Inbound vs Outbound #22 – June 2022

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 pair of yoga shorts
  • One summer dress
  • One rain jacket
  • One cat harness
  • One iron on patch
  • Two hydroponics nutrients for the plants
  • Two cover pots
One of the cover pots and proof that my cat is the worst
  • A pack of Thank You cards
  • Bug spray (for me)
  • Bug spray (for my plants)
  • One duvet cover
  • One Sleeping bag
  • Two tomato plants my friend found on the side of the road.

plane taking off
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Outbound:

  • Six Crochet cacti (Sold)
  • Watermelon peperomia (Died)
  • Alocasia red imperial (Died)
  • Colocasia Pharaoh’s Mask (Died)
  • Peperomia frost (didn’t die, it just had bugs and I didn’t want to deal with it’s drama anymore)
  • One baseball hat from my previous company (gifted/pawned off to a friend that still works there)
  • Two pepper seedlings (Buy Nothing Group)

Something I haven’t figured out how to talk about on the blog yet is that I have a small business where I sell crochet plants and home decor items. It feels like something that should have been mentioned on here sooner.

I have some drafted posts about how its weird to read this many minimalism books but also make physical items. At the same time, Marie Kondo sells home decor items, so I can too!

It’s also not been a great month for my plants. I’ve been finding them a bit overwhelming lately, so I decided it was time to call the time of death on some of my plants. Although I’m like 30% I could revive with time and more experience. It was good to get some plant stuff out of the way. I have more planned on that front, so keep an eye out for that in the near-ish future.

You can see May’s post here. Or the rest of the series here.

Inbound vs Outbound #21 – May 2022

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 Patagonia Quarter Zip
  • Two reusable pads
  • One tinned conditioner
  • One Hoya kerrii
  • One Oregano plant
  • One Thyme plant
  • One Dill plant
  • One Parsley plant
  • A Cat leash and harness
  • One Cat Teaser Toy
  • One plastic pot

plane taking off
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Outbound:

  • Cactus shape cat starcher (Given away on Buy Nothing Group)
  • One Aloe Vera plant (Sold of FB Marketplace)
  • One Nail Polish (Finished 💅)
  • Hoya Kerrii (Tossed, it started to died like the day after I got it)
😭😭😭
  • One Pair of Jeans, the pair included in my March post (Gifted to a friend)

My cat is obsessed with the thyme I got. He keeps jumping up where he shouldn’t and tries to eat it. That’s been a bit of a challenge this month. If you have any tips for stopping a cat for eating and attacking plants I would love to hear them! The current method is just closing the door to the room where the thyme is living. But that’s kinda annoying.

My outbound is mostly filled with purchases I regret. The cat scratcher, the Kerrii, and the pants were all bought pretty recently. I guess the lesson is to not buy things that are Final Sale. Especially the pants. I bought them online and they are nowhere close to fitting me despite the size guide. I tried selling them online on Depop, but didn’t get any traction. I’m happy that this purchase wasn’t a complete dud and I was able to gift them to a friend.

Inbound vs Outbound #20 – April 2022

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 litter box
  • One litter scoop
  • One cat carrier
  • Five cat toys
  • Two bowls
  • One cat tree
  • Two cat scratcher
  • One litter genie thing
  • One cat
  • Five candles (different from the candles I got in February)
  • One long sleeve shirt
  • One zipper sweater
  • Two pots I found at the side of the road
  • One snake plant I found at the side of the road
Side of the road snake plant in random side of the road pot
plane taking off
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Outbound:

  • Two phone cases (given away on the buy nothing group)
  • One hair claw clip (garbage since I broke it)
  • One Alocasia Black Velvet (sold on FB marketplace)
  • One beer glass (garbage since it broke)
  • One bag of clothing including at least one dress, two blazers, and four t-shirts (local clothing swap)
  • One candle (gifted to a friend)

So the big thing from this month is that we got a cat. That involved getting a bunch of stuff. We started with the basics, but got a few more toys and things as we figure out what the cat liked and needed.

