recycling, Sustainability, Uncategorized

Recycling Habit Changes: Then to Now

“Practice makes perfect” –I’m sure most people have heard this quote at least once—or a million times in their life.  Well… I’ll add another time to that list because that’s exactly what this blog post is about. J This week I’ll be elaborating on how my recycling habits have changed over time, usually resulting in a much more pleasant time to be had by all: me, my SO who helps me sort it when we take it to the recycling center, and the employees at the recycling center who have to sort out everybody’s recycling to make sure it’s placed correctly.

Here are some before and after’s that I felt were noteworthy:

BEFORE: I used to stare at the two weeks (sometimes more) of unsorted recycling with a distant look in my eyes, trying to recruit roommates/my SO to help me organize it, while knowing full well I will most likely end up having to organize most of it myself. Even offering to make breakfast didn’t work either! It used to take an hour or more to sort through it all before we even left the house to then organize it even further at the recycling center.

AFTER: Every few days, or when noticeably getting messy, I organize the recycling in about 5 minutes. Recruiting to finalize the organization before taking it to the recycling center is NOT a chore, and my SO/one of my roommates doesn’t mind jumping in to help when it’s recycling day. Overall MAYBE takes 15 mins… I’ll take it!

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BEFORE: Again we used to keep it in a disheveled pile that amounted to just that. Taking it out to the car was almost a nightmare! Multiple trips for something we ultimately should have been making in one, two tops just wasn’t working out.

AFTER: Now I use current recycling to organize the rest of the recycling. I’ve touched on this before, but it has helped tremendously for organizing and transporting it to the recycling center. Using boxes to put cans in, old six-pack carriers to put glass objects in, etc. The organization of it changes each time, which I personally think puts a bit of a fun spin on it. It’s like real-world Tetris!

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BEFORE: When at the recycling center we would sort of just guess when we put the items in the bins. Yes there were the obvious green, clear, brown glass, cans, cardboard, etc. but the plastics are where it gets tricky. There’s Plastics # 1-7, and in some areas certain #’s go into different bins. It all depends on the area you live in, so YMMV on that one. We just kind of put things where we thought they went and hoped for the best. This was not the best plan of action because it ended up creating more work for the people who worked there. We weren’t trying to do any malicious harm of course, but sometimes ignorance is not bliss.

AFTER: Before taking the recycling to the center, we organize it into categories by number. We simply drop it in the appropriate numbered bins because according to the signs they are supposed to go in those respective bins. We learn more about the recycling center and how it works each time we go thanks to the people who work there.

Employees are always close by and are intuitive in asking if anyone needs help when people are unsure of where to place something. It’s so nice to have approachable people to help when needed because not only is it good for the environment, but it’s always nice to know you’re helping make someone’s job/day go a bit smoother. We of course have more to learn and will get better as time goes on, but it’s nice knowing how far we have come.

~

BEFORE: When already at the facility we would remove the lids from the bottles/jugs as we were placing them in the appropriate bins. This would take up more time and occasionally mess up the flow of others trying to organize their recycling if it was a busier day.

AFTER: We take the caps off of containers as they are put into the recycling at home. It saves so much time in the long run because the caps can easily be removed on the walk to put the item in the bin.

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BEFORE: The recycling was CRAZY huge after two weeks. It was a tedious task to organize/take it, and originally not as fun to do so. If we skipped a week and waited three weeks, oh boy no thank you! We would still take it of course, but it wasn’t nearly as enjoyable.

AFTER: Now we are making more responsible choices to reduce the amount of recycling we take in the first place. Prior I mentioned we usually take it after two weeks because it was piling up, but now three weeks can go by and it’s still manageable. This is in part to it being organized already so it doesn’t take up as much space, but even after the recycling was organized prior you could tell there was much more taken each time.

