Low Impact Life

have less, do more, be more

Category: Low Impact Life (Page 1 of 9)

The Progression of Principles: Food

I found the concept of progression of principles (or POP) in the book Moneyless Manifesto by Mark Boyle (you can read the book for free at his website). Living without money is a whole other (but extremely low impact!) thing that I won’t get into in this post but I might come back to in future posts.

The point of POP is that it is a road map from where we are today to living our highest ideals. It is a framework to organize the mainstream starting point (level 6), the steps in between and the optimum state (level 1) in a step by step fashion. The key is to make the steps realistic enough to be achievable but also challenging to promote change.

I thought that using a framework like this was very helpful because you can easily see which level you are presently on so that you can figure out how to get to the next level. Mark Boyle uses POP to map how to get to a stage where you don’t need money (level 1). I have done my own mapping of POP for living a Low Impact Life per category where level 6 is conventional living and level 1 is living completely off grid in the wilderness with little to no impact.  The first part of the POP series is food.

 

I started at level 6 when I moved from home and was a student and couldn’t afford to buy organic food. When I got my job and some more money I moved to the next level and started to buy organic food as much as I could. Now with our plan of building a homestead (you can read more about it here) we have progressed to level 4 and started to learn how to grow our own food and forage. We are aiming for level 2/3 not level 1 since our plan is to live on a homestead. Until we get a house with land we will continue to work on level 4 to get better at growing our own food at a small scale and learn about plants to start foraging more.

I will be sharing the other areas that I have drawn up the POP with you over the next couple of weeks. This series will show my map to living a Low Impact Life but I encourage you to map out your own path since what path you take is highly individual. If you have different goals than living on a homestead (which I am assuming most people have) maybe your level 1 for food is buying organic most of the time or trying to go towards zero waste and minimizing packaging or just becoming self sufficient on salad grown in your apartment. There is no right or wrong way to living a Low Impact Life you just have to define it for yourself and the POP model sets up a framework for that.

Frugal vs Low Impact food shopping

One of the hardest parts of living a Low Impact Life and a frugal life at the same time is food. In the best of worlds food wouldn’t have plastic packaging, would be locally grown and only in an organic way but we’re not there yet. Since we want to keep our food budget low we have a plan of action for that. Unfortunately it is not totally compatible with buying low impact food. Obviously we try to minimize impact where we can but it isn’t always easy to do that. Here is our holistic approach when it comes to food:

Our system: the standardized list

Mr LIL and I are quite boring when it comes to food and usually eat the same types of food so we pretty much have a standardized list. If some of our items are on offer we stock up so that we don’t have to pay full price for our items. We then base our cooking around what we have at home. Making sure that you only shop from the standard list eliminates most of the spending on random things that catches your eye. Creating a meal plan and only shop things that are needed for your plan is usually a tip to get control of your food budget. We find that working with the standard list works well for us and also means that we can buy stuff on offer which would be harder if you were following a strict list connected to a preset meal.

Comparing prices

The food prices are very simliar in the different food stores in Sweden (that would be generally high prices…). I have of course price compared the different stores around us and we do shop at the cheapest ones (that would be Willys and Lidl for us) but it is not a lot of difference. Where we get the savings is from stocking up on food and generally buying foods that are on offer.

Meat

One of the most expensive foods is meat. We have a two part approach to buying meat. First of we have a subsription to a “meat box” that gets delivered to our door every other month by the company Gårdssällskapet. We get around 8kg of local and organic meat with free delivery which lasts us a long time (usually about a month). Secondly Swedish food stores have a started a very good system of selling meat that is close to its best before date to a very discounted price. When we come across such meat (organic or sometimes non organic Swedish meat) we buy as much as we can and either make a big batch straight away or freeze it for later. So we get our high quality meat from Gårdsällskapet when we have got a delivery and then in between we buy the meat that is marked down. Since this meat would have been thrown out otherwise I think it’s both good for the environment that the food isn’t wasted and for the wallet since its usually 30-50% off. And since we also get the meat box we support the local organic farms.

