More Conscious Consumption

Hello and welcome! Many of you know by now that I've become a minimalist. Some of you surely think I'm up-in-the-night crazy, and others may have been inspired towards a decluttering session or two. I know there are others who are curious about these ideas and how they might work in your own life. In this space, I intend to dive into all the reasons why I am a minimalist, what that even means, and the ways in which it's truly transformed my thinking and led to fundamental changes in my lifestyle. While I headed down this minimalist path initially for organization and simplifying purposes, it didn't take long before I started to see it as not just a smart way of living, but as an environmental necessity. Now I'm exploring vegan and zero waste living in conjunction with minimizing. These terms may not mean anything to you, or may seem unconnected, but my journey with each of them has been tightly interwoven. The best way to express how they all relate is that I've become much more conscious and intentional about the life cycle of the things I consume-- where they come from, what they do for me while they're in my life, and where it all goes when I'm done with it.

Consumption in every form--what I eat, what I buy, what I wear, what I use. I ask myself all sorts of questions now that before I simply didn't. Why do I own this? Do I really need it or is it just cluttering my life? Is this helping me or hurting me? Is it wasting my time? Is it wasting my money? What purpose does this serve? What value does it bring me? Is it harmful to my health? Where was my it made and by whom? Were they paid fairly? What affect did its production have on the environment? Where did my food come from? How was it raised or grown? What was this packaged in? Can it be reused? Recycled? Will it end up in the landfill? 

I've learned some truly horrifying things about where my stuff comes from, and I've been appalled at the answer to many of these questions. More than ever before, we have become astoundingly removed from the source of our stuff. We buy everything from a store, and then we throw it "away" when we're done with it. (Spoiler alert, there's no such place as away--it all goes somewhere. Usually the landfill or ocean.) We use cheap, disposable versions of everything, seeking deals and convenience, without thought of the associated consequences. We are unfamiliar with much of what we eat and how it comes to be on our plate. And we certainly have no idea what's in most of our beauty and cleaning products. In large part because we don't need to. All the work has been done by others, leaving us to become mindless and unconcerned over-consumers, purchasing wonderfully convenient packaged products, ignorant of origins and unaffected by disposal. 

I've been reading and watching everything I can get my hands on related to these topics. Much of the information I've devoured in the past few months and years has been new news to me, and others I've vaguely heard before, but haven't spent the time to thoroughly investigate or felt that I was too far removed to do anything to change them. But what I've been empowered to discover is that I make dozens of decisions every day and every time I shop (or don't shop)-- that support or don't support practices that at best waste our time and money and dilute our lives, and at worst destroy our planet and harm people and animals. 

I've also discovered some really inspiring communities of people that deeply care about the affect of their choices and choose not to participate in practices that conflict with their values. Whether that is through major (or minor) dietary changes, starting companies that provide eco-friendly alternatives, raising awareness of unethical practices, or just trying to make a difference with their own personal actions and choices. These people inspire me to step up my game! They show me that small actions really do matter and work for or against a better world. My objective here isn't to tell anyone how much stuff they should own, or what they should or shouldn't buy or eat. I do want to share things I've learned and changes I'm making as a result that have hugely impacted my life in positive ways. You can choose to embrace or reject any, all, or some of them. What I urge you to do is start to notice and consider your consumption and whether or not it aligns with your values. When I took a good hard look at mine, it didn't in many ways, and I feel happier every day that I get closer to my lifestyle being in harmony with my values. 

What is Minimalism?