Reduce and Reuse

Freecycle is quite possibly one of the greatest sites going in that it connects the local community in a way that is completely unique – everything is FREE. Post what you want or what you have and someone from your community or better yet your neighbourhood will come and get it if they can make use of it!

Recently my partner and I moved in together and have done a big renovation (highlights include: high efficiency furnace, tankless water heater, better insulation, cork floors and low VOC paints) which means a lot of waste and a lot of extra stuff. The answer: freecycle. Every time we create a pile of things that have to go I head upstairs to the computer with a list and post it all on freecycle. Within a few days it has all gone to new homes where it can be useful!

This is nothing short of amazing and beautiful. Imagine if even more of the things you ever had or will get were obtained in this way? Freecycle couches, furniture, kitchen items, clothing, movies, it is endless and we certainly have enough stuff to go around, no doubts there.

Short of getting what you need for free there are always thrift stores and it is garage sale season. It has been a habit of mine for years to try and hunt something down and buy it used before I resort to getting it from a store. We all can make do without a lot of the things that we consume on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. When we make time in our lives for these things it is my belief that we will all feel better in our hearts, our minds and generally with our selves.

Be good to yourself and to others.

Some great thoughts on Shampoo and Conditioner!

This comment was posted at the bottom of an article I read recently about eco-friendly shampoos. I have long bought shampoo and conditioner in bulk and I think I’ve only bought two bottles of conditioner in my adult life. I have recently been trying to brainstorm a more natural solution to the supermarket no-name brands and I dug this girls comments:

I have been using the system below for the last year and am very happy with it. I have VERY thick, curly, frizzy hair, so my old routine involved shampoo, conditioner, and lots of products. No more!

I buy Dr Bronners by the gallon. And I buy lavender essential oil, since that’s good for calming the scalp. A gallon of Dr Bronners and a small jar of lavendar oil lasts a LONG TIME. So there is very little packaing involved. I make an herbal tea from rosemary & thyme from the garden, or just use leftover green tea from breakfast, depending on how much work I feel like doing. In a shampoo-sized plastic container (maybe half a liter) I mix:

20% Dr Bronners soap

50 drops lavendar essential oil

Fill with tea

That’s it. You have to shake it before using it. It is very liquidy, but I find it easy enough to squirt some on my head and work it in. I also use it as body wash, and find that a sponge is the easiest way to apply it. This shampoo leaves my hair feeling squeaky clean–which at first was strange but then made me realize what a weird nasty coating store-bought shampoos leave in to make your hair feel artificially smooth.

Conditioner? I was so pleased to learn that even for my curls and frizz, I don’t need it! I buy jojoba oil by the gallon. After I get out of the shower, I massage a small amount into my wet hair. When it dries, its not oily at all, but my curls are all separated and un-frizzy and my hair is shiny and beautiful. I get so many compliments on how healthy my hair looks since I switched to this. I also use the jojoba oil on my body instead of lotion (rub on in very small amounts while your skin is still wet).┬áJojoba oil is not as expensive as you think if you buy it by the gallon (see Amazon retailers).┬áSo that’s pretty much all the cosmetics I need. Except toothpaste… but making toothpaste is another post entirely!

Gloria in Altadena, CA

.: Be good to yourself and to others :.

Outdoor furniture

Currently I have been pondering this situation as there is going to be an acquisition soon regarding the furniture that will go outdoors on our new deck. Actually three decks so there is some serious thinking to be done.

New is not an option. There just isn’t something out there that I am going to spend money on to support. Something sustainable that would last. What about iron? Steel and iron furniture will last generations and can be made from recycled materials.

Wicker or rattan options are made from the fast growing leafy part of the tree. Bamboo is another fast growing wood.

Now to find a local artist who is capable… Richmond isn’t exactly local but it’s a start.

Finding a way by making it

I need an outlet and have a need to share with the world the story and evolution of my path to a simpler, more whole and lighter way of living. Posts in this category will be about that journey, the choices we make, the reasons why, the conflicts I face and the trials and triumphs of choosing to live differently.

I think that I always had a desire for something different. I’ve been a vegetarian since I was about 9 so I think that sorta says something. Over the years the desire to not eat animals has evolved into a desire to live more lightly on the planet. I think that if we all looked a little more closely at the choices we made in our day to day lives we would find a lot of ways that we could maybe change to be less impactful and more connected.

For me it centers around food. We have no choice but to consume it so it makes sense to start there. I have two young children and for me raising them with an awareness of where their food comes from and how it affects their bodies is extremely important. I brought up two cloth diapered babies without ever buying a single jar of baby food but that can be a subject for another post. Now that they are older and have a lot more say in what goes into their bodies I struggle with feeding them balanced healthy diets in a world that is full of quick ‘tasty’ food that they think they would rather be eating.

Welcome to my kitchen and the stories of what goes on within it!