minimal

Packing In A Long Weekend in CA

My cousin got married in California over the weekend, so the majority of our family packed up our things and flew to San Francisco for the nuptials.

 

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The view from the wedding venue

 

Carry On = Minimal Clothing

While packing for a wedding is hard, packing for one in a climate you aren’t familiar with (and in a carry on bag) is even harder.

So this was my attempt at packing light! The most obvious clothing I needed to pack was something for the wedding and family dinner the night before. Otherwise, we would just be doing some exploring and going to see Alcatraz!

To avoid any crazy overpacking, I started with making a list of items I knew I would need, and then items that crossed over and could be used for different purposes.

  • 1 pair of boots
  • 1 pair of moccasins
  • 1 pair of heels for the wedding
  • 2 dresses for rehearsal and wedding
  • 2 pairs of pants
  • 1 pair of leggings
  • 4 shirts/sweaters
  • 2 vests
  • 2 scarves
  • 1 regular jacket and 1 rain coat
  • obviously the other essentials

All made it into my carry on without a hitch! Pairing different vests and scarves with different shirts, pants, and shoes, really helped vary my outfit choices over the 5 days. So at least in most pictures, it does not look like I am wearing the same thing every day!

Being Conscious of Waste While Traveling

 

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Taken at the Cliff House, San Francisco, CA

 

Every single restaurant we went to had a sign that stated water would not automatically be served  due to California’s severe drought.  Living in a part of the country that is not under such water restrictions, it was a bit shocking at first, but it makes complete sense. How much water is wasted being brought to customers who don’t even want it?

In other news, my foldable reusable bag came quite in handy throughout the trip. It carried leftovers, souvenirs, jackets, and umbrellas. I refused straws at restaurants and refilled my water bottle where ever I was.

I definitely was not zero-waste perfect on this trip, but I made conscious efforts and shared them with my family.

Many other bloggers do a fantastic job covering how they travel zero-waste. Check them out:

Most importantly, check out the Zero Waster’s Travel Companion! Put together by the Zero Waste Bloggers Network, this guide can help you travel more consciously to 32 different cities around the world!

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The Gift of An Experience

Father’s Day was a few weeks ago and so was K’s birthday. Both received the gift of an experience from me. My dad has always wanted to do an architectural boat tour on the Chicago River and K got a much-needed massage gift certificate.

Overall, I consider myself to be a pretty good gift giver. I listen throughout the year and make notes on my phone about things people would be interested in. Did you mention in a conversation you would love to learn how to scuba dive? Awesome! I will be taking note.

As I have gotten older, my wish lists have gotten shorter. I would rather receive an experience or activity rather than another sweater. I have even had to make actual requests to my mother to tone it down at Christmas. (sorry mom!)

I don’t need too much anymore, and right now I legitimately have nowhere to put it in our tiny apartment.

If you are having trouble thinking of good “gift of an experience,” here are a few I have either given or have received:

  • tickets to hockey games
  • tickets to baseball games
  • trapeze lessons
  • massages
  • segway tour
  • flight in a WWII plane
  • indoor skydiving
  • cooking lessons
  • money towards specific honeymoon activities
  • tickets to see Anthony Bourdain
  • knitting lessons
  • yoga passes

 

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The Winter Classic in Washington, DC

 

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Learning trapeze

 

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Anthony Bourdain at the Auditorium Theater in Chicago

The point is, I do not need/want a tangible item for every occasion. Being able to do/see things I normally would not spend my money on is the real joy. The gift of an experience has allowed me to I swing on a trapeze, learn to cook pasta, and knit a million scarves!

 

How To: Combine 2 People’s Stuff in 750 sq. ft.

Moving day has come and gone!

For the most part, the apartment looks presentable, except that we have a few piles of things we are not sure where to put yet. In addition to those piles, we also have a recycling pile and a donation pile. Our building does not have recycling yet (there will be a post about this later), so I am figuring out what to do with it until then.

With the two of us having lived alone before, we had a lot of the same things, and we did not need to double up on them in our 750 square foot apartment. So some things had to go!

Here is how we did it:

  1. I pulled all my kitchen stuff out of the attic before we moved and we went through it all together, marking what we already had and what we needed. If we had doubles of something, we decided whose was in better condition and that one was kept. The one in poorer condition was to be donated.
  2. Better quality was pretty much how we decided a lot of things. I had a better couch, so K’s was sold on Craigslist. I also had a better bedroom set than K’s wobbly IKEA dresser. (That will be getting the boot soon)
  3. Since our apartment is pretty small we knew that certain larger items would not fit. These were donated or left in storage.
  4. When I moved back from DC, I sold all of my furniture and left it there. Thank goodness I did. We definitely didn’t need even more duplicates than we already had. I even sold a few pieces that I had pulled out of a dumpster, so I made a profit off those!
  5. If something didn’t jive with both of us or bring at least one of us joy, then it did not get to come with us.

There are a couple of things that we still have too many of though and that includes:

  1. Pyrex
  2. Candles
  3. Pillows
  4. Blankets
  5. Books

I personally think those are great things to have too many of though! Overall, we still have plenty of space to you know, live. So it is all good. 🙂

Where Is My Stuff Going? Donation and Recycling Centers

My move is coming up in just a few short days and I am starting to get a bit overwhelmed with what is coming with me and where other things are going to new homes.

