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Instagram, Minimalism, Plastic-Free: Thoughts

Instagram, Minimalism, Plastic-Free: Thoughts

I’ve never been good at using instagram. I don’t like taking pictures of myself and uploading them to an open audience for example, so this rules out a whole load of instgram style posts, such as outfit of the day. I love food with different spices but sadly I’m not good at trying out lots of new things, so food posts are lacking too. I look at my instagram and feel a little embarassed, I see plastic.

Now I’m on my minimalism journey, it means I’m trying to minimise what I bring into my home. On top of that, I’m trying to go as plastic-free as possible, so that’s even less stuff to potentially photo.

To be honest, I am not worried about having a really sad instagram but maybe I could set myself challenges and see my progress through photos, seeing what I actually do bring into my home with all these new goals.

Follow me on instagram here and I’ll follow you back. It would be great to see what you buy and have replaced in your lives for every day items.

Plastic free & minimalism in real life – practical tips and the struggles

Plastic free & minimalism in real life – practical tips and the struggles

I have been so engrossed in the whole journey towards becoming as minimalist as I can be, having as less waste as possible and being as plastic free as possible but I know I am still far off the ideal goal.

What I also know is that there are people who have succeeded and not just for a week, a month or two months but many years. This is what keeps me going.

However that isn’t to say that the struggle isn’t real. Take for example, plastic straws. My little kids use them. It allows them to be independent as that’s what they love at that age but it also helps with less spillage with water and milk but as a family we’ve decided not to buy plastic straws at all now.

Over the last few months I have been searching everywhere for mini mason jars. I had switched to my kids drinking in standard mason jars with handles but they were too big for them. Shot glass versions of these were too small. I couldn’t find loosely sold glass mason jars anywhere in varying sizes. Last week I visited T K Max for something unrelated but then saw a pack of salt and pepper shakers which were the perfect size for my kids to drink from. The problem is, I came home and remembered the packaging is plastic and I won’t have any use for the lids.

We are so used to buying everything in plastic that during the early stages of learning to be plastic free, I may avoid it altogether in a place I’m surrounded by it (supermarkets) but forget in the next shop which is less obvious. However I’ll use this opportunity to email the company to raise awareness.

On the other hand I bought a glass bottle to pour from when out and about. It is a good size, less than a litre and portable. I’ll have to be extra careful when out but I have to carry spare clothes for my kids anyway so it doubles up as padding for the bottle.

I purchased a biscuit dessert to have with the tea from the dessert shop next store. My kids were with me and I shared a little. The plastic cutlery is easily accessible and as there was a really soft caramel layer, they used a spoon. Yes they could eat with their hands as we do this often but it would have been extra messy. I mentioned in a previous post that people ask what to do about crisps as they cannot live without them. My thought was we should step away what we have been driven towards in supermarkets who care about their profits and making money from you. This thought needs to be applied everywhere. Had I been healthy and not bought it, there would have been less of a problem. This is me being totally honest. As of today I won’t buy any and will stick to making it at home but this is the kickstart to us all eating healthily again.

Minimalism

Last night I found myself watching a vlogger on YouTube. It’s not even like I enjoy it so much but it’s like TV, sometimes you just put it on for background noise. It’s funny though, as nowadays I hardly turn the TV on but our phones replace TV with the availability of YouTube.

I found myself feeling so upbeat seeing this rich YouTuber wrapping expensive presents for their family. All the patterned wrapping paper enveloping the surprise inside. I came to the conclusion that it’s unhealthy to watch. In reality I am not taking part in any consumerism during December. If I gift anything to anyone, it is randomly throughout the year. I’m also not the slightest bit interested in expensive presents (ones that cost several hundred pounds each). It did make me thing that others on the same journey as me may struggle to break away from the attraction this time of year brings and which many YouTubers present. Remember, a lot of times they are being sent items for free, or being paid to advertise a product!

I also have no intention of buying wrapping paper ever again.

