Simple plastic-free swaps at home

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It can be tempting to switch out every single plastic item in your home when you see organized Instagram pics of nice pantries and bathrooms, but my first rule of sustainability: Use what you have. Don’t spend your money and time on switching out every plastic product in your home thinking it’s the most sustainable thing, because it’s not. Buying new will always require new resources and production.

The best way of transitioning to a more plastic-free lifestyle is slowly over time. Only replace your old plastic products when they are no longer fit for use or when you have found a way to mindfully dispose of it (I’m not talking recycling here, but rather gifting it to someone who loves plastic Tupperware and has no problem using it…).

Therefore, the simplest swaps are going to be those kinds of products that you need to switch every few months or so:

Dish brush

Instead of buying another plastic one, next time you need a new one, opt for a plastic-free version. I really like this kind that has detachable heads you can switch out.

Sponge

Instead of a regular sponge to wash dishes or clean around the house, you can upgrade to a loofa. There are also other alternatives made from coconut, cotton and similar fibers.

Glass containers

Switching out all your plastic containers for glass ones might seem like something of a must when you scroll through Pinterest, but there is no need for that. Just start by saving the glass jars you buy jam and stuff in. Wash them and peel off the labels and soon enough you’ll have a great selection of glass containers without having to pay anything extra for it!

Solid bars

Solid hand soap and dish soap are easy swaps. The only thing it requires is a good soap dish (I just have a thin slice of loofa) so that it dries off in between use and doesn’t go bad. Today you can find solid bars for almost anything so if you want to go full out you could also go for laundry bars, shampoo bars, and conditioner bars.

Do you have any favorite simple swaps for a more plastic-free home?

How to minimize your waste when you don’t have the time or money to go zero waste

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Let’s be honest, it takes quite a lot of time to live a zero-waste lifestyle or even just a plastic-free one. If you don’t have the privilege of living a life that allows you that time or you simply live in a small area without the option of shopping at a bulk store it can feel discouraging to see perfect zero-wasters line up their glass jars online.

But… you don’t need to be perfect or have access to a package-free bulk store to make positive changes. There are several small things you can still do in your life to minimize the packaging you use.

Buy only what you need

And nothing more than that. About one-third of food is wasted globally and this is contributing to climate change as food waste that in many countries end up in landfill which emits methane. Methane is a greenhouse gas (just like carbon dioxide) which contributes to warming the planet.

Outdoor markets

Such as farmers markets. Many cities have these daily or weekly during certain seasons or all year round. They often display produce out in the open so if you bring your own produce bags they will most often let you use them. One thing I’ve noticed on my local market is that later in the day when the vendors are about to close they will sell the produce cheaper as to get rid of it.

Bring own bags

This was quickly mentioned above, but just bringing your own bags for produce and for shopping will save loads of plastic bags that are both unnecessary and risk ending up in nature and in our oceans. Also, you don’t have to buy expensive macramé produce bags, just by bringing an old plastic bag you have at home will save the planet from more plastic!

Buy big packs

This might seem contradictory of number one, but it’s not necessarily. For pantry staples or hygiene products you use a lot and you know will keep for long it can be wise to invest in the biggest packaging. When you buy a big pack you will save a bit of packaging compared to having to buy three small packages. It will also generally save you money. Before you buy a big pack, just be sure you can eat them on time and store them safe from pest animals. Food waste is generally a worse problem than packaging…

Invest in some reusables

By investing in and using reusable cloths/pads/cutlery/whatever instead of disposable ones. You can save a lot of resources AND money. The tricky part is you need to have the money to spend, to begin with. A menstrual cup and/or reusable cloth pads is one of the easiest and best saves. Feminine hygiene products are used often and cost a lot. A menstrual cup will cost you around 30€ and last you for years, saving you both money and the earth from tampons that won’t dispose of. As for glass jars and bottles, instead of buying new ones, save the jam jars and smoothie bottles you get from the grocery store and just reuse them instead!

Why should we strive for zero waste?

The reason to avoid packaging is that it requires emissions and resources both to produce and to recycle. In addition, many live in areas without proper recycling and some materials, like styrofoam and soft plastics, are not recyclable or are of such low quality that it can only be recycled very few times. Plastic is a non-renewable resource which means that sooner or later we will run out of it, so I try to minimize plastic first and foremost.

