Backsliding and Some Thoughts about my History with Stuff

stock woman on rock platform viewing city

Although I do not consider myself a Minimalist (if I had to label myself I would say I’m a critic of the movement given how many books on the subject I shittalk). I do agree with the general idea that people in first world countries own too much crap. And owning the right amount of crap might have some positive knock-on effects to other parts of life.  

In the past 3-ish years I’ve been working really hard to stop buying extra stuff. There’s few of the reasons I fell into the trap of overconsumption and I just wanted shared them with you. Maybe you’ve had a similar experience.

Lifestyle creep: 

When I started my first real person job, I had only few work appropriate clothes collected from various summer office jobs. Not really enough to keep me going in a full time professional environment.  

I also was earning, like, 3 times what I was making at my part-time job. So the money might have gone a bit to my head and I spent a fair amount of cheddar on clothing and general lifestyle stuff.  

stock image of professional woman giving a presentation
Photo by The Coach Space on Pexels.com

Pretty much all the crap the finance books warn you about. For the first year and a half of my professional career I was a walking money-unconscious millennial stereotype. Lattes, avocados, ordering mixed drinks at restaurants, take out for lunch. The only spot I think I broke from the archetype your boomer parents are always complaining about is that I didn’t have credit card debt. #flex 

Although I didn’t have any debt, yet, the lifestyle was more expensive than it should be. I did notice this trend when I tried my hand at budgeting and have since taken more steps to be less wasteful with my spending. Also wasteful lifestyle wise as well. Hard to say I care about the environment but also buy from H&M

PayPal 

There are definitely some impulse purchases that would not be in my life if I didn’t have a PayPal account. It’s just too easy to complete the purchase. Which I know is the whole point of the service…  

PayPal knows the devices I’ve ordered from before so it will automatically log me in. So the friction between me seeing something stupid online and ordering it and basically zero. That might explain such purchases as: a few pairs of shoes I ordered while walking to the bus, a pack of holographic dickbutt stickers I ordered before bed, and an electric spinning wheel I saw on my Instagram feed…  

Stickers on Ipad cover featuering a holographic dick butt
Why did I order 50 of these?

Sidebar: don’t get me started on how much crap I’ve bought just cause I kept getting Instagram ads for it. Not proud of that.  

Adulting 

I don’t think the word adulting is still cool to say. But it was another way I ended up buying stuff. Once I moved out of my parents after university there were some things that I needed. And a lot of things I thought I needed but realistically was just wanted. Like did I need mixology set? Probably not, but it was the start of the the pandemic and I needed something to keep me busy.  

Writing all of this out is making me super aware of how basic I sound. Which, like I am, but… that’s not the point of this post.

Why did I decide to get my shit together? 

I feel like all the stories I read online or in books, have a very dramatic breaking point: either credit card debt, strained relationships with family, an epiphany after a health scare for example. My reasons were extremely underwhelming in comparison.

I knew I would eventually have to move out of the basement apartment which I had really cheap rent on. I needed to stop buying stuff and get rid of some of it because I was either going to move into a microscopic studio apartment or with a roommate. While paying double in rent than the space I currently had.  

So to make sure I could realistically live in whatever the space I was moving into I knew I needed to downsize.  

stock image cardboard boxes on living room
Photo by Mister Mister on Pexels.com

If memory serves me right, I did have a passing interest in minimalism at this point. I read half of Marie Kondo in university, years prior (my friends and I had a good giggle at the part about folding socks and I pretty much gave up right after). I also listened to The Minimalist podcast and hated it. And read Joshua Becker’s book The Minimalism Home (review here).  

My most effective way I decluttered was surprisingly through the minimalism game  (Day 1, one item, Day 2 two items, … Day 31, thirty one items). Despite me just saying I hated the Minimalists. 

I didn’t play it the whole way through but I think I got to day 25. Which was still a good amount of things.  

I actually filmed all of it at the time. If I have any of the footage still I might make a video of it.  

flatlay of the decluttered items in the minimalism game
Archive photo of Day 21 of the Minimalism Game back in 2019

So I do the move, and it’s overall okay (this isn’t the move feature in this post, but the one the year before it). I’m sure my old roommate could point out (rightfully) that my stuff did take more than my share of the common space, such as kitchen or washroom cabinets.  

So my downsizing efforts weren’t perfect. No one was going to feature a picture of my room or apartment in their Pinterest boards. Unless they want their boards to be filled with bedrooms that have unpacked boxes of yarn.  

