This year I’m on a mission to waste less. Less garbage, less money, less time. So much so, that I’m making an entire yearlong project out of it. Welcome to “Project Less Waste.” 🙂
My primary purpose for doing this project is to minimize the amount of garbage that my household sends to the landfill. I’ve always had a special place in my heart for environmental conservation but the past year my habits kind of fell by the wayside after I had my daughter and I was living in a new baby fog. I went from being an avid recycler to a so-so recycler to a shaking-my-head-thinking-about-what-I-was-throwing-away, essentially non-recycler. It wasn’t out of choice so much was it out of survival (or so I tell myself). It was like, first, the idea of sorting recycling and hauling bins out on cold mornings or evenings once every two weeks somehow became this huge undertaking for me. Then, my indoor recycling can went outside for a cleaning and never made it back in. Then less and less started making it out to the recycling bin until eventually most everything was ending up in the garbage. Ahh, I cringe at the thought. And I did at the time too, but I promised myself that as soon as I got back to feeling like myself again I would get back on my game.
As 2016 was coming to a close I was back to feeling like me and already had plans of a project aimed at waste reduction in the mix. Then I watched the documentary, Minimalism. Not only did it unearth all the feelings I have about how less is more and that life is about a lot more than acquiring material things, but it also reminded me of the environmental ramifications associated with mass production. Resources used to make and package products contribute towards the degradation of natural habitats, the waste that occurs from buying new stuff to replace perfectly good stuff just to have the newest of the new often ends up in landfills and ridiculous numbers of plastic shopping bags end up in oceans and other waterways annually. Combine that with accounts of major retailers throwing bags of unsold merchandise out onto the streets or into dumpsters, but not before slashing or destroying the clothes so they could never be worn or sold by someone else. All of this led to my decision to take a step back as a consumer this year as part of my overall project plan.
So, what’s the plan for this project, you ask?
Step 1: Shop my closet
I have clothes to keep me warm, clothes to keep me cool, and shoes to put on my feet. I have clothes to dress up, dress down and everything in between. There is no actual reason for me to buy anything new because I have all that I really need.
Last year I set out to make a few updates to my wardrobe. Much of my closet was quite outdated and old so once the baby came and I was back to my pre-baby weight, I wanted to spruce things up a bit. It was the beginning of a new phase of my life, so I felt like it was time to finally donate those boots I’ve been wearing since I first started dating my husband (8 years back), that I never really loved and to finally get some tops…I had a serious shortage of tops. Problem is, at a certain point it became less about updating and more about wanting. Justifying pieces that could be worn a number of ways so that I would have fun new outfits to put together for the blog. By the end of the year I was starting to feel like I had strayed away from the person who I truly am, which is someone who appreciates fashion but doesn’t really spend a lot of time thinking about it and would rather put her money towards travel or savings.
That, along with the environmental reasons, is why I am going to take break from all that buying and challenge myself to wear what I have to wear in my closet for the entire year. This includes clothes, shoes, jackets and accessories. So follow along as I mix and match the year away!
Step 2: For most everything else, if it doesn’t keep us clean or alive, buy used.
Sure, there are things that have to be bought new (food, tampons, car seats) and should be bought new (tennis shoes, office supplies) but otherwise if it’s not essential, I’ll either get it used or make due without it at all. This effort to only buy new when absolutely necessary will likely translate into some very creative gifting on our part this year.
Step 3: Recycle like a boss & throw away less
If it can be recycled, I’m going to recycle it. Even if I have to find places outside of my local recycling center to take/send stuff. My mission is keep as much out of the garbage can as possible. This goes for food as well. It is almost as painful for me to see perfectly good food get thrown out as it is for me to see bottles and cans. It seems that even though I mostly only buy groceries for a several days at a time, food still manages to end up into the garbage. Some of this is leftovers that were never finished, but some of this food that spoiled before having the chance to be eaten. So I’m going to be working to do a better job at planning our menus and will be sharing ways to keep food fresh longer.
Step 4: Repurpose, repurpose, repurpose!
Or should it be upcycle, upcycle, upcycle!? Either way, if it can’t be recycled (or even if it can) I’m going to find my inner artist and craft some shiz. This is probably going to be the most fun & challenging part because it’s going to be one that requires the most creativity.
The awesome thing about doing stuff that’s good for the environment is its great for the wallet too! The cost savings from making sure I get the most out of the food we buy and taking a break from buying clothes alone will positively benefit our family budget. Also, the time saved from not going to the mall, mulling over whether or not I should buy this or that or getting sucked in by Target’s voodoo will let me put more time towards doing something more productive (three cheers to getting more stuff done!).
I’m excited to introduce you to my little pet project and I invite you to follow along! Come back every Friday for updates, DIY projects and ways to make your world a better place!