Over the last several years I have become more aware of just how much stuff I own. After living in Thailand out of a small suitcase for 4 months, I realized that most of the things I own are things I do not actually need. In 2016 when I returned to Canada from Thailand I started the process of evaluating and de-cluttering my belongings. My first project was a capsule wardrobe. I had seen and read a number of blogs around this idea and eliminating the process of digging through mountains of clothes to decide what to wear each morning was appealing. I sorted my clothing, shoes, and accessories into piles: things I definitely wanted to keep, things I definitely knew I could get rid of, and things I was on the fence about. I planned to keep only 100 items (I didn’t include sleep and active wear that I actually wear for these purposes in this count). After I had sorted out my 100 items I bagged up the things I was still uncertain about and put them in the trunk of my car. I left them there for a couple of weeks, pulled out a fluffy pink housecoat, and donated the rest.
June 2017 I moved out of my parents’ home and into a house with my best friend. Our house is amazing and great and super cute (see pictures), but also very tiny. Every item we bring in needs to be brought in with intentionality. We reached the year mark of living in our little home this year and I looked around and realized that slowly things had crept in and our small space was starting to feel a bit cluttered. An area where I felt particularly overwhelmed was in the kitchen. Our cupboards are big and offer lots of storage space for our kitchen gadgets and food, but food was getting lost in the dark depths of our pantry. We wouldn’t realize we had something and would buy more; before I even realized it we had at least 6 packages of brown rice pasta, way too many boxes of cereal, and a large assortment of canned beans (to be honest I’m pretty sure I was the biggest culprit in buying most of these items).
With a desire to de-clutter and bring some organization back into our kitchen and home I started to read and research about organization for kitchens and pantries. One thing led to another, and as the internet tends to do, I was taken in a slightly related but different direction. I discovered the movements of zero waste living and plastic free living. My interest was sparked, and as my friends and family can attest, I plunged myself head first into learning about this way of living, and sharing all my new knowledge with anyone who was fortunate enough to find themselves around me.
I’ve spent most of June researching recycling, replacing some of my plastic and disposable products, and exploring different waste free stores in the lower mainland. So what’s the next step for me?
Plastic free July!
For the month of July I will be challenging myself to go plastic free, and to limit the amount of stuff I throw out. My hope is to share some of my experiences and challenges here, as well as store reviews, and sustainable star spotlights (plastic free product reviews). If there is anything else you would like to see as I embark on this challenge just let me know.
So how does this tie back to de-cluttering and living with less stuff? I think one obvious way is that as I am more intentional with what I buy, and in buying non plastic packaged products (walk through the grocery store and you will quickly see just how many fewer things you can buy when you’re not buying anything with plastic packaging) I will be bringing less into my home. This project is also a small step in learning how I can help de-clutter the earth, a place where 500 million plastic straws are used a day, straws which take a staggering 200 years to break down, and even then just break down into plastic particles.
If you are interested in joining along you can register for Plastic Free July here. This website also has lots of tips and tricks to help with living plastic free, as well as more information on why it is so important!
Welcome to the monthly challenge for July! Hello July, goodbye plastic!
P.S. If you’re interested in reading some more about any of the topics I’ve touched on I’ve included links to some of the websites that I found helpful, and that inspired me (light grey bolded words indicate links). You can also follow along on Instagram and here at the monthly challenge for more information.