good.
I don’t know about you, but I’m the type of person who stresses….a lot. I tend to hoard anxiety and responsibility like most people hoard clothes. I tend to find myself stressing out about money, and my family, and other people’s problems…when the fact of the matter is that I don’t need to waste my time on it.
Worrying and stressing doesn’t make me happy, and it sure as hell doesn’t help my disposition around others. My family has absolutely no problem calling me out when I’m extra crabby, and lately I’ve realized a few things….
First, a lot of my stress comes from trying to control everything. (I’ve been called a perfectionist and control-freak on multiple occasions) I have this need for my environment to be peaceful and relaxing, with most of the things crossed off my to do list in order for me to feel at peace.
Second, I worry about the future. Everything from finances to the health and well being of the people I care about. It is draining, to say the least.
Third, and most important… I am in controlof both of the above. I choose to try and control my surroundings, I choose to worry about the future, I choose to always think about tomorrow instead of living for today.
I plan to change that.
I’m working towards living exclusively in the present moment. Tomorrow isn’t guaranteed, and yesterday is already over. The only thing I can control is what I do right now. And right now I want to be happy and take advantage of the great moments I have with family, friends, pets, and even the ones I have all by myself.
In order to do this, I have to do a few things….
First, I need to let go. Let go of other people’s responsibilities, and only deal with my own. Let go of the unnecessary weight of other’s decisions. Let go of my insatiable need for perfection.
Second, I need to stop worrying about tomorrow, or ten years from now. I need to realize when I’m worrying, and stop my own train of thought before it runs right off the tracks.
There are a few things that I’ve found to help me live in the present…
Minimalism has helped me cut down on unnecessary things, which used to lead to unnecessary worries about those things.
Taking time every day to water my garden by hand has given me a good ten minutes a day immersed in nature. I even take the time to touch each plant and make sure they’re doing well. (I would sing to the plants if my voice didn’t sound like a dying cat lol) this specific time each day helps me settle my mind and reconnect with everything around me. I tend to go outside barefoot when I do this, just to feel the grass under my feet as well.
Letting go of my worry for other people. It’s taken a lot of self-determination on my part, but I’m trying to stop micromanaging things and people. I’m busy myself with my own responsibilities and leave them to theirs. Sure, I still give out the occasional reminder when it’s helpful and needed, but I’m no longer busying my mind wondering if someone took out the trash on trash day.
My pets are wonderful little buggers. Where before I used to pay attention to them when I wanted to, I now deliberately take the time to give them love and attention when they need it. For example, this morning instead of getting out of bed right away I spent a good five or six minutes rubbing both my cats since they decided to come and sit right next to my face while purring. When they were done, they went back to the end of the bed to sleep.
Even with all of this there are still times when I get stressed and I find those are the times I NEED to force myself to take a break and either read a bit, or do some exercising, something to reconnect my mind with my body and spirit.
Living in the present is hard when there are jobs and chores to be done, bills to pay, kids to take care of, a house and yard to keep….but we need to MAKE time to just be. Take a breath of fresh air and watch the squirrels chase each other through the yard. Take a moment to enjoy the beauty of a sleeping child, or play fetch with your dog.
Its the little things that add up, and sooner or later your mind will catch up and put two and two together, living in the present will make us the happiest. Why? Because it’s here, right now! Not off in tomorrowland or years down the road, it’s now.
So, stop thinking “I’ll take the time and be happy when ____ happens.” instead try something like this “Wow, I’m living in the moment and ____ is something I don’t want to miss out on.”
As always, I hope you liked my topic for the day, if you have any comments or stories to share, I’d love to hear about them in the comments!
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 🙂
time in nature
At the park
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…
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 is the old bucket on the left, I have now upgraded to a larger bucket under the sink.
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!
I’ve seen a lot of posts on facebook and other social media platforms where people feel bad about themselves if all of their trash can’t fit into a mason jar. I, for one, am not such a fan of keeping trash around sitting in a jar, specifically because it tends to clash with my minimalist tendencies and look like clutter 🙂
However, that being said, I do like having a visual of how much trash I’m producing. So I decided to keep all of my trash for one month just to see how much I made.