This brings me to a conversation I had with my mum last night. My mother showed me a picture of a a gift wrapped nicely in cellophane and ribbons and a bow. It did look good. It was someone’s profile picture showing what their place of work did for people who passed their exams. My mum is the person who has always said stay away from plastic bottles so I said to her that cellophane is not a good one either. My mum responded with something like we can’t really get away from this sort of thing and the whole gift experience (the way the gift is presented) really does show appreciation, care etc etc. And I totally get what she meant by it. We had a really good conversation about it. We are led to feel that having a gift wrapped in all these things and embellished with other things (a bow, a tag, a ribbon…) means luxury, thought, care, attention and so on. We can’t just give a gift as it is. No. That is too odd. But if we did that, how would companies make more money from all these extras we purchase?

It is a very slow and hard to explain journey, when it feels like you are nitpicking everything but I’m here and committed for the long run. There is still a lot to learn about but there are so many people sharing their advice online that it does make it that little bit easier.

Declutter… AGAIN?!

Declutter… AGAIN?!

I’ve said time and time again, it is shocking how many items can fit in a small box. Multiply this over and over again and you come to realise you have 1000s, not 100s, 1000s of unnecessary products. Things that you keep just in case, things are more luxury. You don’t NEED them, but you have them. Things that distract you from doing what you actually enjoy.

I’ve decluttering over and over again in my home but it was all part of one declutter mission. Our kitchen is still great. It is so easy to clean now as there’s not much to put away. The worktop surface is free from clutter.

There were a few bits and bobs ready to be sold, donated or given away and they sat in a corner of a bedroom, ready to go when I had the chance. However, my family visited me last week and I felt my place had that terrible cluttered feel that would tire me out before I started the whole minimalist journey. Once they left, I realised there was so much more that needed to go. It’s like I’m starting from the beginning again. I’ve not brought extra things into my home, and I was so happy with how most rooms were. Clean. Minimalist. Free from clutter on surfaces. But here I am, wanting to get rid of more. What more is there to get rid of? Maybe that candle holder that looks too busy now. Maybe that bed cover that looks too busy now. But I don’t want to give them away only to repurchase something to replace it.

I think I now need to sell a cupboard I have. It looks too big. We’ve managed to get all our clothes (me, partner, kids) into one wardrobe and two dressing units. These are all in my bedroom and so the one in the kids room seems overbearing. It needs to go.

And so I enter the next stage of decluttering and becoming more of a minimalist than I was. It’s like getting rid of a desk that you never used. But I’ve already done that… Although I did use it, it was the wrong size and impractical.

A True Cost & Blue Planet 2

A True Cost & Blue Planet 2

My journey towards minimalism and eradicating plastic turned into something much bigger after watching the Netflix documentary ‘A True Cost’.

I know I have a small amount of knowledge on all these global issues which affect both people and animals but this was an eye opener.

Learning how leather affects people in India was the first. Leather is treated with chemicals, the liquids dumped in the rivers of India and those who live locally seeing an increase in certain illnesses.

Another was buying certain seeds for crops and the use of fertilisers. In that village in India, kids were born with disabilities.

There is a point where you can’t just say it’s a coincidence. If the people are saying they are seeing an increase in conditions after the introduction of something else, I believe them but nowadays we turn a blind eye to this new found knowledge.

After watching the documentary I really did feel down, depressed I’d say. We went to the local supermarket and it was the first time in ages where we had spent around £10, and not the usual £20, £30 or £40. Looking around, all I could see was plastic, plastic and more plastic. Some things that don’t typically look like plastic but are. Don’t forget crisp packets!

Of course my zeal to learn more and how to find alternatives increased and I joined online groups but many of us were scratching our heads. Clueless. It is really overwhelming.

I noticed a few more documentaries mentioned but I felt so down, I couldn’t bring myself to watch anything else.

Fast forwards a few weeks and I watched the last episode of Blue Planet 2 on BBC. It covers many different areas of how our human habits affect the animals. From plastic in the ocean, to fossil fuels and even boats in the sea! And I felt depressed all over again.

However this depression needs to be turned into something more positive. It is so easy to just give up and go back to old habits but as humans we should act and be responsible, respectable and look after this planet.

What do we start with?

I’ve written about this before, but the first thing I did was have a no plastic rule. That doesn’t mean we have no plastic at all, but having a strong rule encourages us as a family to try everything we can to emit it from our household. And if there’s something we use and don’t know how to replace, then it is always on our minds, joining in conversations on finding alternatives and so on.

