So, I have been on this litter less project for some weeks now and want to share some tips with you. What I have learned is that it is mostly about planning ahead. Which is nice because it makes you really mindful about the steps you take throughout the day. I have had some situations on the road not being prepared and having to stop and get snacks. The fun thing is I really did not want to take the snacks packed in plastic so I took fruit and some rice crackers (which are packed in plastic but not individually packed) so I am also making better choices health wise 😉
So here are some easy low-impact tips:
First and fore most take bags with you, always. I do not drive a car but I could imagine those that do to keep a (linen/ cotton) groceries bag or basket filled with cotton string bags and glass jars for all groceries. I have noticed it means you will need a good pile of bags: they get dirty and you will need to wash them plus I also use them to pack picknick snacks when we go out to the playground etc. . I am aiming at no more then two machines of laundry a week so I needed those extra bags. I have about twenty at the moment, including the cotton bread bags from my beautiful bakery Hartog in Amsterdam. You can purchase eco bags here http://www.ecobags.com/
2) HOUSEHOLD LINEN
Another enormous waist maker are napkins, paper tissues and toilet paper. I am very lucky to live around the corner of a beautiful second hand store. The lady that runs the place knows what I like and keeps stuff a side for me.just the other day, I found the most beautiful linen napkins and we are using them instead of the paper ones we had. I must say, it brightens the diner table! We are with four but I put two napkins on the table and we share, it works fine and mostly we manage to use them two days in a row before having to wash them.
Next to the napkins I bought old fashioned handkerchiefs. I suffer from allergies and still have a small child running around the house, so I am always in need of something to wipe off hands, face and nose. If you have more (small) children around the house it might be useful to make your own wet wipes from swaddling cloth, water and some oil you can find some good recipes on the net.
I read a whole discussion on a Dutch minimalism/litter less Facebook group on cloth toilet paper. It was very funny to read all different reactions on this subject (mostly people think it is very unhygienic and old fashioned). I must say I am not appealed to that but we bought the recycled paper in bulk. LOL
I have always used organic cleaning products just because it felt better the all those chemical products. We tried making our own laundry detergent but that ended up in a broken (already old) washing machine. I buy my detergent from Sonett and recycle the empty bottles in the plastic bin. But you can find a lot of very good recipes on making your own detergents on the net.
4)BUY SECOND HAND
Maybe it is different in in other parts of the world but where I am located second hand stores are every where. It is easy to get beautiful pre-loved stuff on- and offline in the Netherlands. Most of the stuff we have in our house is thrift-ed / second hand. When I want or (think I) need something I always check if I can buy it second hand first! Also have you ever thought about asking people if they have a spare/old couch/ table/ bed / cupboard whatever if you are in need? You might be surprised what you maybe offered! In return you can bake a pie, do some choirs (if they are old people) baby-sit or whatever! Try it and you will find it is so much more rewarding “collecting” stuff rather then getting it at a store. I have a coffee table that I absolute adore and just found in the garbage!!
Last but not least a more time consuming tip is to DIY ( do it yourself ;)). But with some realistic planning it can be done! For example; I wanted to make a shampoo bar so I Googled it, watched some YouTube tutorials and did some more research but then decided it was too time consuming (for me) so I went to Lush and bought me some! But I can make my own oat milk and cold brew, humus, cookies and nut paste (just to name a few) . And I realized I do not have to do all every week! 🙂 I pick one or two nice recipes per week and make those. If I make more we simply just do not finish and end up throwing it away.
So, think about what is realistic for you. (be kind to yourself!) Can you make the soap? Do you like doing that? Do it! (maybe you can make some more for your family/ friends/ neighbors as a gift or make a great swap!!!) If you do not like it or you can hardly find time to manage your household/ work as it is do not do it! It will then only be another task on your to-do list haunting you and money spend on ingredients you will never use!!
I hope these tips can help you or maybe just make you more conscious about your every day steps! Remember it is always the little things!
Thank you for reading,