Eat seasonally

Eating after the seasons in your country and also thinking of vegetables and fruits that are not from your local climate as luxury items makes for a frugal and low impact meal. The fruit/vegetables that are in season are cheaper and also don’t have to be shipped across the world (don’t see many pineapples growing in Sweden…). Shopping like this means that we get a varied selection over the year (even though food stores make it possible to buy the same stuff year round). Some months might be more boring, like now it feels like we have cabbage and carrots coming out of our ears but when summer comes around the selection is much wider. Since you only eat certain vegetables at certain times of the year you look forward to the season when you get to eat that specific vegetable again. You also feel closer to natures cycles when you know that the food has been produced locally at that time.

Less plastic packaging

We try to only buy food with either glass, carton or aluminium packaging and in bulk when we can but there is still a fair amout of plastic in our recycling bin. We always bring our own bags so that we don’t have to buy plastic bags at the store. Of course buying food with no packaging and bringing your own mesh bags/glass or aluminium containers is the optium level. This can be done with vegetables/fruits, cheese/meat over the counter, bread and nuts usually but since we don’t eat cheese or bread (see post on how we eat here) and want to get the offers on the meat this is a area we struggle in. What I am exploring now is making sauces and products that are packaged in plastic from scratch (which is also healthier) and go around some of the plastic packaging that way.

Foraging food for free

There are plenty of plants that you can forage for free if you know what you are looking for. Obviously the plants that are suitable for foraging changes in different zones and climate so getting to know your local plants is both a frugal and low impact way of aquiring food. Also check around the neighborhood (and with your neighbors) or in local groups if they have an excess of fruit or something else edible. In Stockholm there are many gardens with apple trees and the owners just want to get rid of the buckets of apples that they get each year.

Grow your own food

A both frugal and low impact approach to food is growing it yourself. Since we are growing vegetables that are expensive in the store like salad, herbs, spinach, bell peppers, chili, squash and tomatoes it is cheaper. Then we also get no pesticides, less emissions from transporting the food and no packaging. Quite the win! I can really recommend growing salad and herbs even if you only have a tiny apartment.

Hate waste

About one third of all food produced gets thrown away, that is 1,3 billion tonnes of food every year that is wasted. It is crutial to make sure that you eat everything that you buy both for minimizing impact and saving money. Save your left overs and if you’re a person that “just doesn’t like leftovers” this is a habit that you really need to consider changing both for the planet and your wallet. You can read more about food waste in my post Stop the food waste with Selina Juul.

These were my tips on how I approach the frugal vs low impact struggle when buying food. Since we need to eat every day this is an ongoing process of combining these two areas in the best way.

Always be prepared to minimize impact and spending

We have all been there, hungry, tired and desperate for something to snack on. Or it’s 30 degrees out and we’re super thirsty so we buy some bottled water. Or our energy is running low and we need a coffee NOW. Or we ended up buying that super expensive meal at the airport. Or we didn’t have a bag with us to the grocery store so we had to buy a plastic bag. All of these scenarios cost money and usually come in single use plastics/packaging. And all of these scenarios arise due to a lack of planning. So what can you do? Always have a plan and always be prepared!

What to bring everyday

I always bring a bag with me so that I have all the things that I need to avoid plastic and buying unecessary things when out and about. The things I bring are: spoon/fork, glass bottle of water, an extra cotton bag, some kind of frugal snack (like nuts or a boiled egg), a reusable travel coffee mug if I think I need it and if you are a girl a menstrual cup/nature sponge so that you aren’t caught of guard.

