Zero Waste, Minimalism, Simple Living, How about we just live?

Over the years I have talked about how we are venturing towards living the simple life; we make what we can, bread, washing detergent, stocks, etc, we have a small veggie garden and buy predominately local.

My wardrobe is all second hand, as are J’s and Elliot’s, this is mostly because I like the hunt and I hate going to regular shops. I hate the busy, the vast number of shelves filled with the same t-shirt, the repetitive clothes over and over, and walking through shopping complexes seeing shop after shop trying to sell you the same thing. I opshop for the joy of the find, because it’s cheaper and I like to use my imagination when putting together an outfit of all thrifted pieces.

We try to limit the amount of rubbish that we create in our home, and would love one day to have no single use plastic here.

More and more, I am finding that the terms ‘simple living’, ‘zero waste’ and ‘minimalizm’ are all being linked. Just because you’re one, must you be the others, and if you’re this, then you must be that. But for me, that just isn’t the case.

I’m not a minimalist, we don’t have a lot of stuff, but this is due to our small house and lack of space. My wardrobe is over flowing, no Project 333 here.

I’m not living zero waste, and honestly, we probably never will. We use cloth bags for shopping, don’t buy cling film, and are quite conscious of what we buy in packets. BUT we’re more focused on our budget (which we’ve recently had to revisit) than on zero waste.

I understand that often the three labels are closely linked, and often those who are looking to simplify are also passionate about the environment and enjoy living with less. People who are focusing on living a zero waste life style make a lot of their households items to avoid bringing single use plastic into their home. But this isn’t always the case.

I’d love to know your thoughts on living one, or all of these labels. Do you associate them as being one in the same? Or do you ignore all the labels and go your own way? 

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14 Comments

  1. I’d call it doing a bit of all three. Minimalism works brilliantly, because less stuff is more space and less cleaning, more time for what is important to me. Simple living I kind of do, but have yet to make a loaf of bread that I want to eat after it’s cooled down and I don’t want to make pickles/jam/preserved fruit. I like the idea of making it, but in reality I’m happy with fresh fruit or the odd tin. I love gardening, it’s my thing, but most of the other stuff that comes under the homesteading/simple living banner, the stuff you do in the house? Bleagh. (Stock is fine – you put it in the slow cooker and walk away. My favourite kind of cooking is the one someone else does)

    Zero waste is a fantastic concept that I’m working on, but actually needs a fair bit of work beforehand. Last year our bin would go out with maybe two shopping bags worth of rubbish once a fortnight. The last 8 weeks it’s been strategically stuffed full each week, since I’m gearing up for a move and all the piles of random stuff are being hunted down and removed. Outside stuff, there’s at most a kitchen bin full of household rubbish each week, and I do have the house pretty well set. Once the pile has been reduced to tip only items and they go, I think we could be close to zero waste if we cooked most things from scratch. Not going to happen, but the potential is there.

    They kind of link in together – it’s like the way people start with decluttering, move to minimalism and end up at mindfulness, or vice versa – there’s a lot of common ground and overlap. It’s a lifestyle choice and once you start I think people just find that at least parts of the message work for them. Not all of it, but if everyone did a little more the world would be very different.

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  2. I am simplifying my life but not so that I can attain some kind of label. It’s because my life felt terribly complicated at one point and simplifying it made me feel better. I learn as I go along, I’m happy with the changes I’ve made so far and I’ll make more as I learn more.

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  3. I’m very impressed with those people who are living zero waste…but in all honestly, it’s not a driver for me, rather the reduced waste coming out of my home is a result of other changes, like making or buying from markets or bulk foods. My values are definitely being challenged at the moment, like you we are revisiting our budget, and this means that some of the more expensive, local, less waster-producing items I would love to buy just can’t fit in on a single income (don’t know how you guys do it!!). I think just being mindful and doing the best you can is enough!

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  4. I like to live as simply as I can because I LIKE IT. I don’t care about labels and anyway who wants to be put in a box, it’s way too confining 😉 Growing my own food is like a meditation, even in the bug season I like to wait and see what comes to feast on the bugs which try feasting on my plants. We all get some. Its about balance. I love to cook (you’d think I like mess when you see the results in the kitchen), but I like to know that each item I used has been grown by me or is something produced by a family near me, or a small business employing local people, I know what my food actually IS and what it is NOT. I like to preserve my excesses, they make wonderful gifts. It helps me be more resilient. Looking towards retirement, living simply gives me a sense of peace in the knowledge that if I have to make do, I can do it in style and its something I am accustomed to and enjoy. I’ll just have more time to do it 🙂

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  5. No, they are not the same… Unless one wants to follow all three at the same time. Many people do, so this is why there’s a misconception about what simple living means (or being zero waste, OR practicing minimalizm). In reality, it’s possible to make your lifestyle in many different ways, and there’s nothing wrong about that.

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