Don’t feel bad if you do not have the option of choosing the (often more expensive) package-free option. Going zero-waste, in my opinion, is something to engage in after of simultaneously as you increase your bigger impact posts like transport, food, and housing.

How to Build a Capsule

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The reasons for having a capsule closet are many, and differ from person to person. Some do it to make their lives easier and save time (less choice makes the morning routine easier), to downsize and create more space or maybe even to cultivate a more sustainable and slow closet. These are also some of the perks with a capsule closet, things like freeing up space and time.

So what is the connection between a capsule closet and sustainable fashion. Well, a capsule closet means you buy less and use more of what you already own.

So how do you get started? You need to start by thinking about a few things.

Your Life

When building a capsule one has to have one’s lifestyle in mind. There is no one size fits all when it comes to capsules. This includes the actual size of the closet.

Do you live in a colder climate or where temps change often? Maybe you need an extra sweater or two. Do you live in a rainy region, then it might be reasonable to include rain clothes.

Do you have a strict dress code at work? Or could you manage with your “regular” closet?

Your capsule needs to be built around and suited to your needs and life, so take some time to think about what situations you do find yourself in.

Your Preferences

You’re the one who will be wearing the clothes, so just like with all other purchases you have to assess what you like. Finding your personal style is one of the keys to a longlasting closet and capsule.

Don’t like pants? Then don’t build a capsule around them. Hate dresses? Then leave them out.

This also includes things like color schemes and the excluding or including of prints. What type of shoes and clothes you feel most comfortable in. Those things that you tend to grab after on days when all feels boring.

Your Closet

How many pieces of clothing do you own? Are you used to circulating between 15 pairs of shoes and you love them all? Well, then I say it’s totally fine to continue with it.

Also, do the clothes fit together? Do you have that one odd shirt that only goes with that one skirt you don’t really like and those boots that make your feet bleed? Maybe it’s not a great piece to keep. At least not a piece to include in a capsule.

No number is right or wrong, so you just have to decide for yourself what seems viable to you.

Tips & Tricks

  • The second step to your capsule closet is usually a purge. Get rid of things you have not worn in a year (or pledge to wear it), things that do not fit or that are damaged beyond repair. If there are items you are not sure of and you do not feel ready to part with, put them in a box and leave it for a few months. If you do not miss it after those months you might be ready to let them go.
  • I like to do a (2:1) ratio of tops and bottoms since I usually get more wears out of bottoms compared to tops.
  • Think about how often you are willing to do laundry. If you are fine with washing your clothes every week you could get by with a pretty small capsule. If you’re like me and you dread laundry time, then maybe it’s wise to up the number of items, especially tops, so you can stretch the laundry dates a bit more.

Inspiration?

Some great accounts to follow that post content about capsule closets and sustainable style are:

Anuschka Rees

Wonder Wardrobe

Style Bee

Un-fancy

 

Ready to get your capsule together?

June: Capsule Challenge

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So, summer is here, don’t really know how or when that happened, but I’m excited. My June challenge is a capsule challenge and initially, I had planned on a 30×30 challenge. This means I would have 30 garments to use for all of June. But then I kinda joined a May30x30 on Instagram, so it didn’t really feel like a challenge anymore.

I asked around for some tips and some people thought I should continue for another 30 days, which would have been a fun idea but the weather had changed a bit too much. Some other fun tips were to stick to only one kind of pattern or color, but if you know me you know I barely wear any color or print so that would have been reeeeally tough.

Finally, I settled on the challenge. I would first do a 10×10 (ten garments for ten days) and then a 6×6 (the more extreme of six items in six days). However, I will not be counting shoes this time just to give myself some kind of freedom.

Have you done any capsule challenges? What are your thoughts on them?

Sustainable Yoga Brands

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Compared to many other sports and workout forms yoga is very low maintenance and you rarely need many, if any, new gear and clothes to start the practice. However, if you do feel like getting some new things to motivate your practice or you have worn out the clothes you wear for yoga, then check out these sustainable yoga brands below!

Yoga wear

Girlfriend Collective

Girlfriend Collective makes trendy yoga clothes from recycled PET bottles. They have many beautiful colors to chose from, some permanent and others are temporary.

PrAna

PrAna makes yoga wear, activewear, and swimwear that is better for both the planet and the people. They use sustainable materials like hemp and organic cotton, as well as recycled materials. They are Fair Trade certified and as they say themselves sustainability is in their DNA.