While living there, I started this Blog, and began tracking the stuff that was going in and out of my life. Sorta as a way to keep myself accountable to not buy weird crap, but also just to see if the crap I did buy was something I kept in the long run. 

Sidebar #2: Just checked the posts for last year and most of the stuff I brought in I still have, minus some plants that died).  

Plants on Bookshelf

In the months leading to my most recent move, I got back into deep declutter mode. Since I didn’t want to waste time and energy moving stuff that doesn’t Spark Joy

Right before that move was probably the point I had the least amount of things since moving out of my parents as an adult. Although, based on the feedback of my friends that helped me move, it was still a lot of stuff.  

Uhaul truck on moving day
From my most recent move

So where are we now?

If you’ve been paying attention to the blog (thanks by the way), you might have noticed that the past few months a lot of things have been coming in and not a lot going out. Which isn’t necessary a bad thing…  

Except I’m feeling the pull of some old habits resurface. Particularly the past few weeks with the week Black Friday and Boxing Day sales. I’m made a few purchases which were not as carefully thought-out as I would like in a perfect world. Examples being two plants from a local seller, and pots that I’ve seen on Instagram a million times.  

There were moments here and there were I did a bit better, like One of a Kind Show, which is a really large vendor sale of Canadian artists. Supporting locally made is something I value, and I’ve gone pretty friggin’ hard in the past.  

It’s been two years since I’ve been, I was excited to go, yet worried about over spending. I think I was pretty good. Mostly due to my partner rolling his eyes and making fun of me for having this blog while also wanting all of the things. I did end up getting a few items: a shirt, a sweater, some presents for my parents and a craft kit. Some people may find that was a lot but, again, better than previous years.  

me screaming in a forest
Me in said sweater yelling in the woods

After this I bought some pots I saw on instagram/online that I decided to order.  

That was definitely a willpower issues. Did I need pots? Not really… Especially since I regret the purchase as the colours on the website are not close to the actuals.  

Chive planter in peacock blue

This time of year is kinda tough if you are trying to not buy things. The darkness gets to your bones. You lowkey feel like an animals trying to scavenge all the things you need to survive hibernation and it’s all on sale!  

It can be helpful if there’s stuff that have been on a list and you’re looking for a deal. But trying to not let that snowball into somethings larger, is really hard. Which is were I’m at. I’ve ordered a bunch of stuff online and for a short while I forgot what I ordered and when stuff that was arriving in the mail. So every day was a little surprise. Yay consumerism.  

But what would I have done differently?

The main one is listening to my partner when he was trying to talk me out of these purchases. He knows I’m trying to curb my spending. I would just look at him, giggle and hit the PayPal ‘buy now’ button.  

That’s probably why a lot of decluttering books mention having a accountability partner. Until you’ve fully ~shifted your mindset~ toward minimalism or whatever, it’s hard to not want to follow old, yet wasteful patterns. So having someone that you can mention wanting something and hear them telling you ‘NO’ can be powerful. As well as someone to discuss the feelings and just getting a dialog going can remind you why you want less stuff. 

stock photo of women talking to each other
Photo by Christina Morillo on Pexels.com

 Another tried and true things all the books mention is having a goal. I didn’t and I think I let that lost feeling manifested in weird ways. I don’t know if I’m fully over it now. But I’m high on that New Year’s Resolution good good and been able to go *checks calendar* 8 days without buying any crap.

Hopefully I will be able to keep up that energy throughout the year. This year, I have some savings goals, as well some environmental impact goals that I’m trying to keep top of mind as we continue into 2022.   

That pretty much it. This post ended up being a lot longer than expected. I mostly just wanted to write about feeling silly for buying so much crap through PayPal and how it made me feel like I was in my early twenties again and it just when from there. I would love to hear from you. What there something dumb you bought because of Instagram? Or because there was a Black Friday sale? I would love to hear about it.  

pinterest thumbnail

Inbound vs Outbound #15 – December 2021

The point of this article is to see what I’ve purchased versus what I’ve decluttered in the month. The ultimate goal is to see, if over time, I’m bringing more into my life than taking out. Also, if the things I do bring in are adding more value into my life in the long run since I’m documenting when it’s arriving.

plane landing
Photo by Shoval Zonnis on Pexels.com

Inbound: 

