I’ve been interested in minimalism and sustainability for a good few years now. I haven’t written about this previously as I am still a fair way away from the end of the journey to leading a more considered life, if it even has an endpoint. However, I thought it might be of interest to other people that struggle with where to start or wondering how they can make some easy changes. I’m a huge believer in taking everything one step at a time. This is one of the reasons that I love Sophie’s blog (also credit to her for the phrase ‘considered life’), she often reiterates that it’s better to take one step and make a small change than to do nothing at all.
I’ve pretty much always chosen to use cosmetics that aren’t tested on animals. This is something that has been harder in the last few years though as I’ve been sent things as a blogger and I’ve just not really thought about it – something I’m now much more strict about. I still have a lot of products that aren’t cruelty-free that I’ve acquired as gifts or whatever but I haven’t purchased or requested anything that’s tested on animals for a long time. When I can’t be bothered to research a brand I just default to Superdrug’s own brand range. I use them for most of my daily essentials, dry shampoo, toothpaste, micellar water, etc. If you’re not familiar with cruelty-free brands then there are lots of comprehensive lists around, I often refer to Cruelty Free Kitty. I try to extend this to cleaning and household products but living in a shared house and prior to that with my mum, I’m often not the person that buys these. Astonish are cruelty free and vegan and also one of the cheapest brands so I use them when possible.
I’m a hoarder. I can manage to put a sentimental attachment to anything and that makes me not want to get rid of it. This is one of the reasons that I find minimalism so difficult. Decluttering has been a very gradual process for me. It was about four years ago that I decided that I wanted to live with fewer things and replace cheaper items with more sustainable options and I’m still not at a point where I would say I’ve achieved this. Of course, I have vastly improved in this time but it’s been a very long process. The main thing that I focus on is not buying things that I don’t need. This started when I didn’t have much money so it was out of necessity too. I had a full-time job for most of last year and I did let this rule slip a bit as I had a lot more disposable income and hadn’t had new things in quite a while. I don’t think I purchased anything that I regret though and that’s what counts.
Not eating meat
I’ve been vegetarian on and off since I was 10 years old so for me the very easiest way that I know I can help the environment is to cut out meat from my diet. I’ll be honest and admit that I do go through phases where I will eat some meat – particularly if my boyfriend has a meal that looks super tasty and I just want to try some of it. Or if I’m in the middle of nowhere and the only shop around only has tuna sandwiches left then I’ll eat the tuna sandwich, ya know? This has been happening a lot less often though. I’m the kind of person that has to gradually lean into things, so I don’t beat myself up about having sweets with gelatine in or giving in to a craving for a McDonald’s cheeseburger once in a blue moon. Apparently, the word for this is flexitarian.
Where I want to be
My current aim is to replace things that I use regularly with more sustainable and environmentally friendly versions. I’ve started by switching cow’s milk to soya. I already have dairy free yoghurts because they taste exactly the same so if you’re looking for an easy switch to start with then try yoghurts! I haven’t yet replaced dairy cheese for vegan cheese just because it’s a fair bit more expensive but I have cut down the amount of cheese that I eat so I’ll probably switch next time I get some shopping.
Other than food, I’ve been meaning to buy things like reusable cotton pads and a menstrual cup for ages but it seems I have an endless supply of disposables and obviously I want to actually use them up first. I’ve also discovered that things like reusable kitchen towels exist so I’ve added that to my list, as well as a reusable razor and loose leaf tea instead of tea bags. (Again, credit to Sophie for making me aware of a few of these!)
I’m also trying to only buy clothes from brands that are at least making an effort to be more sustainable and have more ethical practices. For me, this includes Nobody’s Child, Primark, H&M conscious range and Monki as they’re in my price range and are doing more than a lot of other companies. I’m also shopping more in charity shops and finding things secondhand on Depop, eBay, etc. I might do a whole post on fashion in the future but I made a thread on Twitter of some of my fave picks from the ASOS sale that are from more ethical brands.
I’m sure there are many more things that I could improve but that’s kind of the whole point of this post, you don’t have to be perfect and it doesn’t have to be all or nothing. Every little helps!
I would love to know if you’re in a similar situation to me and how you’re getting on with everything!