Plant fun and thrift finds

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Starting to save seeds for next year!

 

Hey guys, it’s been one crazy summer for sure. Lots and lots of craziness got in the way of blogging, but now that I’ve got more time I’m back at it. Let’s talk about my most recent zero-waste and minimalist changes.

First things first, my pet project in both zero-waste and a minimalist lifestyle…growing my own food.

I’ve had lots of fun in the garden this summer, and am already planning for how I’m going to improve things next year. This year I added a raspberry plant and a blueberry bush to my growing list of plants in the yard. They’ve taken off beautifully, the raspberry plant alone has tripled in size this summer!

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I had everything from spaghetti squashes to potatoes and herbs in my garden. I’ve gotten 22 spaghetti squashes off the vines and still have another 9 growing 🙂 I’m storing these guys in the basement on metal shelves to use during winter.

I also have quite a few potato plants, some already harvested but a lot that aren’t ready yet. I think potatoes are probably the easiest things to grow since you just take the sprouty ones sitting in the kitchen uneaten and plant them in the ground, water and sun and a few months to grow and you have a bunch of new potatoes 🙂

Then of course I had carrots, beans, peas, zucchini, and somehow managed to get one measly cherry tomato plant to grow.

And of course I still have my aloe plant which has almost doubled in size.

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Growing your own food is probably one of the most satisfying ways I’ve moved towards a zero-waste lifestyle. Now I know some of you are thinking that I must have a green thumb, but trust me, I don’t. Take a look at this baby, I planted a BASIL seed or two in here, but you know what ended up growing….a Tomato plant! Don’t ask me how it happened, because I have no clue.

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I also end up with random watermelon vines growing in places I definitely did NOT plant them, and seeds sprouting months after I planted them. Let’s just say my plants have a mind of their own and they refuse to work around my schedule lol But there is nothing more satisfying than biting into a bit of produce you grew yourself, like a nice ripe blueberry or even fresh crisp peas right out of the pod, yum yum.

I’ve made another trip to the thrift store, and can I just take a minute to say how much I enjoy the thrift store! I always find the coolest stuff there and not only is it cheaper than buying new, you also don’t have packaging to deal with and your saving the planet by taking something that’s already in the waste stream.

Anywho, I found a cool new jar, some old school metal measuring cups, a cool metal watering can someone painted which is adorable 🙂 Easy practical things I will definitely use again and again.

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Now there are some times when you need to buy something new. Case in point, my new blender. The poor old plastic one finally bit the dust and I wanted to buy a sturdy glass one that would work and last for years to come. So I did buy new, but it was an investment in something I use daily and it will last for years. And it’ll help me in my minimalist and zero-waste journey because I make my own fruit smoothies with it with my fresh garden fruit. Bonus points for eating healthy 🙂

Do you grow your own food, if so what types do you enjoy growing the most? Any thrift finds you want to share? I’d love to hear about them in the comments. And for those of you buying new, what have you bought and how does it help you in your minimalist or zero-waste journey?

 

Xo Candice

 

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Zero-Waste, Minimalism, and technology

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.

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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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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*
  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.
  5. 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..

  1. Refuse random gadgets and useless gizmos that you know you won’t use.
  2. Reduce what you do need/own. Consolidate and prefer multifunctional devices over single purpose ones.
  3. Reuse old gadgets- or in my case keep using them until they kick the bucket.
  4. Recycle those sad gadgets that have finally kicked the bucket.

 

Bathroom Essentials

Hey everyone,

I feel like it’s been a long time since I last posted about what I now use/don’t use in my bathroom/morning routine. Things have changed a bit, so here’s an update on my minimalist/zero-waste bathroom essentials.

Consumable products:

The first things I ever changed over were my toothbrush and toothpaste

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They have stayed the same. The bamboo toothbrush is compostable (except for the bristles) and the toothpaste is completely natural made from only coconut oil (Bought in glass jars with metal lids that I reuse for all sorts of things) , baking soda (that I buy from the bulk bins) and peppermint oil (optional ingredient).

