Friday, September 5, 2014

Simplifying and Zero Waste

Back at the beginning of the year, my resolution for August was "Simplify my surroundings". Matt and I have actually been doing this all year. I hate cleaning and he hates a messy house, so my solution was to get rid of stuff. When I told Matt way back when about it, he gave me a hug and told me that he felt like a big burden was taken off he shoulders before grabbing a garbage bag and started throwing out stuff. So we started in January instead of September. 

I'm so glad we did. I greatly underestimated how long it would take and we love having simpler lives. Through this process, we have freed up 2 closets, halved the number of books, clothes, and toys. And then it didn't stop there. We started simplifying other parts of our lives. We've simplified our schedules. Everything that needs to be scheduled with a secretary are only on Mondays and Fridays. Tuesday through Thursdays are for friends, hobbies, and spontaneous adventures. We've simplified our parenting style, our expectations, and our routines, and it's been lovely.

In order to do this, I've read a lot of books and blogs about it, and the result is our goals for our lives have permanently changed. But in the middle of my simplifying journey, I stumbled upon a different lifestyle that has also enriched our lives.

One of the many, many times I was pursuing pinterest, I stumbled across this kitchen. The lady that pinned it said. "This pantry is lovely, though the lady's philosophy is a little extreme."

Well, that got me interested. I clicked through and read about this woman named Bea and her family. She lives a zero-waste life. What does zero-waste mean? Well, this is a picture of her family's trash can for the year. (And yes, she's married with 2 kids.)

 It seemed way too extreme to even think about at the time, but it stuck with me. (Just like RIE parenting, which now I also love). 

A few months later, I visited her page again and saw that she wrote a book. My library even had it. I was so excited to read it that I was a bit annoyed when the person before me had it a month and half overdue. One of my wonderful librarian friends saw that I was eager and sent them a nice email reminding them. Apparently it worked, because the next day that book was in my hands.

It was a fabulous read for me. It wasn't overwhelming. The organization was great and I was motivated to start making small changes in my life. I started off really simple goals. Bring reusable bags to the store. Recycle stuff. Go to the thrift store even if it's a pain. Things I did sometimes that wouldn't kill me to be more consistent.

After a while, we got in the habit. Soon after, other changes came from these tiny actions. We started biking 5 miles to the grocery store. We started eating local. We have a small compost pile to take out in our kitchen. (Princeton is really awesome so we have a compost area by the community garden.) We started bringing tupperware for things to be weighed out in. 

It was really interesting for me to see that as I started to try to eliminate trash from our home that our home has drastically changed in many areas. (If you are wondering no we aren't even close to being like Bea. We still taking out trash and using disposable diapers.) We have a different perspective about food. (We picked apples from our local farm, made applesauce, and are getting ready to can for the first time.) I started enjoying cooking again. I buy mainly from etsy now. I haven't shopped on amazon in so long that I even forgot the password.  I prefer to buy things etsy "local" than a big box. (I also found especially for quilting supplies that it's a lot cheaper!) Matt and I now discuss what we like in our home and what is pretty instead of what is practical.

I think a great example of how we have change is when we went shopping this week. While we were checking out, Matt looked at me, and said, "Wow. We've gotten crunchy." I looked as he explained how we not only brought our own bags, but we had containers from home for our bulk goods. We also didn't have as much produce since I had already bought some from our local farm store and from our garden. Now I have really crunchy friends, and I don't think I come even close to them, but it made me smile. We have come a long way, and it's been a journey that I've been really enjoying.

I'm really excited to see where this simplifying/zero waste things leads us. Right now it's lead me to my new September goals. And I'm pleased to say that not only have I been "sugar free" for 5 days, but my energy is back to normal!
So tell me, what have you been exploring and reading about?

1 comment:

  1. Hey Michele! I love this post- I would be all over reading that book. Good luck with your minimalist/simple life pursuits! We're in the same boat right now.- Alex/