When things don’t go as planned…

This summer has been quite the lesson in how well-laid plans can go awry. I had a great plan for our garden and how I was going to get a ton of peas and squash and potatoes, etc.

Then the gopher happened…

He’s such a boob. Bigger than my fat cat and easily twice as fast, he currently lives in our neighbors yard and will crawl under the fence to trapeze through ours. He’s cute, don’t get me wrong…just a pest of the worst kind.

Here’s the problem with him. He ate ALL my peas…over 3/4 of my squash plants…the cucumber sprouts…and is now nibbling on my squash bulbs and watermelons…see those bite marks? Those were from him.win_20160925_152801

And last year he ate all my mom’s cabbage.

Thankfully he didn’t touch the potatoes, onions, lettuce, spinach, herbs, green beans, or the radishes or I really would’ve hated him.

So, long story short, my plans for an overly abundant garden fell through…mainly because he ate it. But it did inspire me to try something new…indoor gardening for the winter.

I wanted a way to have some fresh produce here in the colder months, which is pretty much half of the year here. So I improvised.

I went through our current donation box and repurposed a few things…

Like an old glass coffee pot missing the coffee maker…win_20160925_152627

Some glass cups and punch bowl we NEVER used…win_20160925_152632

And a few old surplus baking dishes…

Add a bit of potting soil, a few saved seeds from this year’s garden, and voilร ! A cute indoor garden ๐Ÿ™‚

Since these babies have been in a consistent temperature, have gotten plenty of sunlight in the window, and are watered on a regular basis, they’ve taken off beautifully. I planted the seeds a week ago and they’re already getting big ๐Ÿ™‚

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So now I’ll have fresh leaf lettuce, butter lettuce, green beans, carrots, parsley, and onions through the winter. And when this batch runs it’s course, I’ll simply throw in a bit of compost and start again with new seeds.

It goes to show that you don’t have to have a huge backyard to garden. All you need is a box/jars of some sort, dirt, seeds, sunlight and water.

So my nice plans took a turn, but if they hadn’t I wouldn’t have come up with the idea to try indoor gardening. Wherever one door shuts, a window is opened. The only thing I wouldn’t recommend is starting a watermelon plant indoors… haha here’s how big ours is outside…poor guy’s a bit wilted from the heat but it’s supposed to rain tonight, so he should perk up by tomorrow, fingers crossed*win_20160925_152817

Do you garden indoors/outdoors? What are your favorites to plant? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!

XO,

Candice

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Defining your Green priorities (a.k.a. making shopping easier!)

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.WIN_20150609_173707

Decisions, decisions.

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.

Why?

For me it all comes down to my priorities. When I go shopping I ask myself a few things..

  1. How was this item made/grown?
  2. Will consuming it benefit me or hurt my health in any way?
  3. How is it packaged? If it is packaged, is the packaging sustainable?
  4. 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?
  5. 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…

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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?

XO

Candice

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!

10 Motivations for becomining a Minimalist

I’ve been thinkingย  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)ย 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!………๐Ÿ˜’ 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. ๐Ÿ™‚
  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. ๐Ÿ™‚ 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 youย got toย 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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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 ๐Ÿ˜ฆ )

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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 beingย 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!

Zero-Waste/Minimalism Grocery progress

Hey hey, I can’t believe it’s been like two weeks since my last post. Life is to blame, I’ve been extra busy these past few week with a sick relative, and time just got away from me.

Besides that, it has officially been 1 year since I started my minimalist/Zero-waste journey!

Anywho, I wanted to share a big win that I had today when I went grocery shopping. I’ve blogged before about the grocery store that I normally frequent and how they won’t let me bring my own jars…but they do let me bring cloth bags. I do enjoy shopping at the Better Health Store still, mainly for organic produce and my juices. But recently I found Fresh Thyme farmers market (which is actually a brick and mortar store, with something like 30 locations in the midwest!), they do let people bring their own jars, tare them, and the biggest bonus…their bulk section is amazing! Not only do they have a few hundred dried bulk bins with everything from coffee, to beans, nuts, flours, granola, and candies. They also have liquid bulk in the form of honey, syrup, peanut butter, oils, and vinegars ๐Ÿ™‚

Safe to say, I was extremely excited when I first checked them out. But today I finally went for a big shopping trip so I could stock up for a few weeks. Here’s what I got…

 

Between the two stores, I got:

  • Avocados
  • Potatoes
  • Raisins (in bulk)
  • Watermelon
  • A Tomato
  • Raspberry Lemonade (Glass container with deposit, so i’ll return it to the store for them to reuse)
  • Juice (from the health store, glass jars and metal lids will be recycled)
  • Lettuce
  • Spinach
  • Coconut flour and Garbanzo flour (bulk)
  • Bananas
  • Apples
  • Onions
  • Raw energy bars (bulk) made with dates, coconut, cocoa powder, etc.