Next up is deodorant

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I rotate between using an Alum stone and my homemade deodorant, I like the alum stone for lighter days when I know I won’t be sweating a lot, but I break out the homemade stuff for the crazier days. Made from coconut oil, baking soda, corn starch, and tea tree oil (again, optional). This bad boy can handle just about any amount of stinky sweaty pits you can throw at it.

For moisturizing and such I only use olive oil or coconut oil, but I only find I need to moisturize slightly during the dryer winter months.

Bar soap is my favorite thing, it comes without packaging at my local health store (except for one particularly pesky barcode sticker), and when it’s done, it’s done. No muss no fuss, no empty container to dispose of 🙂 I use this baby for hand washing as well as washing in the shower. Double duty, two for the price of one!

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Shampoo/Conditioner…..

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Yes I only use water, which sounded crazy to me at first too….but it totally works! The only time I use anything but water is in the rare case when my ends are crazy dry and need a bit of olive oil. I’ve been using the water only method for about six months now and absolutely love it. No stinkyness, no artificial fragrance, and bonus is I only have to “wash” my hair once or twice a week. Easy peasy.

On the days when I look a bit greasy and need to run I brush on some corn starch as a dry shampoo and comb it through.

Cleaning….win_20170227_133554

Baking soda, vinegar, a wash cloth or scrub brush (even an old toothbrush) and a little elbow grease will get just about anything out. I use it to clean everything from the bathroom sink to the tub and toilet. It also gets a lot of use in the kitchen, but that’s another post…

*For those of you wondering, Yes I still use toilet paper, and unfortunately it comes in plastic packaging. I live with other people and this is the only area I have not transferred to a zero-waste alternative as of yet…but stay tuned, I plan to try out my options sooner rather than later 🙂 *

Tools:

Essential to the water-only washing for my hair is these babies right here…win_20170227_132932

The first is a Boar bristle brush with 100% boar hair bristles, no plastic in sight. The second is a wooden comb, and the third a wood brush. I use the BB brush to push all those lovely natural oils from my scalp to the tips of my hair, keeping it naturally beautiful and conditioned. The comb and brush simply help with detangling. One hand mirror, a few homemade hair-ties out of old socks, a bit of cornstarch(a.k.a. dry shampoo) and a brush for it.

Then we have the basic tools of the trade…tweezers, nail clippers, a nail file, etc. Followed by my safety razor and razor blades. (If you haven’t tried out a safety razor yet, I would definitely recommend it!)WIN_20170227_133319.JPG

For my towels I made sure to buy 100% cotton towels and wash cloths. I’m a firm believer WIN_20170227_132621.JPGin keeping the synthetic fabrics to a minimum, especially ones that are going to be touching my face.

 

 

 

And of course, no post about  bathroom essentials would be complete without mention of reusable menstrual products for us ladies. Namely 100% organic cotton pads, and a menstrual cup. And a glass basal thermometer for tracking your cyclewin_20170227_133015

 

All of these products have saved not only the planet, but also my wallet and my sanity as well. There aren’t anymore midnight trips to the store to buy pads for this girl, it’s all ready to go whenever I need it.

win_20170227_133729There are a few products I bought a long time ago that I’m finishing and then finding replacements for….such as lip balm and a herbal salve for burns and such.

The salve I already have a replacement for….say hello to my new Aloe Vera plant! 🙂

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I plan to try and make my own lip balm once this one runs out. The last two things are ear WIN_20170227_133752.JPGwax remover and eye drops. I haven’t completely figured these guys out yet, but if you have any good ideas I’d love to hear about them in the comments!

 

This all may sound like a lot, especially if you’re just starting to change up your routine to be more eco-friendly. Don’t worry, take it one baby step at a time, I’ll still be here. Take a look around and check out all the links for more information on each product and for answers to any questions you may have.

As always, I’d love to hear about your minimalist/zero-waste bathroom essentials in the comments!

Much love,

Candice