Minimalism without waste

We’ve been living in our new apartment for 3 months now and moving can have many benefits. For us it was a great excuse to purge mercilessly any items we could so that we wouldn’t have to move them. As I spoke about during the great moving purge.

As I work towards minimalism, I am also trying to do it without waste. As I removed the excess I want to do so with this quote in mind.

Use it up, Wear it out, Make it do, or do without.

This post is part of my 30 day writing challenge. Each week I will be focusing on one topic. This week I have chosen to focus on Minimalism. If talking about minimalism is your thing, don’t forget to come back everyday until Monday when I choose my new topic for the week. Since the start of the challenge I’ve discussed ideas on Travel, Money, and Parenting. 

The easiest way to cut possessions down would be to just grab a trash bag and start picking things up and dropping them in. Tossing them would be the quickest resolution. Just garbage bags taken to the dumpster.

It’s a lot more work to go through things carefully and separate what is truly trash from things you can use up, re-purpose, reuse, sell and donate.

Donate it!

The first thing we did, and what we tried to do the most during our purges was donate. We also tried to sell things but that was a lot more time and effort consuming. So the default was getting things out of the house through donations.

The recipients of all these items were predominantly stores like Goodwill and Savers. However, when I saw something I knew some one might want we put stuff aside for family and friends as well.

While we had time constraints with clearing out the apartment, which made donating the most reasonable choice. We did have some success selling some items like this stroller for $50.

The stroller we sold for $50
The stroller we sold for $50

Use it Up!

Use it up, Wear it out, Make it do, or do without.

Our bathroom is a great example of an area where I am trying to apply minimalism without waste.

Before moving into our new apartment we had things set in multiple places because we had storage(closets) in multiple places. ( Lots of storage leads to doubles).

Moving helped us consolidate things together. One of the surprises I had, was discovering how many little bottles of hotel soaps, shampoos and conditioners we had accumulated. (Even more then are pictured.)

The closet
The closet

It’s clear in this bathroom closet that there are just too many things.

Some culprits were fancy bars of soap that I’ve had for probably 3 years if not more. I had partly used body wash bottles even older then the fancy bars of soap. I grew up using a specific bar of soap, not loofahs with body wash so after a test or 2 they just sat there unused.

Use it up, Wear it out, Make it do, or do without

So in the bathroom we are focusing on the use it up. After our move I said to myself first, and then to the family, that I was putting away the big bottles of shampoo and conditioner. That we would be using up the little containers we had accumulated. Also instead of going out to buy more dove soap ( which is what I grew up using). We would be using the body washes until we used up all the bottles.

Could I have just thrown out the little bottles to clean out the space in one fell swoop? Yes I could have, but it just seemed wasteful.

So here we are still using the items in the closet. On the plus side we haven’t had to buy any hand soap, shampoo, lotion… well we haven’t had to buy anything really for the bathroom other then toilet paper.

So if you need financial motivation to USE IT UP. It seems like it’s a pretty smart financial decision to use up the stuff you have instead of just throwing it out.

Wear it out

Much like the use it up section, wearing it out means making do with what you have on hand.

The thing that comes to mind for me, is a pair of jeans I own. During my minimalism journey I have also taken to the capsule wardrobe challenge.

As I started this challenge I let go of some clothing that went straight to the donate pile.  But I kept a lot and I am slowly going through it with every new 3 month rotation. Currently I am on my 3rd capsule wardrobe challenge and am set to start the 4th one soon. In essence completing one for every season.

As I’ve gone through the rotations I’ve noticed that I don’t really own very many jeans, and that they all seemed to have something wrong with them. Great comfort but getting old and have ripped knees. A newer one that doesn’t fit quite right and is a tad to tight on my waist. Another fits great, no holes but has an atrocious stamp in the front, a brand marker.

Fit's great! but why, why does it have that giant gold stamp?
Fit’s great! but why, why does it have that giant gold stamp?

In this instance I have chosen wear it out. Instead of getting rid of my jeans and going to buy some new pairs. Even if I were to buy them at goodwill, I have decided that the whole process would be a waste. Specially when it comes to the stamp one. It fits great … it’s just not my style. So I’ve decided to make it the staple pair of jeans from here on out until they disintegrate. So I am making do.

At this time I don’t feel motivated enough to go to a store and waste time and money buying an article of clothing I already own (jeans). Even if it is a bit unsightly.

So that’s me right now on my minimalist journey. I still have a box or 2 of papers to go through and my spring capsule to build. Everything else I am trying to use up. wear out, make do or do without.

Want some more inspiration, Check out this post by the Zero Waste Home blog. Bea’s trip to Burning man peaked my interest and I have been binge reading through her archives. Though her message is different it complements minimalism well so check it out.

Do you enjoy the idea of simplifying through minimalism? How do you purge stuff without being wasteful?

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2 thoughts on “Minimalism without waste”

  1. Kudos to you for keeping the jeans! I was in a similar boat (had a pair of jeans that developed two holes in the butt) but luckily was able to return them to the store I bought them and exchange for a new pair no questions asked. Not sure if you can do that because you don’t like the brand logo haha! If so, I want to return all of my branded logo shirts from high school 🙂 Also, my bathroom cabinets looked similar and I took the trash bag approach. I felt guilty about it for environment reasons but am thankful that I didn’t bring any of that stuff to the new apt.

    1. Thanks, yeah they were a gift from a long long time ago so no returning them for me. But I’m sure I’ll ware through them eventually.

      As for bathroom cabinet, sometimes I get the urge to purge because it’s a slow process to use stuff up. Conditioner is a real problem as I don’t use it anymore, I am now trying to think of who I might be able to give stuff to. Like my hairspray & conditioner to my sister. Stuff like that. well see. If in December I still have a bunch of stuff I might just toss it. Crossing my fingers I can either use it up or find an appropriate home long before then.

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