Conscious Living: Gradually Moving Towards A Zero-Waste Lifestyle

At the start of this year, I became horribly aware of the amount of stuff I’ve accumulated and stored in my condo. This clutter occupied my physical and mental space. Once, when I first moved in, I felt like my place was so open and freeing. Now, two years later, I feels more cramped and stuffy – literally and atmospherically.

Everywhere I looked, I saw trinkets and boxes filled with stuff I thought I bought without proper consciousness. I have loads of clothes I have overused or barely used that I can foresee won’t be of use to me in the future. I hoarded lipsticks on sale and haven’t even used them yet. I have more bottles of shampoo and conditioners, perfumes, and lotions than I can use, given to me as gifts from friends and family. I have stacks of books I haven’t read or read only once that are taking up so much space in my place.

It’s overwhelming to see but I know pressuring myself to get rid of all this excess won’t help me either. I decided to do it one step at a time.

It’s been 3 months of this conscious intention to unload and to lessen the waste I made in my life – waste of space, energy, and money. I’ve come up with a few ways to gradually move into a freer environment and I’m glad to say they’ve been helping me live more mindfully.

Sell Used and Unused Items Online

I started selling some of my used and unused items online (usingΒ Carousell and eBay) for very cheap. This was a great avenue for me to earn some money and unload. What’s great about selling online is that it’s very convenient with free applications on the phone and the numerous delivery options available now. I sell some of my more treasured clothing here in the hopes that someone else would appreciate them and give them a meaningful home. I sell shoes and other accessories as well, such as sunglasses, jewelry, socks, yoga mat towels, and bags. I have made a lot of transactions with my non-clothing items like perfumes and makeup as well. For each person who purchases from my online, I make sure to include a small token of appreciation too. More opportunities to unload, yay!

Donate to Charities

I also started donating old clothes to charities around the area. Every week, I would go through my closet and choose 5-8 items that don’t serve me anymore. I would pack them in a bag and drive to Market! Market! to donate the clothing to the Segunda Mano dropbox near the escalators at their supermarket. This weekly donation works well for me because I would slowly be able to make more space in my condo for stillness and simplicity, whilst doing my errands. I would literally feel lighter, knowing that I not only helped myself, but that I also hopefully provided for those who are less fortunate.

Just today though, I discovered a new venue for donating used clothes. H&M Philippines has a year-round donations campaign called “Close the Loop.” For every paper bag of 6 used clothing, you get a 15% discount voucher (valid for a few months.) Each person can avail of two vouchers only per day. The intention of this campaign is to recycle people’s old clothing into something new. I think that’s a great idea and the best part is that you can make donations throughout the year! When you give, you receive something in return. Sometimes, karma works quite fast.

Set Concrete Goals that Lead to a Zero-Waste Lifestyle

Every start of the month, I make it a point to set a goal that will help me live mindfully towards a more zero-waste lifestyle. I usually make a big goal and a small goal so that if I don’t achieve my big goal, then at least I can be happy achieving a smaller goal. Then I put a follow up note about why and how thisΒ goal will help me physically, financially, and spiritually.

Examples of some goals and intentions that I’ve set are:

  • BIG GOAL: No shopping for new clothesΒ for a month.
    • Find the value in what you already have.
    • Opportunity to sort out clothes that I can still use and those that I can donate.
    • Save money!
  • BIG GOAL: No new books for a month.
    • Opportunity to read the books I haven’t even opened yet – and there’s a lot!
    • Lessen visual noise in my condo. Not add to the clutter anymore.
    • Save money!
  • SMALL GOAL: Lessen tissue paper usage.
    • Lessen trash/waste.
    • Save money!
  • SMALL GOAL: Lessen use of plastic spoons and forks.
    • Lessen trash/waste.
      • ADDED BONUS: Cashiers at fast food places actually seem happier, more grateful, and are more helpful when you tell them you don’t need these extra plastic utensils. I’m not quite sure why but they light up when I say I don’t need those and that they could give them to someone else.

Menstrual Cups

I just started dabbling with this during my last cycle. I’m not going to lie – using menstrual cups has a steep learning curve. I spent 20 minutes trying to put it in my first time! But once I got it in correctly, it felt quite comfortable and I was amazed at how efficiently it worked. A great plus was that it really did not have a smell at all. I was pleasantly surprised at that.

Garage Sale

This one is still in the works as I haven’t participated in one yet. I just found out that the community where I live holds a garage sale at the park every 3rd Sunday of the month and I would love to be part of it so I could unload my books and other stuff there. I’m just gathering my things and some of my friends who might be interested so we could have a booth that has a good selection of items and choices for everyone.

******

A new month is coming and I’m happy to say that these new efforts to declutter and unload has been quite enjoyable for me. I think it’s because it gives me a new fulfilling “errand” to do every week. It directs my attention to what I don’t need and helps me appreciate what I already have. It may not be very revolutionary, but it is meaningful.

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