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:
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 🙂
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.
It’s cheap! Easy on my budget.
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….
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.
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)
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!
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 🙂
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!
I hope everyone has had a great week! I’ve been getting a lot of questions lately on how anyone could possibly be minimalist/zero-waste while still using technology. I guess to be truly “zero-waste”, you wouldn’t use technology except for perhaps shared computers at the library, etc. Or live off-grid in a yurt in the middle of the wilderness…
I don’t know about you, but I’m not willing to go completely off-grid just yet. Mostly because certain parts of my life require access to technology, like my job, as well as for bill paying, etc. Not only that, but technology can make certain aspects of life more convenient. But I do believe there are ways to be more conscious about what technology you use, how much you own, and how long you keep it/how you dispose of it once it’s no longer usable.
Let me start by stating that in my mind technology is usually some sort of electronic gizmo, mostly made of plastic and metals….now this could cover everything from toaster ovens to cell phones, but for the sake of time I’m just going to stick with tech that falls underneath the categories of phones, televisions, computers, videogames, etc. You know, the ones that tend to be a black hole sucking up all our free-time 🙂
Anyway, the best way to keep technology minimal with as little waste as possible is to not have that much of it in the first place. I personally own a cell phone, a tablet, a digital camera, an iPod, and the accessories to go with them (power cords, headphones, etc.). I don’t own any video game consoles or devices, smart watches, fitbits, or the like, and I personally do not own a television myself, though there is one where I live currently.
What Technology you use/How much you own
How much/what types of technology you need and use can vary from person to person. One person might have to have a certain type of computer set-up for their job while another only needs access to a landline. One person can live without a cell phone, while others might need it to keep in touch with family, etc.
Ideally I would love to get to the point where I’d only need one or two devices that would fit all my needs, but I’m still working on it. Until then I do my best to keep things as simple as possible.
To keep my personal devices as minimalistic as possible I have a few non-negotiables for each item:
The device has to serve a useful function in my daily life. For example, my phone let’s me call, text, and check my emails on a daily basis.
The device has to be small and easily portable/easily stored. This is why I bought a tablet instead of a full-sized laptop computer. Easier to put away, and easy to take with me wherever I need to go.
The device should serve multiple purposes if possible. Like my phone, which calls, texts, and has the ability to connect me with my emails. (For those of you wondering, it also has a camera, but the camera takes horrible pictures, hence my actual digital camera) *another good example here would be having 1 remote for your television, dvd player, etc instead of 3 or 4*
It has to be able to serve it’s purpose for a long time before breaking down, or at least be easily fixable. I try to cut down on my electronic waste by keeping each cell phone I own until it literally bites the dust and is completely unusable. The same goes for my other devices as well as their accompanying power cords, etc.
When it has finished it’s life it has a way to be recycled or repurposed. Cell phones can usually be recycled at local electronics stores, while my digital camera when dead will eventually be repurposed into a decorative piece of art.
By having these guidelines in mind when shopping for a new device, or even considering purchasing a new device, I can make really responsible choices with my technology.
How long you keep it
Some people run through cell phones like used tissues, waiting hours and hours in line to get the “new” version of what they already own…..I’m not one of those people 🙂
My phone is almost 5 years old. My tablet is already 3. My camera is almost 8 years old, and my iPod is closer to 10.
Why replace something that isn’t broken?
As far as I’m concerned, I’ll be using each of these devices until there is literally no way to use them anymore. If that means having an old sliding keyboard phone for another 3-5 years then so be it. Not only do I get to keep the money I would spend on a new one, but I’m also keeping extra electronics out of the landfill. Good for my wallet and the planet 🙂
How to dispose of them
Disposal is a huge issue with electronics, because when they end up in the landfill they can cause all sorts of trouble. Right now the best option is to recycle them when they’ve outlived their usefulness. I know a lot of stores will recycle old cell phones, some stores will recycle old video game consoles, even BestBuy will recycle old cords.
At least when the device is recycled it can then be taken apart to reuse the metals inside. Did you know a lot of phones have small bits of gold inside?
*If the device is still usable, but you don’t want it anymore….try giving it away to a friend or donating it*
Any way you slice it, technology is going to create waste, and if we’re not careful it can create clutter in our homes as well.
So, to recap..
Refuse random gadgets and useless gizmos that you know you won’t use.
Reduce what you do need/own. Consolidate and prefer multifunctional devices over single purpose ones.
Reuse old gadgets- or in my case keep using them until they kick the bucket.
Recycle those sad gadgets that have finally kicked the bucket.
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.
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).
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!
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.
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 🙂 *
Essential to the water-only washing for my hair is these babies right here…
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!)
For my towels I made sure to buy 100% cotton towels and wash cloths. I’m a firm believer in keeping the synthetic fabrics to a minimum, especially ones that are going to be touching my face.