And out of all of that I only had this much trash:

The trash was produce stickers (I try toย avoid them, but sometimes it is inevitable) and a plastic tag that the spinach was bundled together with.

That’s it.

Recycling: Two glass juice jars, two metal lids, and 1 sneaky little plastic rim that came on the lemonade.

Food waste: All scraps will be composted.

 

It may not seem like such an accomplishment, but as someone who used to produce a huge garbage bag of trash each week a year ago, to now producing…

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…this much trash in over 2 weeks, it’s quite the accomplishment for me. ๐Ÿ™‚

Every little bit helps.

The best part is that I no longer am in the rotation for taking the trash bags out at 7am, mainly because I don’t produce that much trash anymore. Not my garbage, not my walk to the curb lol

Besides the zero-waste aspect of it, my diet has now allowed me to incorporate minimalism into my shopping. I can make my grocery trips to two separate stores in less than an hour, since I know exactly what I will be buying and where it is located in the store, it minimizes the time I used to spend “perusing” the aisles looking for something tasty.

I don’t consume processed foods for the most part, and have almost entirely eliminated processed sugar from my diet….except for that jar of lemonade, dear god is it sugary! I never would have even noticed the taste of sugar in it before, but now it is almost overwhelming since I’ve cleansed my palette. It’s something I don’t see myself buying very often, and if I do it will probably last me an entire month.

So to recap, bulk is amazing, produce stickers are a pain, and I have cut down my trash to practically nothing .(except for my cats trash of course, which I will not be keeping in a bucket lol)

 

How have you cut back on waste in the kitchen?

 

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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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.

5 Things to do with that old Bamboo toothbrush

Hey everyone, I did a previous post on how I switched out my plastic toothbrushes for bamboo ones…and this is the update.

I absolutely love bamboo toothbrushes, I have tried a few different brands in the past year and find that most work rather well. Most recently I have used both the Brush with Bamboo brand as well as Mother’s Vault.

The thing is, that eventually you are going to have to replace your toothbrush, it is inevitable whether you use a plastic one or a bamboo one. I find that it is usually time to replace my bamboo toothbrush when the bristles start naturally coming out of their little sockets. Once two of the sockets are empty I retire the toothbrush and grab a new one.WIN_20150823_084825

What I have found though, is five different uses for the bamboo toothbrush before it eventually ends up in my compost pile. Now, this list may apply to some and not to others, but for those of you looking for a way to re-purpose your toothbrush and get a new life out of it, here we go….

  1. Take the toothbrush, minus any bristles that have fallen out, and use it as a nail brush. It comes in pretty handy after gardening when my nails are full of dirt. It saves me from having to purchase a separate nail brush, which saves money, and it reuses something I already have, which is satisfyingly Eco-friendly. ๐Ÿ™‚
  2. Once it has expired it’s life as your nail brush it is time for use #2. As a cleaning tool. I use these babies for scrubbing the grout (we have a very old tile shower that has LOTS of grout to be scrubbed). Or cleaning the floor, or just to get into hard to reach places.
  3. Once it has been a toothbrush, a nail brush, and a cleaning brush, then it has a few options. Option 1 is that it can become a marker for your garden. I like to write down the type of plant on the handle of the brush (after trashing the bristles) and then stick it in the dirt as a cute marker.
  4. Option number 2 after you rip the bristles out it can become a craft stick for some sort of art project. This is a great one if you have kids, they can make a few of them into a stick house or a picture frame….get creative.
  5. Or, if you are like me you probably have pets. I currently have 2 birds as well as 2 cats.

    The one on the left is Honey and the one on the right is Lulu. It was incredibly difficult to get them to sit still long enough for a picture…they aren’t keen on selfies ๐Ÿ˜€ My birds specifically love destroying things, they rip apart their ladders and branches with a single-mindedness that astounds me. They will tear apart popsicle sticks, cardboard, newspapers, you name it they use it to sand down their beaks. Anywho, I can always stick one of the handles in their cage and they will rip it into shreds within a few days. Then I simply take the remains and compost them. If you don’t have birds, I suppose you could always use it as a fetch stick for a smaller dog…

That’s it. My five tried and true uses for old bamboo toothbrushes. Do you have a use that I missed? If so leave it in the comments! ๐Ÿ™‚

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. ๐Ÿ™‚

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. ๐Ÿ™‚

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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 forย 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!