home organizing

My Zero Waste Journey So Far

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My zero waste journey began on New Year’s Day, January 1st, 2019. That day my husband and I spent quite a bit of time cleaning out the refrigerator and freezer. We were shocked at how much we ended up throwing away in the clean out. It really opened our eyes to how much waste was going on in our own kitchen. There were too many things in the fridge, so we would forget we had them, so they would go to waste. We would buy too many condiments that we didn’t use on a regular basis and so they would be outdated as well. In the freezer similar things happened. We overbought, stocked too much and as a consequence ended up having to throw too many things out. Have you had a fridge/pantry clean out like this? I also ended up going through the spices/dry goods in a similar fashion.

We are on a journey towards zero waste since this day. After that clean out I knew that I needed to really stick towards menus of dishes that I knew we would all eat, and only cook enough for us to use up that week. We also like to go out to eat on the weekends, so I mainly plan to make 3-4 meals a week at home and we usually have 1-2 leftover nights where we eat up leftovers. We are not perfect, but now I clean up the fridge on a more regular basis and yesterday there were only 2 outdated jars. That’s great progress & it was wonderful that they were glass with metal lids so it was easy to recycle them.

I also began to think about the packaging we were bringing home as we shopped both at the grocery store and for other items. I have cut way back on buying things online and try to find more local alternatives. This really saves on boxes/ packaging that ends up in our home. Some of it is recyclable and some is not. With materials that are not recyclable, I try to reuse those as much as possible.

We have started to shop every week at the farmer’s market on Saturdays. This really cuts down on packaging, bringing our own bags to the market and to the grocery store really helps.
The market also has minimal packaging for fruits and veggies. I have found one store- New Seasons Market who will allow you to bring in your own containers to buy items in bulk like: olive oil, coffee, dry goods like rice, flour, nuts, dried fruits, spices and more.

I am happy to say that last week our recycling was not overflowing and our garbage can was only about 1/8 full. Amazing! Every day and every week we learn more and I will be sharing more details in further posts. How have you reduced waste in your home and lifestyle?

Joyful Minimalism: 

If you are ready to explore your things but need  support and would like to work with me one on one, feel free to reach out to me by email and I can send you a client survey and set up a call with you. I can work with local clients and long distance clients. 

I have 3 home clearing packages to choose from: 

Services:

http://expansive.me/services

Find out more on my website:

http://expansive.me

Happy Failures

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The other day I sent a photo of my side garden to a long distance friend. I told her that this now successful side garden made up of mostly free plants that I got from my Aunt’s garden, some plants I got from the farmer’s market long ago and about 3-4 perennials that I bought and planted was a result of many “happy failures.” This story of the evolution of my side garden is one that can teach us a lot about failing and getting up again in life.

I remember at one time there were two large trees there. They were two close to the house and provided too much shade and roots for planting much in the side garden. We had them removed. Then, I tried some different plants there. First, I started with some annuals. They did ok, but required a lot of watering and much more fuss than what I have now. Later I planted most of the plants that I have now when my Aunt was thinning out her garden and she gave me lots of plants. I worked as quickly to plant those plants along with the large plants that I got from the farmer’s market. Part of the front of the garden was still bare. Over the years I tried different plants there. Some of them didn’t like the full sun, others grew too “leggy” and I didn’t like the way they looked with the rest of the plants and others were too small or short and got “lost.” in the other plants. A few days ago I bought one last perennial to fill in a gap for a plant that eventually died because that spot wasn’t right for it. Now, I feel that I have a fully lovely and functioning garden which will take little water and maintenance other than occasionally weeding in that area. Luckily the plants are now mostly so large that there aren’t many weeds that grow there. I’m so glad that I learned so much from this garden. I learned what plants grow best where, how much sunlight they need and also that it’s important to space plants of different heights in different spots.

This garden project reminds me also that even when we “get it right” there will be work to do. The garden must still be watered and weeded in order to flourish. So is our life. Even when we find the perfect mix of career/business/family/friends/free time we still need to stop and nourish ourselves along the way. We need to stop and see if we are truly thriving where we are currently rooted, or if we need to make a change to really grow and blossom in our lives.

How can we equate this garden project with life? Here are some ways:

  1. There are many things that we will try in life that may not survive or may not be a good fit for us. This can be relationships, careers and places we live. They simply may not agree with our true selves or how we want to live.

  2. Sometimes our projects don’t take root because we think we “ought” to do it, or it’s the next logical step, but our hearts aren’t in it.

  3. Sometimes we need a break. Our area of the garden is “too shady.” We need to take a moment to step out into the light to see our true potential. We need to stop what we are doing and look within for the answers.

  4. Sometimes we need to fail in order to learn a particular lesson. We need to look at difficult times and challenges as lessons that come to teach us something. Just like some of the plants that didn’t do well in that area were telling me- move me or compost me. Sometimes we need a different perspective or need to learn to quit and move on to another project, job, home or relationship.

What have your happy failures taught you? I’d love your comments below on this post with your stories!

Joyful Minimalism: 


If you are ready to explore your things but need  support and would like to work with me one on one, feel free to reach out to me by email and I can send you a client survey and set up a call with you. I can work with local clients and long distance clients. 


