Because of the way the days fell on the calendar this month, there are five weeks to this month-long project of sustainability swaps. I was happy to do one more swap than I originally intended! For the first week, I stopped using plastic water bottles, for the second, I stopped using plastic utensils, for the third, I stopped using first-use paper products, for the fourth, I stopped using sandwich wraps.
This week’s swap is dryer sheets! The internet has a ton of information (whether it’s true or false, I am uncertain) on why dryer sheets are bad for you. I am undecided on that for myself, but the focus of this project is to swap out single-use products for multi-use products. Thus, balls!
These wool dryer balls were bought in Trader Joe’s, but there are tons of similar products available elsewhere in person or online. Obviously, they don’t have a smell, and I’m not into my clothing smelling like a flower enough to go out and get essential oils to put on them. But they do seem to make the clothing fluffy and also reduce drying time, thus saving electricity. I recommend them!
Recap! Week 1 was single-use plastic water bottles. A person I was with bought one at some point, and I did have a few drinks from it, but then I made sure it was recycled. Week 2 was plastic utensils. I have used my bamboo set at work every day, and only once forgot to tell them not to include them when ordering take-out at home. Week 3 was toilet paper and paper towels. All good there!
For week 4, I am really happy to be writing about this bee’s wax coated reusable food paper. Just about every day for lunch, I bring to work a kale salad and a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Since I don’t use plastic bags, I had been wrapping the sandwiches in aluminum foil, and then trying to reuse it for as many days as possible. But it was kind of gross after two days. I tried wax paper, but it was only marginally better.
Because it takes me a month to decide on even the most minute purchase, I looked at this and similar products online for a ridiculous amount of time. I was unable to decide if I should just get one or a multipack, what sizes, what pattern, etc. But I was visiting my local farm (yes, there is a farm in NYC, more than one, in fact) and I found a single pack of the large size on sale for $6. I couldn’t argue with the price or the fact that I wouldn’t have to have it shipped to me.
So, how does it work? It just sort of folds down with the heat of your hands, and when you’re done, rinse it in cold water and hand somewhere to dry. Since one is supposed to last about a year, I’m saving a lot of aluminum foil!
Now that the Minimizing Game has been over for about two weeks, I wanted to write a few thoughts I had while going through the process and afterward. If I’m remembering correctly, this is the third time played the Minimizing Game. As always, I was surprised to realize how easy it was to find 492 things to get rid off. I also expected my house to look less cluttered at the end of the month, but sadly no, it does not.
One thing I noticed about my aesthetic was that I really don’t like objects made of clear glass. I’m talking decor items mostly. I got rid of a bunch of clear vase-like objects I didn’t even know I had and didn’t like. And while I’m not looking to replace all my drinking glasses, I will say that if I had to, I would choose light blue or something else not clear. So obviously, I’ve learned that I should not choose clear glass the next time I have to buy something made out of glass.
The other material I dislike even more than glass is plastic! Why is there so much random plastic crap around? I hate looking at it, and it seems to multiply if left unattended. My children are the main reason we get so much plastic, as it comes mostly from the dreaded goodie bags.
Lastly, as I hinted at in the first paragraph, this was all too easy! I want to have to make some difficult choices and really scrutinize things. Since the last one was in March, I think I will do it again in September. I was thinking about maybe doing August so I could prepare for back-to-school season at the same time, but I am thinking about traveling in August, so maybe September is better. We’ll see how anxious I get about needing to minimize as the autumn rolls around!
It’s the third week of April, and that means I’m going to be writing about my third environmentally friendly swap. For a quick recap, I stopped buying single-use plastic water bottles in week one, and stopped accepting single-use plastic utensils in week two. I am switching it up in week three by focusing on single-use paper products, namely toilet paper and paper towels.
No, we are not doing away with these products altogether, although we applaud those that do. We are currently using the brand “Who gives a crap,” which is made from sustainably sourced bamboo and recycled post-consumer waste paper. It costs about as much as regular paper, and I think the quality is the same. If you are interested, find them here.
Last week I made a promise to myself to never again buy a plastic water bottle. So far, so good! This week, continuing the theme of eliminating single-use plastics, I made the switch to bamboo utensils!
Since I work full-time in an office, I usually eat one or two meals out almost every weekday. Whether I bring my lunch, eat at the office cafeteria, or buy something from the larger world outside, I usually need utensils. Carrying these around saves, on average, two plastic ones from going into the trash every day! I also carry them in my bag on the weekends, but usually if I’m out on the weekend I will go to a restaurant that has real utensils. But still, if I ever need them, they are in my bag!
Imagine you are reading this on January 1, because that’s when I should have published it. Better late than never, I guess?
Anyway, I decided back in June of 2018 to begin tracking the books I read. I didn’t include non-fiction, because sometimes I read for work and it was liable to get confusing and maybe too long. Any book with a grade of an A- or better is recommended to all. As with all grading systems, mine is highly subjective. I considered both how much I enjoyed the book and how much time I spent thinking about it afterward. I tend to read every book that’s recommended to me, so feel free to recommend.
(Starting in June)
1. The Club Dumas
2. Rosemary’s Baby
3. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?
Philip K. Dick
4. Things Fall Apart
5. The Changeling: A Novel
6. Dietland: A Novel
7. Breakfast of Champions
8. Slaughter-house Five
9. Cat’s Cradle
10. Sloughing Towards Bethlehem
11. Call Me By Your Name
12. The Thorn & the Blossom: A Two-Sided Love Story
13. The Ninth Life of Louis Drax
15. Black Beauty
16. The Paying Guests
17. My Sister’s Keeper
18. European Travel for the Monstrous Gentlewoman
19. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
20. The Golem and the Jinni
21. Convenience Store Woman
22. Sharp Objects
23. The Color Purple
24. The Girl on the Train
25. The Fall of Lisa Bellow
26. Carrion Comfort
27. The Red Tent
29. Hell House
30. The Death of Mrs Westaway
31. The Pale King
David Foster Wallace
32. The Joy Luck Club
If I had to pick my favorite book of the year, it would probably be The Club Dumas, the first book on my list! I also love the movie, The Ninth Gate. Highly recommend both!
Last month, I played the Minimalism Game, which was fun and also a relief when it’s over. I will definitely do it again in the future, maybe next March, maybe this September. But I’m taking at least a month or two break from decluttering. However, I do have an idea for another month-long project, and it’s appropriate to do in April, the month of Earth Day.
For this month, I intend to start being more ecological in my choices. In order to make sure these are changes that last, I am going to concentrate on changing one habit a week. For this first week of April, I will focus on beverages. In the past, I have attempted to bring a water bottle with me/never buy plastic water bottles, but for this month I’m promising myself I will not buy a single plastic bottle. That means if I am out somewhere and forget my bottle, I have to drink from a fountain or find some other solution.
And don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten about straws! I thought about buying a metal or bamboo re-usable straw, but I don’t really like drinking from straws anyway, so I will just forgo all straws!