Hopefully he will require less random stuff in future months. Despite all the toys we’ve gotten him, his favorite thing in the world so far has been a crumpled up Tim Horton’s donut wrapper/paper bag. He’s pulled it out of the recycling bin multiple times to play with it.

Another highlight of the month, is that I finally got rid of a bag of clothes that’s been sitting at the bottom of my closet since January. I didn’t want to just drop it off a Value Village where it would likely get trashed. I found a local clothing swap, which was perfect. I did leave with two pieces, but still a net negative to my closet.

Overall a busy month, I can believe that it’s already over.

What’s in My Bag as a Civil Engineer

women looking at the screen

So this isn’t fully on brand for the content of the blog, but I wanted to share it anyways. I was recently spring cleaning and thought I should also tackle my work bag in the process. It had gotten weirdly heavy as of late, so it was probably worth looking at.

Most of my work is doing inspections of existing buildings, with a bit of new construction from time to time. So I end up in all sorts of different environments and types of work in a week. Which will probably show with the stuff I carry with me.

My work bag is a navy backpack with faux leather accents. As seen below being checked out by a cat I was taking care of at the time.

So what was in my bag. I took it all out and made a flat lay.

  • Wallet: pretty standard
  • Extra Mask: The worst feeling is when your mask breaks and you awkwardly have to hold it as you go to the reception of the building you are reviewing and ask if you can bum a new one. I totally have never done that… But I like to have a couple extras a back up.
  • Two notebooks: Not sure why I had two. I removed the smaller one from the bag. The larger one lives on my clipboard (not shown) and I typically use that or a pad of paper to write my site notes.
  • Measuring tape: to measure stuff on site to confirm it’s the size it’s supposed to be. Or if I’m bored, I can see how much of the tape I can pull out before it collapses
  • Screw driver: great for opening access hatches, or removing the cover off a piece of equipment.
  • Flashlight: there’s a flashlight on my phone, but it’s good to have one that’s a bit more powerful. Work sends me to some pretty dark and scary places sometimes. It also kinda acts as a laser pointer when I’m trying to show something to a client or colleagues, where I can just shine the light on the thing that I’m talking about.
  • Four pens: I keep losing them on site, so I would rather have too many than not enough. It’s nice to have multiple colors on hand if you need to mark up a drawing or highlight something in your notes.
  • Two sets of gloves: as the seasons change, I don’t think I need to carry both. One pair is my fall/winter set of gloves. The other pair have some grip to them incase you need to lift something dirty.
  • One USB key: pretty helpful to have on hand.
  • Camera and charger: I know many people just use their phone for site photos. But an old school point and shoot doesn’t drain the battery of my cell, and typically the zoom is better.
  • Wet film thickness gauge: used to measure the thickness of liquid coatings.
  • Random charging cables: to charge my phone or connect it to my laptop when I’m on the road. The other is for my camera. I have no idea why the latter is in my bag since my computer has an SD port for transferring files.
  • Reusable Bags: Good for if I’m picking up groceries after work, and generally a nice thing to have. Probably don’t need to be carrying two of them at all times.
  • Sunglasses: got to look cool on site 😎.

Not shown but also in my bag:

  • A boatload of receipts and random papers.
  • A small first aid kit, that’s mostly Band-Aids, alcohol wipes and advil.
  • A plastic cutlery set: never know when your burrito bowl order won’t come with a fork.
  • Period Products: pretty self explanatory.
  • Business cards: I store business cards everywhere. My jacket pockets, my bag, my car, anywhere. I still find old business cards from the job I had 4 years ago from time to time.
  • A water bottle or travel mug: these items don’t live in my bag since they are always being used or washed but if I’m out of the house I generally will have one of them in side pockets.
  • Personal Protective Equipment: these items don’t live in my bag full time, and I take whatever is appropriate to the site I’m going too. In general I have an extra hi-vis and my harness for working at heights just living in my car.

