We're four months into our eco-friendly resolutions for 2018. The most interesting part of this journey to me is how it just keeps snowballing, as I started to notice last month. Our utility bills keep going down. We're wasting less food, and making less trash. It's easier to keep our house clean. Overall, I think the element that has really been creating change for us is getting in the habit of being intentional with our choices and our resources.
The disorganized closet suddenly felt like a waste, and cleaning it out only took a few hours that seemed obviously worth it. The pile of mail wasn't invisible anymore. The cheaper conventional garlic from California didn't feel as cheap. It just keeps going. Here's some new changes we've just made or are working on now:
- I'm trying to get better about planning a hot breakfast for all of us at home, for several reasons: 1) It turns out I find making yogurt all the time really inconvenient, mostly because the time it makes the most sense to set it up is at night, and the Instant Pot beeps loudly enough as you go through the different phases of prepping the milk that it has thwarted kiddo bedtime multiple times. Small house problems. so I've decided yogurt is a "sometimes food" at our house now and not a staple, which means I have to provide the kiddo with something other than yogurt and berries for breakfast. 2) If I make hot breakfast, I eat breakfast, which otherwise I often don't, which means I get more done and feel better throughout the day. 3) Mr. Kirby stops to grab egg sandwiches on his way to work if we don't have breakfast at home, which he is totally fine with, but I would rather avoid the extra expense & wrappers, especially since we have so many eggs from our chickens these days. My favorite make ahead hot breakfast I've tried so far is baked overnight oats, but often we just have eggs and toast with some kimchi or spinach.
-I got cloth wipes for myself for the bathroom. This is a step I really didn't think I'd ever take. The words "family cloth" make me cringe. But seeing how much toilet paper we go through, 95% of it because I am at home staying hydrated during the day, I decided to get some flannel cloth wipes for myself, which I only use for pee. I keep them folded on the back of the toilet tank, and they go in a diaper bin with the cloth diapers. This cuts down on a huge amount of toilet paper, and it's really not been a difficult transition at all since we already have the diaper bin.
- We downsized our fridge. I think this deserves a post of its own, but short story is we sold our 22sqft refrigerator and downsized to an apartment sized (also known as compact) 10.1sqft refrigerator. Cost wise it was a wash; we paid for the new fridge with the money from the old fridge. We should save $100 a year on our electric bills, and there's a lot of positive habit shifting that is coming along with having downsized our refrigerator, minimizing both waste and costs, which is why I think it will need it's own post soon.
- We are doing more of our shopping directly from small farmers at our local farmer's market, rather than just buying local at the grocery store. We recently had a wonderful local dairy have to sell their herd, and it really hit home that we need to be getting out and actively supporting small farms. The most surprising part is that it isn't any more expensive. The farmer's market is often sort of a social occasion, and I had really internalized that it was more expensive to shop there, but now that I have gone with grocery list in hand, I can see the prices are comparable, and for the value and freshness of the food they are incredibly low.
-Back in mid February I ordered a few things from ThredUp (this is a referral link, so I get a small commission if you buy after clicking this link, but you also get $10 off!) and when they arrived, I felt like I didn't have any remaining holes in my wardrobe. This is another topic that's going to need it's own post, but after spending last year really honing my personal style (I even wrote a detailed style manifesto, no fooling) and part of that meant selling lots of my clothes on sites like Poshmark and Facebook swaps, and using the funds to buy clothes that really worked for me. After going through that process, I have a slimmed down wardrobe to all pieces I know I feel confident in and work for my lifestyle. So for the remainder of this year (since mid-February) I am not buying ANY clothes, shoes, or cosmetics. I have an exception for when my sneakers give out on me, because that is imminent, but I sent in a final clean out bag to ThredUp (their prices to consignors aren't great, but it's much less work than Poshmark) and I plan to use the balance that earned me towards a pair of nice secondhand sneakers.
-We set up a second compost bucket in our house, for the items we cannot compost but industrial compost can. We drop it off when we bring our trash to the transfer station. This is further reducing our trash.
Those are the big new action items in our journey to a low waste, enjoyable, affordable life. What are you up to this spring? If you made resolutions yourself, how are they going?
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