What to bring to work

I always bring lunch in a glass food box to work to save money and be able to eat healthier (having all the options in a restaurant makes it harder to resist unhealthy options). I have a glass water bottle that I have at my desk and can also bring it with me if I am going to meetings so that I don’t have to take a single use plastic cup if I get thirsty. We have free coffee machines at work so I don’t need to bring coffee but if you don’t have that you can bring coffee/tea with you in a thermos or if you have somewhere to boil water you can have a french coffee press at work. And always have at least one snack because when three o’clock comes around that sugar craving might make itself heard and you want a healthy snack close so that you don’t run down to the cafeteria/a café and get a chocolate muffin…

What to bring to the food store

We always bring a backpack and cotton bags to pack our groceries in so that we don’t need to buy plastic bags. We haven’t really gotten to the stage of bringing our own containers but I think we will start doing this in the near future. And make sure that you have eaten something before you go shopping. I am going to write a seprate post on food shopping and cooking.

What to bring when travelling

This scenario is similar to the first one but I will often pack a larger or multiple snacks since stuff happens when travelling. If I am on a train or bus I usually bring a food box if I know it will stretch over either lunch or dinner and coffee in a thermos. If I am flying somewhere water is harder to bring, some airports allow you to fill up an empty waterbottle when you get in (like Oslos airport, yay!) which you can ask. I also bring lots of snacks especially if it is a long flight since for some reason I always get peckish when travelling and I don’t want to give in and buy an expensive snack.

So these are the ways that I always am prepared so that I don’t get stuck having to buy something that isn’t necessary. That way I am meeting both my goals of saving money and reducing my impact on the environment.

Our big picture plan: the Low Impact Homestead

Lately me and Mr LIL have been discussing at length what we want out of our life. It is not an easy question to answer and takes time and self reflection as well as reflection together to start figuring it out. Now we feel like we have found our heading that both of us feel equally passionate about and our ideas also feel ripe enough to share here on the blog.

Before we dive into our plan I want to raise a very important point that the last couple of months has lead us to which is we have fully embraced the fact that we don’t need or want to be mainstream in any way. It is such a freeing thought, like a weight was lifted and made us see our path clearer. Before we were trying to fit our plan around the mainstream way of living which made it very hard to figure out (aka we would have to wait until retirement at probably 70). The financial independence movement has opened a completely new world of possibilities. By saving money aggressively over a couple of years we can create the option of never having to work again or to be able to do what ever we want knowing that our base cost of living will be covered. That’s why we have started to save a large part of our income and become (more) frugal. That in itself is very good but now we also have a plan connected to our general saving. So without further ado, presenting:

The Low Impact Homestead

The Homestead plan comes from a couple of different interests/passions: we both want to live sustainably (obviously), we love being outside and connected to nature, we love doing things with our hands, we love animals and being self sufficient greatly appeals to us.

Our plan will be divided into stages so that we can learn the skillset necessary to be able to graduate to running a proper homestead/farm in the future which is our goal. So what will the stages look like?

Stage 1: learn how to grow vegetables

First off we’ve started on a tiny scale by growing salad and some herbs indoors. Our next step is starting the seeds that we will then plant in my dads garden as soon as Swedish weather permits it. In this stage we will continue living in the city and work on “homesteading where we are”. This might include making most food from scratch, eating seasonally, composting, learning how to preserve food and how to mend things. All the while saving as much as we can for our money making machine.

Stage 2: learn how to raise chickens (and possibly rabbits)

For this stage to come into play we will need to buy our own plot of land with an existing house or build a house ourselves. This is a very real plan for us within a couple of years because 1. we really want to live in the woods and 2. want to be able to create a self sustaining house. When that is in place we will be able to grow our own food and have some smaller animals. Since we eat an amazing amout of eggs chickens are the first animal that we want to keep (except for the LIL wolf of course). We will keep saving as much as we can and will live in this house until we’re financially independent.

Stage 3: The Low Impact Homestead

By the time we’re financially independent we will have had plenty of time to figure out if we want to move on to the full time homestead plan. If that is the case we will buy more land and a farm to have room to grow more and have larger animals. This will of course be as self sufficient as we can make it. In this stage we will have our base living costs covered to there will be no pressure of having to work normal jobs at the same time (although it might be something we want to do but probably not full time if we’re pursuing to create a larger homestead) or figuring out how to earn a living from the homestead. If we end up being able to produce enough so that we can sell the excess that will be bonus money.

