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How Zero Waste has Changed My Home

Less Trash, More Space

I talk trash a lot. Mostly about how to avoid making it. I started pursuing a zero waste lifestyle in 2010. Since then the movement has been spreading worldwide. Living zero waste has made me more thoughtful about my consumption, more rigorous in conserving resources, and has allowed me to be part of a broader community. In particular, following zero waste tenants naturally creates more space in the home. Below is a brief overview of how to do it!

 

Stop bringing in those things you don’t need

By minimizing the flow of stuff coming into our homes, we stop filling every last nook and cranny. Evaluating items with the question, “Do I NEED this?” helps slow the flow. This makes it easier to reduce what we already have because we aren’t bringing in more to deal with later. I liken it to changing an old light fixture. You have to turn off the breaker to stop the flow of electricity before you start working. Only then can you start removing what needs to be removed.

 

Minimize those things you actually need

Over the years I have minimized many of my possessions down to what I consider to be just the right amount. I won’t go into specific methods for reducing your physical stuff as there is A LOT of content about decluttering out there. (And you don’t have to go beyond this website to find it. Renae’s 5 Steps to Break Free From Clutter is a great starting point.) Choosing those items that serve a purpose and bring you joy usher in a simpler way of living. After letting go of things you don’t need, not only does your physical space start to feel more open but your mind and heart do too.

Choose reusables over disposables

In an effort to lessen the amount of recycling and landfill trash our household produces, we have invested in a number of reusable items. While storing reusables for the long haul does take up physical space, overall the amount is less than disposables. Here are a few examples. A handful of reusable water bottles takes up much less space than a flat of disposable plastic water bottles. Cloth grocery and produce bags take up less space than that ever growing mound of plastic and paper bags stuffed in the back of a cupboard. One menstrual cup and a few cloth sanitary pads have a small footprint, literally and metaphorically speaking, compared to boxes of throw away tampons and sanitary pads. A pile of cloth rags of your choosing eliminates Costco sized quantities of paper towels. The list goes on. As an added bonus, reusable options are almost always more aesthetically pleasing than their disposable counterparts. They also save you money over time after the initial investment.

 

I have found producing less waste and putting value back into resources has translated into a more spacious living environment. How might you free up space in your own home by living with less rubbish?

Guest post provided by Stephanie Wall. She is a leader in the Zero Waste movement in Seattle, Washington (if you live near and are interested…go look it up).  She and I are dear friends from the good ol’ college days and spent many hours serving together apart of a world impact organization.  She is doing nothing short of making that world impact now through her advocacy for the Zero Waste movement, while raising her cute little son. She is definitely a mom living to change the world. I’ve admired following her journey on insta over the past few years (hint, hint…go check her out!) and you can also connect with her in the Seattle Zero Waste Group on facebook.

PS-If you’d be interested in writing for us, please email renae@renaefieck.com.

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