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.
There 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! 🙂
I plan to try and make my own lip balm once this one runs out. The last two things are ear wax 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!
Hi everyone, it’s that time of year again. The crazy last minute mad dash between Thanksgiving and Christmas, or as I like to call it “the month I avoid malls and shopping centers” 🙂
We’re finally past Black Friday and the whole weekend of mindless consumerism and right about now you’re probably wondering how in the world you’re going to mesh your minimalist/and or/ Zero-waste lifestyle with the holiday season. I’ll admit, it can be quite the challenge to try and mesh the most consumer driven holiday of the year with a lifestyle that isn’t so dependent on having tons of stuff…but I assure you it CAN be done…with a bit of planning and preparation, of course.
So over the next few weeks in my Christmas guide series I’m going to give you all my pointers tips and tricks to make your holidays as simple and waste-free as possible.
Let’s start with the most obvious subject…..Gifts. We’ll separate this into two parts, the first being gifts YOU buy for other people, and the second being the gifts you are likely to receive.
Gifts you buy:
As a rule, I tend to always get consumable gifts, i.e. something they can eat or use up (in other words, no tchotchkes). My two go-to gifts are 1. Candy/goodies from the bulk bins, and 2. Some sort of scrub/body wash/lotion I make my self that requires only a few ingredients (Google easy home-made salt scrubs and you’re bound to find something you’ll like).
To keep the gift minimal as well as zero-waste, I will save old glass jelly jars or mustard jars (anything you still don’t make yourself but buy in glass jars). I then wash them out, peel the labels off, and it makes for an easy and cute container to store your gift. If I’m getting something from the bulk bins I’ll usually take one or two of my own larger jars that are already tared to the store and fill them up with a couple of treats I know everyone will love. Then when I get home I separate it into the smaller jars.
Packaging: once you have the jars filled with your consumable gift, I personally like to leave the jars plain and simply set them under our tree…no muss, no fuss. But for those of you who love to wrap gifts I’d recommend either reusing newspaper that was headed for the recycling bin….or….like I like to do, save wrapping and bows/ribbons from gifts people get for my birthday, etc. and simply reuse them.
More gift ideas…
~Experience gift like concert tickets, movie tickets, etc.
~Put together a Zero-Waste starter kit with extra jars, bamboo toothbrush, etc. you have lying around the house.
~Hot chocolate mix in a jar- just need some cocoa, maybe mini marshmallows….you get the idea 🙂
~Really, any sort of mix in a jar.
~Home-made goodies of any kind
When in doubt about a gift….cash is always acceptable…at least for me it is lol
Gifts they buy for you:
The simplest way to avoid unnecessary packaging/junk you don’t want in your home is to ask for something specific ahead of time. It could be something tangible that you need/want or you could ask family and friends to donate to your favorite charity.
For some family members I can tell them not to get me anything and they’ll totally understand and not get me anything. But if your family is anything like mine, there are always a few people who are determined to give gifts, legitimate hold them in your hand and unwrap them sort of gifts….the type of family member who isn’t swayed by anything you say about not needing anything, blah, blah blah. You could get pissy with them and fight about it, or you could circumvent it. My strategy is pretty simple… in order to avoid any item I might mot like/use, I ask for a specific budget-friendly gift from that person/people.
For example, for my birthday I specifically requested socks….yep, you read that right, SOCKS. My ten year old self would pout at a gift like that, but my adult self loved not having to buy my own socks. And for Christmas I have asked for an adult coloring book, because coloring is relaxing, and the book will be made of paper, and they don’t have any extra packaging to them except whatever my relative wraps it in. (which I will take and reuse to wrap a future gift…I might even use the colored pages to wrap future gifts when I’m finished with them 😉 )
Side-note: for those of you with kids, the holidays can be tough. But you can always make a specific list for people to choose from, or even open a college savings account for each kid that people can gift to, or even ask for experience gifts (like a trip to the zoo) in lieu of a physical toy 🙂
So overall, it’s pretty simple with a bit of planning. The only thing you have to do ahead of time is scoop out a few eco-friendly, package -free gift options beforehand and be ready when you get asked what you want for Christmas. And I don’t know about you, but I’d rather have this….
Hope you liked part 1 of my Christmas Guide series. Stayed tuned for part 2: Christmas Cards
What kinds of gifts do you give for Christmas? Do you reuse wrapping and bags? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!
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!
Choices. They’re something we make every single day of our lives. What to wear, what to buy, what to eat, and what to do…
Sometimes those decisions are tougher than others, for instance when you go grocery shopping and are trying to both be healthy (by purchasing organic foods) and reduce plastic packaging. In a perfect world I’d be able to do both without a problem, but this isn’t a perfect world and sometimes a choice has to be made between purchasing organic potatoes in a plastic bag vs. conventional (read: pesticide infused) potatoes loose.
