7 Free & Low-Waste Ways to Refresh Your Home!
I know I’m about to start this blog post the exact same way every blog post has this entire month - but it still rings true - I cannot believe we’re at the end of January 2021 already!! The past year has just flown by and the first month of 2021 is no exception.
I know many of us like to take the beginning of a new year to reset and reorient ourselves. Often by setting goals to learn new skills, to try new foods, or for self-improvement. I’m not one to set goals for myself (because honestly, the letdown of not completing them isn't worth it for me)... BUT this year I had a few free/low-waste ideas in mind to keep my home feeling fresh as we move into yet another month of COVID-19 quarantine/lockdown/social distancing/working and learning from home.
I’ve always been such a hoarder of things. You know, like trinkets, clothing and such. But now that I'm more conscious of the environment... It’s somehow gotten worse! I’ve become the type of person that wants to save boxes (yeah, I mean cardboard boxes) because I might use them one day. OR I simply hold on to things out of guilt for allowing myself to discard something into a landfill.
This has taken its toll on my home and workspace to the point where I don't feel relaxed anymore..... SO today I’m going to go over some of my new year's ideas/goals/resolutions to refresh your home in a low waste way! Some of these ideas I have already done, but the others are on my to-do list.
My thought is that caring for the environment shouldn’t dictate that my home is a trash bin of useless junk. Even if stuff needs to be recycled, donated, or even put in the trash, it will help me realize that when I see things that I like, I don't need to buy them. I want my home to be filled with carefully curated items that make me happy. So here I am, vowing to whoever is reading this that I will work on me and my home over the next few months because we all deserve a wonderful place to live.
If low waste is your goal, start by taking stock of the products you use the most, and look for low-waste alternatives. This has been a helluva year and I don't know about you, but I’ve certainly gotten a bit off track of my low-waste goals. Sometimes convenience and the easy way are just too tempting to resist! The new year always brings about an opportunity to reset and start fresh once again. I know I'm looking forward to shopping at my local zero waste stores again... once I clear out my cabinets and cupboards!
A great way to home your things is by using precious thrifted baskets and bins! My partner haaates baskets, but I love them. Baskets and little bins allow you to have a set place for your random items that you don't need to have displayed everywhere, like makeup and toiletries, and the endless stack of charger cords we all have strewn across our homes. If an item doesn’t have a home, offer it up to friends!
My thought here is that if everything has a place, I won't be tempted to purchase things that won’t have a place to live in my home. Even if it's the cutest little cat figurine - I already have like, 15 and so I probably don’t need another!
I know organizing is daunting and is definitely easier said than done, but WOW it feels so good to walk into my recently organized kitchen and know exactly where everything is. Now I’m just itching to organize my closet, my workspace, and my art supplies.
I know this is in the same vein as organize, but honestly, I'm so bad for organizing my mess to be less chaotic rather than actually dealing with it! Anyone else guilty of this!?
As someone who cares deeply for the environment, this can be very hard.
I was actually talking about this recently to a friend when they told me there’s no need to hold onto items in fear of where they’ll end up.. and by that, I don't mean toss everything into the trash, no. It means keeping junk on my dresser for 4 years to delay its inevitable trip to the landfill doesn’t serve me well.
So make a list of your clutter, and slowly start to pick away at the piles one at a time!
Sell your items, give them away to friends, donate them to local shelters and charities and give your goods a second life. You know what they say, one man's trash is another man's treasure!
Plants are a wonderful way to brighten up a room with very little effort! Ask your pals if they have any plant babies (propagations) they might have hanging around to give you! Use old candle jars or thrifted pots to plant them, and when your plant is healthy and grown, you can spread the green through your home, and even pay it forward by sharing your propagations with your friends!
I recently gave away some pothos, wandering jew, aloe vera, and monstera to a friend for this exact purpose! She ended up thanking me with a beautiful baby string of pearls!
This one has been on my mind and I’m about ready to pull the trigger on it. My bedroom isn't bringing me joy anymore, nor a sense of relaxation - SO, I’ve posted on my Instagram asking if anyone has any paint laying around from a project that I may be able to use for a feature wall. If it doesn't come through, I’ll check the returned/discounted paint section at my local hardware store. This beats having it improperly disposed of or even gathering dust in a basement!
Looking forward to seeing what my insta-story post yields!
Living in a place like Halifax with strict waste by-laws can sometimes feel overwhelming. Especially where I'm so conscious of my waste production. I have become meticulous and hyperfocused on ensuring waste is properly separated, which has led to an overly complicated and overflowing sorting system, and in such a small apartment, having space to sort it all seems nearly impossible. SO, over the past few weeks, I’ve taken the time to turn my divided laundry hamper into a waste sorter! Plastics, recyclables, and boxboard - plus we have garbage, compost, and paper recycling.
It’s going to take some effort to try and keep my home from falling back into a state of disarray when I live and work from home, but I’ll do my best.
This may be a no-no for some folks, but for me, I love when my home smells good. After I’ve spent a good few days decluttering, organizing, and cleaning, I’ll light some incense or a candle to warm-up my space. I find it brings me a sense of calm knowing that I’ve done a decent job and help me feel refreshed after all the work I've done.
I'm looking forward to this the most after I've tackled all my home-related stresses!
This past year I’ve learned that we need to go easier on ourselves. Nobody is perfect!
Environmentalism and low-waste living are all a process, unique to each individual. I always tell others that you can’t pour from an empty pot, but I know I rarely take my own advice. I now know that as long as I’m trying my best, and I’m keeping my brain and my home feeling healthy and happy, I know I’ve done the best I can for the environment as well as for myself.
I'm looking forward to continuing my journey to a more comfortable home and to improving my low-waste lifestyle. And I don't know about you, but saving money, donating items, and decluttering sound like the ideal feel-good way to tidy up your space and spruce up your home.