This is month 5 of my 7 month experiment changing my lifestyle into one aspiring for zero waste, making small changes on a month by month basis, until I have completely changed my habits using the ‘We Hate To Waste’ 7 steps to create a no waste mindset.
Month 1 was Reduce, Reuse and Refill
Month 2 was Share Rather than Own
Month 3 was Saving Energy, Water and Other Resources.
Month 4 was Respect Food
This months challenge is Live Efficiently.
I’ll be honest, this was a tricky one as this change was difficult to make easily, it involved big life changing decisions rather than small changes. When I read up on living efficiently, I felt like a bit of a hypocrite as I have a big apartment all to myself through my job. I am tied into a lease agreement and immediately just thought that there was nothing I can do to change it. Then I decided this was a cop out, so started to look what my options were. I investigated whether I could get out of my lease early and get a much smaller apartment, but unfortunately this was not possible. Instead, I have decided to get someone to come and live with me in my spare room. At least this uses the resources more effectively and then when my lease is up, I will look for somewhere smaller. I am totally sold on smaller living, I recognise that I have way too much unnecessary space and I will chose a smaller apartment at the next opportunity.
Lose a car
I already gave my company car back and now commute to work via public transport, get around the city using my bike and public transport and have traveled away for the weekend by train.
Live in a Tiny House
I’m not sure about a tiny house, but when my lease is up, I plan to find a much smaller apartment to live in, which has much less unnecessary space. I’m going to go for as small as I can.
I have had a massive declutter of my apartment. I really believe in the saying ‘Tidy house, tidy mind’ I have read Marie Kondo’s book on how to declutter your life and the advantages that brings you and I have applied many of her principles. I have had a clean out of my wardrobe and given many of my clothes to a charity shop. I have sorted through all my things and given everything a place, I have taken many items to a charity shop that I don’t need. One of the unintended consequences of this has been not buying any new things. Once I had such a big clear out, it meant that I was really mindful of making any new purchases of things I didn’t need.
Become less materialistic
I have spent a lot of time analyzing the importance I place on my possessions. This is an area I feel really satisfied with and feel that I have made a big change on. I have a lot less things around me and don’t feel attached to any material possessions. I place much higher value on experiences rather than things.
I started a tradition a while back of giving experiences rather than gifts for birthdays. Due to the time of year, I decided that I wouldn’t buy any material gifts for anyone for Christmas and instead just give them experiences. I can’t share yet what I have organized, as I haven’t given the gifts yet and it would spoil the surprise, but some examples from the last few birthdays have included theatre tickets, a Segway tour and restaurant vouchers. I think it is a great idea to limit the material presents you give and instead give experiences.
Commute to Work
I occasionally work from home, but my commute is a short metro ride, so not too bad anyway.
Next months challenge is Repair and Repurpose
When you think about being good to the environment, often what springs to mind for many people is recycling. Certainly when I tell them I am doing this We Hate To Waste experiment, often the 1st question is about recycling. Repair and repurpose is about getting the most for your money and lightening your impact on the earth, by buying products that can be upgraded, repaired and repurposed, so you can get full use of them for a long time. All products and packages contain ’embedded’ materials and energy that went into making them. They will go to waste if you dispose or even recycle or compost them prematurely, so this is about looking for opportunities to repair rather than replace. It’s about being creative and finding ways to repurpose products and packages for a brand new use.
Fix It, Don’t Bin It!
Repair belongings so they will stick around a long time instead of dying a premature death in a landfill. Support local repair shops and repairmen. Try your hand at fixing things yourself.
Make Your Smartphone Last Longer
On average people keep smartphones for about two years before upgrading, but there are ways to make your smartphone last longer.
- Check out the free repair manuals from iFixit.com, or if the problem requires a more experienced eye, iCracked will send techs to your home or business to fix your phone
- Replace the battery when your phone starts struggling to stay charged
- Buy a protective case to shield your smartphone from damage
- Install a screen protector to minimize scratches and cracks
- When your smartphone is at its end, trade it in and receive cash back, or sell it on Ebay.
Revamp Your Wardrobe
Be imaginative with your wardrobe, have a look to see if there is anything in there that can be transformed, accessorised, or worn differently to give it a new lease of live. You can make a long dress shorter, by taking the hem up, you can cut the legs off old jeans to make them into denim shorts, you can look for items you haven’t worn for ages and see if you can add a belt, or a necklace or think of another way to wear them to give them a revival.
Many people have a bunch of old unflattering t-shirts in their draw. There are many tutorials on YouTube that can help give new life to an old t-shirt. You can get much inspiration from magazines or on the internet of how to reinvent old clothes or other things you can use them for.
Get creative with products that can no longer be used for their original purpose. Many items can be repurposed, or even upcycled into something new and different. Pinterest and Etsy are great places to find inspiration for DIY repurposing and upcycling projects. Throughout the next month, I’m going to investigate what options there are for upcycling and then write about what I discovered and what I managed to do.
I’d love to hear your examples of how you live efficiently in the comments below or any ideas you have on repairing and repurposing.