Minimalism

How I Did on Those 2017 Goals

I made a number of goals for myself to be less wasteful last year. Find a refresher of what I aimed for here.

Without further adieu, let’s see how I did.

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I am proud to say I crushed this goal!!! As of right now, without my December compost bucket weighed, we kept 272.91 pounds of food waste out of the landfill. Add in another 18-22 pounds from this month’s bucket and we almost doubled the goal! Holy cow!

In addition to composting at home, I am also planning on composting at my wedding in 2018.

resolution2

Another goal semi-crushed! We partook in a CSA box this summer and I challenged us to only purchase locally grown food for 24 weeks. That’s not the entire year, so that’s why I say this goal is semi-crushed. We definitely made an effort though and are more cautious of where our food comes from.

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I definitely still spent money this year, but I like to think that I did a decent job of not wasting money on frivolous purchases. From Craigslist buys to making a waiting list, I did employ tactics to keep money in my wallet. Having a tiny apartment also helps because I can’t buy things if I know there is nowhere to put them.

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Still working on this one…

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I still have a lot of clothes, plus there are still some clothes at my parent’s house. I am going to a clothing swap next month, so I am excited to see how that goes! As for repairing, I definitely tried mending a pair of jeans but failed miserably. At least I was able to give that pair a second life as housing insulation. My running shoes also get a second life as a track floor. I also pulled together resources for what to do with clothing and textiles that are beyond repair or normal use. Check that out here.

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In terms of biking, this was one goal I did not really accomplish at all, but in terms of walking, I definitely did some of that. Where I live and work are both very walkable and also have access to great public transportation options.  I really do want to try biking to work, but that will have to wait until after the winter.

So all in all, I think I did a pretty good job with my goals! Still working on a few, but that’s okay.

What are your goals for 2018?

 

 

 

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How I Bought 1 New Piece of Clothing in 6 Months

I hadn’t even realized it had been that long.

Back in September, I made a vow not to buy new clothing for the rest of 2016. I slipped up in November, but by December I did not falter again.

Now we are cruising through February and I came to the realization that I still have not made any new clothing purchases.

Do I live under a rock? No, but I have made some conscious decisions on how to keep my credit card inside my wallet. Here are my top 3 tips on how to not be tempted into buying new clothes.

1. Unsubscribe, Unsubscribe, Unsubscribe!

I said goodbye to the constant emails that tempted me with sales and deals. Now I no longer get sucked into going to the retailer’s site to see what I can get for up to 75% off.

A side benefit is that my inbox is much less crowded.

 

2. Don’t Go Shopping Just Because

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Bored? Go ride your bike. 

In many worlds, it works like this:

Bored? Let’s go shopping!

You are not shopping out of need, but instead out of pure boredom and for the thrill of finding a deal. Most likely anything you come home with is not something you needed.

Instead, fill your boredom up with something more productive. Read a book, knit a scarf, go for a walk. Think of all the money you’ll save! (That is unless you decide to pick up an expensive hobby, good yarn can get pricey!)

 

 

3. Save Your Wanted Items For Later

There are definitely times where I come across a piece of clothing that I may not have a legitimate need for. Instead of making an impulse decision, I save the link to the product in a bookmarked folder on my browser called “Things I Want To Buy.”

Usually, if I save an item in there, I forget about it later and it never gets purchased. Or I go back to see what is on the list and realize I definitely do not need it. If I still remember it’s there weeks later, I will consider it more. I personally find it to be a good system.

It also makes a really good go-to for gift ideas!

What do you think?

Let’s Make 2017 Better: Resolutions for a Less Wasteful Year

2017 is here. It is a whole new year and a fresh start, but it is going to be a tough road ahead.

The United States will inaugurate and swear in two men who do not believe in climate change as President and EPA Administrator respectively.

That is a tough pill to swallow, but not a time to back down. 2017 will be a year of trying even harder to make a change.