I have 3 home clearing packages to choose from:


Services:

http://expansive.me/services

What space are you creating?

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This spring we are nearing the end of a project to clear some large items and a few boxes and bags of small items in our garage in anticipation of buying an electric car in the coming months. This photo above is my dream car- a red Tesla!

I have a super fun game that I play every day to see how many Teslas I can spot on the road. It’s super fun! Many times I see this red one too! My favorite!

It’s often great to have a goal in mind for the space you are creating while de-cluttering your home. Having those pictures of dreams in your mind can really encourage you and spur you on going forward.

Here are some questions to ask yourself about your spaces:

  1. How do I want to feel in this space? What does peace in this space look like and feel like to me?

  2. What do I picture myself doing in this space?

  3. What new possibilities am I opening up in my life by clearing out the clutter in this space?

  4. What surprises am I allowing for by creating some space? Empty spaces as well as empty drawers and shelves can create great energy for many things to show up in your life! You will be surprised!

Now that our garage space is nearly cleared the energy feels light and every day I see more and more Teslas! They are like a trail of beautiful dream “breadcrumbs” on the way to my intentions coming true. I can just see the car in that space. Create more space for more possibilities in your home and in your life.

When you clear a space for yourself and your dreams in your home and on your calendar you are creating freedom and peace for yourself. You will be shocked at the amazing outcomes!

What spaces are you making for yourself? Feel free to comment below! Make sure to leave space in your home and on your calendar for your dreams to grow!

Joyful Minimalism: 

If you are ready to explore your things but need  support and would like to work with me one on one, feel free to reach out to me by email and I can send you a client survey and set up a call with you. I can work with local clients and long distance clients. 

I have 3 home clearing packages to choose from: 

Services:

http://expansive.me/services

Find out more on my website:

http://expansive.me

To sell or not to sell? That is the question!

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When I saw this comic the other day about a yard sale or “Lawn Belongings Transfer” it reminded me of our first & last garage sale. I remember it took all weekend (and many hours before that to price things, set up, advertise, put up signs and tend to our sale. All in all I think that we made under $200. Yes, many things found a new home and I do believe in reducing waste as much as possible, but giving them away by contacting a charity truck or to someone in a “buy nothing” group is much simpler and easier.

Do you like to sell your unwanted items? Do you enjoy the time it takes? I would say most people would much rather spend their free time doing fun or relaxing things other than posting things for sale, holding a garage sale, shipping the items or haggling over prices. Your time is amazingly valuable, it is a finite resource that you never, ever get back. I always consider this when thinking about selling any items that I no longer use or find joy in displaying in my home. Throwing away things is a last resort by all means for me as I am working on a very low-waste lifestyle, however I find much more joy and satisfaction in giving away the items.

I encourage clients to donate and recycle as many of their unwanted items as possible. This really is the best solution for the following reasons:

  1. Your time is immeasurably valuable: I know that as a person who values peace and freedom in my days which I have created by minimizing my things and minimizing my time commitments, most of the time you would rather spend your free time doing your hobbies, relaxing, reading a good book or catching up with a friend over coffee, tea or lunch. Posting lots of items online to sell can take a lot of time because you have to follow up with the buyer, ship the item, arrange a pick up of the item or drop it off. This can take so much more time for very little money unless the item is very valuable. Very few items are worth the time.

  2. The space you will quickly gain is more valuable: If you arrange for a charity truck to pick up your items quickly, you will gain more space and more peace of mind in your home in a short amount of time. You can reclaim a whole room in a matter of a day if you arrange for a swift pick up or drop off your items quickly at a donation center. I advise clients to do this as fast a possible so that they can enjoy the spaces in their homes again.

  3. The freedom you gain is more valuable than the money: The time freedom and the space freedom that you gain in your home is more valuable than the $2.50 or $5 per small item monetary gain that you get by selling your unwanted items. You gain freedom by quickly donating items because you will rid yourself of: frustration, stress, anxiety and more about the items that you have to post, process or deal with while selling them. If you spend too much time selling items many parts of your home will become a staging area for a bazaar instead of a real living space that you can enjoy.

  4. You can get a tax-write-off for your donations: You can get a receipt for each donation that you make. You do need to look up fair market values for items but that is easily done online. Once you get the receipt you can write the market value of the items that you donated and keep this for your tax records. At tax time you can submit these with your taxes. All of these donations can add up to some great tax savings!

I realize that clients will want to sell a few of their items, especially the more valuable or larger items before they part with them. That is perfectly okay. There is a balance that is different for everyone. I do encourage clients to choose only up to 5 items per area to sell; so that they are not overwhelmed by the selling process and thus stall the progress of clearing their home.

My wish is that these tips help you let go of more of your things and help you to create more freedom and peace in your life!

Joyful Minimalism: 

If you are ready to explore your things but need  support and would like to work with me one on one, feel free to reach out to me by email and I can send you a client survey and set up a call with you. I can work with local clients and long distance clients. 

I have 3 home clearing packages to choose from: 

Services:

http://expansive.me/services