New year, new minimization challenge

It's that time of year again. If you remember our post from last year we decided we were going to do a yearly room by room purge of our home. It's a great way to keep clutter at bay and make sure you are maintaining a minimized lifestyle. Since we got rid of so many boxes of things last year, we don't really have a lot this year, but I'm still working through it so we will see. I haven't gone through every room yet, but so far I've been able to box up some clothes, some more DVDs, a rug, lamps, and a few other odds and ends. Granted, we have taken in some new stuff since we are getting ready for a new baby, so it has probably equaled out this time, but it's still important to evaluate possessions and purge when you can. Who's doing the challenge this year? Click on the link above to see the old post that has all the instructions. It was such a great feeling, freeing ourselves from that much stuff last year. Tell me about your experience!


35 ways to make less trash

  1. Reusable water bottles. Take them everywhere. You can use them for more than just water too. For example, Rob takes his to Jason's Deli and other places to get tea. That way he can take some tea to go without getting a to-go cup.
  2. Get an old fashion safety razor, straightedge razor, or laser hair removal. This way you aren't having to go through disposable razors, or continuously toss plastic cartridges and such.
  3. Take your own containers to restaurants you anticipate having leftovers from so that you do not have to use their to-go containers (especially if they are Styrofoam). I use little Pyrex containers.
  4. We enjoy taking our own reusable chopsticks when we go to places that call for chopsticks.
  5. Try to refuse straws. We sometimes have issues with this because waiters will often bring out the drink with the straw already in it. So, we'll have to try to be on top of asking ahead of time. If you really are fond of the straw, they make nice glass and stainless steel ones that can be reused. When we do accidentally get straws we reuse them with our cat Virgil. They seem to be the only way to successfully cut his nails as the straw serves as a chew toy distraction so he is not chewing on us.
  6. Buy milk in glass that can be returned.
  7. Reusable shopping bags and produce bags. Don't forget that you can take reusable shopping bags with you to more places than just the grocery store. I like using one when I go clothing shopping for example.
  8. Use cloth napkins.
  9. Use washcloths instead of paper towels.
  10. Cloth diapers instead of disposables.
  11. Cloth pads or diva cup.
  12. Handkerchiefs instead of Kleenex.
  13. Buy from bulk bins using reusable bags or jars.
  14. Avoid individually wrapped items. Try buying in bulk in general if it helps.
  15. Make your own household cleaners so you avoid all the plastic waste. I mainly use vinegar, essential oils, baking soda, etc. All of which come in glass or from a bulk bin. I use reusable spray bottles and what I make lasts a long time.
  16. Make your own deodorant if it works for you so you avoid the plastic, but also so it doesn't have aluminum and other unwanted things in it. We have tried several times and failed. I am currently using a stick made by Tom's, so at least it doesn't have a lot of crap in it. Rob, however, has been okay with going back to baking soda and arrowroot, so he gets to avoid the need to throw away plastic. I'm sure I will experiment more in the future.
  17. Bar soap that comes unpackaged is preferable to liquid soap that comes in throw away containers.
  18. Compost.
  19. Reusing gift bags instead of buying new. Using newspaper, ads, etc. instead of wrapping paper.
  20. Try chopping your own produce instead of buying things prepackaged (avoid bags of salad, containers of chopped fruits, etc).
  21. Grow your own food.
  22. Buy less stuff in general. Minimize!
  23. Use rechargeable batteries.
  24. Recycle.
  25. When you do need to buy paper products, buy recycled.
  26. Compostable toothbrushes.
  27. Make whatever you can homemade. That includes foods, too.
  28. Track your trash and/or plastic. By watching what we throw away we can inspire ourselves to discover alternatives we've never thought of before.
  29. Make your own laundry detergent, dish-washing detergent, and dish soap.
  30. Get an air popper for popcorn instead of individual, microwavable bags. Get rid of your microwave, even!
  31. Buy used.
  32. Reusing small paper bags for cat/dog waste instead of using plastic.
  33. Stop whatever junk mail you can.
  34. Pay bills online.
  35. Utilize the public library or an e-reader instead of buying new books.