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Posts Tagged ‘anti-clutter’

Hello All,

I know that I pretty much gave up keeping this updated quiet a few months back.  Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed blogging but between doing the garden and green lifestyle and blogging about it, I just was not keeping up!  So I am back again in middle of a dark and snowy winter to once again take the reins of a “green” lifestyle and experiment.

My garden unfortunately petered out about midsummer.  I did get some fantastic herbs, there was a lot of homemade mint tea and rosemary meats.  I got a decent handful of potatoes but I think I crowded them in my excitement.  The bulbs that came up were beautiful, I put up some pics of the early ones mostly crocus.  I did spend a few solid weeks eating many varieties of lettuce.  That was a real treat and proved how easy it was in the cool Seattle climate to get some early greens.

Gardening aside, my eco-friendly household has been pretty steady with its changes.  I have not used a standard home cleaning product in at least a year (My one exception is dishwasher soap, it is hard to find a good one!)  I successfully cleaned my burnt food covered oven with baking soda, vinegar and elbow grease.  It was a real relief to not have to use a conventional oven cleaner; I had a lot of pies to bake for the holidays!!

Of new interest to me are the “no-waste” households I see in the news.  Every person has a slightly different way they go about achieving their lifestyle and I am going to be bringing you at least a few posts on this topic.  I want to understand how to make the transition and what prevents more households from making these changes.  Also there will be lots more book reviews!  The subject of “green” is ever-growing on bookstore shelves and I can’t wait to see what’s new!!

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In honor of spring, the welcoming of the fresh and new and the thought of Spring Cleaning, I want to revisit my initial definition of the term “green.”  In the past few posts I have introduced using the term “eco-conscious” in place of “green.”  I actually like them both, a lot, therefore I plan on using them interchangeably.

Here is a revised and expanded version of my definition based on some of my thoughts and work in the last six months.

*I took away the use of the “does not equal” symbol, I would rather keep everything in terms of positive action*

GREEN = using what you have and making it last

ECO-CONSCIOUS = re-evaluating your usual level of consumption

GREEN = not wasting what you have

GREEN = considering the environmental  impact of the things you consume

ECO-CONSCIOUS = staying informed about the most useful tools for a “green” life

GREEN = eliminating from you life the things/substances that harm you

ECO-CONSCIOUS = eliminating from your life the things you don’t need

The last two points are the main focus of this discussion.  First, I wanted to eliminate the things/substances in my life that may harm me.  This seems rather obvious but will mean different things to different people.  Initially it meant getting rid of all my mainstream cleaning supplies.  I now use the standard “green clean” kit; a bag of baking soda, jugs of distilled white vinegar, vegetable-based liquid soap, the occasional leftover chunk of lemon and salt.  There is a myriad of combinations for these ingredients so I just experiment for the cleaning occasion.

For myself, the next step in the elimination of harmful things rests with food.  Not in the sense of going on a diet but rather getting rid of the foods in my kitchen that offer nothing but empty calories and and the taste of artificial flavors.  A really excellent resource for changing food habits is another Michael Pollan gem called, Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual.  Its a very small book, coming in at just 139 pages.  Each page is devoted to a food rule and the rules encompass everything from what to eat to where to shop for food.  I am considering removing the pages and posting as many as I can around my house, especially in the kitchen!

After a long winter of keeping the windows closed and accumulating the dust and clutter of life I wanted that feeling of lightness and clean.  So it became the perfect time to eliminate the things from my life that I did not need.  For a solid week I was really focused on getting rid of stuff.  I wanted to fly through my closets, book shelves and kitchen cupboards pulling out anything and everything I deemed superfluous.  Suffice it to say it has not been that whirlwind of an experience.  In fact, it has been a little tougher than I thought.  There appears to be a tiny hoarder hidden inside of me, a voice that says, “Hey, you might want that, later.”  There was also the question of, “Well I don’t need it but I certainly enjoy it, so whats wrong with that?”  The answer:  Nothing!  I realized that I was most frustrated and looking to cleanse my surroundings when everything got cluttered and disorganized.  So in the process of cleaning things out, I made a big effort to organize what I did want to keep.  The min-homesteader in me was eager to keep some of the old clothing for potholder and quilt material, and make a good storage space for the jars and containers I wanted for candles and soaps.

This post is a bit of a grab bag.  Obviously I touched on a lot of points that will each eventually be posts on their own.  What I wanted to convey is how “green” or “eco-conscious” is a concept that can be easily incorporated into everyday living and that your current lifestyle need not be utterly torn down to make way for “green.”  I see it more like a regime change.  Most people will probably do some kind of a Spring Clean.  Take it as an opportunity to try a little baking soda in your scrubbing, throw out the candy (or instead of waste, give it to someone with a sweet tooth!) and give your craft clutter a re-evaluation.  I cannot wait to explore the rest of my definition as I try out more and more “green” ideas!!

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