Compostable shoes!

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Hey guys,

Lately I’ve been working towards a new goal of mine, to have a completely natural wardrobe….or in other words, a wardrobe where my pieces (once dead) will be completely compostable! (Another post on my progress will be coming soon)

So far I’ve converted about 85% of my wardrobe to pieces made of natural fabrics such as cotton, wool, cashmere, and hemp. All of the pieces have been thrift finds, until now.

Reasons to thrift:

  1. The clothes are already in the waste stream, and I’m giving them a second life before they become garbage. So it’s eco-friendly 🙂
  2. Less waste as opposed to normal shopping, most things only leave with a small paper tag attached, so very little in the way of new trash.
  3. It’s cheap! Easy on my budget.
  4. And I find it fun to look for new uses for old things, and thrift store shopping can be fun….like a scavenger hunt lol.

So, as a result almost 95% of my wardrobe has been thrifted over the years. I just recently started replacing my old synthetic fabric pieces with natural ones….

Why?

  1. Natural fabric is so much better for your skin. I personally don’t itch in natural fabric but can’t stop itching if I happen to sweat in a synthetic fabric shirt.
  2. Along the same lines, natural fabric is just that…Natural…no plastic weaves or nasty man-made synthetic fabrics that pollute the world not only during production and disposal, but also when you wash them (google polyester water pollution). Cotton, hemp and the like have no such problems. (as a caveat cotton is produced most of the time with pesticides, but at least the end product is compostable and nowhere near as harmful as some of the synthetics)
  3. They breathe!
  4. Do I even need another reason?

Anyway, when I was looking into switching up my wardrobe I also wanted to look into shoes and undergarments, etc. And as most of you know it is incredibly difficult to find good shoes and undergarments at a thrift store, so I knew I would have to buy new. But when buying new I have strict standards and I wanted only the best quality made in the least harmful way possible. While researching I happened upon a small company based in Canada (Rawganique) that makes and sells their own clothing, bras, etc and since I decided to order a custom made 100% organic cotton bra from them…I figured I’d try out the shoes too.

Boy am I happy I did 🙂

Check them out….made of 100% hemp fabric and a 100% natural rubber sole, these babies are cute and eco-friendly…and pretty comfy too!DSC04084DSC04082

They came with a small amount of recyclable packaging (as I requested) and the only bit of plastic is from the tape they used to seal the package, the rest will go right into recycling 🙂

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The best part is that these babies will be able to go right into my compost bin….years from now….when they finally bite the dust. Until then, I’m going to enjoy them.

It’s hard to find companies and brands that meet my ethical standards while also being within my budget and fashionable as well, but Rawganique really knocked this one out of the park. I really like the company because they are chemical-free, sweatshop-free, and make everything with sustainable fabrics. They also do a lot of products custom made (like bras), so you’re guaranteed it will fit. They even had me measure my foot to make sure they were sending me the right size 🙂

(And for those of you wondering, NO I do not get paid to sponsor them in any way, this is simply a great review from a very satisfied customer)

Have any of you tried natural shoes? Or have anything made out of hemp? As always I’d love to hear about it in the comments!

Xo,

Candice

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Lessons from going one year makeup free!

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

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

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

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

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

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Quite honestly, I’m glad I did it.

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

I’ve learned quite a bit from this experiment…

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

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

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

Plastic free july!

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

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

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

It made me sad.

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

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

 

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

Here’s some mid-grade tips:

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

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

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

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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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  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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1 Month of trash

 

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)

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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)

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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.

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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 😦 )

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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!

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 🙂

Minimalism: Doing what you love

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 purrAviary Photo_130857930535594767

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 🙂WIN_20160129_124853

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 beach1239664_10151622376846725_542846045_n (2)

 

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!

 

Life’s too short….

It’s been almost two weeks since my last post and the time has just flown by. I’ve been busy with spring cleaning and more purging, finding new grocery stores and even filling out more job applications.I even got one of the best emails EVER yesterday and I am so excited about it. (I’ll let you guys know the details when everything is settled)

But during these few weeks I really thought about how much harder they would have been a year ago…I had so much stuff that spring cleaning was a marathon of almost a whole month! But now it only took a day to deep clean everything, and now that it is all clean I am going through another purging session.

I feel so much lighter than I did a year ago, or two years ago, or even in high school. I have the time to actually DO things instead of taking care of things. I can sit down and read a book without having to worry about if my clothes are dirty for the next morning. I can randomly decide to take a walk around the block any time I want to. I have freed up so much TIME by reducing my needs, and it feels GREAT! Minimalism and Zero-Waste efforts have literally opened up time for me….and tons of space 🙂

With all of this lightness, I have also been faced with the glaring reality of our mortality. We only have on average somewhere between 80 and 100 years to live on this planet, with that calculation I have already lived a good quarter of my life. What I find with our lives is that most of our time seems to revolve around stuff. Stuff that we can’t take with us at the end of our lives.

What usually happens right after a family member dies? You have to go through their stuff, and if they have a LOT of stuff, that task can take weeks or even months. All of those things that they saved in the hopes that their children/grandchildren/relatives would love them, usually end up at a resale shop, or in the trash. The act of going through all of the physical baggage can be depressing, which is probably why people end up keeping things for years and years out of guilt.

I don’t know about you, but when I eventually kick the bucket I definitely don’t want to leave such a burden to any of my family members. I’d rather them spend their time remembering all of the good times we had together, all of the fun things we did and the places we went.

This brings me to my topic for today…

Life is too short.

Life is too short…to hang onto things that you are only keeping out of guilt.

Life is too short…to spend your entire weekend taking care of the yard and cleaning out your garage for the umpteenth time.

Life is too short…to waste your time on tangible things, when your time would be more appreciated if it was spent with family and friends.

Life is too short…to take your loved ones for granted.

Life is too short….to work countless overtime hours just to be able to afford a new television or a new car.

Life is too short….Go out while you can and enjoy nature, it is so relaxing to sit on the porch and watch squirrels and birds and little critters running around, try it sometime.

 

Life is too short…Make sure to eat dinner with family and friends (without the company of phones or televisions), you’d be surprised by all the things you can talk about.

Life is too short…to use more than you need, your excess can be something that someone else needs desperately.

Life is too short…to pollute the world for future generations.

Life is too short…to not follow your dreams.

Life is too short…to not put yourself out there and take risks, without the fear of rejection.

Life is too short…So make sure to make a positive impact on the world instead of a negative one 🙂

Each day could be your last, and that is how I want to live my life, as though each day could be my last. I don’t want to get to the end of my life with regrets, I want to be able to look back and say “Wow, look at how much I LIVED my life.” “Look at all the things I experienced.”

What do you think? Am I alone in this?

Do you have anything to add to the list? If you do I would love to hear about it in the comments.

My inventory of stuff.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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!