On Minimalism and Finding Your Passion

Read this lovely article about how to find your passion as an adult. Now — how does this tie in with minimalism and zero waste? I think a huge reason we’re constantly buying and consuming so much is that… we’re bored. Rather, we don’t have an activity that we so desperately want to do, that instead, we spend our free time shopping or watching YouTube vloggers telling you about the best new items out there or researching future purchases… you get the picture. We think we need the stuff to be happy. And the cycle of buying, consuming, throwing away, learning about the new bright and shiny object, then buying more, throwing more continues. And you know what? It’s hard not to shop. We’re constantly inundated with reasons why we need to buy more stuff.

So what’s the solution? Finding your passion. Or a passion. Or many passions. Things that you would rather do than mindlessly buy material objects. So how do you figure out what these activities are? Well, the article started out with a questionnaire to help guide the way. Here’s the questionnaire from the article (and how I answered them). Please note that none of these answers are crazy and groundbreaking. Be honest with yourself. The answers are generally simple.

When do I forget to look at my phone?
Reading an amazing book, organizing/sprucing the house, exploring the world, hanging out with my friends.

What were things I loved to do as a kid?
Reading, drawing/crafting, watching movies, dancing.

What feels like active meditation?
Reading, dancing, hiking, baking.

What lights me up?
A good book, good food, new travels, taking care of myself and my home.

What would I do if money didn’t matter?
Travel (even more). Live somewhere closer to nature.

From these answers (common themes or passions: books, sprucing, and travel), I ended up creating a list for myself of things to do or “passions” — things I can focus on instead of consuming “stuff”.

  • plan the details of our next trip.
  • find places to go hiking both in my city and on my travels. go on a nature walk in my city.
  • watch YouTube videos on something I want to learn how to do (i.e. styling hair, making a fancy cocktail, ).
  • do yoga + workout videos from YouTube (I love Yoga with Adriene).
  • bake something new or practice making cakes in different flavor combinations.
  • take care of my roses and plants outside.
  • read or re-read a book (I’m a huge fantasy/YA/NA nerd and try to read at least a book a week. Honestly, reading an amazing book is one of the times I feel the most alive and there is NOTHING else I’d rather do than escape in to this other world. This is truly a passion for me.)
  • do annoying house maintenance activities: touch up paint, caulk the house; get rid of door squeakies while listening to a podcast on minimalism, books, or self care.
  • work on my adult coloring books.

What are some activities or passions you focus on?

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Common Recycling Questions

Last week, I volunteered with my city at a recycling education table at a local elementary school’s eco fair. I had a ton of fun playing the “sorting game” with lots of youngins (and some of their parents) where participants are asked to sort items in to either a trash or recycling pile. It was interesting to see which items threw people off the most… so here they are. Common — “can I recycle this?” questions answered.

  • Things that threw off parents:
    • Wire hangers. NO. Take these to the dry cleaners!
    • Aluminum foil. Nope. Trash.
    • Styrofoam cups (even with the #6 at the bottom). Very, very few cities actually take styrofoam so the answer is usually no.
  • Things that threw off (young) kids:
    • Tissues, paper towels, napkins. While, yes, this is a paper product… Nope. Compost or trash these.
    • Magazines. The colored paper seemed to throw off some kids so I had to explain that while colorful, magazines are still paper and can be recycled.
    • Cardboard! This one was interesting. The brown color seemed to make some kids associate cardboard with wood (and therefore not recyclable). I had to explain that it was just a really thick paper product.
  • Things that threw off everyone:
    • Plastic/disposable cutlery. A lot of these are actually made out of #6 plastic. HOWEVER, many cities won’t take these (or ultimately wont recycle these) because it’s not cost effective to do so. So this usually falls into the trash pile. Moral: use reusable or compostable cutlery!
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Composting with Bokashi

I love composting with bokashi. Okay, rewind. What is bokashi anyways? Bokashi is a way of fermenting food waste (including dairy and meat, which usually isn’t composted in the traditional way) so that when the fermented food waste is thrown in to a compost pile, it breaks down much quicker. Please note, composting with bokashi doesn’t lead to actual compost, but rather, a pre-compost (i.e. fermented food waste) of sorts. I recommend this method if you have a decent amount of dairy or meat scraps and a place to take your bucket of fermented food waste to (like a backyard compost tumbler or biodigester). If this doesn’t apply to you — I recommend regular composting, either with a backyard compost system, curbside food waste pickup (if your city has it — jealous!), or food waste drop off (I have seen this at farmers markets; or in Dallas, check out Recycle Revolution).

If you’re interested in composting with bokashi — continue on!

Supplies
Bokashi
– 2 5-gallon buckets with 1 corresponding lid (from any hardware store)
– a drill or nail/hammer to create holes at the bottom of 2 of the buckets
– a place to dump your fermented food waste, such as a backyard compost pile
– any small container to collect food waste during the course of a day or two

1. Drill approximately 8 holes in the bottom of one of your 5-gallon buckets.

2. Stack the bucket with holes within the bucket without holes. Place lid on top.

That’s it for set up. Seriously. At this point, start collecting food scraps in an easy to access spot in your kitchen. Every few days, dump the food scraps in the bucket, and cover with a scoop full of bokashi. Once the bucket is completely full with food scraps, make sure the lid is on tightly, and let sit for about 2-4 weeks (less if it’s warmer, more if it’s cooler). After this “sit and wait” period is over, dump your pre-compost in to a compost pile. You’ll also find that some “bokashi tea” has leaked out in to the bottom bucket through the holes in the top one — this “tea” is great for indoor and outdoor plants. Pour it out in your garden. That’s it. A tip is to make another bucket system to have on hand so you have a place to continue dumping food scraps while the first bucket system is in the “sit and wait” phase. I personally keep my bucket system in the garage but you can also keep it inside the house or on your balcony or patio.

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