How do you make Zero Waste living easy and quick? Live Simply! That’s it!
Since beginning my zero waste journey back in January, this is what I’ve learnt. Life is busy and complicated. We have so much stuff and so little time. I realised that being surrounded by so much stuff was, for me, inextricably linked to having so little time.
A big part of my Zero Waste journey, has been to learn to live simply. Learning to live with just what we need, rather than an excess of what we think we need, has been incredibly liberating and brought huge benefits.
Having lots of stuff, takes time and energy. It takes time buying it in the first place. Once you get it home you need to find a place for it, then look after it, maybe clean it, tidy it away, lose it, find it again….multiply this by lots of things and it’s exhausting.
Recently I stumbled across some research that suggested stuff can be stressful. Clutter bombards our minds with excessive stimuli, causing our senses to work overtime on things which aren’t important. It distracts our attention and makes it more difficult to relax. It signals to our brains that our work is never done and causes feelings of anxiety and guilt. It stops us thinking clearly and finally it frustrates us when we can’t find what we need.
One of the appealing principals for me of living a zero waste life, is to live with just what you need and nothing more. Passing on our unwanted or unused stuff either through a charity shop, a donation or even a site such as Freecycle saves on resources since a duplicate item doesn’t need to be manufactured. Ultimately, everything we buy has to somehow be disposed of one day, so passing things on or even selling them second hand makes a lot of environmental sense.
Since January, we have set about getting rid of unnecessary ‘stuff’. It’s been amazing just how much we have been able to let go. I’ve found that life is calmer and I have more free time. General housework is much easier and doesn’t take nearly as long, since there is not much tidying to be done and less to clean. Surfaces are clearer and we know where everything is.
Another big benefit has been the change in mindset. Once you start to get rid of things from your home, you become very careful about what you allow back in. It has made us all seriously consider our purchases. Do we really need that item? Is there something else we could use instead? We have stopped impulse buying. The impact on our family finances has been significant. Getting rid of stuff made me stop and think about all the money we had spent unnecessarily on these things we didn’t really need.
Living Simply provides us with more free time and more money. It helps us focus on the things that are important, such as spending time with each other. Family experiences have replaced family gifts and we have done things together as a family we would never have done previously. My top tip for zero waste living is to live simply. Don’t be a slave to stuff; enjoy the things that really matter.