Monday, July 18, 2011

What's the Goal Anyway?

Today I'm taking a break from cleaning, purging and simplifying to just rest and reflect on my journey so far. What exactly am I taking baby steps toward, anyway?

I'm not even sure how to classify this change I want to make in my life. It's a combination of a little minimalist, a little green (certainly more green than I am now) and a little more frugal. All of which feels very connected to me.

In the minimalism realm, my goal isn't to get rid of all my stuff and travel the world, living only out of a suitcase. I just want to look around my little home and only see things I use and love.

I'm also not aiming to be the greenest of the green, but I believe we, as a planet, are using way more resources than is sustainable and it bothers me tremendously that we're not rising up as societies to demand change. There are some changes I'm not willing to make yet (riding the bus, I'm looking at you!), but there are a lot of things I can do differently.

I've always been pretty frugal. I don't like wasting money, heck, I don't really like spending money. But even here there are things I can do to stop wasting money, stop being such a consumer, and save more with the goal of eventually working less.

I love seeing what steps other bloggers have taken along these lines, and in the interest of returning the favor, here are my goals and recent progress since I last posted about my small green steps.

  • Reduce the amount of waste I produce using the golden rule: reduce, reuse, recycle. I've been recycling and composting for years now, but occasionally I get lazy in those areas and throw away things I shouldn't. I'm trying to fix that and go farther.

    Next step: Use fewer paper towels and other disposables and try buying from bulk bins to reduce packing waste.

  • Reduce my consumer activity. I'm trying to buy less and avoiding shopping for anything I don't need or really, really, really want. This is a challenge, although I can't really think of anything I need right now. Recently we switched to a simple homemade dishwasher detergent, which is working great and replaces my old, bottled detergent, as well as the need for commercial rinse aid. Vinegar works just find.

  • Continue to pare down items I don't need and love. I took another giant garage bag and box to our local Volunteers of America yesterday, but there are still items in the attic, basement, and garage that can be purged.

  • Reduce the amount of energy I use. This is a tough one for me. What can I say, I hate to be hot, and haven't had the greatest experience using our local public transportation system.


  1. Great post! It's always good to know what your working towards. I think we're down to almost no paper towel use except for as napkins with greasy buttered popcorn and for cleaning up cat barf. (Sorry - not a great juxtaposition of images there!)

    I found that getting cloth napkins and dish towels that I liked really helped.

    I don't know if this would work in your climate or not, and I know we're on opposite ends of the heat/cold tolerance spectrum, but I have a whole house attic fan that is a real energy saver in the summer. Once the sun goes down and the outside air cools off, I shut off the A/C, open the windows and turn on the attic fan. I love bringing the fresh air into the house, plus it really pushes all of the hot air out of the attic so it doesn't just continue to heat the house all night long.

  2. Yeah, with cats there's no way I could completely give up paper towels or go no waste. Cats are sooo wasteful. ;)

    I actually have a fan in the attic too, not a whole house fan setup, but an OLD one that still works well and blows air out the window. We turn off the AC and open the windows when we can, but that's not often in July and August. It's too hot and too, too humid.

    I'm really beginning to think I need to move. For multiple reasons.

  3. Good Thoughts. I think we are making the same sort of progress that you are. Small steps that become natural, instead of 180 degree switch that might be too big to stick with for the long haul. I like to add a forth R - restrain, to keep my wants and needs in check.

  4. Skye - Restrain is a great R to add, and perhaps is my biggest challenge!
    Thanks for taking the time to comment.

  5. Oi! i ken spel, honest!
    fourth R, not forth R,


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