I had to make a list of where everything was going just to keep track!

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  • Small Appliances– Amvets and Neat Repeats

I am in the Chicagoland area, so my list is based off of what is available in my area.

Do you have a list or know of a list of recycling and donation centers you have used in your city?

Buzzfeed: 10 Ways to Reduce Your Waste

Do you love Buzzfeed? I do! Then check out this post by Shauna over at Zero Waste Teacher about the zero-waste lifestyle in Buzzfeed Community!

If we generate enough buzz about this post by sharing and liking it, Buzzfeed Community may make it a regular topic and help us reach a whole new audience!

Check it out: http://www.buzzfeed.com/ZWshauna/10-ways-to-reduce-your-waste-25dei

6 Years and 8 Apartments Worth of Stuff

I have acquired many things over the years. I have also lived in a number of situations throughout school, grad school, and post-grad school. I have lived alone, with 4 roommates, with 2 roommates, and with 2 separate Craigslist roommates (that did not go so well either time).

Since graduating from high school, I have lived at 8 different addresses between 2 states (although District of Columbia is technically not a state, yeah yeah yeah).

Each housing situation is different. Not just because I was in a different apartment or house, but because depending on how many roommates you are living with, what you need varies. Additionally, each apartment I have lived in has been unique. So that step stool I needed to reach above the kitchen cabinets in one apartment, was not necessary for another.

What you need for living alone varies wildly from what you need to have when you are living with 4 other people.

Not only do I have my own stuff I purchased for these living situations (either new or from Craigslist or garage sales), but I also have some of my older brother’s college stuff, and my cousin’s.

Each time I moved back home for the summer, my school stuff would get piled in the attic or the basement, ready for me to add more to it the next school year and also leave some behind. Before I knew it, 6 years passed from when I first left for college. So that is 6 years and 8 apartments worth of things.

Now that I am moving into my 9th apartment, it is time to go through the 8 other apartment’s stuff, which I started doing this weekend.

garage stuff

For the most part, this is stuff from my last 2-3 apartments that has been in the attic. 

I got my boyfriend to come over and help me go through the attic and the basement. After all, he will be my new roommate, so if we want to keep something, he should be there to speak up. We went through a lot of things, as you will see in the pictures below.

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School stuff that was in the basement (ex: super old printer)

I do have a question for you readers, how many of you use koozies to keep your drinks cold? I do not think I have ever in my life reached for a koozie, yet I have many of them. They are now a popular thing to give as favors at weddings, graduation parties, etc. Thanks, but no thanks. No more koozies for me.

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Koozie-Palooza!

Speaking of drinks. I have plenty of plastic cups from college. What you see in the picture below is probably 1/8 of what I used to have. The super freshman reason I had so many was because my roommate and I tried to build a pyramid of cups in our dorm window. You know, to be cool. Ha!

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A VERY pared down collection of cups from college

I will keep going this week and next and will eventually post where I will be donating and recycling my items. Look out for that!

The Purge Pile is Growing

I did a lot of purging today, and man I was ruthless. I went through some of my closet, dresser, and drawers. Most of the time as I was going through my things, these thoughts popped into my head:

  • Wait, I still have this?
  • OMG, how old is this lotion/chapstick/nail polish/ etc.?
  • Did I wear this in high school?
  • I would not be caught dead wearing this
  • How many purses does one need?
  • I barely wear jeans, do I need 6 pairs?
  • Someone else will appreciate this more than me
  • When was the last time I did gymnastics, 6th grade?
  • I’m pretty sure the elastic in this has disintegrated
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The beginning of what I dubbed, “The Purge Pile”

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“The Purge Pile” begins to grow

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“The Purge Pile” starts to take over my doorway.

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All of the boxes in my closet that are headed to the recycling bin

My plan is to do a clothing/accessory swap with my friends before bringing my many bags to the donation center. Some other items will most likely end up on craigslist as well.

Do you have any other ideas on how to handle my “Purge Pile?”

Moving = Opportunity to Purge

I am super excited to be moving into the City of Chicago on April 1st. While I have grown up in the suburbs of Chicago, I have never had the opportunity to actually live in the city. This is because I previously lived in Bloomington, Indiana, and Washington DC.

So with that excitement comes a lot of change and a lot of opportunities.

Since this blog is about living with less, I am going to take this chance to make some real decisions on how to live minimally and how to make a move less wasteful .

Ironically, I have a ton of stuff. It just accumulates over time. When I moved out to DC, I had only what could fit in the car. When I moved back to IL over a year and a half later, I had an entire van stuffed to the brim! Most of my stuff is not new either. I have countless pieces of furniture that I have “collected” over the years from friends, relatives, and craigslist.

I am not the only with this problem. There are plenty of other WordPress bloggers out there purging their closets too:

And you will find tons of posts and resources about it elsewhere:

Not only do I have too much stuff, this move comes with a combination of all my stuff, plus all my boyfriend’s stuff. We have both lived alone before, so we have almost double of everything. He is doing is own closet purge as well.

As we get closer to moving day, I will have to start going through my things and paring down what can fit in our 1 bedroom, 750 square foot apartment. It will definitely be an adjustment, but I am excited to do it! Do you have any suggestions for downsizing?