Really there is no fully streamlined and efficient way of recycling… you’ve just got to take things as they come. With anything it gets easier over time. Making decisions to reduce the amount of recycling produced is ultimately the goal. I like to take a look at the recycling as we are organizing it and noting what produces lots of waste and seeing if there are ways we can reduce or even completely cut something out. Sometimes that means finding a less wasteful alternative, other times it means to stop using certain products completely. Other times there’s occasions where multiple friends are over for games/celebrations and there’s so much recycling that time. Life is fluid so be mindful of your use, but don’t forget to enjoy yourself too.

Sustainably Yours,

Nicole

Sustainability, Uncategorized

Hobbies: Enjoy Your Life While Loving The Earth

First and foremost, I would like to state that I am NOT trying to tell people what hobbies they should/shouldn’t do.  I am simply stating some hobbies that I enjoy and are decently eco-friendly.

I do recommend to anyone who has a hobby that creates/produces waste to analyze it and realize where waste is created, and see if they can reduce it, upcycle it, reuse it, recycle it… well you get the idea!

The world is such a big place, which is great because that means there are so many facets of life to be explored if desired. A thought that I enjoy entertaining would have to be about how no matter what, it is not possible to know everything that there is in the world. In my corner of the world, I really enjoy doing different physical activities to help my mind and body sync.

Running/walking would have to be the highest up there on a list of exercises I enjoy. There’s nothing better than a breath of fresh air. Growing up I was always running. I did it in Middle School, High School, and part of college before being medically disqualified. The gym is great, and I enjoy lifting some weights OR THE STAIR STEPPER on occasion but running is where my heart’s at. It took a long time for me to be able to say that again, but I’m proud to do so!

Yoga is an activity I’d put off way too long to start doing! I ran competitively for 8 years and didn’t start yoga until 4ish years after…now I love it so much! Neck/shoulder yoga sessions make the body feel in ways that words cannot describe. Yoga is such a stress-relieving activity that helps both your body and mind slow down, even if just for the duration of the session. Focusing on your breathing is a part of it, and taking gradual deep breaths is something I know I need to improve on.

These next two I’m combining because more often than not they cross paths. I really enjoy shuffling…and playing with my kitten. I’m still a beginner in the shuffling world, but my oh my is it such a beautiful way to express your enjoyment for music. The two intersect as I often shuffle when my kitten tries to ambush me and attack my legs while walking (typical cat things… I think his ‘Adult Cat’ factory settings are kicking in, haha). All jokes aside, I do love to run around with a stringy toy of his and uncontrollably giggle while he tries to catch it.

Physical activities are not the only spice of life worth enjoying—there are plenty of other things I enjoy such as singing, drawing, surfing Reddit, and my most expensive hobby by default: cooking. Besides bills, that’s what the largest portion of my income goes to.

Hobbies I would LOVE to start would be: meditation, reading more books, wire wrapping, taking more/better photos, and creating music.

Who knows what hobbies will be a part of my lifestyle in a month, year, 3 years, and so on. The point of hobbies is to enjoy them, and hey who knows… maybe end up making some money from them one day.

The main point of this is: enjoy what you do and make it the most “You” it can be. That’s the best part about it! Just make sure to keep a thoughtful eye on the waste produced from it and see if there are ways it can be improved. I don’t know you, but I’m sure you’re quite an intelligent human… so you’ll be able to figure something out. 🙂 For the Greater Good. We CAN do this!

Sustainably Yours,

Nicole

Sustainability, Uncategorized

Grocery Shopping: A Necessary Evil

How can we reduce our waste at the grocery store? Every couple of weeks or so we’ve got to re-up our food supply. No matter what, we’ve got to eat. If we lived in a perfect world we would all go to our gardens and bring ingredients for our meal, but unfortunately apartment living doesn’t allow that luxury most of the time. So, we shall do the next best thing available and shop for our supplies at the grocery store. Last time we went to the store, we changed up some of our selections and the way we used our items to reduce our waste.