Now, this is not meant to shame anyone, everyone is on their own step in the journey towards zero-waste. It’s merely meant to show everyone, that even after a YEAR of going zero-waste, I still am not at the point where my trash fits into a mason jar for the entire year (mainly because I’m still purging pre-zero-waste purchases and getting rid of unnecessary storage packaging that I held onto).
So I held onto all of my trash for an entire month, and at the end I will say that I had more than I thought I would, but it was WAY less then I made a year ago. (I also recycle, so there were newspapers and a few juice jars that were recycled, but I’m not counting those as trash)
Here we go:
For the entire month of may I filled one small bucket with trash…
The first things were two plastic trays that were nestled in with my art supplies, one from paint and another from pastels. I felt the packaging unnecessary when I went through my things, so I let them go. (I also have a bunch of plastic paint tubes that will eventually hit the landfill, but I intend to use the paint first)
The next is a plastic bag filled with tiny plastic bags and other bits of plastic…these were from things like the million and one buttons that are attached to new shirts that happened to have made their way to my sewing kit. It finally hit me that the packaging was unnecessary as I could just have the buttons sit in the jar by themselves (Don’t know why I didn’t think of it sooner lol)
This is a rubber band that I’ve had for almost a decade. It was used for knee exercises, and it finally broke into four different pieces…since I now do dancing exercises, I don’t need it anymore anyway.
The rest of the bucket has things like old command strips off my walls, rubber bands from bunches of carrots, produce stickers (the bane of my existence), 1 bandaid, and a plastic ring from a lemonade I bought (the jar and lid were returnable to the store for them to reuse, but it had one of those thingies on it like milk jugs do, a part which isn’t recyclable 😦 )
That’s it, one month of trash. I figure once I have purged all the bits and pieces of plastic from my things all that’s left for the trash bucket will be produce stickers and the occasional tag from a bunch of carrots (though I will have a bunch from my own garden this year, sticker free!).
Mind you, I didn’t include cat waste here, mainly because their waste is litter and the bags their special vet food comes in. But technically, that I suppose would count as a part of my trash as well since they are my cats and I’m responsible for them.
In the end though I went from filling a giant kitchen garbage every week by myself, to now only filling a small grocery bag or two in a month (most of it being dirty cat litter)
I feel like goldilocks some times, trying to find the right amount of minimalism and zero-waste that feels “just right” for me. I’m not there just yet, but I’m definitely getting close!
Normally my posts are more tip oriented, but today I wanted to branch out a little bit. I wanted to talk about living and doing what brings you joy.
Now I’m not necessarily talking about a job, though it could apply here.
After minimizing my television time, my possessions (which led to less cleaning time), useless time roaming and trolling the internet, bored shopping trips, and random hours where I was very unproductive….I found that I have quite a bit of free-time, or should I say unstructured-time.
Which opens up the topic, what do you love to do? What do you want to fill this time with?
For me, there are quite a few answers…
I love to write
I love to argue and spar with the characters I’ve made up for my books…this is what’s happening if you ever see me talking to myself lol
I love to pet my cats and hear them purr
I love to draw and paint
I love to share my experiences in both minimalism and zero-waste with others through blogging and Facebook groups
I love watching my plants and vegetables grow
I love going to the store and having people comment on bring my own jars or bags and how little trash I’m producing
I love sitting in the rocker on my front porch and soaking up some sun
I love the smell of books…yes, I’m weird like that 🙂
I love reading for fun…reading as an assignment, not so much
I love trying new fruits and veggies
I love waking up each morning knowing that I’m in control of my attitude for the day
I love singing along with the radio every time I drive somewhere even though I can’t sing
I love the smell of fresh air and the sound of running water at the park or beach
Now you may agree with some, or none of my answers. But the point is to think about the question and come up with your own. It might be spending time with loved ones, or hiking, or jogging, or whatever else you enjoy…the point is that when you apply minimalism to not only your life, but your possessions…a whole new set of time opens up that you previously spent cleaning or shopping or taking care of your possessions. If you’ve gotten down and dirty with minimalism you now have this time….take it and do something on your list. I promise, you’ll love it.
