People are nuts about their warm beverages. I’m more of a tea drinker myself, but once in a while, I’ll have a warm cup of bean water too. Let me share with you 4 ways you can partake in this past-time with a little less impact on the environment
If you must buy your coffee or tea – I encourage you to visit a local coffee shop as opposed to a chain. Support local and small businesses ❤
Take your own cup to go – Ask the barista to make your beverage in a reusable cup you bring yourself Most cups you get at the coffee shop are hard to recycle. Find out more here. Keep one in your car or bag so you always have one.
Make your own! – This goes without saying but, if you already own a coffee machine, USE IT! There are ways to make it more eco-friendly.
Buy your beans or tea leaves in bulk, in your own containers or in reusable, compostable, or recyclable materials. Look for a teapot that you can steep loose leaf tea . Or you can look into a single tea infuser like this cute sloth.
Buy Fair Trade – When you buy fair trade products, not only are you getting a better product, but you ensure that the people who harvested the beans or leaves are getting fair wages for their hard work. It stimulates economies, reduces the demand for child labor and much more. Read up on it here.
As for me, recently, my daughter has deviated from the norm and views regular bedtime as a casual suggestion. Because of this new development, I see myself appreciating the benefits of a caffeine boost more and more and more. For tea on the go, my friend Erin gifted me the cutest tea infuser. It is a godsend! Especially because I forget my hot drinks often and it is double-walled and also has a lid, to protect little baby hands from hot liquids.
When it comes to coffee, Thanks to my friend Natalie, I apparently prefer the taste of pour over coffee (who knew my tastebuds were so hipster) and luckily enough for me, there are a few zero-waste options out there for when I am ready to take the plunge.
I unabashedly love the new year. I love starting a new planner and setting goals for the next 12 months. Admittedly, I have set goals and made plans that I did not, and never planned on keeping. But as I get older, I have found it easier to stay true. Here is what I am doing differently in 2017.
More H20 – I love water. I want to drink, swim and be around more water this year.
Bye bye bra’s – You know that amazing feeling you get after you take off a bra you have been wearing all day? Imagine that feeling all day.
Make more things – I get great joy from creating things. My DIY attempts are not quite pinterest-worthy but the satisfaction and joy from the finished project is all I need.
Make time for meditation – I want to become more mindful this year and meditation is a great key to that. Between my work, my kid, my dogs, my spouse, and life, I rarely slow down…and when I do, I spend my precious minutes on my phone. So, mindfulness is important to me.
Read more – I recently got a Kindle so I could read in the dark while Thandiwe night-nurses. It’s been great so far. My most distinct memories of my dad are always of him reading, a book in one hand while he twisted his beard in his other hand. I’m certain I got my love of books from his example and I want the same for my daughter.
Go outside more – This one goes without saying. I would like to visit state parks in Kansas and be outside in mother nature more.
Be more eco-friendly –. Everything has an impact. Where I spend my money when buying clothes, to how much plastic waste I am responsible for when I go grocery shopping. We often do these things without thinking. I want to continue being savvy about where I am putting my hard earned cash towards and how it is affecting the earth.
Take no shit – There are so many things I could say about this. But basically, I am going to put me first this year and stop sparing myself for the sake of others.
Write more letters – My friend Chuck writes and friggin paints the most beautiful handwritten letters that make the people who receive them feel *so* special. Engaging back and forth with her through snail mail has been a treat that I want to continue with all my friends all over the globe.
In early 2016, several months pregnant and as big as a house, I was overcome with the inexhaustible need to nest. To prepare a place for my little nugget. I looked at the 3 bedroom home that I shared with my partner and two dogs and panicked. We had NO space. The baby room was full of various unopened baby gifts and we hadn’t even added a crib to her room yet. I toyed with the idea of renting a storage space but it did not fit into my budget. I was flabbergasted that at 25 years of living, I had already amassed such a large amount of crap that I needed extra space to hide it away.
This was unacceptable to me.I decided that I needed to get organized. So like any good millennial, I took to google- specifically, YouTube where I discovered an entire movement dedicated to organization. I was HOOKED. I watched countless videos of women changing clutter-filled rooms into DIY heaven, Pinterest-worthy masterpieces. I knew I had found my people. I learned about the Life-changing magic of tidying up by Marie Kondo and applied its principles to some of my life. I threw out, sold and donated gobs and gobs of stuff. It felt great. For the first time, I felt in charge of my belongings. I said bye bye to gifts I had received (that were not my style) from well-meaning relatives and friends that I had kept out of obligation. All my mismatched socks and dresses that used to fit me kicked the bucket. I let my closet be a space that held things that I loved and brought me joy. So what if that meant I had only two pairs of socks?