  • Three pairs for socks (gifted)
  • One stocking (gifted)
  • Wine glass set (gifted)
  • One herb saver thing (gifted)
  • One orchid (gifted)
  • One honey candle (gifted)
  • One sweater (gifted)
Me in said sweater from Crywolf Clothing
  • One Pharaohs Mask Colocasia plant (won in a contest)
  • One mini Christmas tree decoration (gifted)
  • Three scrunchies
  • One rosemary mini Christmas tree
  • One planter pot cover
  • Two skeins of yarns
  • One candle that smells like marshmallows
  • 12 days of hair accessories advent calendar
  • One food processor
  • Three plant mats
  • One box with wine and wine accessories

plane taking off
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Outbound:

  • Three balls of yarn (in the form of a sweater as a gift for a friend)
  • One knit hat (made for a friend)
  • One stocking (reused as wrapping for a different present)
  • Three belts (garbage since there were in bad condition)
  • One pair of shoes (garbage since it was in bad condition)
  • The rosemary Christmas tree since I killed it (RIP).

A bit more coming in this month since it was the holidays. I left out the piles of chocolate since I don’t include food in these posts.

The apartment was a tad overwhelming right after Christmas with all the wrapping and boxes but it’s back to a normal level of organized chaos.

BOOK REVIEW: Live More, Want Less by Mary Carlomagno

rectangular green swiss cheese leafed plant photo mounted on wall

Live More, Want Less is the fourth book by Mary Carlomagno. A professional organizer and public speaker. This book was released in 2011.

The full title is: Live More, Want Less: 52 Ways to Find Order in Your Life. I scoffed when I read the title… Why would anyone want to read 52 ways to do anything. Which is foreshadowing to my experience reading this book.

The idea of 52 is one area of focus a week for a year. If anyone got that far… Full disclosure, I was not able to finish this book. I got to Chapter 25, I noticed that not a single thing in the past five chapters sunk in.

I think the book mentioned saying ‘No’ to stuff that adds stress to one’s life. I’m taking that advice to heart and have returned it to the library.

smartphone with title near blank diary and bottle on bed
Photo by Anete Lusina on Pexels.com

Below are bullet points notes I took as I read along:

  1. Chapter Two is called “Procrastinators Read This First”. How would we know to read this first? It’s the second chapter… Lord knows how long before we would get to that point in the book.  
  • Each chapter is really really short. Usually just an ancedote with some daily “practices”, which aren’t even that actionable.
  • “I recycle my schedule which made me feel eco savvy.” Mmmm…. Ma’am. That’s not how that works.
  • The author is very woowoo and believes in the Law of Attraction. Which isn’t a good sign. 
  • Each chapter kinda reminds me of something you would read in a horoscope.  

I don’t know who this book was written for! The book is too vague and unguided for self-help Newbies and too redundant for Veterans. I suppose it could be Baby’s second or third self-help book, but it’s written like crap. So I wouldn’t want that experience for anyone.  

To conclude, I wasted more time and effort on this book than it’s worth. I have a long TBR list and I’m just going to move on to the next thing. I want to live more, by wanting less of this book’s existence.

If you are curious about books that aren’t a waste of time, you can read my rankings of Minimalism and Decluttering books here.

Inbound vs Outbound #14 – November 2021

The point of this article is to see what I’ve purchased versus what I’ve decluttered in the month. The ultimate goal is to see, if over time, I’m bringing more into my life than taking out. Also, if the things I do bring in are adding more value into my life in the long run since I’m documenting when it’s arriving.

plane landing
Photo by Shoval Zonnis on Pexels.com

Inbound: 

  • Five nail polishes
  • Three planters
One of the planters. Its colour is completely different than the website… Change my mind.
  • Two dining chairs
  • Two plants (Alocasia black velvet and red imperial)
  • One 2022 planner
  • One Lego advent calendar
  • One clay figure kit
  • One vintage skirt
  • One sweatpants
plane taking off
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Outbound:

  • Two knit baby blankets (donated to my local NICU)

My partner has been joking a fair amount this month about my minimalism efforts. Since they have been pretty much non existent. I’m exploring this more in an upcoming post. So keep an eye out for that.

BOOK REVIEW: Fashionopolis by Dana Thomas

men s gray and black button up shirt on mannequin

I heard about Fashionopolis as it was one of sources on a recent Climate Town video (which was awesome and you should totally watch after you’re done here).  