In our home we had both plastic and glass storage tubs. Although the glass ones have silicone lids (still plastic!). As throwing away plastic tubs and bottles is also wasteful, I passed them on to someone else who could use them or may not have much money and could use them. This was also part of our minimalism journey so made sense to us. We already had glass mason jars, so we drink from those instead of using plastic bottles.

On the other hand, although we use reusable bags for shopping, we didn’t have a solution for bin bags at home for the household waste. The aim is to work towards having almost no waste. This is a journey in itself but there are plenty of resources online we can learn from.

And the rest?

I have seen this mentioned a lot. Many wonder, where do I now buy crisps from? Where do I buy this from, or that from?

The problem here is with us humans. Remember, we’ve been fed into this buying and eating culture where we need snacks, we need to eat till our stomachs are full, we need to buy buy buy. This is for the benefit of the huge stores that sell this stuff, who need their profits. We don’t actually need extras. Actually, our bodies feel much better when we don’t eat till we’re full and eat clean. And there are alternatives, such as nuts, certain loose fruits and also making them at home.

This is a journey of giving up extras and being satisfied with less. It isn’t just about using less plastic, changing to renewable energy and avoiding boat journeys. This is in a way, tied into minimalism. Having less, eating less (but enough to fuel your body), gives more time to do things that you truly enjoy.

It is a journey where learning is at the very front. Oh how I thought leather bags were fine to buy, as long as animals lived a life where they were free to roam and fed well. I am not a vegetarian but I believe in animals not being used to test products. But now I know this translates into other areas like bags too, even traveller notebook covers!

At the end of the day, if you got this far, you know you’re not alone. We are in this together. We can campaign together, we can email companies about how they need to work towards less plastic, we can buy less so these stores do feel affected and we need to stand up against consumerism, not just in terms of goods but even food.

Feel empowered with the new found knowledge. We can help the planet be a little bit better. This is the start of the journey for me and I will post more as I learn. I may make mistakes but I hope I will be able to learn from you too.

Getting rid of all things Amazon

Getting rid of all things Amazon

Being a blogger/reviewer, I had offers from all directions to review items that can be purchased from Amazon’s platform.

As a bargain hunter, it was a great opportunity to regularly receive mail that was either free or did not cost me much. Things I wouldn’t dream of buying before. I became an expert somewhat, in all things Amazon.

Then something hit, and I didn’t feel comfortable in my own home. It was the journey towards minimalism that made ‘stuff’ which used to bring comfort to me, become uncomfortable.

Since I’ve overcome the fear of letting go of items I’ve paid for, it’s become easier to get rid of even more. So I found myself collecting all things Amazon into one room and putting them up for sale, or for free, on local selling websites.

It meant that I had more available space, another person got a bargain and I’m closer to reaching my goal.

Yes, I could have kept a lot of it, like some craft items, but I decided to let go and only keep what I purchased at full price, mainly from other stores. Now I only had a nod to my previous hoarding habits, such as a Bluetooth speaker with a nice wooden front. Any extras were gifted to others who could use them.

The Declutter Challenge

The Declutter Challenge

Many of us have hit the point where we’re fed up with piles and piles of stuff and then attempt to do a complete overhaul (many times over due to the amount of stuff!) or try to tackle a little section each day.

Even with the complete blitz, it seems like no dent is made and there still so much stuff. It is a totally consuming process. It can get a bit too much too. Here are some tips to help you get through it:

Designate a section of your home for selling and donating items

I have boxes piled up neatly with selling items. I take a picture, then put it in a box. It is better to keep items of the same category in the same box, so it’s easy to find it after.

Keep items at a reasonable price

But if someone offers something lower than you wanted, consider it and decide whether to accept it or not. Apart from things like LEGO. They do hold value so if you can wait, hold out for a better price then if it still doesn’t sell, reconsider your selling price.

Have patience

Having stacks of boxes can stress you out. Remind yourself they will go, and if it gets too much you can always take it to a charity shop for them to sell.

