Minimalism. Sustainability. These two words keep doing the rounds in the Internet, thanks to Netflix which put a spotlight on these topics. Not only educational per se but a gentle reminder to embrace the hard-to-find goodness and to stop getting trapped by the distractions that is laid like a minefield around us. How achievable is Minimalism? Does sustainability mean spending your savings on organic, non-gmo, cotton, silk and all things expensive? The answer is Yes and No. All these words are not the ones achieved separately but together, a wholesome lifestyle. Minimalism and Sustainability are a way of life. Nothing otherwise.
Here are a few tips on mastering this conscious way of living;
Often or not, we have things lying around in our apartment and storage, the things that we might not have touched, thought about, know or remember, yet they just lie there gathering dust. It is advised to follow the one-year rule. If for a year, 365 days, you did not happen to touch, admire, remember or thought of the things that are in your house, it is time to say goodbye to those things. An old GPS, CD, clothes, unused hair dryers, cosmetics, shoes and other accessories, furniture, home decor items, kitchen gadgets, small appliances, etc mainly attribute to the clutter. The rule is simple, one of each kind is more than enough to be happy with. If there is not going to be a long lasting relationship with these items, it is better to give it to someone else, who would need it right now and appreciate it.
Begin with categorizing the clutter – the ones that could be sold on eBay, Craigslist; the ones that could be donated to goodwill; the ones that could be re-gifted or given to your dear friends who might appreciate it. Try this. The first time around is difficult but the lifestyle for sure is addictive.
Recycle and well. Where do you throw your Shampoo bottle? Your razor? Your makeup boxes? Batteries? If you answered trash to all of the above, you are extremely wrong. It depends on the grade of plastic and sites like earth911.com and recyclenow.com enable one to check on how to recycle varied array of things in your household. For example, throwing a razor blade into metal is a big NO NO. Look up online on ‘Sharps Disposal laws’ in your area. There are disposal banks or disposal drives happening year round so you could feel good about disposing hazardous waste in the most proper way available too. This holds good for alkaline batteries too. Bestbuy has Recycling bins for wires and other gadget related items in their stores. Check your nearest store and talk to a representative on the Recycling guidelines or read up online.
3. Hug a Park:
Adopt a healthy lifestyle by incorporating a lot of outdoor activities in your lifestyle. Visit a Botanical Garden, go hiking, be in one with nature, visit all your local state parks, pick a trail and Keep moving. Watch a bird, river, lake, anything. Just spend as much time as possible outdoors. Keep hydrated, Splash on some sunscreen and go at it. If you are in one of the Northeastern states in the US, it puts a real dent on the amount of Vitamin D that your body could get, considering 6-7 cold months in a year. So, find an active lifestyle that suits you. Visit and enjoy as many local places as possible. Fun is after all Free.
4. Hug a Library:
If you are in the United States, local county libraries are a boon. They have most new books out on their shelves with a few weeks/months of its publishing. I do understand for the most part that by buying a book, you do encourage the author and that sure is important. But, personally, I like to buy books that I would want to read over and over again and libraries are a good place to make that informed decision. They allow you to read as many books as possible and you can make a conscious decision on what books you would like to gift yourself or others. Also, by paying a meagre few cents, you can put a book on hold (in case your book is unavailable in the local library and it has to be sourced from the other branch) and the library goes to extra lengths in sending you a message when the book is ready for pick up. Same holds good for Blu-ray, DVD and audiobooks. Even Game of Thrones on Blu-ray is available 6 months after the season finale on HBO. Just saying.
Also, you could be generous in the donation you make to the library on a yearly basis. For public welfare.
5. Go Green:
Use a compost bin. If you have a green thumb, this should interest you. Compost bins are available in Lowe’s, Home Depot or even Target for a few tens of dollars and all you have to do is put in all your vegetable peels, fruit peels, seeds, basically natural vegetables waste from the kitchen, into the bin and introduce in a couple of earthworms into the bins. It is suggested you keep this bin in the garden or somewhere in a natural place. After a few weeks, your very own 100% wholesome natural manure is ready to be sprinkled in your garden. Check your community guidelines if it allows for compost bins to be used, just to be sure.
6. Wear Responsibly:
As important as it is to know where our food comes from and what we eat, it is important to know what we wear too. The material, the circumstances in which our clothes are stitched, the sustainability of it all. An unexplained rash, inexplicable body odor, scratches, the reason is right there in front of our eyes. It is the clothes that you wear. Rayon is a derivative of Plastic and so are most of the names of fabric that is listed in your fast fashionable clothing tag. Invest on good clothes. There are a couple of designer wear sold by anthropologie.com and jcrew.com that sure are expensive but do also come from a sustainable fashion brand. It might seem good to look good but the most important part is to feel good about what your wear. It is important that you take your time to research and find boutiques, shops, designer labels that pave way for your conscious living. Adopt a local boutique and tell them you care. The more you make it heard, the more artisans would feel confident in realizing their dreams. Help well, live better.
7. Go Natural:
Rose water spritz is a good toner, moisturizer and a deodorant. Coconut oil is a superb moisturizer and makeup remover. Clove is an extraordinary anti-bad breath chew on. And, the list goes on. With the current products in sprawling aisles of a grocery store or a make-up store, it is hard to know what is right and what is wrong for your body. Most products that we use on a daily basis, over a period of time, are either hormone disrupting or result in endocrinological issues in women. Detox is a must on a regular basis or best of all, it is better to go natural. One has to create that demand to make products available to one at ease. Look for kiosks at the Farmer’s market where all natural products are a big hit these days. Or just buy your tub of coconut oil, Vitamin E oil and Rose water from your nearest Trader Joe’s and you must be set on the beauty department for a couple of months.
These 7 things sure are quite easy to adopt and adapt to. After all, this is the uprising of things we had been doing, well, until 20 years ago. The hope is to gather momentum on conscious living, pass on the word to a friend, to the people around us, make the change at a gradual pace to a better future together.