“Own only what you can always carry with you: know languages, know countries, know people. Let your memory be your travel bag”. Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
Little else is needed, that’s why when considering adopting the minimalist lifestyle, especially when out on the road, it can be easier than you think to cut out the superfluous and condense down to only the necessary.
We have put together a list of 5 tips to start your new minimalist life but these tips come under the subheadings, the fundamentals of the zero waste lifestyle, the 5 “R’s”.
-Refuse what you do not need.
-Reduce what you do need (and cannot refuse)
-Reuse what you consume (and cannot refuse or reduce)
-Recycle what you cannot refuse, reduce, or reuse
-Rot (compost) the rest.
1.) Refuse- We begin by refusing to conform to the constraints of society and the confines of what it means to be normal, work the 9 to 5 and remain in the city. This is the first step in the right direction. It’s time to reduce our superfluous of “things”. We refuse what we don’t need. This means post, junk mail, magazines, new books, freebies. Let’s take for example flyers and junk mail; now you are going to be away on the road, traveling or even if you remain at home, you have NO use for the bits that come through your post box. All financial providers in the UK whether that be banks, insurance companies etc have the option to go paperless, give them and ring and ensure they have your email and you can eliminate this type of mail too! In the Uk, there is a database of buying and selling of your info which is how and why you end up receiving junk mail. If you head to https://www.gov.uk/ you can opt out. Slowly but surely when people ring and sell you things, when you buy products online, always OPT OUT and before you know it, your printed junk mail will be a thing of the past. Another example is freebies. When you are offered a free pen, a free notepad or a free perfume sample, to refuse this. You don’t NEED it, your life is fulfilled without it. The ultimate goal is to slowly but surely make the necessity for more, obsolete. By influence and by talking about it, you will help educate others too. But it starts with you.
2.) Now to reduce what you don’t need. Think about everyday products such as soaps, perfumes, shampoos, makeup etc. This is a healthy and positive place to start with the concept of “Reduce”. Head online to organic and vegan product brands to see how you can condense your soaps etc to a line of trusty, wonderfully smelling products. How much do you need 2 night creams, eye creams, and oils? Instead how about a skin nourishing cleanser, toner, and intense duel moisturizer. Instead of a million hair products, why not a simple but amazing shampoo (which can double as body soap), conditioner and one oil which you can use for hair and body? Boys- how about a shaving gel or foam which doubles and a body/hair wash? A face and body moisturizer which soothes after your shave but is non-greasy for your body too? Companies like Liz Earle are an insider favorite, plus Neal’s Yard. This can also easily apply to clothes, this is where the old adage of quality over quantity comes in. Instead of throwaway fashion items from high street brands, for lads and lasses alike, opt for outdoor stables, denim, and fabrics that are not afraid of the elements. Check out Vaude- is an outdoor clothing produces and Europe’s most environmentally friendly at that! The rest, well, your local charity shop would be very grateful for a donation of your leftover clothes!
3.) Reuse- This one could be a little harder to get used too. Swap disposables for reusables. Here are a few examples: Tissues to handkerchiefs, paper napkins to cotton Napkins, Single use plastics to reusable ones (when out and about), throw away water bottles to refillable bottles eg S’well, plastic shopping bags to shopping totes, Household cleaning cloths to old rags. You might find that you don’t miss your paper towels, but rather enjoy the savings. Another top tip is to avoid grocery shopping waste: Bring reusable totes, cloth bags to bag the food, you also avoid the 5p charge, bring glass jars and Tupperware (for wet items like cheese and deli foods) to the store and farmer’s market. This may feel really strange but it’s much more practical and with any luck, a intrigued shopper will ask what you’re doing and you can convert another savvy shopper. Most supermarkets and farmers markets are happy to oblige when the pricing sticker goes on top. However, for the supermarket give the customer services department a ring and make sure.
4.) Recycling like a boss! With a little research for when you’re at home and away, you can become to most savvy recycle king in the land. Start by keeping EVERYTHING separate, plastic from paper, products that have different components (be sure to cut away plastic from glass from paper etc) and pop everything in different bins. This way, if you find a really good recycle plant near you, you can go direct to the source for recycling. Sadly many councils in the UK have yet to properly catch up. This also a chance for you to do an overhaul of all your non essential possessions, clothes, decorations, bits and bobs, if you can’t turn them into something to use now then donate them to local charity shops. You may find things laying around that will be a massive help to you now, if not then it’s one less thing to clutter your life.
5.) Rot- not such an endearing subheading but it’s the perfect description for your new found love and passion for compost. To play right into the hippy, zero waste stereotype (but who the hell cares), you will soon become a composting master. From banana skins to leftover dinners, things (as icky as it may sound) like hair are all compost worthy. Set it up in your back garden or if you are on the road, every time to camp or stop, it worth researching if there are any composting sites along with recycling plants. Another option when traveling is to take all your fast decomposing waste like fruits and veggies and turn it into bio-fuel, this also works for the, shall we say, waste from the onboard lavatory facilities! All this info is available via blogs like Bea Johnson’s and scientific websites, click the links to discover.
Just 5 tips, heading to a direction of living well, balanced and consciously. The fulfillment one gets from taking care of the planet, themselves and those around them is something really special. Excuses can be easily made, no, it isn’t EASY per say but nothing that is worth it ever is. What’s important here is that you have the passion, the desire, and the drive and you can make it happen. Be minimal in worldly positions but learn how you can maximise your inner self, spread love and knowledge to show how we have the power to be the change we wish to see!
Until next time. . . .