New Year’s resolutions are all about making a change, and I have plenty. These are not the generic resolutions everyone makes and breaks by February, but instead specific Waste Not Want Not resolutions that can make a difference beyond yourself.

I am looking forward to seeing the changes I can create in my own environment and the one around me.


 

resolution1

I am not going to focus on shedding pounds from my body, but instead, remove pounds of organic waste from ending up in the landfill. Since I was able to compost about 51 pounds in a 5 month period, I feel this is a good goal for next year.


 

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Eating healthier means paying more attention to what you are putting into your body, but it is often overlooked as to where your food is coming from. Sure you can eat broccoli that traveled across the country on a truck, or you can eat broccoli that was grown less than 100 miles away (0r even grown in your own backyard).

To find your local foods, head to a farmers market near you or a store specializing in local products. In Chicago, I love to shop at Green City Market which is just a 5-minute walk from our apartment. I recently started shopping at Local Foods and am considering joining a co-op like Chicago Market.


 

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Everyone wants to save money, but we can save even more by not buying the things we don’t necessarily need. Buying a shirt because it is marked 50% off, doesn’t save you 50%. You just spent 50% more because you made a purchase on a whim.

For the purchases of items you know you will need, do your research. Find a high-quality version of what you are looking for. Chances are it will be more expensive upfront, but in the long run, it should save you money because you’ll never have to purchase it again.

One more thing we can stop wasting money on is our food! Every time you let food go to waste, dollar signs are flying out the window. I try to repurpose leftovers into other meals, compost organic waste and freeze older vegetables to make stock.


 

resolution4

I think the Container Store is a hilarious idea. They preach how buying more stuff at their store will make you more organized. Hang your 45 infinity scarves on this specially made scarf hanger! Buy more plastic bins to store your fake plastic Christmas tree and non-recyclable wrapping paper!

How about we just pare down our belongings so we don’t constantly have to be organizing? I already read about Marie Kondo’s method in The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, which basically involves going through everything you own and asking yourself, “Does this item bring me joy?” In 2017, I plan to ask myself that question with more of my belongings.


 

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I have already purged a lot of my clothes, but there are still plenty hanging around that I don’t wear that often. I want to be at the point where I do not have any more clothes left at my parent’s house.

There are many other options on what you can do with your clothes besides donating them. First, you can reuse them for a different purpose. T-shirts, for instance, make great cleaning rags. Also, consider trading clothes in a clothing swap with friends and family. Probably most important is to repair your clothing! I just noticed a hole in one of my 2 pairs of jeans. I am going to learn how to properly repair that rip!


 

resolution6

Did you know that basically half of the trips you make are 3 miles or less? Most of the places we need to go, like the pharmacy, the bank, and the grocery store are not far away (of course, this only applies if you live in a high-density area).

I, of course, advocate for everyone to get physically moving at least once a day, but another way to escape our sedentary lifestyles is to use walking and biking as our mode of transportation. I personally hate having to get into the car to run an errand while living in the city (I don’t want to lose my parking spot!). Being able to get things done by foot or bike is way better for your health and the environment.

Let’s bring on 2017! Did you plan to make any similar resolutions? Or are you inspired to add some of these to your list? Let me know! 

 

 

 

 

Only 1 New Clothing Purchase in 4 Months

The year is almost over and about 4 months ago I decided not to purchase any new clothes for myself for the rest of 2016.

I am proud to say I have made it!

There were plenty of times where I was tempted to purchase things, but my view on consumerism has really changed. Do I need something or do I just want it? I completely opted out of The King of Consumerism that is Black Friday and actively avoided browsing online.levis-jeans

When I did need to get a pair of jeans for work, I bought them from Goodwill.

Unfortunately, I did end up buying one piece of clothing, a pair of fleece leggings. If you live in Chicago (which has been colder than Mars the past couple days), you would understand this purchase.

2017 might be the year I don’t buy any new clothes. Stay tuned!

 

 

 

Oops, I Bought Some Pants…

So I bought a new article of clothing. Ugh.