 

So there you have it, our three stage homestead plan! I thought that presenting our long term plan might tie together what otherwise looks like quite random posts on the blog. I will be writing posts with updates along our journey under the category Homestead.

The bank of great things

I am reading a book about frugality (big surprise!) called The Art of Frugal Hedonism by Annie Raser Rowland and Adam Grubb. They had an excellent part about the importance of being materialistic, meaning taking care of your material possessions. Today it has almost become cool or at least normalized that you don’t take care of your things or repair them. You just go out and buy a new one and throw the old one out. This leads to two things:

1. We don’t value the things we have

2. The knowledge of how to maintain and repair things is forgotten.  So many things are bought just because the owner doesn’t know how to repair it or breaks earlier because it hasn’t been maintained properly (and of course everyone also wants a new thingy)

I know that my dad still uses an old kitchen aid that I think is older than him and still works perfectly. I myself got our old ice cream maker that must be approaching the same age as the kitchen aid that still works. How come that our own microwave, dishwasher, mixer and so many other things break within a couple of years? Have we become worse at making things? Of course not, there is something else at play called planned obsolescence along with wanting everything so cheap that the quality gets compromised. 

Planned obsolescence is a policy of planning or designing where you build in a limited useful life in the product. What this means is you design it to break within a certain time so that the company has a chance to sell you more. How long do you need to own a washing machine before it breaks and still feel like you have trust in the company? It needs to be long enough that you can’t really remember when you bought it but not too long ago that the company can sell you a new one as soon as possible. 3 is too short but approaching 7 years it’s  more likely that you don’t remember was it 7 or 10 years ago you bought it and it feels like it’s worked for a “long” time. It obviously works best in markets where there isn’t endless choice because then you will probably choose another brand.

It is the same mentality that makes it hard to repair the stuff we have since companies don’t want to us to. The products today aren’t designed so that we can take them apart and fix them.

There is also Percived obsolescence. Here companies work hard to make us believe that what we have that still works isn’t good enough. Clothes and mobile phones are typical examples but most things now are perceived that way. You need to have the latest model of everything so that you can keep up with the Joneses that are you friends, colleagues and neighbors. This makes people throw out a perfectly good pair of  jeans just because the cut has changed from one year to the next. Which is just plain ridiculous from a resource perspective but completely “normal” in today’s society.

The bank of great things

So how do you become materialistic in a smart and sustainable way? One way is to build up a bank of great things. When something breaks and needs replacing or you need something that you don’t have (need not want!) you make sure that you buy something (can be second hand) that has great quality. You might have to research this a bit so that you are sure that you are paying for quality not brand name. Let’s say you need a rain jacket – you buy a great classic jacket (that might cost a lot, much more than other people pay for rain jackets) with the intention of having it for the rest of your life. If you then calculate the cost per use it will be very low compared to buying many cheap jackets over the same time span. My super warm winter jacket is an example from my wardrobe (I live in Sweden so you need a super warm winter jacket). It cost 5000kr ($600) which is a lot! I bought it when I was 16 years old and 11 years later it’s still going strong and I’ve used it every winter. So far the cost per use is 15kr but since I will probably use it for many more years it will be close to zero kr per use.

So start building your bank of great things and sooner or later you will have a home with things that you can have the rest of your life just like my dad’s kitchen aid (or sell second hand since they have some value). I think it is important to first exhaust all the other ways of acquiring things like borrowing, finding/getting tings for free, buying second hand before you use this strategy and that the intention is to own things for life. And don’t forget to maintain them!

Growing our own food part two

Me and Mr LIL are learning how to grow our own food. Our first step was growing salad and herbs indoors, read more in my post growing our own salad. We harvested everything we had grown before we went on our ski trip so now we are starting again. Growing salad indoors went really well, beyond expectation, and you enjoy eating something so much more when you’ve grown it yourself. We also learnt that spinach really doesn’t grow well indoors and that we didn’t particularly like one of the salad varieties that we have grown so now on to part two with a different set up.