Fashionopolis is the third book by Dana Thomas, published in 2019. She’s a careered fashion journalist for such esteemed publications as the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Harper’s Bazaar and more.

The book is set up in three parts.  

Part One covers the history of mass produced garments. Starting in the industrial revolution to now in the world of over consumption, globalism and exploitation. Fun…

It did start exploring more modern manufacturing plants that are more automated and transparent about how the workers are being treated. Which is nice to know there’s some change in the industry to make things a tad bit safer. But at the same time the big fast fashion companies are still actively lobbying against countries like Bangladesh from raising the minimum wage.   

This part was interesting but also extremely sad, since it really highlights the lack of care companies have for their employees lives or safety.  

Image Source and an interesting article about garment workers during the Pandemic.

Part Two was more focused on material production and ‘rightshoring’ which is the return of garment manufacturing in first world countries with more more ethical and environmentally conscious practices. Or that is how I understood it in the context of the book. I googled it after finishing the book and my definition is off.

It gives reasons to why some garment manufacturing is coming back to the US and UK. As well as suppliers like dyes, wools, lower water cotton and more.

There were interviews some of the startups that are working on fabric recycling, particularly cotton/poly blends (which is shockingly common and currently essentially impossible to reuse or recycle (Secondhand covered the journey to the grave is covered really well in that book if you’re curious)).  

Somewhere in this section we start hearing about Stella McCartney, the fashion designer. I knew her as the lady that designed that ugly jackets for Taylor Swift’s Lover merch. She’s also Paul McCartney’s daughter. #funfacts 

But she’s been very active in reducing furs in luxury fashion, and has been investing and partnering with many of small manufacturers that are creating ethical or recycled materials. It was really cool. But also the book talked about her a lot. I don’t know if it’s because she’s the only one doing anything or if that just who the author could interview.  

Part Three is about renting and sharing of clothing, as well as the second hand market. All of which have been growing in recent years. The author seemed to focus in on luxury rental companies (Like the Real Real). I think it would have been cool to have talked more which places like ThreadUp or Goodwill to discuss how the secondhand bomb has been effecting them. Since that’s where us normies get our second hand clothes.

black framed eyeglasses on white jacket and blue denim bottoms
Photo by Ylanite Koppens on Pexels.com

I enjoyed Fashionopolis. I have an interest in fashion (or maybe garment production since I like sewing). And this book was filled with sooo much interesting information. However, when I read a book like this, I wish it was a documentary instead. The author tried describing this as much as she could but I want to see it. I ended up having to google some of the stuff mentioned just to understand what she’s talking about. So at the very least photos would have improved the reading experience. If you have a interest in fashion or curious about garment manufacturing this book is for you.

How am I supposed to imagine this from a description? Image Source (PS it’s a 3-D printed dress)

If you curious about over fashion related book review, my review for Project 333 is for you. Or check out all my book reviews here.

Inbound vs Outbound #13 – October 2021

The point of this article is to see what I’ve purchased versus what I’ve decluttered in the month. The ultimate goal is to see, if over time, I’m bringing more into my life than taking out. Also, if the things I do bring in are adding more value into my life in the long run since I’m documenting when it’s arriving.

plane landing
Photo by Shoval Zonnis on Pexels.com

Inbound: 

  • One Dining Table;
  • Persticide Spray for the plants; and
  • A lot (I mean like two boxes worth) of glass containers from the Buy Northing Group.
Three of the contrainers (I already had the vase in the front) on the new table
More of the jars that haven’t found homes yet.
plane taking off
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Outbound:

  • Nothing…

Honestly, October flew by so quickly I didn’t really have time to accumulate or get rid of anything. I was able to make my costume out of stuff I already owned and we didn’t decorate for the season.

The Move 2021

man person people car

“You have so much stuff…”

I’m not sure how many times I heard that over the day my friends graciously gave up to help me move. 

The friends that help me move last year were the most vocal in their complaints:

“You didn’t have this much stuff last year”

“How do you write a blog about minimalism when you own this much crap?”

“How did you move last time with only a van?”

The answer to that last question: My old place was furnished, including bed frame and mattress. I’ve since gotten both, as well as three bookshelves. All items that take up a lot of space in a moving truck.