Big Breakthrough:

Previously I had written about the types of meat that we purchase occasionally. Reducing the amount of meat we eat has really helped reduce the carbon footprint we leave, along with the other obvious benefits of not eating as much meat. This past time at the store we went with the Tofurkey instead of the sausage. We also did not get any lunch meat. Usually we always get it because it makes a good lunch at work, but we were just a few minutes after the deli closed. That’s okay though, these past couple of weeks have really been a learning/adapting experience without it.

Usually I just throw together a sandwich and a side for lunch and call it a day. Now that I’ve been forced to be more creative, it has made me think about my meals at work further in advance. Sometimes I’ll make some extra food to put in a container to easily grab the next day or so. Or I’ll just not be too lazy to cut up vegetables for a salad, and now I am more responsive to making an actual meal in the morning in addition to my breakfast. I even used to use it as an excuse to sleep in a bit later, because making a sandwich is quick and easy. It’s helped me get my internal clock regulated as the time I go in to work fluctuates and throws me off. At this point I feel like I could continue to not get lunch meat and be completely fine. We shall see what the future holds as to whether I continue to get it or not. The money used to purchase the lunch meat could really go towards other things we need, or even be saved!

Decisions, Decisions:

My love for the Earth/environment has officially trumped my love for Ramen noodles. Those packets are SO wasteful! The outer plastic wrapping, cardboard box the packets are in, the noodle plastic covering, and the waste from the container the seasoning is served in: No more! Seeing how much waste was produced from Ramen alone always made me really sad. My SO and I decided to swear off the ramen… It was a guilty pleasure to be able to have so much of something that did not cost much. On the bright side we save about $2 that we can re-allocate to other less wasteful products.

After a few days I had accepted my fate of no longer eating them and realized I can most certainly get along just fine without them. I could feel differences in my body from when I was eating them up to now and I feel so different, a good different! This has also inspired me to really take a look at what we have and what we can make with it. We primarily get the same groceries each time we go, so it’s easy to get into a rut and make the same things over and over. Nobody wants to eat the same thing day in and day out.

Best of times, worst of times:

            This will sound a bit contradictory at first, but both portion control and eating more of what I have has really helped me reduce my food waste. Portion control is helpful in so many ways it’s crazy! It helps food last longer as the proper serving sizes are being eaten, assures we are not overeating our daily intake, and it’s great for your budget! If food is eaten in its proper portions it will last longer. This means you will have to buy less over time and in the long run will save money! Who doesn’t like that?!

Eating more of what I have is something I am improving on, yet still seeking ways to improve. A few of the ways I’ve been practicing this is by making sure I actually eat all of my leftovers instead of just making new food or not eating them at all and letting it go bad. It feels great to not have to cook and just go to the fridge, find something, and warm it up. To do this means you have to have dedication to finish what you’ve started, even if you don’t necessarily want to. Another way of eating more of what you have is to eat more of the vegetables you get! Recently I’ve started to eat more of the stalk of broccoli than I used to ever enjoy before. Now I love chopping up broccoli stalks and putting it in salads, stir fry, and other meals! Trying to cut closer to the parts of vegetables you are removing will help conserve the ones you have, but only do it if it’s acceptable to do so! If you’re just cutting the top of a bell pepper off, try and cut it as little as possible. If you’re trying to cut off a questionable part of a vegetable… well that’s up to you!

It’s still a weird feeling to be questioning and analyzing every decision I make because I am becoming more aware of how much I have been mindlessly consuming. It’s often overwhelming, and sometimes seemingly paralyzing. Reminding myself that it just takes continuous small effort and baby steps of improvement helps when my mind feels frazzled about it. It’s not a hobby, not a habit, it’s a lifestyle change. Sometimes those changes do become your hobbies, but you know what I mean! J I look forward to searching for more ways to reduce my grocery waste.