We have started planting the seedlings for our strategy of growing some stuff inside, some on our balcony and hopefully some in my dads garden. So this time we have planted tomatoes, bell pepper, chili pepper, parsley, basilica and salad. The plan is to keep the salad, bell peppers, chili peppers, basilica and parsley indoors and then to put all the tomatoes and squash (which we will plant in April) on the balcony. In my dads garden we want to try growing vegetables in pallets. Here we are thinking carrots, onions, sugar snaps, spinach and some other vegetables but it depends on how much we want to take on our first year.

Using the floor for planting our seeds

We have been saving the plastic food packging to use as starter pots for plants and also our baking trays as bases for them so that we don’t have to buy lots of new plastic trays.

6 month update on my goal of buying nothing new

Is has almost been 6 months since I started my year of buy nothing new in September so I thought that I’d give you an update on my progress so far.

I have to start by saying that things have been going great! I wrote in my one month update that I was experiencing some knee jerk reactions when it came to wanting to buy things as soon as I thought about a need/want. This has as I hoped stopped (YAY!). Instead my first reaction is to think do I really need it? And then if the answer is yes I start looking on Blocket (a second hand website in Sweden). Since the exact thing that you are looking for isn’t usually on there immediately I get some more time to think over if I do really need it.

Me and Mr LIL have a new interest in growing our own food so we have bought some things connected to that: a shelf, greenhouses, lights, pots and a bokashi (indoor compost). Since it’s the middle of winter we knew it would be hard to get gardening related stuff second hand so we ended up buying most of the things new but with the intention that we will be able to use them for a long time.

The only other thing that I have bought new is a pair of ski gloves. When skiing in Norway I noticed that mine were really bad and didn’t keep the warmth in at all. They are 10 years old so I feel like they have lived a long life. I tried getting gloves on Blocket but people tend to only sell children’s gloves unfortunately. But I found a good quality pair that will hopefully last me many more seasons that were on 50% sale so that feels good.

It is so freeing to disconnect the thought of wanting something and the action of buying it. I feel as though I am not as caught up in our consumer society as I was before starting my challenge. I enjoy having to really engage my brain in analyzing and problem solving instead of taking the short term easy way out and just buying it. I.e. I have to think about do I really need it? Is it worth postponing my savings goal for it? Do I already have something that can work? Can I borrow it from someone? Can I find it second hand?

I am amazed by the mental peace that going trough life with less and learning not to put so much energy, time and money into our things gives. It is way more fulfilling than the quick pleasure spike that a new purchase gives. I have quite a way to go yet but just from these 6 months I feel that I have made huge progress that also alines with my values of living a Low Impact Life.

 

Growing our own salad

Me and Mr LIL have dove into a new area of interest: growing our own food! Growing your own food is appealing to us for several reasons:

  • no pesticides
  • no ecosystem destruction
  • no transportation
  • no packaging
  • increasing our self-sufficiency
  • cheaper
  • healthier
  • and fun!

We are starting small with growing our own lettuce and herbs indoors during winter and then when spring comes around we’ll start growing vegetables on the balcony and at my dads or brothers house. The set up that we have started with indoors is some grow lights and mini box greenhouses, two glass greenhouses (I don’t think you need them but it is easier to retain moisture)  and some pots. This is what we did:

