Saturday, February 11, 2017

Closer to Zero Waste

Hello All,

It's almost mid February and I wanted to check in with my life over haul. If you're just joining me I decided to take my life and head towards a zero waste and minimalist life style. I was very positive about it to begin with and I'm STILL positive about it. It's such a great feeling being able to use and re-use and reduce waste. Here's where I am with my goals...

While we're a family of four we're also a family of 6 every other weekend so at this point in life it may be near impossible to go ZERO waste but that's not my end game. My end game is to get to a dramatically LESS waste life style which I feel is still playing an important part in helping the environment overall. I made up cycled, zero waste produce bags when I shop now. I used to be a fabric hoarder and I had a handful of unused tulle. I also had a LARGE curtain panel of lace both of which I turned into some produce bags for myself. I'd say I probably have around 10 of them now and I get compliments on them all the time when I shop. In the past 1.5 months I've taken 95% of my food shopping to our local Harmon's instead of Walmart and our grocery bills have been slashed by about $60! YES!!!! We used to spend at least $100 each week for groceries where we are now spending roughly $35-40. We have been cooking our dinners at home (we still need to drastically improve our lunch routine) and we've been sticking to our dinner menu which in turn requires us to only need to purchase a small amount of certain items or produce. We are no longer being dragged into buying unnecessary items from Walmart.

My mom has even asked me to make her several produce bags which I literally just sewed for her and it feels good too! I made her 4 and it's just her so she thinks that will be plenty. Just 4 replaced plastic bags will now save approximately 4,160 plastic produce bags being kept OUT of the landfill in my mom's lifetime! Isn't that great?!

Heading to the minimalistic view of things...

I am the biggest culprit to our family's overspending, I'll be the first to admit it. In the last 1.5 months I've not bought one item that we don't REALLY need (I purchased two face, one AM one PM, lotions yesterday and felt guilty about it. I should have researched a Zero waste way to make my own before I ran out!) and not only have we saved money but our trash is incrediable! In a busy month we used to fill TWO recycling cans worth of recycling and 2 bags of trash in a 2 week period (our recycling is picked up every other week). I'm happy to report the trash guys missed our recycling last week and it's still only half full AND we didn't even take the trash can out this week because we had no waste. YES! The bag we put in the can in our kitchen is still there and it's only just now getting full/to the point we need to take it out because the produce is starting to go south in there. Isn't that amazing? I think it is.

My next steps in this self help journey is to DIY more products and composting. My husband is already throwing a fit about having to use a DIY shaving balm but I've asked him to just try it before he runs out of his other stuff (which the stuff he likes is about $25 a jar!). I have ran out of liquid soap in one of our bathrooms and instead of having to buy a new or refill jug I'm going to make my own out of a bar of soap I have! I was watching how to make toothpaste today and it's so simple and I hear it's even better for your mouth health! I've mentioned worm (vermicomposting) to my husband and of course he wanted to kill me but I've always loved the idea of composting I was just never able to achieve it. I need to do more research on it and then I'll report back in.

I'd LOVE to open a zero waste store in my town because we are limited, as far as my knowledge goes, the two Harmon's in town that offer any sort of bulk bin items. I can't explain the goodness I feel within myself for doing this for the Earth. I also recently in some donated painted canvasses that I up cycled into totes and I've got big plans for those as well. Those would have ended up in the trash at some point so I've rescued them and now I'm going to do something great  with them.

That's all she wrote for now folks! See you soon.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Still Going Strong

Happy Friday Yall! Things are going pretty great today! I feel as though I'm at a cross roads in my life where I need to make some major changes and decisions about where I want my future to go and who I want to be in the future.

The first was my career. After taking some time off with my newborn I eel like I'm spinning my wheels with real estate but I am reinvorgotated and feel I have great things on the horizon that I am going to work my butt off towards so I can reach my potential in Real Estate.