Back in September, I vowed across social media not to buy any new clothes/shoes for the rest of the year (see that here) . It had been going pretty good so far (evidenced here and here).

That is until yesterday when I made an online purchase. Only after I received the confirmation email did I realize what I had done.

Emotions usually cause us to make impulse purchases (or any purchases really) and that is exactly what happened.

I was getting my gear together for the bike ride to November Project*** the next morning. While the idea of getting up to go work out at 6:30 AM is not what scares me, it is the temperature. I get cold very easily and I am so afraid of being cold that I wear lots of unnecessary layers and even bring extra clothes in my backpack.

I have vivid memories of past winter workouts in DC where my legs would be cold for hours afterward  and my fingers would be in pain inside my wool gloves. DC isn’t even that cold! It never dips below zero!

Chicago on the other hand, is a completely different story. This is what I am very afraid of. The city’s nickname is Chiberia after all!

So long story short, I ended up purchasing a  base layer fleece pant that will hopefully keep my legs from falling off this winter.

I could have gone the cheap route and gotten the first pair of fleece leggings I saw at Target, but I wanted this purchase to at least be worth it. So I chose Eddie Bauer for its lifetime guarantee.

***If you don’t know what November Project is, it is a wacky group of people who get together in cities all over the world to work out together no matter the weather. I wrote a previous post about it once here. #FreeFitness #JustShowUp #WeatherProof

Doing Good on No New Clothes – Kinda?

Letting people know what you are doing really helps. I have been telling my mom and my friends so they know my goal is to not purchase any new clothes for the rest of this year.

Friends can be helpful and not helpful in this situation. Luckily, I have a helpful friend. Before going on a recent camping trip to Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, I considered investing in some Keen sandals for our planned kayak down the Platte River. As I was asking a friend about her pair of Keens, she reminded me that I was not supposed to be buying anything.

I tried some excuses on her such as:

  • these are shoes, not clothes
  • they are a necessity (they aren’t, I don’t kayak that often)
  • they are a good deal
  • it is an investment
  • and so on and so forth

In the end, I knew she was right. So I did not buy them and I didn’t end up needing them for kayaking.

 

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Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore – didn’t need new shoes for this! 

 

This situation reminded me of the time I gave up dessert for Lent. Since I could not have cookies, I ended up eating a bunch of donuts and pop tarts because I declared that they weren’t dessert, but breakfast items.

Anyway, while I have not been buying new clothes, I have noticed a slight uptick in buying things. Mostly it is stuff we needed, or replacing items with a more durable option. I am recycling our plastic soap dispensers and purchasing stainless steel pumps and bulk hand soap instead. To avoid any temptation, I try to peruse Craigslist and stay off of store websites.

At the moment, I myself have not purchased any new clothing or shoes. To be fair, I do have to mention that it is my birthday this month, so I have received some new clothing as gifts. Since I did not make the transaction, I am leaving that out for now.

Any suggestions for keeping friends and family on your side when you are trying not to spend?

No More New Clothes

Having been laid off from my job, I am now on a bit tighter of a budget than I was before. I saw this as the perfect opportunity to test my own willpower.

While I am not a big shopper (I get bored after maybe an hour on a good day), I definitely do buy new clothes here and there. Especially with the back to school season in full swing and all the cozy, warm fall sweaters and boots showing up in the stores.

I already have sweaters, boots, and scarves, and definitely don’t NEED anymore.

So, for the rest of 2016, I will not be purchasing any new clothes or shoes.

One of the best ways to avoid temptation is to remove yourself from store’s email lists. If I do not know they are having a 40% off sale, then I am more likely not to start browsing and see what is on sale.

 

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No more of these. Unsubscribe.

 

I did this weekend go to a craft fair and flea market, but I am not counting my purchases from either. I supported local, handmade products and bought second-hand.

I will be keeping you updated! Do you have any suggestions and what has worked for you?

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?”