Don’t tackle a whole room on days you have less time

You know, when you plan to just keep the table top free of clutter, or the dressing table, but you end up opening up the drawers, the cabinets and so on. And instead of playing with the kids, you’ve just created a bigger job. Try to gauge how much time you actually have before you regret it.

Enjoy the process

Soon you’ll have a clutter free home. Who knows how we end up having so much stuff in the first place but this long process will be a good reminder of why to stop buying stuff and to keep it simple.

 

 

Minimalism: Clothes that don’t fit

Minimalism: Clothes that don’t fit

I have a suitcase full of clothes from pre baby days and some form when my first born was one years old. Since then I’ve put on more weight or have better suited clothes for feeding.

I held onto them because my aim is to get back to that weight. But I knew I probably wouldn’t wear some of those close anymore.

Out came the suitcase.

I had over 5 pyjama items. I had a new one I bought in the sale. The purple long sleeve top is nice but the trousers are a funny set of colours for me. Should I keep the top? In the end I put it in the selling pile.

I also had two night dresses I had worn a lot and bought for £1 from Primark. It was a bargain. But I also have another 3 (not the same design). So I managed to tell myself to put them in the donate pile. It’s not something I could have done before.

Then I tackled the leggings. They looked in pretty good condition and as they don’t make up much space I left them.

Next were the tops. I had so many tops and some brand new with labels that I had bought during huge discount sales. But really they were not my colour. So they also went in the selling pile.

Dresses. I have so many dresses. But if there was a colour I wasn’t keen on and I had just bought it because it was in the sale and really cheap, I removed it from the keep pile. There were also dresses I had been gifted from family and I feel guilty that I hadn’t worn them as they’re really nice. Some I was not too keen on though. This is where I had a hurdle and kept them. I need to lose weight to fit into them and I need the motivation. I would feel pretty bad not giving the beautiful dresses a chance. I need to give them a chance.

I ended up with a black bin full of clothes. There were things in there that I previously couldn’t let go of. Mostly because of thinking of the money I spent on them. Not that they were expensive, but I don’t like to waste money.

The truth is, having stuff affects us mentally when it is just too much. Last year I didn’t get rid of one item from the heavily packed suitcase and now, I had a whole bed of unwanted clothes. It is a huge step forward.

Clothes Pegs – Durable and Long-Lasting

Clothes Pegs – Durable and Long-Lasting

Say no to plastic clothes pegs. You know, the ones that break easily!

From my online shopping addiction, I’ve come across a new style of clothes pegs which are good quality and have lasted months.

I say new but perhaps they’re not new at all.

My favourite is this set from ZesGood. The material feels strong and thick, not flimsy and it has lasted us months. They feel like the real deal, and they’re colourful too.

I’ve also ordered these stainless steel ones.

They feel lighter in weight than the colourful set but not bad in quality. You get 20 more for a similar amount of money too.

I think this style of clothes peg is much better than the old fashioned pegs which break easily. Making laundry more efficient.

 

Decluttering, Selling and Minimalism

Decluttering, Selling and Minimalism

I have collected so much stuff over the years, I’m actually shocked how much I have.

Since most of it is in excellent condition, I’ve put it up for sale and have 100 items listed. How do I even own that much stuff? Stuff I don’t need? I haven’t even finished listed everything yet!

There’s also the donating pile and the give away to someone I know box. The donating pile will also have monetary donations as I get money from things that I sell as there are a lot of charities that need the money.

I actually feel put off buying things, after seeing how much I have up for sale.

Have ‘things’ around you in your home got in the way of having a peaceful mind? Why not join and declutter.

Minimalism – Getting Rid of the TV – Step One

Minimalism – Getting Rid of the TV – Step One

I don’t know why but over the past week the large monitor in the corner of the living room was absolutely bugging me.

We don’t actually subscribe to any TV service and don’t really watch TV programs. If anything, we use Chromecast to watch YouTube videos like craft activities for ideas. But the large screen taking up a entire corner of the room was constantly in my head.

Today we removed it, put the TV unit up for sale and moved it to the bedroom. Okay, moving it to the bedroom seems counter productive, but that means we won’t be using it in the evening and night as we cosleep and we don’t hang out in our bedroom during the day either.

Perhaps the next step is removing it altogether. We shall see!