Sustainably yours,

Nicole

decluttering, organization, Sustainability, Uncategorized

Eye Opening Experience

PAPER TOWEL

The goal of me writing my experience and journey to a healthier lifestyle (for both the Earth and myself) is to evaluate all aspects of my life, see where I can improve, and go from there.

Especially recently, this journey has been a bit overwhelming for me. I have gotten rid of so many things and have started to reduce the waste I create, yet I find myself suddenly feeling claustrophobic as I look around my room, closet, bathroom, how full the trash/recycling is, everywhere seeing all of these items just simply there.

I have gotten rid of some items naturally as I have used them and emptied their containers, so I have seen some improvement on that front. For the most part that area is something that time will have to fix. I know I appreciate having them now and will wish I still did in the future at some point, so I am being sure to try and use an appropriate amount and not using it more than I actually need to.

Anyway, I did a fun experiment and tracked how many paper towels I used for a week. I considered the ‘half sized’ paper towels to be one, and a full-sized to be two. Let’s be real here, if a person is using a paper towel day to day, they on average need a smaller size—anything larger is for a messy mess. That concept of waste is a topic for another day, although sometimes it’s certainly uncontrollable. I paid attention to quantity and noticed some big contributing factors that I can improve upon. Then I mentally went through and changed a couple of habits and tracked my use the week after… The results are very interesting:

RESULTS FOR WEEK 1: 47 paper towels used.

47!!! That’s amazing, and not in a good way. Each brand is made differently, but that’s darn near a whole roll depending on which one you are looking at. How excessive!

Below is a breakdown of my daily usage:

Friday 2/23: 10
Saturday 2/24: 0 (Day off)
Sunday 2/25: 2 (Day off)
Monday: 2/26: 11
Tuesday 2/27: 2 (Day off)
Wednesday 2/28: 8
Thursday 3/1: 14
TOTAL CONSUMED: 47

TOTAL FOR WEEK 2: 16!

So much improvement! I wasted 2.9 times (31 total) LESS paper towels than the previous week. Here are my usage amounts:

Friday 3/2: 6*
Saturday 3/3: 4
Sunday 3/4: 1 (Off work)
Monday: 3/5: 2
Tuesday 3/6: 1
Wednesday 3/7: 2
Thursday 3/8: 0 (Off work)
TOTAL: 16

*: My cat pooped on the floor next to his litter box for the first time ever, and I used one full sized paper towel (so = 2 halved ones) to clean up his thoughtful surprise.

Reflection:

I did not think about this until after the fact but keeping track of WHY I used EACH paper towel would have helped me analyze my habits and find ways to reduce my usage even more. I did realize some differences that I could make right away. Progress is improvement, but I will know to pay attention to how much I use and any trends I notice in the future.

If you look at the chart, you notice that on my days off (three days off in a week is RARE for me, so I don’t know how it happened but I’m thankful for it!) my paper towel usage reduces drastically. That means something at work can be done to make a positive change in my habits.

What I changed:

At work we use regular paper towels supplied for both work-related use and to dry our hands after washing them, which we do relatively often. We recently got new paper towels, and they are the double paper towel size instead of the regular half-sized ones as they were last time, so it accounts for more waste. I could have torn them in half, but I usually didn’t think of that until my hands were already wet. These paper towels are a bit thinner than the last ones were, making it impossible to do without ruining both sides in the process.

Washing my hands and using not one, but two paper towels to dry them off is so wasteful. Even using one to dry them off is wasteful, especially if you can help it. I cannot believe I hadn’t noticed it before! After the first day of keeping track I felt my stomach sink and was wondering how much I would accumulate after a week. I did not over-waste, but I did try to keep up my regular habits to make it as accurate as possible. I even used to dry my hands off with a paper towel instead of towel in the kitchen at home until I started thinking about my consumption levels prior to SustainabiliMe. Thankfully I’ve become aware of it and am able to do something about it to impact the future in a positive way. See, doing nothing DOES make a difference sometimes. 😉

I switched over to using a towel about a week and a half ago. I brought the first one home with me when I knew I was going to do laundry, but if I forget it at work in the future I can just bring one in from home the next day and wash it next. I will have to admit it felt odd to me, and almost dirty at first, to use a towel. That I cannot believe… when did it become normal to use a paper towel when drying off my hands?

