Post by Sharon
I've always been a country gal at heart - barefeet, canning jams, keeping a kitchen garden, filling birdfeeders, and reveling in the seasons....
Since I downsized my life significantly, I find myself enjoying the pleasures of life again - things like making jam in season or decorating with woodland items for the holidays.
I have been making an effort to remove all cheap Chinese and Ikea furnishings, using items found in thrift stores that stand the test of time and are made of real wood and not particleboard facsimiles.
I have also been working to remove dependence on plastic.
Mason jars were my first start - using them for storing leftovers, cutting veggies and standing upright in water in them, storing cottonballs, homemade lotion made of shea butter, coconut oil, vitamin C serum and tea tree oil, and the like.
Glass food storage came next. I changed out tupperware with glassware for meal planning, storage, and bento boxes for packing picnics. As well, the dried goods in the larder, such as flour, sugar, etc were moved into glass containers where no pests can get into them and no plastic chemicals can leach into them.
My policy is wood/metal/glass.
There are some great influencers out there to encourage you - check the YouTube channels of Fairyland Cottage, The Cottage Fairy, Living Off Grid with Jake and Nicole, and The Green Witch.
Ultimately, I plan to remove all upper cabinets in my kitchen and have free-floating shelves. This opening up of the kitchen takes it from the classic American kitchen with cupboards to the ceiling and a hemmed in feeling when chopping on the counters, to spacious and open, able to put up herbs, plants, dishes, containers....
Wicker baskets to store things, houseplants to clean the out gases in the home, glass for storage, silicone reusable freezer bags, and try wrapping your sandwiches for work in beautiful tea towels or use a glass bento box.
Begin to think about natural textiles like bamboo, cotton, linen versus synthetic fabrics and plastics. Fabrics last longer and look better when they are in a more natural state. And hemp fabrics are turning out to be an amazing resource.
These simple measures bring us back to the basics - what we need so we can live in a natural environment that is soothing with items that last long.
It's amazing how this environment of natural sunlight, plants, wood, metal and glass, whole fabrics can make you feel grounded.
We have been living in an artificial setting so long that it has created electronic and plastic distractions that have no life, never had any life.
The best way to good quality is to hit the thrift stores where handmade furnishings, glass jars, linen blouses can be found. Slowly but surely, removing artificial form your life.
My first priority was no bottled water.
Water that is in bottles, transported in heat and creating waste all day long, was not an option. I ended up getting a filtered pitcher to have better-tasting water, although I'd really like to see fluoride removed from the water source. That's another debate for down the line.
I did try the ZeroWater pitcher and I definitely do not advocate it. I got it to work the fluoride out of my water, but what came out of the pitcher was pure lemon water - so sour, I had to spit it out. When I asked the company about it, they said that high mineral content water might not filter the same. No kidding!
I use a Brita pitcher now and it works well, except the dang fluoride I didn't ask for is still in there. Still, the water tastes better than with the Pur pitcher.
I use glass for drinking and for storing foods.
Anything you ingest, it's better to get it out of plastic and stored in another container. I even got to where I choose only products that come in glass jars. I clean them out and reuse them for everything from storing dental floss to wood beads for crafting, from leftover soup to a cocktail shaker with ice.
I didn't want to send the plastic containers to the inefficient recycling center, so I am using them to store craft beads, feathers, string, etc.
Things to use: Wooden measuring spoons and cups, wooden spoons, wooden bowls, glass pitcher, glass mixing bowls, stainless steel pots, crockware, old-fashioned rope and twine, microfiber cloths instead of paper towels and for wrapping picnic items, and cleaning counters....
These are just some of the starts.
Transitioning to an economical and physically and emotionally healthy home that exudes a connection to nature and stress relieving means doing some of these or all of these -
getting more light into the house
real wood furnishings versus particle board
open spaces - lack of clutter
wicker baskets and wood boxes to tuck things out of sight
showcasing art of nature and family photos
keeping colors neutral
moving indoor/outdoor more readily
utilizing handmade items for holidays
scents that harken to nature
instrumental music that is uplifting or soothing
candlelight, electric candles, and hurricane lamps
lights on rheostats to adjust levels
eating foods in season
lots of books
natural cleaning products
Some things I suggest:
compostable bamboo toothbrushes (I just adore these and they are so good at the gum line and don't damage the enamel)
avacado oil, ghee (clarified butter that can be left out in the jar), and coconut oil for cooking (the ONLY ones I use)
Note: I use coconut butter for so much! Mix it with a small amount of baking soda and some peppermint oil and it's a great toothpaste. I mix it with vitamin C serum, aloe gel, and tea tree oil for an amazing body lotion that I put in a mason jar. I mix it with vitamin E oil for a hair conditioner. I use it for cooking - it can take a high heat.
There is something so right and harmonizing about being one with seasons and nature again. I am a child of the 70s so I grew up in an era of cleaning up streets of pollution, worrying about waterways, growing a garden, and eating foods in season.
As you begin to un-pollute your surroundings and simplify, you find something else - your health improves. Making meals, considering the contents of your larder and fridge, and using things in season, as well as having ingredients stored for easy viewing, you eat hearty and real foods. And, as you live inside and outside, you develop gardening, yard projects, and even neighborhood hiking.
It just happens... because everything is zen again.