I’ve encountered these conundrums so many times that I’ve had to take a hard look at my priorities when it comes to food as well as other purchases.
What do you put first, the health of your body, or the health of the planet? The organic potatoes aren’t covered in pesticides, thereby better tasting and much better for my health…but they came wrapped in a plastic bag which isn’t so good for the planet. On the other hand I had conventional potatoes, loose, without plastic, but not as great for my health. Then there’s always the problems the pesticides and herbicides have had on the planet through runoff and poisoning the ground. Organic ones are produced sustainably and so don’t have that effect. But sometimes the miles they’ve traveled to get to my local store are more than conventional potatoes….can you see my dilemma?
Which would you choose?
I went with the organic ones even though they were wrapped in plastic.
For me it all comes down to my priorities. When I go shopping I ask myself a few things..
How was this item made/grown?
Will consuming it benefit me or hurt my health in any way?
How is it packaged? If it is packaged, is the packaging sustainable?
If it’s not the best packaging (which would be no packaging at all) and I still want to buy it, is the packaging easily reusable/recyclable?
Considering all of the above, do I feel comfortable spending money (which is essentially casting a vote telling the producer to make more of said item) on the item in question?
Now from this list you can see a few things.
Firstly, my health and the health of the planet are my top priorities, but when I have to choose between the two of them, MY health comes first. I’m not saying the health of the planet is a secondary consideration, or unimportant, but when I have to make tough decisions my personal health tends to come first in my own priorities.
So, when I bought the potatoes I was mainly looking at my own health, but I also thought about how them being grown organically, thereby having a much better impact on the planet as opposed to conventionally grown potatoes, was probably enough to offset the environmental cost of one plastic bag and twist tie.
Honestly, when I looked at the bags I figured I could at least reuse it for dipping cat litter, but alas all of the bags had holes in them. So, unfortunately said bag went straight from the store into my measly trash can after removing the potatoes.
Was this the right decision?
Some may say no, that I should’ve avoided the plastic at all costs, and others may say I could’ve found a way around it by buying from a farmers market, etc. (unfortunately 1. Potatoes are not in season at the market, and 2. Most of the vendors at said market spray pesticides on their produce as well)
Anyway, for me it was the right decision, because I have defined my priorities when it comes to consuming and purchasing goods. Take a peek at the top 5…
My health ALWAYS comes first. Period. Simply because I’m a firm believer that we are what we eat, and I would rather avoid the doctor’s office it at all possible. A healthy body is less prone to sickness and disease.
Next is the planet. Now this and number one usually align pretty well, and sometimes it isn’t as black and white as it seems between thinking about shipping miles and packaging and ethical sourcing, etc. But I try my best to put the health and well-being of our lovely planet next on the list. Ex: No packaging is best, but Glass and metal are better than plastic, which is slightly better than Styrofoam, etc.
time in nature
Budget. Quite honestly some would argue this should be first, but I put it third. Not to say I ever go outside of my budget, but more wiggle things around WITHIN it. For example, I might forgo getting a jar of juice one week in lieu of purchasing the organic apples over the conventional ones, etc. An easy way to stay within your budget is to evaluate every purchase and decide if you really need said item.
Supporting local stores/farmers. It’s best to try and buy locally for many reasons, but sometimes they don’t meet the three above priorities and that’s why they are number four on the list.
When in doubt, make your own. Grow your own food if possible, make beauty products, etc.
This is my list, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it is a bit different from your own. Each one of us has to make the decisions about what is most important to us. It’s not a bad thing if your list is different from my own, just different 🙂
So when I do go shopping, either online or in a market or brick and mortar store, this is the list I go by to make my purchases. I always feel extra lucky if I can at least fulfill the first 3 priorities at the same time, but sometimes sacrifices will be made.
But having defined my list makes shopping much easier, as I now have a definitive ranking system to weigh my options with. So the next time I’m wavering between buying different soaps or pieces of fruit, I will be at ease with my decisions.
I’d love to hear about your lists of priorities when it comes to shopping! Are they similar? Different? What’s your number one priority?
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!
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.
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
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.
Most of the time I only managed to put on eyeliner and a bit of concealer and that was it.
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.
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…
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:) )
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.
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!
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:
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.
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)
At the park
Next, let go of your love for disposable straws, stainless steel and glass options are better for the environment, but they also look better and you kids love them, they even have colored options if that’s more your style.
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:
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.
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)
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…
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.
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.
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. 🙂
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!
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:
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.
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.
Vinegar and lemon cleaner
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. 🙂
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…
time in nature
At the park
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)
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.
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.
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!
My relaxing room
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.
This is the old bucket on the left, I have now upgraded to a larger bucket under the sink.
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!