If I hadn’t started my minimalist journey I would’ve never had the time to write a novel…and I would have never gotten it published either 🙂 I also am spending time now writing the rest of the series…
So take the time to do something you enjoy, you won’t regret it!
Hey hey, I can’t believe it’s been like two weeks since my last post. Life is to blame, I’ve been extra busy these past few week with a sick relative, and time just got away from me.
Besides that, it has officially been 1 year since I started my minimalist/Zero-waste journey!
Anywho, I wanted to share a big win that I had today when I went grocery shopping. I’ve blogged before about the grocery store that I normally frequent and how they won’t let me bring my own jars…but they do let me bring cloth bags. I do enjoy shopping at the Better Health Store still, mainly for organic produce and my juices. But recently I found Fresh Thyme farmers market (which is actually a brick and mortar store, with something like 30 locations in the midwest!), they do let people bring their own jars, tare them, and the biggest bonus…their bulk section is amazing! Not only do they have a few hundred dried bulk bins with everything from coffee, to beans, nuts, flours, granola, and candies. They also have liquid bulk in the form of honey, syrup, peanut butter, oils, and vinegars 🙂
Safe to say, I was extremely excited when I first checked them out. But today I finally went for a big shopping trip so I could stock up for a few weeks. Here’s what I got…
Between the two stores, I got:
Raisins (in bulk)
Raspberry Lemonade (Glass container with deposit, so i’ll return it to the store for them to reuse)
Juice (from the health store, glass jars and metal lids will be recycled)
Coconut flour and Garbanzo flour (bulk)
Raw energy bars (bulk) made with dates, coconut, cocoa powder, etc.
And out of all of that I only had this much trash:
The trash was produce stickers (I try to avoid them, but sometimes it is inevitable) and a plastic tag that the spinach was bundled together with.
Recycling: Two glass juice jars, two metal lids, and 1 sneaky little plastic rim that came on the lemonade.
Food waste: All scraps will be composted.
It may not seem like such an accomplishment, but as someone who used to produce a huge garbage bag of trash each week a year ago, to now producing…
…this much trash in over 2 weeks, it’s quite the accomplishment for me. 🙂
Every little bit helps.
The best part is that I no longer am in the rotation for taking the trash bags out at 7am, mainly because I don’t produce that much trash anymore. Not my garbage, not my walk to the curb lol
Besides the zero-waste aspect of it, my diet has now allowed me to incorporate minimalism into my shopping. I can make my grocery trips to two separate stores in less than an hour, since I know exactly what I will be buying and where it is located in the store, it minimizes the time I used to spend “perusing” the aisles looking for something tasty.
I don’t consume processed foods for the most part, and have almost entirely eliminated processed sugar from my diet….except for that jar of lemonade, dear god is it sugary! I never would have even noticed the taste of sugar in it before, but now it is almost overwhelming since I’ve cleansed my palette. It’s something I don’t see myself buying very often, and if I do it will probably last me an entire month.
So to recap, bulk is amazing, produce stickers are a pain, and I have cut down my trash to practically nothing .(except for my cats trash of course, which I will not be keeping in a bucket lol)
This week has been super busy as I have started my little seedlings that will be transplanted into my garden in about a month, I also have been doing some spring cleaning and a bit of furniture rearranging that is always good for the soul.
As I scooped up the dirt into my little biodegradable planter pots my cats hopped up onto the kitchen table in their curious way and started sniffing at the dirt. They are super curious creatures, and extremely smart (I routinely have to find ways to outsmart them when they are determined about something 🙂 )
Anyway, I got to thinking about my cat’s lives and how they are so care free. I mean honestly, they sleep a lot, stretch and poke their noses into anything new or interesting, they watch the birds and squirrels outside, and they even take a part in protecting our home from invaders (both of the pest variety as well as the mysterious “invading” stray cats that meow outside our windows at night).
They have stress-free lives that are simple and I believe are a good example of what I might like my life to be like….