Other than that, I don’t have an excuse. I didn’t think I collected that many things over the year and a bit I lived in my previous apartment. But I guess looks can be deceiving…

Well, I suppose one notable area where I know I’ve accumulated stuff is plants. If you read my Inbound vs Outbounds over the year, you might have noticed this trend. But that doesn’t take a trucks worth of space.

Plants on Bookshelf

Another spot, that truly didn’t sink in until we were unpacking at the other end was food. Maybe, this shouldn’t surprise me. I’ve mentioned my struggles with food waste a few times on this blog during my Plastic Free July series.  

Anyways, the number of boxes that were food gadgets, or actually food was shocking. I didn’t count, but it felt like the kitchen is overflowing with my stuff, and none of my partner’s. I have no idea how it happened since the kitchen at our new place is bigger than my last place.

I guess in hindsight I might have overstepped my dedicated food storage areas in my old apartment. I’m trying not to repeat this a second time. Not only with food, but with general co-habitation.

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

As for other things that moved, they are all about as expected…

My partner is very confused about the shoes. Earlier today, he was like “so you have a Ikea thing in the closet that holds your shoes”. To which I agreed was accurate. He continues “so what is the big bag of shoes in the living room?”

I just said “Yes” and moved on. I haven’t worn most of my heels in almost two years, but they still Spark Joy, so they are staying.


I won’t touch on the yarn situation too much in this post. But my partner and friends were very confused as they would open a box and yarn would be the first thing they would see (I used it in lieu of bubble wrap to pad my stuff).

At the moment there is one closet and a few boxes that are just sitting around, filled with yarn and crafting supplies. All of it poorly organized since I get so overwhelmed it’s muddles my brain when I’ve tried figuring out what I should do to store it. Like, I know what I want to do with each individual ball of yarn or piece of fabric, but finding the home, until I have the time to do it, is the issue. It’s not a cute look and definitely something I’m planning on tackling in the near term.

The truck. We also did a few car trips after for the plants and small stuff

Overall, it feels so strange now that I’m here. I’ve spent months trying to downsize my belongings, and been giving crap away left, right, and center. But I don’t really feel like I have much to show for it. Or more, not show since it should be gone. My friends that read the blog were so impressed with how much stuff I had listed in my August Inbound vs Outbound. It was a productive month, but also doesn’t feel like enough.

To concluded, the move went well and we are still getting settled in. This post doesn’t feel like it had much of a point. But I still wanted to share my thoughts and experiences of the process. Have you moved recently? Would love to hear any fun remarks the people helping you out made.

Plastic Free Update #2

assorted plastic bottles in a pile

You can read my two previous posts about Plastic Free July below:

I’m Gonna Try ‘Plastic Free July’

Plastic Free Update #1

As mentioned in my previous update, it was harder than expected. Now that it’s late-August, I can confidently say I didn’t do a great Plastic Free July. Below is an overview of the second half of the month:

July 19: McDonalds drink and fries

July 21: McDonalds coffee

July 22: Brough my own bags to the farmers market, but not enough, so I had to use some of theirs. I also got a container of microgreens and bread in a plastic.

Farmers Market Haul

July 23: I got plastic bag and plastic fork that came with my lunch order.

Later that day I dropped off my pile of black plastic take out containers I’ve been hording. There’s a take back program in Toronto, Case Reuse, that sanities and redistributes them to restaurants. So I brought my pile over to them.

July 25: Plastic clingwrap on some veggies that I received in my Too Good to Go order. It’s an app that partners with bakeries, grocers, restaurants to sell food that’s about to spoil at discounts in a sort of goodie bag. So the things I received would have gone to garbage anyways, so at least I was able to divert some of that waste.

July 26: Harvey’s drink with my post work snack of a veggie burger.

July 27: Did groceries and brought my reusable bags, but forgot the bags for my veggies.

July 28: Ordered Freshii for lunch on site, a compostable bowl but plastic lid. Strange…

July 29: A plastic bag came with my Mr.Sub order for lunch on site.

So ended up using single use plastic for more than 50% of the days. Beyond what was listed in the two updates, I’m pretty confident I forgot stuff so the reality could be worst.

Me after looking over my notes and seeing how bad I goofed the challenge. Photo by Ric Rodrigues on Pexels.com

I am proud of some of the things I’ve done. Like I finally got rid of the weird pile of plastic I was hiding from my roommate (although I might have to start a new one, since I saw some ramen bowls in our recycling again).