Minimalism made me question my spending habits. It made me wonder where my money was going when I made a purchase.Before I swiped or hit buy, did I really need or love the item I was about to bring into my life? It reconnected me to my public library after I realized I never touched the books I had purchased after I was done with them. What a waste. It made me fall back in love with DIY’s and crafting. Enjoying the satisfaction of a job well done after creating something for my family.
A home is supposed to be your sanctuary, but for a long time, my home was a place that brought me anxiety and shame. I did not know what to do with my gobs of stuff. Minimalism helped me make my home a sanctuary that I loved being in.
Minimalism is not a strict set of rules that you can follow. It looks different for everyone. For me, it looks like the William Morris quote – “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.” It is a journey. Since I’ve had my daughter, my closet has filled back up with clothes (most of which I do not wear…again, how wasteful) to accommodate my changing body and my kitchen is in need of a good spring cleaning from all the random mismatched lunchboxes and plates that my partner and I apparently attract like magnets. But, I can look around my house and tell a love story about almost everything there.
All this brings me to why I am blogging about this. In all my research and countless HOURS spent on the interwebs learning about organizing and minimalism, the number of POC I found who were having these conversations has been small. Like under 10 people small. My background in media and the fact that I am a black person makes me super passionate about the representation of POC in all avenues. This blog and information is for everyone but I do want people of color to know that there is someone like them out here engaging in this predominantly white space, and they can too. Everyone deserves freedom from stuff. To quote the minimalists, love people, use things.
Carry a re-suable bag with you everywhere – In your purse, in the trunk of your car. Find a small one that folds up easy and doesn’t take up a lot of space. I don’t have to talk about how bad plastic bags are for our environment.
Say bye to plastic straws – When eating out or ordering drinks. Ask for no straw. If you must have one, invest in some glass or stainless steel reusable ones. Straws are a tiny bit of plastic that we don’t think about that wrecks havoc on our environment.
Say deuces to plastic bottles – Use the bottles you already have or invest in a stainless steel or glass bottle.
Kiss fast fashion good bye – I KNOW, its hard. No more Forever 21 or the Gap is asking a lot of folks. Especially if you are someone who enjoys shopping like me. Because of fast fashion, most clothing ends up in landfills.Before you make a purchase, ask if you really need it. If you do, try to buy it second hand, or from a more ethical company. This graphic from storyofstuff.org is a great way to think about clothing.
Lastly, Find unpackaged versions of things you use everyday. There are stores that sell unpackaged food in bulk that allow you to bring your own containers like mason jars or cotton bags. Find a local bulk store near you here – http://zerowastehome.com/app/
Let’s do our part to keep Mama Earth looking gorgeous.
This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links, I’ll receive compensation if you choose to purchase any of the items I have suggested.
When I first ventured out into the big bad world and got my own place, I was a sophomore in college. I survived on my pittance waitress wages and student loan stipend. Every item in my dump home was purchased second hand or very cheaply from Walmart (which I affectionately call Satan’s workshop… here is why). Of course, anything that I bought cheaply bit the dust within a few years. Handles came off pots, dinnerware chipped, my blender couldn’t chop through a banana. Even though the things were made cheaply and not of the best quality, I take partial responsibility, because I did not take good care of them.Cheap things are often made to be disposable and they often get treated that way too.
We have all heard that saying, quality over quantity and we know it to be true. But I definitely love seeing it in action.. A few years ago, I was on the hunt for a decent set of pots and pans. I was not yet a minimalist, but I knew that I needed to purchase something that would last. While I was searching, my godparents so graciously gave me a set of stainless steel cookware they had lying around. They had had them for years and didn’t need them anymore. I was grateful and thought they would be great until I had found something better (lol sorry Amai). Anyway, here we are a few years later, we’ve cooked hundreds of meals in them and the other day while scrubbing one of the pots, I thought about how easy they were to clean, and how much I enjoyed cooking with them. Feeling grateful, I messaged my god mom and we got to talking about just how she came to own them. Turns out this particular set is almost 50 fricking years old. My godmother bought them just before she married my godfather. She talked about how much of an investment they were at the time and how she had almost regretted the purchase ( lol I don’t). I was blown away. Quality over quantity for sure.
Cut to two years ago, I went back to Botswana for my father’s funeral. In the kitchen, I was transported back to my childhood. I was eating food from the same plates and cooking in the same pots I had begrudgingly washed every night after eating a home cooked meal. There was the mug my dad drank coffee from every morning without fail. These things were still in amazing condition. I don’t think I have anything from my first apartment anymore. A lot of the stuff I sold when I moved, but a lot of it fell apart or got tossed.
We live in this face paced society that encourages you to go out and get the newer, best, bigger, brighter thing and I have been guilty of subscribing to those values. Seeing my dad’s mug humbled me. I’m excited to slowly start investing in quality items for myself, from clothing to home goods that will last a long time and live long enough to be part of many happy memories in my home.