  1. we put a layer of soil in each little compartment
  2. put some seeds in each
  3. covered with a thin layer of soil
  4. used a spray bottle to water the seeds properly
  5. covered it with plastic and put it under the lamps (although the seeds don’t need light to germinate just warmth)
  6. water a lot since the soil isn’t supposed to get dry because the salad will taste bitter and place under light (30 cm from the leaves) when the seedlings have started to emerge
  7. we have the lights on for about 12-14 hours a day (we have energy efficient LED lights)
  8. when the plants had grown real leaves (not the two first heart leaves) I removed the smaller ones and put in separate pots
  9.  I mixed some organic fertiziler and sprayed some on after a couple of weeks (or if the leaves start turning yellow)

the heart leaves have started emerging

Maybe a month later

What’s great is that if you just take some leaves the salad and herbs will continue growing new leaves so you can get a couple of harvests from each plant. We are really happy with how it has turned out. We lost some plants along the way that dried up but most of them survived and have given us plenty of salad and herbs. The feeling that we actually managed to grow the plants ourselves, having to wait for the results and then be able to eat them gives us imense satisfaction. I also love knowing that no pesticides were used, that I don’t even have to rinse the salad before eating. This is the first step towards being more self sustaining when it comes to food.

How I became a frugal weirdo

Reading a post on the Frugalwoods blog about being a frugal weirdo and loving it made me reflect on my own path and how I ended up where I am today: a frugal weirdo and proud! (spoiler: it’s very linked with being an environmentalist)

Let’s start off with the statement I’ve never been one of the “cool” girls in school. As a child I spent most my weekends on a boat in the archipelago exploring islands, playing games with my family, reading books and writing my own stories (still a dream of mine to actually finish one). I am pretty nerdy when it comes to books (don’t get me started on Harry Potter!) and have always had a strong passion for nature and animals. Being outside wether it was sailing, hiking, swimming, canoeing, skiing, skating or just playing outdoors was a natural part of my childhood. When I was little I first wanted to be a wildlife photographer and then a vet (until I realized that I have a problem dealing with blood and injured animals…). When the vet dream died I got into environmental science and the huge challenges that we as humans face today (read more here). I wrote my 9th grade project about the problem with too much nitrogen in the Baltic sea that is disturbing the ecological balance.

one cool sailor right there 😉

From there on my passion for the environment grew although I made few changes to my life at this stage (I was 16 and trying to fit in and going shopping after school was a common activity with friends). After high school I worked at a kindergarten for 6 months to save money to study one semester abroad in California. This period was marked by me being extremely frugal and having the mindset that “either I buy this now or I do something cool in California” which made me put down whatever I was going to buy. Worth mentioning is that although I have been quite a shopaholic I have always had the frugal bug. I think it has to do with me not having an extra job when studying until I was 22 which lead to me having to save and make my monthly allowance stretch very far (I must add that I had the privilege of help from my parents although I never took it for granted that I would get money from them).

Hiking in Yosemite National Park

When I was living in California I studied environmental science among other courses, all natural science focused, so my interest continued and I spent a lot of time hiking, skiing and being outdoors (the California climate makes that a bit easier than in Sweden). I watched the documentary Food, Inc and after that I became a vegetarian mostly beacuse of the horrendous situation of the industrialized production of meat.

Having to explain again and again why you don’t eat meat and bring your own food to dinners with people having to deal with depressing discussions with me about the future of the earth was definately the start to me inhabiting the weirdo box. Before this stage I had kept a lot to myself but getting more and more worried about the state of the earth I couldn’t just keep going on like it wasn’t happening.

I studied environmental science at Lund University and though my class all understood the no eating meat (I think half the class were vegetarians) and the environmental problems were old news to them everyone else I hung out with definately though that me and my friends from my class were slightly weird. I kept being frugal during my university years (most people are!) and worked with babysitting children and walking dogs for some extra money. I didn’t take out the full loan that is offered to Swedish students through the government but I have some debt to pay back. I am glad that I did take my loan so I didn’t have to work like crazy while studying (studying in Sweden is quite different compared to other countries – tuition is free, we get money every month from the government, the student loans have really low interest rates).

Graduation from Lund University

When I moved back to Stockholm at 24 I lived with my mum for a year first to write my thesis and then because I didn’t have a permanent contract at my job I couldn’t rent an apartment. This was also a frugal period since I didn’t know if I would have a job the month after and I lived at home. Although I didn’t actively track my money so a fair amount was still went to different purchases like food out, things, travel and so on.

