New Space, New Habits

I have to say, where has the time gone?

Not just August, but the entirety of summer. When the weather is beautiful, days should be longer.

But even though I wish I had more time in the sun or more bright evenings that last until 9 pm, I’m pretty excited for September.

Because I’m moving out!

^ If I’d gotten my act together, that’s how a blog post in late August would have begun. But now we’re in September and I’ve already moved out. Here’s a tiny tour.

My dad found this beautiful table and chairs (separately) in a thrift store. Since he’s a fabulous wood worker, he refinished the table to match the colouring of the chairs and fixed the breaks in some of the chair legs. Now it gets to be a wow piece in my new place.

Here’s a glimpse of my cupboard with all of my washed mason jars ready to be used! All of them (except one) are second hand, gifted, or came from my mom’s supply that she’s held on to for 12 years.

What I love about this corner is that so much of it is second-hand or gifted. My dad built the two beautiful boxes; the “hutch” was from the side of the road; the milk bottle vases are from Value Village; the TV I bought used from my parents; and the Wii is also from my parents. The only new things are the blu-ray player hiding beneath the hutch and the fake IKEA flowers (which I’ve had for over a year at least).

Even though I’ve already adopted some zero/low-waste habits, I feel like moving out allows me to kick it all into high gear and explore what living sustainably means to me.

Part of that is switching to a plant based diet. Now that I am responsible for all my own groceries, I will no longer be buying meat. I will continue to eat eggs and dairy and will eat meat when my mom cooks it (because bacon is delicious and if she wants to feed it to me, I’m not going to say no).

Since February last year I’ve learned so much about the environment and sustainability, which is where the desire to change my diet came from. The meat industry is terrible for the environment. Among the reasons, it takes an enormous amount of water to raise cattle, pigs and chickens and produce the packaged meat we purchase at the store. Cattle especially takes up enormous amounts of land and is among the reasons we’re losing our rainforest.

Apart from going vegetarian, there are two other areas in my life that I’m going to try and kick into high zero-waste gear:

The Bathroom

I’ve been using up my many bottles of shampoo (I have dyed blonde hair which requires its own sort of maintenance) and I take a long time to go through a normal sized bottle. When they’re done I’ll most likely be switching to the shampoo and conditioner bars you can get at Lush. Why? Partially because they’re easy to take on flights and I have one coming up and partially because they’re comparative in price to other low/zero waste options.

I will also be using soap where I used to use shower gel (not refillable, lots of plastic). I worked at Bath & Body Works and went a little crazy with the amount of product I bought (this was before I decided to make the switch and also before I was aware of the plastic situation).

The Kitchen

This will involve a lot of mindful and smart shopping like buying fresh fruit instead of frozen bags and buying in bulk wherever possible. But it’s also about what I’ll clean with – vinegar, baking soda and water mainly, and eventually a natural liquid dish soap I can get refills of from Terra20.

Before moving out, I was gifted a lot of essentials – laundry soap, spices, extra groceries – many of which came in plastic. And while I was (and am) exceedingly grateful for the gift and the money I did not have to spend, I felt like I had inherited so much unwanted plastic.

That’s when it’s good to remember that it’s all a journey and some days will be better than others.

I have a roommate and yesterday was my first time meeting her. Although I’m sure everything will turn out great, when you live with another person with different habits, there’s give and take. As I’ve read many times by inspirational zero-wasters, it’s not about forcing your lifestyle on another person.

This is definitely a transitional stage in my life. I’ve never “moved out” – I’ve lived away from home, but did not have the same responsibility to look after myself back then as I do now. I get to make my own decisions about what I bring into the apartment and what I take out.

It’s exciting and liberating and wholly overwhelming to think about.

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