This whole week I prepared a healthy vegan dinner for my family. Saturday to today and so far and I'd say 3-4 days-out of the 7 days I've wanted to NOT cook and eat out! haha Literally, my husband was on the brink of heading out to get something to eat and I just thought I need to get my butt in there and cook. Those nights I didn't want to cook I said out loud "I'm not cooking tonight!" but then I'd him and haw in my head and eventually get up and cook. I must find things to make for lunches. Those are the hardest by far. A friend turned me on to Gardein vegan "meats" and they are fantastic. It's just a rush in the afternoon to make and eat a good lunch.

I had it on my to do list all week to sew some more zero waste produce bags I just never made time for it. But I am still excited to be eating more healthy and making better choices! I've been going to bed at 9 pm and reading for 30 minutes, then turning the light out and going to sleep. I'm still tired in the mornings but no where near as tired as I used to be AND I get to read! I'm almost finished with a book and I pretty much just started it in January! Totally excited to get to read again, it was all about making time for it.

I can practically feel my husband rolling his eyes if he knew I was talking about living Minimal and Zero Waste! haha, poor guy. I've been trying to purge more this week but still finding it hard to get my hands on boxes! Dang the luck. I haven't made time to go dumpster diving for them either. I have lots I need/want to purge still. I'd say I've really only done the once over on most rooms that have stuff out. I did do my son's room pretty well and the kitchen- Felt totally good about those! I believe my next task to accomplish is a compost bin. I've tried a compost bin in the past and it was a disaster which has left my husband scarred. I researched a worm compost bin and it seems a lot easier to manage so I'd like to see how that goes.

Lastly, on top of tying to focus on living minimally, zero waste and vegan I'm also doing a no spend month come February. I've been testing the waters and feel confidant I can do this in Feb. I'd buy nothing but some perishable food and anything that is 100% required to live (diapers!).  Sheesh, trying to tackle so many aspects of life but like I said I feel I'm at the presuppose of total life change and I can see a great light at the end!!!


Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Purge: 2017

Here we are folks, 8th day of 2017. My son's 7 month anniversary from his birth day and I'm here to report back on the first week of living my life differently. This week I focused on purging items that I no longer needed. The items that I felt NO joy whatsoever when I looked at them and I feel great. I was able to sell a juicer we've toted around to 3 houses, last used in the first week of 2012 and then never heard from again. When I sold that I felt SO good! I've been trying off and on to sell it for several years now, but no one ever seems interested. Anyhow, it finally sold and it was funny the literal relief I felt getting rid of it. On to a new home. I also sold another piece I had picked up to decorate my VERY FIRST house with but quickly grew tired of it but continued to tote it around for 6 years!

I went through my closet and bagged anything I, again, didn't feel joy from or knew I hated or knew had a stain or tear or something. I ended up with a huge (reusable) tote filled to overflowing with gently used clothes for the thrift store. Also from my closet, two large boxes of bags, scarves, hats, decorations... WHATEVER ready to take to the second hand store as well.
Look, I had to kill an animal to hang all my crap on! Hah, JK. The antlers were from my grandpa. I love them!

Don't have TOO many perfumes (to me) anymore but my loose jewelry is crazy outta control.

Shelving stuffed with stuff!

Got all my clothes hangers turned around!

All the stuff!!!!!

All in all I felt overwhelmed when I first started mostly because I felt like I had to do it ALL right then and there and secondly because I didn't have a damn box to even start! Too funny. I finally got my hands on three boxes and quickly went to work and  purged my entire kitchen. A whole set of dishes (bowls and salad plates included!) gone, extra glasses I haven't used since before I was a mommy (you just don't use glass anymore when there are kids running around everywhere!), extra cooking utensils, pots, just STUFF, literally, two larges boxes of kitchen stuff and then the third box was a quick rummage of my crafting stuff. I let the boxes sit for two days and then I carted them off to the thrift store this weekend. It feels great. I need more boxes to now get rid of the other stuff.