I have accidentally started to grab a paper towel a time or two, but thankfully remembered the hand-drying towel before I got it too wet. When I need a paper towel for something work-related I use as small of a piece as I can to achieve my goal since it would not nearly require whole, or even half, of a paper towel. I am glad to be holding myself accountable and actively reducing to start making a difference. I look forward to cutting down my usage even further aiming to use them barely, if at all.

Check out my Instagram this upcoming week and see some other ways I saw where I could reduce my paper towel usage! Take a chance this week to look at the way you use paper towels in your day to day lifestyle. Reduce that amount if you can help it, but at least notice when you reach for one. Or even feel free to track them this week and see how many you ended up using/would have used. Let me know how many you got at the end of the week and what you noticed you could change/improve upon!

 

Sustainably yours,

Nicole

Sustainability, Uncategorized

Meat: Yes, No, Maybe?

So many people, so many lifestyles, so many differences… but a common goal unites us all. The best part about life is that it throws you curveballs and you don’t know what is heading your way next. While walking down this path we will all make our own decisions that can lead to us still living full lives. A great part about this journey is that each and every person is so different, which means there is no one ‘right’ way to do this. If something is involved in my life that doesn’t accumulate waste it does not mean that anybody else HAS to take that up since it is a zero-waste activity and vice-versa. People can have so many hobbies, tastes, and interests that have absolutely nothing to do with each other.

The topic I am going to discuss my experience with this week may seem a bit controversial to some, but it is about eating meat. Right now I currently am eating it but have cut down drastically on how much I consume, as when I was younger it was basically served with every meal. Years later when I got out on my own and started experimenting with what I wanted to eat (or didn’t) was when I realized I was completely happy with having less meat in general. As far as completely giving it up I am not writing it off for now. Though it seems as time goes on it gets to be simply too much for me to fathom eating more and more.

I am absolutely against the violence and inhumane care that animals are given (or lack thereof) I will make clear now. The reason why I eat meat is because it is enjoyable and there are so many different recipes that can be made with it that I really love to eat. There are plenty of days that go by where I do not eat any at all. When grocery shopping once we go through the produce section we are mostly done, which I love. Texture is certainly a part that contributes into me not enjoying the meat as much. When you bite and chew into a vegetable it is not really that bad, a nice crispy crunch depending on how it’s being served. With meat you sort of sink your teeth into it, hope you do not get a gross chewy part, and then feel the rest of it tearing apart in your mouth. My apologies if the description was a bit in-depth. Even thinking about it is not an appealing part of the process for me. Other reasons why I do not eat meat are purely for taste. I have never really been a fan of pork chops, ground beef was alright, and chicken was delicious. As I’ve grown I still do not like pork chops, ground beef is a far and few between, and chicken is alright. Vegetables were far and few between too, as I barely ate and when I did there was not much to be eaten. Now spinach is one of my favorite foods. Quite the change in palate, I’d say!

As far as sushi goes, I certainly enjoy that too. I do not get out to eat it nearly as much as I used to, so again it all falls back on cutting down consumption. That coupled with the fact that, as touched on earlier, people live different lifestyles with different points of view that make the world go ‘round.

I will admit that I need to do more research and make sure I am purchasing ethically and humanely treated/processed meat. I do not buy it all that much so that is why this has not been more heavily looked into on my end, but I also realize that is a lame excuse. I have been getting turkey from the Deli instead of the pre-packaged containers to at least buy fresher meat. I could never find the recycling symbol/information on those containers, so I wasn’t even 100% sure if it COULD be recycled. The smell of the turkey I was buying was more of chemicals than meat, so the switch was worth the extra funds and adjustment to time we usually go shopping to make sure the deli is open when we are at the store. It’s not worth a solo trip to pick up in my opinion.