I decided to compile a list of advice that I’m sure my two cats would lecture me/advise me on if they could speak English. As well as a few life lessons that they have already learned…
Sleep is a good thing, no, a great thing! It is rejuvenating and an important part of your overall health. I personally try to get 8 hours a night, if I get any less I end up a very crabby person in the mornings. Now if only my cats would leave me alone at night so that sleep could be uninterrupted, then I would be totally set! 🙂
Food is important as well, and when you are hungry, EAT…but don’t overeat. My cats are of the opinion that they like to eat smaller meals throughout the day as opposed to larger meals. They eat 4 times a day-ish, which is pretty similar to my eating habits. I tend to graze as I get hungry throughout the day, not having “meals” necessarily, more of small plates of stuff frequently to keep my energy levels steady.
Nature is awesome, and getting in touch with it is a great way to maintain your energy levels and to decrease your stress. We have a very tall fence surrounding our backyard and I like to bathe my cats when they need it, usually once a month at most, and so they get 3 days or so during the summer where I let them out into the backyard for a few hours right before bath time. They LOVE it! They roll around in the grass, eat some random bits of the taller grass near the fence, roll around in the dirt, investigate the garden…my one cat Tiger chased a bee once to his own detriment, safe to say he learned his lesson about chasing certain bugs, though he does chase squirrels out of the yard at every opportunity. They always go out and nibble on the catnip in the garden and they even just chill out on the patio and sunbathe. As a minimalist and outdoor enthusiast I try to get outside every chance I get in the warmer months, which is about 3 months of the year here in Michigan. 🙂
Have a hobby that you love, whether that be a craft or writing or gardening, find something you enjoy and do it! Tiger loves chasing our two birds around, napping, getting into small spaces, his stuffed rat, and finding ways to drive me insane…especially when I am trying to sleep. (for some reason that is the only time of day that he is determined to play and meow incessantly haha) Cheetah on the other hand loves napping, chasing his own tail, getting rubbed from head to toe, and laying on people’s laps. I personally like gardening, being outdoors, painting, drawing, writing, and of course talking to all of you.
Stretch yourself, both mentally and physically. Tiger does this by finding new ways to try and outsmart me (we have a mental war going on). It all started with the conundrum of how to get me awake during the night when he randomly decides that he is hungry, it went from knocking my blinds against the window to slamming my bedroom door into the closet door…I knocked his butt off the bed to solve the first one and placed a small pillow between the doors for the second one. He knows how to open side door handles as well as how to get into the cupboards. He has found ways to jump onto the very top of my large dresser and then leaps grandly from it to land gracefully on my bed. Cheetah on the other hand is a lazy bum and is kinda a fatty in the wintertime, though he is exceptionally adorable. To keep in shape I work out doing dance videos as well as biking, and I read books and watch documentaries to keep my mind in shape.
Life is what you make of it, if you want something then make it happen instead of waiting around for someone to do it for you. Tiger takes this one to heart, if he wants fresh water in his dish he makes a point of trying to drink out of my cup to get the message across. If he wants into the bathroom, he opens the door and strolls right in. If he wants food he will literally get in your face and meow right at you to let you know that he is hungry.
Don’t sweat the small stuff, so what if you accidentally-cough-on purpose knock over an entire shelf of books? Or spill a bit of juice on the counter? At the end of the day the small stuff isn’t that big of a deal, having both of my cats has taught me this. Like when your hair ties go missing and you walk by the bathroom one day to find your cat opening the drawer with his paw, taking a scrunchie, and then shutting the drawer before walking out with his stolen goods….you sigh and do a small face-palm before taking those scrunchies and moving them to a safer location 🙂
Always make a point to be cleanly. Good hygiene is a major part of good health. Tiger makes sure that his toys are clean by dropping them in his water dish and swishing them about, he makes sure he is clean as well for the most part, he even helps Cheetah by washing his face with his tongue.
Never underestimate how much a good rubdown can do for your mood and health. My cats know this, in face they demand to be rubbed quite frequently. They do all sorts of cute poses and faces to get you to give them a massage, and quite frankly I like getting one occasionally too. If you can’t afford a professional massage, or don’t even have a friend or partner to do it for you, you can always do it yourself. I just learned how to do an acupressure massage on yourself, and I will say that it was incredibly relaxing. I plan on incorporating it into my weekly routine.
