My Mum recently found an old Garfield toy of mine in her attic. I loved Garfield as a child – we both liked lasagne and hated mornings.
July in New Zealand means dark winter mornings – getting up when it’s dark outside puts me out of kilter and can leave a cloud hanging over my whole day. Spring will come, but in the meantime, I’m open to strategies to beat the winter blues.
It is Friday, so it’s time to check in about my food waste over the last fortnight.
I am pleased to report that last week was another zero food-waste week, however unfortunately this week we wasted half a scoop of chips. It was a classic case of our eyes being bigger than our stomachs when ordering at the local fish and chip shop. My husband diligently cleaned up and threw them out before I managed to make a move to save them. I was going to try to reheat them the next day – they’d probably be quite soggy I’d imagine!
It is Food Waste Friday and I’m pleased to say that being accountable for my waste is making a real difference.
I got asked a great question this week (thanks Pip): “Have you found that doing it in public has helped more than just giving yourself a stern talking to?”.
The answer is a big YES. Obviously, going public is highly motivating, but there is more to it than that. Before starting this project, I felt guilty about my waste, but harsh self-criticism and bad feelings weren’t making much of a difference. Now when I waste food, I don’t feel as bad about it. I know I’ve made a good effort to reduce my waste and I use it as a learning opportunity to improve my systems.
And it is working! This week I’m happy to report zero food waste – until this happened.
I successfully made it through to the end of the Minimalist Game. Along the way, I learnt about change and momentum – how starting small can make a big difference.
The final days
I really felt the heat from day 25 onwards as I worked to reach my daily goal. However, I managed to power on through. With three weeks of decluttering decisions under my belt, I was able to work at a much faster pace. No longer was I umm-ing and ahh-ing over each individual item, I was discarding more but using less mental energy to do so. I was riding on the wave of momentum.
Welcome to Food Waste Friday. This week, I fell victim to the supermarket’s super-marketers.
First, the good news. The system I implemented last week – designating a shelf in the fridge for items that need to be used up ASAP – is working well. All leftovers, half used jars of tomato paste, etc., were used up.
The bad news –1 ¼ heads of broccoli in the bin. I went to steam and puree it on Monday (in an attempt to save it) but it was too far gone. This was a clear case of “bargain blinkers”. Broccoli wasn’t on my shopping list, but I couldn’t resist it at a bargain two for $3. Wow, I could save $1 by buying two! So I did, but I barely used any of it – really, I wasted $2 and a lot of broccoli.
This month I’ve been on a decluttering mission. I am playing The Minimalist Game, attempting to rid my home of 564 items in a month. One unexpected outcome of this mission – gratitude for the sharing economy.
Thanks to the sharing economy
The sharing economy has come in for a bit of a backlash recently as community turns corporate, but I have a lot to thank it for this month.
Sorting through my home, I’ve experienced a range of feelings guilt, overwhelm, joy, excitement. Undertaking this exercise has prompted me to search for ways of living with less. It has made me realise how grateful I am for the various ways that I can use and enjoy stuff without having to own it.
My decluttering has really ramped up over the last week. I am still amazed by the amount of junk I have stashed away. While my house doesn’t look much different, the kitchen especially is a lot easier to use.
Freedom from the freebies
As I decluttered over the last three weeks, I’ve been struck by the amount of stuff in the house I acquired for free. It is now clear to me that all this free stuff has a cost.
I hate to waste food but, inevitably, it happens. Despite meal planning like a pro, things don’t always work out as planned.
I know I am not alone in this. In New Zealand, where I live, the average family wastes around $563 worth of food every year. In the United States, for a family of four, its around $1600 worth of food each year. It’s pretty shocking.
It’s the end of Week 2 of the Minimalist Game and I’m already reaping the benefits of less stuff. I’ve also come to an important realisation – I’ve been hoarding for the environment.
Hoarding for the environment
Most of the items that I got rid of this week were either:
once useful stuff I no longer require or is at the end of its life (eg. old baby bottles, broken safety latches)
potentially useful stuff that is too good to waste and might be useful someday but that I don’t think anyone else would want (eg. piles of plastic cutlery and paper napkins that come with takeout, used plastic bags).
Essentially, now it is rubbish, trash, garbage. Easy to let go of? Umm, well, no.