That’s pretty much the only goal that I achieved. Which is disappointing since I was really confident that I could do better. That why in my original post I added stretch goals, I was really sure that Plastic Free July would challenging but doable.

I could give a bunch of excuses to why I broke my own rules, as well as a challenges. But I can really summaries it as lack of planning and lack of fortitude.

The lack of planning one I’m hoping to fix, for a variety of reasons that aren’t only related to my plastic usage.

But my lack of fortitude is a bit harder. That can’t be solved that with a planner and a To Do list (although it might help). As I suspected in my first post, a lot of the plastic waste is coming from eating take-out. Some of that is due to the nature of my job, which involves a lot of site work and driving. But that doesn’t explain the takeout coffees and after work fries and pop. Those were just me wanting them now instead of waiting until I was at the office or home for a drink and snack.

So although I don’t think I did that well, I do think this is a interesting baseline measurement. Either for future Plastic Free Julys but also for other months. I might track it September and see how it compares. If I was a massive data nerd, I could track it for the next year and make some cool graphs with what type of plastic I’m using and where I put it at end of use. I would love to tell you I’m that kind of person, but I far too forgetful. So don’t look for that in the future.

So what now?

If you are new to Plastic Free July, their website has a lot of decent swaps for reducing plastic waste in the home.

But for the most part just planning a head so you don’t do what I do and impulse buy takeout. That’s better for the environment and ones wallet. I’m too nervous to even look at my bank statements to see how much money I spend this month on take out (minus the reimbursable stuff from work).

In my first post, I mentioned that I wanted to look in to the City of Toronto’s recycling program to learn more about it and maybe lobby for it to include black plastic. I haven’t done that. I still fully intend looking into that and Toronto’s composting program. May I update this post, or write a separate one when I’ve gotten the time to do the research. 

To wrap up, still a bit disappointed in how I did but I think that this was good eye opener that despite thinking I know a lot about waste reduction and plastic alternatives, I don’t fully practise what I preach and can improve.

Did you do Plastic Free July? How was it for you? I would love to read about it in the comments.

Trying to Reclaim My Car

green scale model car on pavement

My car’s name is Dorian. Due to the fact that my car is gray. I love her! She’s my first big adult purchase and I use her pretty regularly to, ya know, drive.

I know The Minimalists say to love people, use things but I think I can love both.

But as of late, I’m not treating my car like I love her… Since I moved (back in July 2020), I’ve had some random boxes just sitting in my car because I didn’t want to clutter my apartment. This doesn’t make the clutter go away. And it being out of sight definitely did not made it easier to remember to actively take steps to intergrade or remove the crap from my life. I now totally understand why every decluttering book warns against off site storage. Out of sight, out of mind is a very real phenomenon.

Anyways, my life has recently reached a new, more cluttered point. Earlier this year, my parents moved and put some of my extra stuff into my aunt’s basement, as she still lives close by. I was texting her about something unrelated, and she mentioned I still have many boxes sitting in her basement.

That was a sign that it was time to get the stuff out of her house and take true ownership of my crap.

And oh my! I have soo much crap!! Poor Dorian was struggling as I was driving her home. I truly needed to clear out my car and make her usable. Since it was filled, including the passenger seat with boxes.

Step One was just clearing out the car. It took a couple trips, even while we used a cart to lug stuff up from the parking garage to my unit.

Step Two is looking through the contents of the box. That’s where it got a been a harder. There some stuff that I can declutter but a lot of it is stuff I don’t have space for, but also don’t want to get rid of. The majority of these boxes are are still sitting in boxes in my room as I write this.

But that can’t stay that way. Mostly because I want my room back, but also because I’m moving later this year and I don’t want to waste space in the moving van on stuff I don’t even want to keep.

Step Three has been getting rid of stuff. 

Donation centers have been closed off and on for the better part of a year due to lockdowns in Ontario. Although they are currently open, they are overwhelmed with donations. So the whole system is way less efficient than usual at redistributing donations.

As much as possible, I’ve been avoiding creating a donation pile. My current system is much slower and one that pretty much no one would recommend, due to it being so inefficient.

I’m currently selling cloths and home goods online on a variety of websites (eBay, Depop, Vinted, etc…). Any items that I don’t think have a resale value higher than it’s shipping cost are being posted in my local Buy Nothing group or FB Marketplace.

It’s been a pretty slow process. I’ve gotten faster at taking, editing and uploading product pics. And for the most part people have been coming to me for pickups. Since I work from home most days so I can just pop down to my building’s lobby and do the hand off. So the active time involved isn’t that high.

