More Adventures In Zero Waste

I cleaned our oven using baking soda and a vinegar, vodka and orange peel solution, combined with a lot of elbow grease. It came up pretty well and the lack of heavy duty cleaning smells meant it was easy to get right in and scrub.

I’ve consigned some hand towels to the dishcloth stage of life. I cut them, washed them and folded them for use. The edges are a bit frayed but I can live with that.

I’ve grown to really like the Lush shampoo bar I’ve been using. It does the job and I can stretch to about four days between washes. Depending on whether my outfit suits a headscarf, sometimes I can go even longer.

I have fallen down on the clothes front though. I’ve been ruthless about my wardrobe, anything that sparks no joy or is has tiny holes in it or has become too shabby has gone. This has meant a greatly reduced collection of clothes, with the result that I’ve bought new dresses and a top from Cos. I have worn and loved every item. I’m going to try to resist the urge to buy a few more things and instead use what I have left and seek out other options. I have never found anything I like in a second hand or vintage shop, so online browsing is the plan for now.

I’ve broken out my three pairs of Saltwater sandals following some nice weather. This is my third year wearing them, and they’re just as good as new. I’ve decided to bin all my flat shoes, two pairs were never really comfortable and two are too worn to keep as I’ve been wearing them for five or six years now.

More Adventures In Zero Waste

Two In, Six Out.

For the first time in a long time I bought new clothes yesterday. I didn’t stick to my zero waste principles but I’ve given myself a pass because I’ve sent six items off to recycling and charity. I have many empty hangers and my wardrobe looks sparse. I’m wearing a new top right now and it sparks a lot of joy. I had been in a frump slump for some time, wearing the same things over and over, many of which were quite old and a little dated. I’ve decided on buying some more new things, things which I have spent time trying on and which I love, and which are a little more expensive than usual. It’s nice to wear something that’s up to date, and I think Marjorie would approve.

Since that post, I have worked on my physique, I have weeded out what I don’t like and I have stuck to my resolve in terms of buying. I have four pairs of flat shoes, two of which are a little uncomfortable and run down, and two of which are extremely comfortable and run down. I’m planning on getting rid of all of them as soon as I find one pair that’s comfortable and stylish.

Two In, Six Out.

In The Closet

I have become slightly obsessed with Sara Berman’s closet. I don’t live in New York and have no plans to go there any time soon, nor do I have any immediate plans to strike out alone in a tiny apartment. I won’t see this exhibit before it closes. I do, however, have a greater and greater love for the kind of pared back simplicity this closet inspires.

I am a work in progress when it comes to possessions. I have drastically reduced the things I own, but there is definitely still room for less. Yesterday I wore a top I hadn’t worn for almost a year. It didn’t spark joy once during the day I wore it, so off it goes.

I noticed that my colour palette has reduced too. I have a lot of blues, greys and blacks, which makes me happy. I wore white and black to the gym yesterday and being in those colours made me feel focused and put together, even when sweating during a weight class.

White isn’t really my colour (too pale and interesting for it to make me look anything other than washed out) so I won’t be following Sara Berman down the all-white route. However, I can see the sense of joy in having a co-ordinated wardrobe, in the fact that everything always matches and looks clean and fresh, especially when folded with precision.

In The Closet

More Adventures In Zero Waste

I caved and have washed my hair a few times with shampoo, about once a week on average. I’m going to use up every half-finished bottle and then reassess the no shampoo thing. Shampoo bars look interesting.

Our local supermarket has greatly increased the loose fruit and vegetable selection. I can get pretty much all the fruit I want (apart from grapes) without packaging, expect for the annoying stickers on the apples and oranges. I have found the vegetable selection more limited, but I can get enough of what I need and get creative with my cooking. I’ve managed to get some salad vegetables, tomatoes and broccoli loose elsewhere.

I have discovered an amazing bakery very close to our house and as it makes the bread onsite and I can walk to it and use my old muslin cloths to wrap everything its working out great. You need to get there early though, as we discovered when we popped in on a Saturday afternoon to be greeted by empty shelves.

I’m continuing the decluttering and using what I have mindset. Instead of buying a second mattress protector for our bed for the time when the one we have is in the wash, I figured a two fitted sheets would work just as week. I made it through Ikea without buying anything unnecessary and realising all the various boxes I had at home would work just fine.

There’s spare drawers in some chests of drawers, spare cubby holes in our old Expedit unit and spare space in my wardrobe as I have no desire to buy anything, especially since getting a well loved coat and cape properly cleaned.

More Adventures In Zero Waste

Words Aren’t Invented, They Grow

I’m paraphrasing Anne Shirley a little with this title. I’ve come to realise many of my orchids didn’t start out as orchids at all. Like this bag, for example, which started out as a desire to have a little taste of luxury at a reasonable price but is now a treasured orchid. Sometimes what’s an impulse buy or purchase out of necessity grows into an orchid.

While schlepping home in the rain, muttering to myself about how autumn has arrived with a bang and wondering whether the Converse shoes which had been an orchid but pinched my feet all afternoon would get more comfortable once they’re back in heavy rotation, I realised my rain jacket has become an orchid.

I bought it on a whim four summers ago, when a sunny July afternoon suddenly turned into unseasonal heavy rain. I happened to be outside the Patagonia shop, ran in and bought a bright pink lightweight raincoat that I thought was a little on the pricey side, but probably worth it.

Like the bag, I go through phases of wondering if I should trade it in for something newer. I wouldn’t choose a bright pink raincoat now as I’ve nothing else pink in my wardrobe and it clashes with a bright red bag I use regularly for work. However, on days like this it’s an orchid I’ll keep. The hood and long sleeves mean I’ve two hands free and, unlike Anne Shirley, I won’t curse my umbrella for turning inside out and launching me into a relationship with a dark, brooding and dull but rich man.

Words Aren’t Invented, They Grow

What Am I Saving This For?

Last year, I decided to save the money I’d usually spend on impulse clothes purchases and keep it aside as a lump sum to spend after a visit with a personal shopper. I dutifully stopped myself buying all the tempting bargains I’d usually give into and, in September, went along for my appointment. I was taking a hint from Marjorie.

I spent an hour and a half trying on clothes, some of which I loved on sight, others of which I hated and most of which were outside my comfort zone for reasons of colour, style or price. I ended up spending a lot of money on two skirts, a pair of black jeggings, a pair of jeans, several tops, a dress and a cardigan.

I’ve worn every single thing, with the exception of one blue top, countless times. The dress is something I wear at least once a week, usually more, the jeans are a staple and meant I ditched all but one of the other pairs I was indifferent about and all the tops and skirts are on heavy rotation for work, play and other occasions.

The one blue top is something I love, but never seem to wear, maybe because it feels a little too ‘dressy’ for work, yet doesn’t fire me up when I want to get dressed up for a night out, and until now I’d considered it too nice for ‘everyday’ wear. On Sunday I was looking for something to wear with the black jeggings and I pulled the top out and put it on.

Yes, it was dressy. Yes, it was too nice for ‘everyday’ wear. Yes, I said, yes, I will wear you today. It felt nice to put something that still feels new to me on, and feel a little bit overdressed for what turned out to be a day mainly spent reorganising two rooms and doing some serious decluttering.

So I’ve learned my lesson. Within reason, I’m going to wear the things I’ve been saving for ‘some day’ more regularly. It’ll mean some other things will get a bit more rest between wears and my wardrobe options have expanded without spending a penny.

What Am I Saving This For?