In addition to being a registered nurse, I have many hobbies and passions as you have seen in my previous posts. Along with all the exercise I do, I also have a huge passion for being green and taking care of mother Earth. For starters, my husband likes to joke that I recycle everything… not everything. Only the products with the recycling labels. Each week our recycling can trumps our garbage can. I would say that is something to be proud of! Our last step with our waste would be to start a compost. My parents and I tried it once, but we did not gain much traction with it. I would like to research more about the process and then begin composting as well. Then our garbage each week will be even smaller. I watched a documentary called Minimalism. It focus on not necessarily getting rid of everything you own and moving to a tiny home, but to challenge yourself about the items you own and what things actually provide value to your life. The items that do not bring some kind of value should be gotten rid of. Too many times we buy a ton of things throughout our life and never stop to reflect on what we already have and what we no longer need.
Another point in the movie is that because we keep buying things, and are keeping what we buy, there are now numerous storage companies eager to lock up your excess things that provide little value(how valuable can they be locked up in storage?) and charge you each month to store these items. Driving down the road I see many, many storage companies. I remember even when I was younger and living at home, much to my mother’s disapproval, I would throw things out when she asked me to clean. Did she ever ask about anything I threw out? Maybe 1 out of 100 times should would. The other items she would never notice. I carried on these values as I got older and now share these values with my husband. Every six months or so we evaluate our clothes and items not in use to see if they still provide value or if they need to go. I am anti-storage and if we are storing something, most likely I skip the step of storing the item, and donate it. Whenever we got out shopping, we critically think about the items we purchase and if there is a true need, or only a want fueled by consumerism. If we are buying something that is similar to an item we already have, my rule is this; in order for the new item to be purchase, the other similar item must be donated. This holds most true for clothes. Why do we need 10 short sleeve shirts, when we only wear 2-3 of the same ones each week? Do we have a perfect system? No way! But we have become much more conscious about what we buy, what items we keep, and the value they holds.
After purchasing our new home, on the final walk through we noticed the basement shelves and garage attic were filled with crap! The only things that we kept were a wheelbarrow, birdbaths, and some home improvement tools. The rest needed to be pitched. Since there was such a massive load of garbage, my dad and packed his car and trailer and went over to the waste facility. For a small fee they let you drive in back and unload your garbage where the trucks do. I was in utter shock how much garbage I saw. Most of it was household items, kid toys, and food waste. After seeing this, I felt even more confident in the lifestyle Chris and I live. I was disgusted at how much one town can consume and throw away. Below is a picture of me standing by just one pile of waste. Think about how many towns there are and all the garbage that they produce.
With that being said, Chris and I still enjoy shopping for clothes or household items when we need them. We do not deprive ourselves, but we also spend logically. One example is, buying clothes from Secondhand shops. My favorite place is Plato’s Closet! Not only are you saving money, but you are reusing clothes and decreasing consumption. These stores are, in essence, a recycling facilities for clothes. I needed some tanktops for the summer, so headed to Plato’s and got 9 items for under $50. You cannot find a better deal. And for the clothes that I have and do not want to wear anymore, I will donate those and continue to reduce and reuse cycle.
Do your part to reduce, reuse, and recycle! Whether you are a nurse or have some other profession, we all can take time to reduce our footprint on mother earth!