A bunch of tapes off to their new home

My friends have been really impressed by my patience in this process. Like the one time a no-buy pickup was about an hour late. Or the person that didn’t read when I mentioned three times I wasn’t available until after 12pm show up at 11:30am looking to trade.  

Those have been the most annoying trades, and they are rare instances. The majority of the time, everyone is punctual and extremely nice. Which is the main reasons I’ve been keeping up with it.

But that’s pretty much where I’m at. My Inbound vs Outbound for June (posted late, but better late than never) will better detail where I’ve been diverting my decluttered items.

I really need to pick up the speed. I really want to have my space reclaimed, right in time to pack it all up for the next place in about a month and half.

I’ve also been recording this process in more detail on my phone. So I need to learn how to edit videos and I’ll post that here as a separate update. So look out for that in the coming weeks to months.

Since the cleanout, I vacuumed the car and it was empty for a short period of time… Unfortunately, the car is currently filled with work equipment, a rain coat, and a copy of Pretty Little Liars I found at my local little library. I plan on dealing with that soon…

Plastic Free Update #1

This is an update to my last post (I’m Gonna Try ‘Plastic Free July’) you can read it here.

Not off to a strong start…

Below is a summary of the days were I failed (and, like, two times passed) at Plastic Free July and how:

July 1st: I was sitting in a park with my partner and we both wanted some coffee…

We thought that the café nearby was doing outdoor dining and we could use their mugs. Unfortunately, it was doing take-out only. Knowing this, we still both got an ice coffee and a popsicle.

So in the quest for caffeine, we created two take-out coffee cups and two popsicle plastic bags worth of waste. Also this was place was friggin expensive. We probably should have planned a bit better and brought coffee on the road with us before hanging out.

July 2: Went for a walk after dinner around my neighborhood and stopped by the grocery store. Got toilet paper because we ran out. As well, a pint of strawberries since they are on hella sale. Both items were wrapped in plastic.

July 6: Doing a bit better, I haven’t brought new plastic. I’ve mostly been eating in. I even stopped myself from just getting take-out because I was out of the house running errands.

I’ve used plastic products tho. I’ve finished two dips that were in plastic packaging, which I washed and recycled.

As well, I did have to throw out a bread bag since that isn’t accepted in our recycling system.

July 8: Upside: Got my coffee in my reusable mug. Downside: Second Cup has not fully brought back their Lug-a-Mug program. So my barista had to pour my coffee into a paper cup and pour it into my travel mug.

So the waste was generated even if I didn’t have to throw it out.

After my barista finished pouring my coffee, he showed pictures of the steak with basil chimichurri sauce he made the night before. It looked nice (unfortunately I couldn’t include the pic here).

Later than day, I ordered a donut and pizza for takeout. Both packaged in cardboard. Although the pizza box is too oily to be recycled. Not plastic, but I did break my own rules of not ordering out cause I’m weak willed and hungry.

July 9: I got a coffee from Timmies on my way back from a site for work. I took the drive-through so I couldn’t ask if they would fill my mug.

I will fully admit this plastic waste could have been avoided if I was less lazy and waited till I got home for coffee.

July 10: Went to a small grocer near my house. I brought my own plastic bags from previous trips and used them again. The cashier didn’t noticed.

July 13: Broke down and:

  • got an iced coffee.
  • used plastic bags since I forgot to bring down all my reusable ones from my apartment into my car before I left for the store.
  • bought mushrooms wrapped in plastic since they were on sale, instead of the loose option.

Overall not a good day…

July 14: Got two To-Go containers of Timmies coffee for the client and construction crew I was working with. And I helped myself to a coffee that was in a paper cup, since I forgot my own travel mug.

July 15: Honestly the photo captures how the month is going. But, like, in a bad way…

Changing lives by destroying future generations…

Also it seems that Tim Hortons’ now gives paper straws with orders. This is a very small and somewhat performative step from one of Canada’s larger sources of litter.

So that’s where I am at the halfway mark of Plastic Free July. It turned out to be harder than expected. Mostly due to my own lack of planning. I want to say that it gets better in the second half of the month. But that would be a lie.

Are you doing Plastic Free July? Or do you know of ways that I can stop forgetting my travel mug every time I leave the house? Love to hear about it in the comments below.