Last but most certainly not least, don’t be afraid to be your incredibly unique and goofy self. Sometimes we have to put our true personalities in the backseat, like at a professional job or meeting, but you need to be yourself sometimes, even if it is just around family who are equally as unique and goofy as you. It is almost therapeutic to just laugh and be merry, dance ridiculously to a song on the radio or belt it out at the top of your lungs, make silly faces and impersonate different accents from around the world….
Life is too short to waste it on things that aren’t so important, so take a few pieces of advice from my cats and enjoy your life….you only get one after all 🙂
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.
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….
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. 🙂
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.
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.
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.
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! 🙂
Today I wanted to try a different approach to my post. I like reading posts where the author gives specifics on exactly what to do/try, so I decided to give it a whirl.
Here are 10 things to get rid of that will kick start your move into decluttering and minimalism…
1.Old formal/prom/wedding dresses….if you are anything like me you kept your prom dress thinking that maybe, someday, you would wear it for Halloween or something. When I finally went through my wardrobe I found a dress from the 8th grade, only wore it once. A special note on wedding dresses, it takes up a ton of space, it will not be in style once your future daughter is of age, and someone else could use that dress for their own wedding, and think of how much it will make a bride’s day to find a wedding dress under budget in a consignment shop or donation center…….let it go 🙂
2.Fancy shoes only worn once (probably with the aforementioned dress)…Same goes for the shoes that have been worn once. I kept my prom shoes for 5 years, when they were so uncomfortable that I didn’t even wear them the whole night at prom, but opted to go barefoot. If they aren’t comfortable, or are some obnoxious color that goes with nothing that you own, let them move on to a better home with someone who will love them.
3.Old perfumes, lotions, and all around smelly stuff… Yes it might be in a pretty bottle, yes it might have been a gift. But honestly, do you wear it? If the answer is no, then off it goes. You can always give it to that one friend who goes through about 10 bottles of perfume a year. And really, who enjoys dusting those things?
4. Half used bathroom salts/scrubs/washes/wipes/etc… If you don’t like it or use it, let it go and take back some of your closet space 🙂
5.Expired medicine/first-aid stuff… If it expired, then it is no longer for you to use. Minimize your first-aid kit to the essentials yo avoid having things expire before you use them.
6. Expired food items…You probably don’t think you have any, and if you are an organizing genius you probably don’t, but for the rest of us mere mortals, chances are that there is something back in the deep dark corners of your pantry or fridge that just need to go. Find them and set them free, your health will thank you. Make note of what it is too, so you don’t waste money buying too much of it again. Win, win 🙂
7.Kids toys/stuffed animsla/barbies, etc…especially if you are an adult, who doesn’t have kids, but has boxes of stuff from childhood. They would be better off being somehwere with kids where they will be used and enjoyed. I had a giant barbie house that I kept and I eventually gave it to a church where a bunch of kids can play with it every weekend. I did keep 1 stuffed animal as a memento, but the others I let go, and I feel good that other kids will be able to play with them.
8. Old pet stuff.. I recently went through parts of our basement and found dog stuff that we don’t use. Our dog died years ago, and yet for some reason we kept the cage, brushes, dishes, toys, etc. We don’t plan on getting another dog, at least not for a few years, so there is no point in keeping these things. I use this rule “If it is less than $20 to replace, and you are not going to use it for the foreseeable future, let it go”.
9.Kitchen duplicates…No one is ever going to use 3 spatulas or 7 ice-cube trays or 8 baking dishes at a time. Pick your favorites, and let the rest be useful to someone else.
10. 1 hit wonder gadgets… you know what I am talking about, all of the apple corers, grilled cheese machines, head massagers, bump-its, and random gifts that people buy but never use on a regular basis. most of them are usually gifts that somehow make their way into the junk drawer or back corners of your cabinets. If they are not regularly used, or too bulky to clean, let it go.
Think of it this way…all of the things in your homes are renting space, if they aren’t being useful then in essence they are not paying their rent and should be justly evicted. Don’t let those unused items mooch off of your space for free!
Now that all of those items are out of the way you should feel a little bit lighter, a little bit cleaner, and ready to tackle harder decluttering projects. Good luck!