Vyayama

Vyayama uses only natural and semi-natural (cellulosic) fibers that are sourced sustainably and ethically. They offer both minimalist styles in solid colors and fun printed styles.

Satva

Satva Living makes beautiful yoga wear in many colors. They use both organic cotton and recycled materials for their clothes.

Patagonia

Patagonia is probably the most known brand on this list. They have since long been pioneering sustainable practices in the clothing and activewear sector. They use sustainable and recycled materials in their innovative designs.

Ecoalf

Ecoalf is a Spanish brand that works only with a 100 percent recycled materials. Their motto is “there is no planet B” and they sure live by it.

Organic Basics

Organic Basics is not inherently a yoga or sports brand, but in addition to their underwear, they offer a line of activewear called SilverTech that is made with recycled nylon that is treated with silver to lessen odor and therefore require less washing.

Yoga props

Yoga can require some accessories, many of which can be made of plastic. If you want to make more conscious choices for your props here is a small list of what to think of.

Most important things first: the yoga mat. Many yoga mats are made from plastic, but if you want to make a more sustainable choice look for either recycled materials, sustainably sources natural rubber or even cork! Manduka has a line of eco mats that could be worth checking out!

The same goes for yoga blocks. Your best bet here is either cork or recycled plastics. For things usch as yoga straps and bolster that are usually made from woven fabrics it’s important to choose either organic fabrics (like organic cotton) or naturally sustainable fabrics like hemp and linen.

Feel like getting your yoga on now?

4 Fun Hobbies for Conscious Fashion Lovers

Many people today consider shopping a hobby, which is quite sad. They have made consumption into their hobby and oftentimes it can be their only one. I used to have shopping as a hobby. I used to spend hours of just strolling around stores, during lunch hours, after school or work, or just whenever I had some time to kill. All this gave me was an overfilled and uncoherent closet that always left me feeling like I had nothing to wear. In addition, it cost me a lot of money this mindless spending.

Still, I do love fashion. Like I really love it. But I don’t want to be part of this unconscious consumerism that is going on. So I’ve tried swapping my shopping for other more productive hobbies and here are some tips on things you can do if you love fashion, but don’t want shopping to be your hobby.

Sewing

Learning to sew is not just fun and very fulfilling, it’s also very practical. When you know how to sew you have endless possibilities! You can tailor your old clothes or things you buy, you can completely refashion things into new items or you can make your own things from scratch. Sewing your own things will mean you get a closet tailored to you, both to your body and your style!

So how do you make sewing your hobby? Well, you can always take a course, you could buy (or borrow) a book about sewing, learn from online, or just try it out. It will cost you a bit to start if you do not own a sewing machine or can borrow one, and it will also require some basic tools like fabric scissors and such.

Embroidery

Learning to embroider might not be as practical and useful, as say sewing, but it can be equally fulfilling! Spending time on a certain pattern only to see it start coming together is a lovely feeling. And while it might not make a new garment, it can really give new life to one! Maybe you’ve got some holes or stains in your favorite shirt, that makes it unusable. Well, why not try embroidering some nice flowers over it? Not only broken clothes can benefit from some embroidery. A regular white t-shirt can become a statement piece by adding some colorful threads to it. If your style is leaning towards bohemian this is the hobby for you!

Knitting & Crocheting

In the last few years, the popularity of knitting and crocheting has skyrocketed. There are now several stores (such as Wool and the Gang) providing ready-made kits for making your own sweaters, hats, and cardigans. I have found that knitting can be quite expensive if you want to use quality yarn (which you want, just imagine making a sweater for yourself only to find it to be an itching nightmare…), but to me it’s quite meditative and something to keep my hands busy (instead of scrolling Vestiaire…).

Fashion illustration

If you love drawing and being creative, or maybe you’re just not too interested in producing wearable things, why not try fashion illustration? It won’t add things to your (or your family’s) closet, but it will still give you a bit of that fashion fix. The best thing about having fashion illustration as your hobby is that it is super cheap to start! Sure, if you want to get fancy with it there are expensive pens and brushes, but for starters, a few pencils will do.

So how about you? Do you consider shopping a hobby?

Why and How You Should Do a Shopping Ban

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A shopping ban is exactly what it sounds like, a ban from shopping. But the exact rules for a shopping ban tends to differ depending on who you ask. Most people, however, would include any shopping in the form of clothes and apparel, as well as shoes and accessories. Many would also add any items for the home or tech appliances.

