This post is the introduction to a five part series about being a conscious consumer.
As I’ve gotten older (it happens) and wiser (it’s supposed to happen, right?), I’ve developed a growing interest in understanding and respecting the impact my lifestyle, possessions, activities, and the like have on the world around me.
I’m no emboldened social activist fired up to spend all my days and nights contemplating the consequences of my life. I don’t live in a 150 square foot box; I don’t limit my wardrobe to 17 capsule pieces that fit in a suitcase; and I don’t make every meal from scratch using only products grown in my backyard (I don’t have one!) or within 100 miles of my house. To be honest, having a few extra square feet of living space (my apartment is 1300 square feet so I’m not living in a mansion), rotating more than just a few pieces of clothing week in and week out, and adding flexibility and diversity to my meal planning by expanding my sources of ingredients makes me happy and reduces stress. We all chose different priorities in life, and I’ve chosen to loosely but not rigidly apply many socially conscious principles to various aspects of my life.
I read minimalist and eco-conscious blogs and have applied several principles to my life in ways manageable for my family.
I no longer buy books; I only read books given to me or borrowed from the library. I also love to listen to audio books, which I’ve discussed previously. I listen on both Audible and Overdrive, depending on whether or not the library has the book I want to read. (Many audio books are not yet available through my library, so I have a monthly membership through Audible, which has a broader collection of titles.)
I cleared out a healthy number of pots, pans, gizmos and gadgets from my kitchen cabinets that I rarely used and only replace items as needed. (The extra space feels amazing!)
Educating myself proved the final kick in the pants for the closet overhaul that had been much need for some time and has been a continuing process for the last couple of years.
I’ve read waste elimination books and dabbled with TerraCycle boxes.
After reading Zero Waste Home (she also has a blog), I invested in Pyrex and no longer buy plastic storage containers. I haven’t thrown out all my existing plastic containers, but I have replaced them with Pyrex as needed. They are actually easier to clean and they last longer too – so win-win. (Sidenote: I borrowed the book from the library. I didn’t find it necessary to own a copy for my own bookshelf.)
And I no longer use the plastic produce bags at the grocery store but instead toss everything in my basket or use reusable produce bags I purchased on Etsy from Collective Designs. Among other changes.
I have participated in Terra Cycle Brigades to help eliminate waste overall and am currently helping my sons’ daycare center run a small brigade to raise funds for their non-profit foundation. They are collecting diaper packaging waste (which seemed like a natural option for a daycare center). Waste collected and returned to TerraCycle earns donations to their charity of choice.
I buy a meaningful portion of my clothing and my sons’ wardrobes from thrift and consignment stores.
Several of the pieces in this Remix It Up post below are thrifted.
I shared some of my favorite outfits a few weeks back from my go-to spot for the boys, Moxie Jean (nor part of Schoola).
I make a concerted effort to buy minimalist-inspired or ethical gifts when appropriate.
Recently, I bought my niece (who lives many states away from me) a gift card for a local cupcake shop in her area that has been featured on Cupcake Wars. I purchased the gift card through Yiftee since I didn’t have access to buy the card directly from the local store. She didn’t need any more toys, and I didn’t want to buy and ship her something she didn’t really need. And with the gift card, her parents got to indulge too!
I gave another sister for her birthday the refashioned maxi dress I made a few months back. (I made it fully intending for it to be her birthday gift.)
And I do try to buy organic and local food and avoid processed food (for my family’s health benefits, if nothing else) when it’s reasonably convenient.
None of these things are major overhauls to my everyday life. But they are small decisions I made that, when considered together (and especially if we all made a few small changes) could really have a significant impact on the boatloads of trash filling our landfills and flooding our oceans or the less than ethical or eco-friendly practices employed to create and bring us many of the goods we consume each day.
Some will certainly argue I (and we all) should be committing fully and faithfully to all of these (and other socially conscious) principles, while others roll their eyes at all the hub-bub around the hype. I fall somewhere in between these two ends of the spectrum, and I suppose I have substantial company.
Now you’re all wondering why the heck I’m talking about where I put my diaper packaging trash on a professional style blog. Next week, I’ll be spending the week talking about being a conscious consumer of fashion and style. This is an area in which I believe many of us have great excesses. That doesn’t make us bad people, but it can be one section of our lives in which we can have great impact when being just a bit more conscious about how we execute our fashion and style goals.
Finally, so you can plan ahead accordingly, the week will culminate with a One Piece Many Ways Link Up on Friday, October 24, in which I hope you will participate (even you non-bloggers who can participate via Instagram).
So have a great weekend, plan your One Piece Many Ways collection, and we’ll see you on Monday!