We live in a culture of EXCESS – and no time is this more evident than the holidays. If you’re more of a minimalist in your daily life, maybe the aftermath of the holidays has still got you feeling a little shell-shocked. It is A LOT. Of booze. Food. Gifts. Celebrations. Decor. Things that ultimately, though they’re symbols of love and connection over the festive season, produce a crazy amount of waste.
If you’re craving a major pare-down, then resolve to be a savvy and sustainable QUEEN and streamline your consumption in 2019. You can reduce your waste without overhauling your entire life. Here are 7 small but mighty ways to do it.
Switch To Paperless Bills Once And For All
For the love of goddess, do yourself a favour and free yourself of having to empty a chock-full mailbox on the regular! Phone, internet, bank accounts, utilities, all the things – if you’re not doing these online, your bills are causing you more pain than they need to. Take one small pain out of being an adult and sign up to get an email notification or text when your bills are due. Seriously: Devote an afternoon if you have to to finding your passwords / creating online accounts / writing everything down in one place where you won’t lose it, and you WILL thank yourself. Keep that mailbox free for what it’s meant for: Love letters.
Get A Reusable Coffee Mug And A Reusable Water Bottle
So, most of us already feel… less-than-proud about our coffee addiction, so let us take away some of the guilt by removing the added paper and plastic waste out of the equation. It is NO JOKE that Canadians use between 1.6 and 2 billion disposable coffee cups a year, which = up to 35,000 tonnes of paper, in our landfills. Woooooof. Just getting a reusable mug can lighten your footprint in a big way. Because, a life without coffee is not worth living, IMO.
And, while you’re at it, getting a reusable water bottle means you can be one less human throwing away the 65 million water bottles that find their way into landfills every year. Everyone talks about this, but it really is so easy to just get you a Kleen Kanteen! Reduce your waste contribution, and stay hydrated. Because all that caffeine is dehydrating.
Buy Pantry Staples/Spices/Detergent/Grains In Bulk
There’s this underlying assumption that buying in bulk is just for families with memberships to Costco but girl: It is not. Bulk stores come in all shapes and sizes downtown, and they will ABSOLUTELY save a ton of packaging and money and TIME (how often do us downtowners end up at the grocery store every damn day?)
Go to any one of the Bulk Barn locations, Strictly Bulk, Tutti Frutti or Essence of Life in the market, Unboxed Market (this one’s opening in February 2019!) and stock up on your dish and laundry detergent, chickpeas, tea and coffee, generic caramel nut clusters. All the things. Time to fall in love with mason jars, sis, AND: Actually commit to your resolution to meal prep like a boss.
Start Making The Stuff You’d Normally Buy
Crafty people: Applying your crafty skills to different areas of your life can be incredibly gratifying. Work your magic for mixing and making and discover how excellent it feels to make your home a healthy holistic haven with DIY cleaning products. Baking soda + vinegar + essential oils will save you money and chemicals you just don’t need to be smearing on your surfaces. Reduce your packaging, keep your place clean and chemical-free.
And, if you’re curious, check out a workshop to amp up your skills in the DIY skin-care department. Anarres Apothecary, For the Love of Body, and Let’s Make it are all spaces that run regular soap / bath bomb / scrub-making workshops. There’s such creative programming at these 3 spaces – check them out if this aligns with your NY resolution.
Get Permanent Solutions For Things Instead Of Buying Disposable
Razors. Toothbrush. Coffee filters. Loose leaf tea bags. Even things like, your shower curtain or aluminum pans and muffin liners. You can get solid reusable versions of all these things. Definitely make a point to invest in good versions of things you genuinely need and use all the time. Shop once, like you mean it.
Revisit Your Shopping Mentality
How many of us have full closets of clothes / drawers full of accessories and feel like we never have anything to wear? So we… just buy more stuff? So there is definitely a time and a place for a new outfit, but the point is: Don’t be a hoarder when it comes to clothes, and say no to more-is-more! Before you shop, take a mindful moment to set an intention. That way the impulse-mentality that can find us when walking through a store is just so much more manageable. The New Year is a fab time to edit your closet – and your shopping mindset.
Just Say No To Free Stuff (Unless It’s Really Good Free Stuff)
Here’s the thing about free stuff: It’s NOT ALWAYS GOOD STUFF. Or, even decent stuff. Just because something is free does not mean it’s worthy of taking up space in our cupboard / closet / desk drawer. Every adult must learn this lesson, I think. Say no to the swag bag unless it has a legit item you want to receive. Otherwise, I mean, you probably don’t need another lanyard. Right?
(Story by Contributing Editor, Kait Fowlie)