I will be honest... I get fearful that maybe I got rid of stuff and then 6 months down the line I'll miss is (whatever IT may be?!) and kick myself for getting rid of one I had so I'm trying not to get all insane about getting rid of stuff. Just donating the items I haven't used in lord knows how long and it's just hanging around eating up space.

I also tried my hand at zero waste shopping. The first week I went I had no idea what I was doing, I was at a store I've ever been in to maybe 5 times MAX in my lifetime and was just out of my element but I did bring my reusable shopping bags and one empty couscous bin I needed to refill and I'd see what I needed after that. Well, I noted I needed a LOT of produce bags. I came right home and searched the net to find something easy peasy and I did.... leftover tulle sewn into a simple bag with a simple ribbon around the top as a closure. I had all that stuff and set to work. I made approximately 4 or 5 bags and they turned out pretty dang cute if I may say so. Totally simple and I used items I'd been hoarding anyway.

Well, today was their debut and the cashier commented on how cute they were! I was totally excited. That made my day! I did find that I needed way more of them though. I need some sturdier ones, while the tulle ones are adorable I want a fabric that is a little more sturdy. I again Googled ideas and found these adorable lace ones and thought to myself "I have SO MUCH LACE!!!". The townhouse we're living in right now had floor to ceiling track curtains. One was cotton and one was a lace. Well, after the renters had moved out and we moved in and remodeled the place we only had one set and I have just stuffed them into a drawer. Since we're not going to use them anymore I'm going to cut them up and use. I can't wait!

Our eating habits have been good too. I cooked vegan (actually- ovo-lacto vegan since we ate eggs) and we only went out once- I had a gift card to Olive Garden and was on that side of town during lunch hours once so I invited my husband out and it was worth it. I haven't been struggling to get to bed on time and I've enjoyed using my daily list to make goals for the day and set a schedule for myself with to do items. I recreated one I saw online to fit my own needs and it works like a gem.

My husband is most likely sick of this new hopefully-not-trend trend I'm experimenting with but he sure is a trooper. I'm sure he's silently rolling his eyes at me but he lets me play my games :) I look forward to making more produce/bulk bin bags this week to use in the future and to also look into how to replace kitchen and bath products for organic DIY items (think body lotion and body wash or kitchen/bathroom disinfectant). I'll check back in next week and I'll try to take some photos this time.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Happy 2017- Day 1

Happy 2017 Ya'll! I have a wonderful evening playing t low key with some of my closest friends and my husband playing board games:

Here is day 1 of trying to live more minimalistic and I'm so over whelmed it's crazy! Now that Iv'e watched several Ted Talks and Documentaries on living with less and being happier I'm looking around at all the shit I've accumulated in life that means nothing to me. While I was putting my laundry away and contemplating the 3 33 challenge that I'm gearing up to do I finally turned all my hangers around to assess what I use at the end of the month. Here's my plan for January: I'm going to overhaul my closet and then in February I will start the 3 33 challenge. What S the 3 33 challenge? There is a woman who wanted to live with less so for 3 months she lived on 33 items of clothing. That included shoes, jewelry and everyday clothing it did NOT include undies, socks, PJ's or gym clothes. I could go through my closet and purge lots of stuff right now that I know I don't use but I hard to start with flipping the hangers (so I can see what I really don't use) is as good as it gets until I can get some purge boxes.  I could easily fill so many boxes with STUFF right now yet I have no boxes and no where to take the stuff right now. Sort of ironic, don't you think?

During the month I will come across items that I will ask myself if it serves a function or brings me joy/reminds me of a memory that creates joy. If it serves none of those I will be putting it in the purge box. I'm curious to see how many boxes will be filled by the end of the month, heck, by the end of the week even!

Here's the first picture of  ONE SIDE my closet, the other side has "weekend clothes which will gt 99% purged! I'm excited to see where this takes me in my personal journey in life!