I must have been feeling the same way I do today this time last year, as on 2 January I wrote about consumption, something I’m pondering again today.
Last year, I did reduce consumption. I used up the shampoos I had, even if I didn’t really like them, and then bought a single shampoo bar which lasted months. I used up skincare products and when they were gone I started on The Ordinary range, which I love. I bought no new clothes for our summer holiday, having discovered many bikinis I had forgotten about and being content with well worn summer outfits from years gone by. I bought few new clothes overall, and made a determined effort to make do before I realised I had to buy something.
We reduced our food waste and I reduced my spending on food at work. I got more organised about bringing lunches (and breakfasts, dinners and snacks when required) with me to the office, toting them in a free bag I got when I made a complaint to a company. We ate out less, but did spend a lot on two spectacular meals at Heron and Grey without any regret. We’ve joined the waiting list for this year. I made great use of a travel mug for coffees at my desk and the occasional takeaway treat.
I’m still a work in progress. December wasn’t a restrained month in any way, and I do feel some of the money, time and effort was wasted. However, I’m quite pleased with the direction in which I’m going and where we’re headed as a couple for the year. I’m not the only one who’s thinking about their shopping habits, as this New York Times piece shows.
Next on the list for a review is my consumption of daily events significant and minor. There is TOO MUCH.
…so this year we decided to get our Christmas tree there. We both had a day off work so off we trotted for breakfast rolls, free coffee and a bargain tree. I can recommend the trees. There were a lot to choose from, and given my not-very-satisfactory grasp of spacial relations the final selection was delegated to himself. For €30 we got a beautifully bushy tree and a voucher for €20 to spend in February. I’ll probably replace our wooden chopping boards with bamboo ones which are narrower.
My no shampoo experiment ended with the purchase of a shampoo bar from Lush, which I purchased in April. I bought a replacement last week, so my grand total spend on haircare this year was under €20, excluding the couple of haircuts I got in a local salon. I’ve been pretty happy with the shampoo bar approach. It isn’t perfect but for now it’s a an easy and relatively low cost zero waste solution.
In an attempt to free up some time and money, himself bought this hair clipper set some months ago. I’ve been honing my barbering skills and so far my one customer is pretty happy, plus he’s not wasting time on a Saturday waiting in line when we could be drinking coffee and reading the newspaper. The set came with a scissors and I agreed to let him have a go cutting my hair. So far, so good and I’ve been trimming my fringe myself whenever it gets long enough to annoy me.
I know we’re not saving vast amounts of money and time, but it’s been nice to learn some new skills and work as a team. A weird level of trust develops when you’re willing to let an intimate partner do your hair. It’s not perfect, but its Good Enough and that’s fine by me.
New wooden decorations from a company recommended to my by a zero waste fan. I want almost everything on MindfulandMaking.
Finishing library books and remembering how much I loved my twice weekly visits to the same library when I was a child.
An advent calendar stashed away for opening on 1 December.
Plans for every weekend from next week until Christmas. Plans in general make me feel better, as I realised in yesterday’s post.
Finding that tomorrow really is another day, and being very thankful that things have picked up somewhat since Thursday.
Today was my first day back at work after almost a month. I’m also setting myself a little challenge of bringing my lunch to work every day and only drinking my own coffee there too for this month. I was really looking forward to that coffee during my commute, only to find I had finished the last bag before I left in July and I didn’t have a back up. Thankfully, work today wasn’t too taxing and I made it through the day sans caffeine. I’ve already stashed a packet of coffee in my work bag for tomorrow. Coffee is an essential for me, and being a bit more prepared changes a day from being merely tolerable to good or even excellent.
We’re off to France soon. I was at home today so able to get a lot of preparations done. First on my list was going through our perishable food and using as much of it as possible, so we have dinners and lunches for the next week all sorted. We’ll bring whatever’s left with us, either to eat on the ferry (given that the food on board hasn’t really been worth the money we’ve paid for it) or during our holiday.
Last year, I realised for the money we spent on hot drinks on the ferry we could have bought a kettle and made our own, much nicer, tea and coffee in our cabin. Today I bought the smallest ‘proper’ kettle I could find, having researched travel kettles and rejected them on the grounds of cost and being far too small. We’ll bring cups with us and bypass the disposable cups I still feel guilty about using last year.
I’m bringing cloth wipes and tea towels with us, as I ended up using far too many paper towels last year. You live, you learn. Ditto bringing our own containers for the supermarket, and we hope to hit the local markets for plastic wrapping free produce.
I need this holiday very badly. Planning is all part of the fun.
My actual wardrobe, that is, not the clothes and accessories therein. I don’t love our fitted wardrobes. They came with the house and they aren’t a layout I would choose. They take up an entire wall of our bedroom, yet we don’t seem to have enough storage. There are no drawers, only shelves and oddly positioned hangers. We cannot justify the expense and bother of changing them because they are perfectly fine and don’t cause a huge amount of stress or thought.
I’ve been rearranging the wardrobes since we moved in last year, never to my complete satisfaction. Today I had some time to spare and tackled them again. I removed a couple of hanging rails and put an old Ikea Expedit 2×2 cube unit in their place inside the wardrobe, thereby giving myself some extra storage options and creating a nice spot for my handbags and jewellery box. This meant freeing up some shelves, and was a good opportunity to put some rarely used things (like the heated rollers that spark some joy but I last used on New Year’s Eve) in the less accessible spots.
I reorganised our shoes so they’re all in one spot and I sorted through my husbands suits and shirts, matching pants to jackets and putting some winter things elsewhere. We can now squeeze our linens for our holiday into the bottom of his wardrobe and free up space in our spare bedroom.
I still don’t love the wardrobe but in the spirit of Konmari, I thanked it for its service and I do appreciate that this is the kind of thing I can spend my time doing on a beautiful summer day.