So why should you try a shopping ban, and how do you do it?

Why should you do a shopping ban?

There are many reasons for doing a shopping ban, but I would ultimately say that they all include something. And that is sustainability. Ther reasons might be:

Financial sustainability

It’s quite common for people that are in debt or are facing tough financial times to cut their shopping for a shorter or longer period. It allows them to cut their unnecessary spendings from shopping to better their financial status.

Environmental sustainability

More and more people are getting aware of the fact that overconsumption is killing the planet and the people. Buying less stuff will have a positive impact on one’s personal impact on the world. It will mean fewer resources used to produce products for you, as well as fewer things to have to recycle, reuse, repurpose.

Mental sustainability

There is a reason why Marie Kondo and minimalism have become a big trend. Living with less can give you more time for the things that really matter. If you are a shopaholic and only find joy in buying new things all the time a shopping ban can be a great way to kick the bad habit.

No matter why you want to buy less a shopping ban is a great way to detox your shopping habits.

How to do it?

Set clear rules

The first thing to do is to set rules that work for your situation. If you have kids it might be hard to ban all type of shopping you do, but you could decide that purchases for the children are okay, but not for you. Some people think that gifts are okay to buy, as they are not for yourself. Some people include almost all purchases in a ban, even experiences such as travels, concerts and restaurant visits.

If you have any purchases you know will be needed during the time of the shopping ban, it’s a good idea to write out a list of needed items that are exempt from the ban. You might need to buy a bridesmaid’s dress for your best friends wedding, your running shoes are starting to break, or your computer is really old and you do not know if it will survive the time. The rules are for you to have a better experience and to hold yourself accountable.

Be realistic

This one is probably the most important one. You need to be realistic with both the rules of the shopping ban and during the actual process. What works for others might not be for you. I know people who have done modified shopping bans where they are not allowed to buy anything new, but they can buy second hand.

Also, don’t be a Scrooge for things like your health and wellbeing and don’t feel bad if unexpected expenses come up. You might get a bad toothache that will result in expensive appointments. There is nothing you can do about this (except maybe keeping a buffer for unexpected events), so just deal with it and move on. You simply need to give room to life happening, e.g. it’s okay to replace something you really need that breaks, it will not make you a bad person. The ban is a detox, it is meant to change your habits, not get rid of them all together!

Remove & avoid the temptation

Just like when you’re on a diet (not that I really do diets, because they kinda suck) it’s a good idea to remove and avoid all temptation. Out of sight, out of mind, right?

A great first step in removing temptation is to unsubscribe from all sources that usually triggers your shopping behavior. This can mean unsubscribing from e-mails or send-outs from companies, as well as muting or unsubscribing from brands or influencers on social media. Avoiding temptation can mean that you avoid going into stores all together or at least the ones where you usually shop. It can mean that you avoid going to the mall since it might trigger you. Sometimes it might even involve avoiding certain people that seem to trigger your behavior…

Change your habits

Changing your habits and exchanging them for new (healthier) ones is key to remaining the behavior after the ban is over. Otherwise, you risk returning to bad habits once the ban is off. It doesn’t really matter what you fill your time with, you could swap scrolling through online shopping sites for reading a book, or knitting, or whatever that makes you feel good. But try to swap it for something positive. Sometimes we do not understand how much time we actually spend consuming or looking to consume, but if you use that time wisely, you can come a long way!

Remember it’s not forever

Maybe this seems a little bit contradictive to the last point. Obviously, the intention of the ban is to challenge one’s perceptions and habits. Still, remembering that it’s not forever can help deal with it. Hopefully, when later comes and the ban is over, you won’t have the same urge to buy anymore, and you will have a more conscious relationship to shopping.

Find your creativity

When you are not allowed to follow in your old habits of buying new every time you feel uninspired or bored it is vital to get more creative with what you have. If interior decor is your thing, you could get creative by using items from nature, upcycling things (maybe making a nice candle holder from a glass jar?), or simply rearrange the furniture a bit. If clothing is your biggest vice you could try borrowing from friends, refashion things you already own or try find a way to use something in the not intended way (like a dress as a skirt/top…). I have also found help in using the Cladwell app. It can give you suggestions on how to combine the items you have in ways you didn’t think of before.

Are you up for a shopping ban?