I have a desire to live a more simple life. To consume less and create less waste. To use products that have more than one use and that have a long life-span. I dream of self-sufficiency but am taking little steps. Earlier this year, I challenged myself to give up one thing a month. I may or may not ever achieve self-sufficiency, but every month does bring me a little bit closer.
In April, we gave up buying white bread. I cheat and use a bread-maker, but I am making all our bread now. We probably go through more bread now than we did when we purchased it, because home-made bread is SO yummy! I make a plain white loaf, a garlic & herb loaf, pizza dough, and I've done a couple of others like banana bread.
In May, facial wash was the thing to go. I've never been a high-maintenance type of person. I rarely wear make up so I decided I didn't need to buy and use a facial wash on a daily basis. Now I use good old-fashioned water. And a face-washer. My skin feels great. As well as avoiding the cost, there is the packaging, and all those unpronounceable ingredients which aren't exactly good for you.
June, shampoo and conditioner. Now, I guess at this point, some of you may be thinking that I must be getting pretty smelly! This couldn't be further from the truth. I do still wash and condition my hair, just, well, not with products marketed as such. I use bicarb to wash and apple cider vinegar to condition. I got this idea from an online forum where there was a challenge to do this for six weeks. I didn't know how we'd go (my partner did this with me). The result? We haven't looked back. Our hair is clean and shiny and looks great. And no, it doesn't smell like vinegar.
July was flavoured yoghourt. I only used to eat the vanilla stuff. My partner enjoyed fruity flavours. We decided if we wanted fancy yoghourt we had to make it ourselves. We haven't done that yet, but we have changed to buying Greek-style natural yoghourt in 5L buckets! One day I aim to make even that myself, but that day is not today...
August was a bit of a cop-out - no more herbs/spices in fancy packaging. This means a trip to the food co-op where you can by them in whatever quantity you want and take them home with you in your own container. The savings on herbs/spices when you don't have to pay for packaging is amazing.
In September we ran out of paper towel. The stuff you use in the kitchen. So I said, ok, no more buying that. It really isn't that hard to use a cloth. Or a rag. In fact, it's really quite easy. They are stronger than paper, you can use them for whatever grotty purpose you wish, and then just throw them in the washing machine. Simple.
This month we ran out of talcum powder. Well, my partner did. I hadn't used the stuff since I found out I was pregnant (my son is now 8 months old) as I wanted to minimize the number of unsafe things that I used. But anyway... this month it's no more talcum powder. We have refilled an old powder container with cornflour and are using that. It works great.
So there you go. A brief run-down on what we've said 'no more' to so far this year. Keep your eye out for a new installment of this each month.