My quest to go zero waste starting in 2010, when I found Bea Johnson’s blog, Zero Waste Home. At the time I was living alone in a small duplex, trying to keep my workplace from cutting down all the rainforests (not literally – we just wasted a LOT of paper, and I had a super small recycling bin at home that couldn’t handle it all!), and making conscious choices about how I was living for the first time, well, ever. I hadn’t really paid attention to waste much before, but it started to interest me a lot that year.
Zero Waste Home, and many other resources, helped me take steps to use reusable containers instead of plastic baggies for lunch, go no poo, buy secondhand, and really think about if I needed something before I bought it. This change in thinking not only made me consider the future of the world around me, but also my own future! By buying less, and buying secondhand, I saved a lot of money, and traveled for four months straight at the end of the year. I lived out of one backpack at that time, a move I’m not sure I could have made without my change in thinking.
After I stopped traveling, I settled down in a smaller space and got rid of almost everything I had been keeping in storage while I traveled. Since then, I’ve bought a bigger house, but it’s not too big for my family. So many people want a huge house for the status, but I love what I’ve got. It’s more sparsely furnished and stocked now than it used to be, but there’s still a lot we don’t use, don’t need, and could get rid of.
I can’t say I’ve been living this way consistently since 2010, but it’s been on my mind the whole time. There were a few years when my living situation wouldn’t really allow it, and at the risk of sounding dramatic, it really affected my mood. I’ve found I’m happier with less around – there’s less clutter, less to clean, less to keep track of, less to lose. This lifestyle definitely takes dedication, but with so many small steps you can easily take to get started in the right direction, there’s no reason not to try!