I carry so much stuff…

So this exercise made me realize how much stuff I carry at all times. I probably can take some of this stuff out and only pack what I think I need when I go to site. But that involves way more planning, and I don’t want to do it.

In general, I need to make more of an effort to go through and clean my bag. I found so so many receipts, post-its and change. I probably could have gotten like two fancy lattes with the money that was sitting at the bottom of the bag.

Is there something weird you have to carry as part of your job or commute? I would love to read about in the comments.

Bonus Content: Here’s a video of what the cat found when he stuck his head in my bag.

Inbound vs Outbound #19 – March 2022

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: 

  • Four semi precious jewel I impulsively bought on an online auction;
  • Sticky traps for fungus gnats;
  • Cheese making mold;
  • One ball of yarn;
  • One laptop;
  • One “Mercury in Retrograde” kit (gifted);
  • A pair of skinny jeans;
  • Six bottles of nail polish;
  • Two plant pots;
  • One Callisia Repens;
  • One Butterwort carnivorous plant; and
  • One vintage jacket.

plane taking off
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Outbound:

  • A super large pile of random papers and notes;
  • Two learn to play guitar books (Buy Nothing Group);
  • An pile of black plastic take out containers (Case Toronto);
  • One dead Callisia Repens; and

The last week of March I was off between jobs. So I did a big reorganize of some of our storage closets. It was probably a good sign that the only thing that really didn’t spark joy was a bunch of old tax documents and papers from university.

I was also able to empty out and consolidate some boxes. Which I think is a good thing. Downside: I brought in more stuff than decluttered this month. During my declutter, discovered a bin of yarn that I had sorta forgotten about. So the contents of that box will be my next big priority to tackle.

Inbound vs Outbound #17 – February 2022

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: 

  • Seven candles (I know that’s a lot);
  • One shampoo and conditioner tester set;
  • Six woven placemats;
  • One t-shirt; and
  • One kitchen knife

plane taking off
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Outbound:

  • Nothing

A short list for a short month. Most of the items are belated Christmas gifts. I’m planning on gifting some of the candles, but they also smell really nice so I might keep them. We will see how that pans out.

I have a bag of clothes I’m planning on decluttering. But it doesn’t count until it’s out of the apartment, so that is my goal for March.

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

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.

Inbound vs Outbound #11 – August 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.

I was packing to move this month. I tried my best to keep track of things but there’s a chance a lot was missed. Really tried to only to move stuff I want to keep (spoiler: mixed results).

plane landing
Photo by Shoval Zonnis on Pexels.com

Inbound: 

  • A bar cart;
  • One T-shirt;
  • One legging and sports bra set; and
  • One vacuum.
plane taking off
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Outbound:

  • Two jewelry design boards (FB Marketplace);
  • A carry case filled beading supplies (FB Marketplace);
  • A fishing tackle of beading supplies (FB Marketplace);
  • Two glass Terrarium (FB Marketplace);
  • Two outdoor chair and stools (FB Marketplace);
  • One Fijifilm Instax and three packs of film (given to a friend);
  • Two packs of scrapbooking paper (given to a friend);
  • One Gameboy with games and carrier (eBay);
  • More random bag of beading supplies (Buy Nothing Group);
  • A bag of knit slippers my grandma gave me three years ago (hospital NICU);
  • About 4-5 bags of clothing and household items (donated);
  • A office/school supplies (Buy Nothing Group/Gifted);
  • 100 paper bags (FB marketplace);
  • One crochet bear (Buy Nothing Group);
  • One plastic Christmas tree (Garbage);
  • One plant my friend found on the side of the road and left at my old place (returned to the side of the road);
  • One bean bag chair (gifted to my roommate);
  • One dinning table (gifted to my roommate); and
  • One pocket Neopet (eBay).

As predicted in my July post, lots of movement this month. I’m at the new place and there is a lot of unpacking to do, which will discuss in future posts.

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.