Most of us have heard of "the 3 R's" - Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle, BUT Bea Johnson, the woman who has been the inspiration for my zero waste journey, has come up with a new "R" to add to the mix.
Before allowing ourselves to get into the position where we need to reduce, the first step is to refuse. This change was going to be hard for me - or so I thought. Being an Interior Design student, I am naturally drawn to shopping for my home. I love stores like Target, HomeGoods, Pottery Barn, and Crate & Barrel, just to name a few, and have filled my home with things that I don't need. You know... those things that you could possibly use one day, even though you haven't used them in months, maybe longer, so you hold on to them? From now on, I will begin to refuse, but right now, I needed to reduce.
This was only one pile (we had a few) of "stuff" that we got rid of. Some we donated, some we just threw away. My husband had a harder time than me, letting stuff go, but when we both saw the results, we knew it was well worth it!
For now, most of our focus has been on our kitchen, since we have discovered that the majority of our waste comes from our food. We now have a couple of empty shelves and an empty drawer! That's a HUGE improvement for us! Our countertops are also a lot less cluttered and we plan to keep them this way!
We are already working on "reducing" our closet (We have a big stack of clothes to give away) and I have begun the tedious process of going through the drawers of our storage pieces in our living room. SO MANY PAPERS/JUNK/RANDOM THINGS? How did they all get there? I am realizing now, though, that living in a space with less gives me more satisfaction than shopping, shopping, and shopping for more. *Bonus: Refusing is not only good for the environment and your home, it is also good for your wallet! You know I'm always up for that!
I encourage you to really think about the things that are cluttering up your home and your life and reduce if needed, because once you've done that, refusing is a lot easier!