The only issue that may arise with this across the board is the cost. Our grocery budget is pretty strict, so finding the money for potentially higher priced meat is not something we may be able to do all of the time. Overall this really is not the worst thing, as it helps contribute to cutting down how often we are eating it to make it more of an occasionally eaten item instead of having such a prominent spot in my diet.

Earlier in this post I mentioned that I currently eat meat, but this may not be how I decide to live my life in the future. Sometimes I prefer meals without it when I am going out to eat or making something at home. There are plenty of times where I am simply not in the mood to eat it at all. There are other times that the thought of a meal containing it sounds enticing, so I indulge. Are there any particular brands of meat that aren’t chemical-laden and treat animals well that you enjoy?

Sustainability, Uncategorized

The Four R’s

Adults around the world have been learning all of their life, so that leaves plenty of information to get pushed to the back burner, or even forgotten altogether. This may seem elementary to some, but the topics discussed below are important because they are so simple. If we keep consuming at our current pace we will eventually not be able to have an Earth to call our home. So, let’s say hello to our old friends: reduce, reuse, recycle, and respond.

Reduce:

This is such an important factor of recycling… if we had all been doing this in the first place, we would not nearly be in the position we are now. Think about it: the more we do nothing (as in not using something), the better we are at it. How great is that? Talk about taking the least path of resistance! I’m not necessarily advocating laziness, but in a productive manner less is more.

If we reduce our usage of unnecessary items/goods, down the line there will be less made. You may be thinking “Why would I, one person, not doing something make such a big impact?” That type of thinking is terrible. YOU MATTER. YOU COUNT. YOU CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE. Odds are other people will have a similar mindset as you, which means you won’t be the only person not doing it. If enough people are making the conscious decision to NOT be doing something… that is making an impact and we will notice a difference over time! An example includes avoiding the act of using single-use items such as plastic straws, coffee pods, plasticware, to-go cups, etc.

Over time the reductions themselves will slow down the consumption of our natural resources. It’s basic supply and demand. If there is less _____ being consumed, less will be made.

Reductions can be made in many areas of life as we/I will learn on this blog in the future.

Reuse:

Finding ways to use items multiple times in the same or different manner helps the mind do what it does best… get creative! Wine bottles can be used to store olive oil. Boxes originally used to ship supplies can hold items that are going to be donated for good causes. Donating items themselves is committing the act of reusing, which makes it twice as exciting. Not only does donating declutter your space (as was discussed in last week’s blog), but it helps somebody in need too. Who loses in this exchange? Candle containers can be used to hold flour, rice, loose leaf tea, etc. Get crafty with it! 🙂  Repurposing items into art or decorative pieces around the house not only reduces the amount of new items entering your life that you don’t use or need, while giving you the feeling of something fun and new. Who knows, maybe you can even make some money from selling what you reuse as a hobby!

Recycle:

Taking necessary precautions to recycle and make sure the items are actually able to be recycled, as well as actually doing so, is incredibly important. If we are going to be using these items and not take the necessary steps to be responsible consumers and recycle them, it seems as if there is an accountability issue going on there. That is why we humans are in our current predicament of higher levels of trash and waste in our environment. This is a main component of a societal shifting movement toward the greater good.

Respond:

This simple act is a “one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind” kind of action. Responding can be as simplistic or complex as you can achieve. It can mean beginning to recycle your own waste, spreading the knowledge and expressing the importance of reducing, reusing, recycling, and responding; constituting a clean up in an area that was once beautiful natural land and is now filled with trash, etc. This can mean walking down the sidewalk and seeing a piece of trash (bonus points if it’s recyclable) on the street. Yes trash may go to a landfill, but if it is all contained to a focused area it can be tended to with less difficulty than if a plan was concocted and THEN it had to be sought out and collected for proper recycling or disposal.

