Going Minimalist to Reduce Waste

Have you considered living a minimalist lifestyle? From Marie Kondo's book to Netflix documentaries, the minimalist lifestyle seems like the new "dieting fad" with different methods of slashing clutter from your home. I personally live a minimalist lifestyle and find it un-sustainable for one reason. I keep brining home more stuff!

Reducing what we purchase as consumers is the most important step to a minimalist lifestyle. Every time we purchase a new item, we not only introduce more clutter into our homes but also trash into the environment. 

While making purchases, we often forget the trash that comes along for the ride. In Amy Kost's book "The Zero-Waste Lifestyle," she illustrates how bulk-individually wrapped chip bags, while convenient, create mini-landfills in our homes with wrapping plastic, a cardboard box, and individual bags. The same could be said about online purchases. Every time we purchase an item off Amazon, we are introducing more cardboard and plastic to the landfills. 

So think minimalist broader than your home. Here are the four sustainable steps I am taking to minimize the clutter from my home and the waste that I consume: 

Borrowed books from the library.

Borrowed books from the library.

1. Borrow

 You can borrow almost everything from books to formal wear (I've always wanted to try Rent the Runway.) If you can't find and institution to rent from, borrow from family or friends.  

2. Purchase Used

One of my personal rules for 2018 is to only purchase used clothing, with underwear, socks, and 100% cotton yoga clothes as exceptions. I'm having fun shopping at thrift and vintage shops to give items a second life. 

3. Ask yourself, "Can I go without it?"

When you ask yourself if you can go without something, you are giving yourself permission to be innovative with your solution. 

My partner and I have two mugs in our apartment. When friends are over, we utilize mason jars instead of buying new mugs. We have also repurposed jars into pencil holders, tea canisters into memory boxes, and shoe boxes into shelving dividers. 

4. Purchase an environmentally friendlier option

Wait a day before making a purchase. If you truly need something, try to find a more  environmentally friendly and durable option. Remember to think of how you may up-cycle this item in the future.