When I started the blog about 1,5 years ago I started properly owning and loving being a weirdo. Before that I had kind of been trying to hide my weirdness (and failing) and trying to fit in somewhat. I wasn’t being true to myself and the knowledge that I was carrying about how we are treating the planet that we live on and especially how I was contributing to it. Because of that I was feeling quite a bit of despair, guilt and sorrow. Now that I am alined with my values of a Low Impact Life and a frugal lifestyle which have lead to a lot of changes in my life I feel lighter and more at peace with myself. What is even more awesome is that Mr LIL and I share the same values. He is also a frugal person that is worried about the planet. With the support of each other we are taking frugality/LIL to the next step in 2018.

The complete transformation of my bathroom cabinet

I think the bathroom cabinet is where I have come the furthest on my Low Impact/zero waste/minimalist journey and it was where I started. I think it is quite a transformation which I am so happy about! I now have full control of what goes on my skin and have reduced the environmental impact of my bathroom cabinet substantially! So what have I done?

My starting point wasn’t too bad but I had a lot of products that I “might use sometime” in another cabinet. I counted in my post here (Swedish) how many products I used frequently and the result of 20 different products suprised me since I thought I was quite minimalistic. Here they are:

Tooth paste, shampoo, conditioner, shower gel, dry shampoo, deodorant, shaving cream, face wash, face cream, make up remover, hand lotion, soap, body lotion, lip balm, perfume, mascara, eye shadow, eyeliner, powder and rouge. 

If you also add less frequently used products such as sun screen, nail polish, nail polish remover, hair mask, bronzing powder, concealer, lipstick, night cream, face mask, hair oil and detangler spray I used a total of 31 products! Here are the steps that I have taken:

  1. I immediately threw out the product that had harmful ingredients (see list of chemicals to avoid in my post here).
  2. When researching potentially dangerous chemicals in beauty products I realized that 1. the industry controls itself when it comes to ingredients used and 2. that there are no regulations on labeling. I decided that the easiest way to take control and not having to stay updated on what chamicals to avoid was to make my own products or get as natural and organic products that I can find.
  3. I bought certified organic products like face cream, mascara, shampoo, conditioner, shower gel and tooth paste without fluoride.
  4. I replace products with sustainable alternatives: I bought an alun stone for deodorant, natural sponge instead of tampons, a metal saftey razor, bamboo toothbrush, boar bristle wooden brush, glass nail file and reusable fabric cotton pads.
  5. Then along came coconut oil! I use it for washing my face, shaving my legs and as a hair mask together with almond oil.
  6. I also make my own face mask from bentonite clay and active charcoal and my own face cream. I use corn starch as dry schampoo.
  7. I’ve pretty much stopped using all make up except for mascara. Both because I want to let my skin breathe and that it is very hard to find organic make up that isn’t very expensive. So I’ve just gotten used to not wearing make up. I have also stopped using perfume.

So this is what my bathroom cabinet looks like now:

So the products I use now are:

tooth paste, schampoo, conditioner, shower gel, body lotion, mascara, coconut oil, corn starch, bentonite clay, active charcoal, almond oil, beeswax and aloe vera. 

Total: 13 products and quite a different list than the first one since most of them are edible. I still use make up occasionally as I mentioned above and still own nail polish though I haven’t used it in a very long time (and will probably throw them out soon). So what do I have left to do?

As soon as my body lotion is used up I will go over to using my DIY face cream for my body too. When I’ve used up my schampoo I’m going to try a schampoo bar so that I don’t have to buy plastic containers. I will try to find almond oil in a glass jar when my current one runs out. I still use my plastic razor since I wanted to use up the disposable heads (I’m on my last one now) so I will have to learn how to use the metal safety razor soon. But other than that I think that I have done everything that I set out to do. It feels very empowering to have taken control of chemical intake on at least one area. Since I’ve eliminated a lot of products and I’m making most of my other ones it is also in line with my frugality resolutions.

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