Saturday, October 19, 2013

Plastic Bags - The Never Ending Pile

   I'm not sure how, and I'm not sure when, but somehow I ended up with this many plastic shopping bags which I corralled from around the apartment:

This made me feel a little sick to my stomach.  While having a few on hand for trash and such is useful, there is no way that I would use up THIS many bags...ever.  What is more frustrating is that, unlike in our prior country of residence, the local recycling program does not take plastic bags (Reduce Reuse Recycle - Green Minimalism!).  So what is a green-minimalist supposed to do?!

Well luckily I have noticed that a few big chain stores like Target and Meijer have plastic shopping bag recycling programs!  I stuck these babies in my trunk and the next time I was at one of these stores I did a big drop off.  While that felt amazing I still wanted to make sure I was not in this situation ever again (or at least try my best!).  So I obtained a number of cloth reusable bags to keep in my car for future shopping trips.  Other ways to avoid plastic build up is to simply say 'no thank you' to clerks in stores if you are just buying one or two items, and of course, we can cut down on the number of shopping trips we take in any given week or month altogether! 

Do you have a shelf/bag/drawer/or corner of your house overflowing with plastic bags that you can't bear to throw away and can't seem to keep from growing?  Just follow these easy steps:

1) Find a store that has a shopping bag recycling program and take a trip to drop them off!
2) Invest in some cloth reusable bags and keep them in your car or in a convenient place for when you do go shopping.
3) Cut down on the amount of times you shop and the items themselves and you will have less bags coming into the house.

Any other tips or tricks out there?! You know I love hearing from you! Please share in the comments!

Monday, October 14, 2013

International Minimalism & Other Changes

Old City of Jerusalem, 2012

So I am in a bit of a dilemma.  I originally started this blog when my husband and I moved overseas and I discovered the simple living concept/community and wanted to share with my friends and family.  Since then, we have moved back stateside so I feel I am not living up to my blogs' name anymore!  Well, I decided to make a few changes to stay true to my original concept for this blog and take it to the next level.  My plan is to write a post once a week and post on Saturday mornings for your weekend reading pleasure.  Each week I am going to focus on a different Simple Living topic:

1) International Minimalism:  These posts will focus on the minimalist style of traveling, both from my own experiences and others.  I will also do some research about minimalist styles of living around the world and hopefully connect with other minimalist bloggers to share their stories with us!

2) Green Living: These posts will focus on different lifestyle choices my husband and I are making to live a greener/simpler/ and more sustainable lifestyle.  I will share our attempts, our ideas and ask to hear about yours as well!

3) Clutter: These posts will chronicle our progress on simplifying our possessions and the systems we will try out to prevent clutter build up.  I will be sure to not only share our success but our struggles with this as well!

4) Thoughts on Simple Living:  I also want to share my thoughts and feelings on this lifestyle choice.  It is so much more than just trying to donate clothing or recycle paper and plastic.  This change has brought many challenges and also enhanced our life in so many ways.  I hope to focus on different aspects of Simple Living and hopefully inspire some of you to journey down your own minimalist path!

I may come up with some other topics along the way and am open to hearing from all of you!  The growth in readership over the past year has been amazing and I'm so happy that people across the blog-o-sphere have been tuning in, commenting and giving such supportive feedback!  Special thanks to minimalist bloggers from Minimalism Is Simple for featuring me in their Share Your Story series, as well as to Simple White Rabbit for sharing some posts on Twitter and offering comments and feedback!  Your support has been amazing and I encourage all my readers to check out their inspiring blogs as well!  Cheers to the next chapter!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Couch or No Couch: The Decision!

Two months and opinions from family, friends and readers alike helped us make a big decision.  We weighed the pros and the cons of purchasing another large piece of furniture.  We tested what life was like without it, and thought about how this piece would add to the value of our every day lives.  In the end, we did decide to go ahead and purchase a couch!

This was not a light decision, and we took everything into account.  After 2 months of trying the 'no couch' lifestyle, we decided that having a comfy area for ourselves to rest and to entertain guests was something we truly wanted.  Then..... we entered the furniture store....LOTS of options!  There were futons, sleeper sofas, sectionals, and sofa + love seat combos.  I was first drawn to a sofa that our friends had in their home that was initially what I had envisioned for our home, but with all the options and price ranges I felt the need to browse.  In the end, we made a decision based in what I like to think, are minimalist principles:

1) Make purchases that fit your lifestyle the way it actually is, NOT what you think it COULD be.

As we browsed the store and looked at huge sectionals and combos we realized we were starting to base a decision based on maximum seating potential for the 'just in case' we have a large amount of people over for a dinner or party.  When on a regular basis it's usually just the two of us, or just a few friends over at a time.

2) Spending less on more is NOT always the best thing.

We highly considered a sectional that was on clearance, but wasn't comfortable and we weren't thrilled with the fabric, but were considering it on price alone.  If we had gone with this item, we would have gotten a piece that was too large for our space or our lifestyle and we would not have been comfortable!

3) If you are going to spend money on an item, make sure you love it, it is useful and will bring you joy.

What we ended up taking was exactly that.  We went back to the item we initially came in for.  It has all the characteristics we were looking for, fits our current lifestyle and we are SO happy to have a new place to chill out at the end of a long day!