With many options we have to help the Earth and ourselves, it’s just a matter of us individually opening our eyes and minds and realize the extent of our seemingly minuscule actions. That’s why this journey is so important. It takes a series of small actions to create a noticeable change over time. Big results will not be instantaneous, but think too of the instant gratification felt after dropping off your sorted recycling at the recycling center, or properly disposing of a piece of trash that is no longer on the ground. If you are one that likes to enjoy the work involved to get to the point of feeling gratification, educate people. Work with them, start a recycling program. Be you, in the most you way possible. There is not one right way to do this, and with your actions and ideas put together with others ideas, we will be even more successful in no time.

I really hope this post helped spark your creative side! Take a look around you when you’re out in the world and see how you can make it even just a hair better than when you got there. Have a fantastic weekend filled with enjoyable activities!

Sustainably yours,

Nicole

decluttering, organization, Uncategorized

Decluttering

What might clutter have to do with living more sustainably, one asks? Decluttering is a very important first step as it helps get the mind in a good place to live more comfortably while exposing the sham of the over-consumption lifestyle we live. It tends to be a difficult task for some to do… I know I’ve had plenty of issues with it myself, and still do to this day.

Running around like a chicken with its head cut off to end up throwing away a couple of random pieces of trash/broken things is not the way to go. That was my old method of getting rid of stuff. A method that I found that works really well for me to get rid of items is by starting off with sorting through categories. An example too broad would be to donate some extra clothing. A more realistic approach would be: going through all of your jeans and donate ones you do not wear anymore that are of quality to still be worn. Then when you are ready, tackle another category such as dresses, or jackets, or anything really.

The most important part of this process is that you must mentally be in a good place to be real with yourself and part with items you genuinely do not use/need. Having somebody be a voice of reason is very helpful at times, too. I have probably tried on more than half of my wardrobe for my SO to double-check my thought process. He used to joke around and call me a hoarder… I did not realize that the joke may have had a hint of seriousness to it until I realized that I had about 20 plain-colored t-shirts that I barely wore any of, because I had so many. Crazy how the world works, huh? J

Clothing tends to be a large portion of what people first think of when it comes to reducing, but the decluttering does not stop at the closet door. It can be done for most categories of items you have. You can reduce the number of items in your kitchen, Tupperware drawers/cabinets anyone? Too many pots and pans? Too many lids for those that don’t necessarily have a match? Yes please! These are just a few examples of MANY ways to reduce clutter. Even going through specific holiday decorations and ridding yourself of the ones that no longer suit a purpose in your life is one step closer to living a happier and more sustainable life. If the item is sellable, you can make some money off of it and somebody else will be reusing it. You can donate the items to homeless shelters, places that donate the money they make to good causes or give them to people as gifts that would appreciate/use that item. There are so many opportunities for items you do not use/need anymore. The goal is to not necessarily throw anything away, but maybe recycling old documents you no longer need (don’t forget to shred the important ones!) instead of trashing them, recycled artists can use them, or specific donation programs that repurpose items to help people, etc. Nobody is perfect and not EVERYTHING can be recycled/reused unfortunately. Just doing the best you can is all that matters. This does not happen overnight, so do not overwhelm yourself! Just grab a trash bag, keep it in a place that is not in the way, but is slightly an eyesore, and in a week or so you will want to donate it already because it’s always in your mind. It’s much easier to donate a trash bag at a time. Remember: Rome was not built in a day! Neither are lifestyle changes. Take advantage of what you can do this day and know you have made it one step closer to your personal goal. I challenge you to get rid of a trash bag full of items this upcoming week…and the weekend is the best time to begin! Tag your final decluttered items with #sustainabilime so we can see your successes. Looking forward to seeing what you come up with!