Many people ask how we incorporate sustainability into our life. It’s always been a part of living consciously, but it really blends seamlessly with slow traveling. The obvious change is not owning a home. Mama always says ‘have cow, have care of cow’. When we owned our ‘dream home,’ we found ourselves growing into it more and more. Furniture to fill it, cars for everyone, clothes for every activity. It wasn’t how we wanted to live. We wanted to love the things we had, and have the things we need.
Minimizing was a welcome relief. We selected a few items that had significant emotional attachments, and gifted the rest. We had kept a one toy in, one toy out policy, so the girls didn’t have too much to begin with. They each have their backpack and know they have to lug what they bring, so…natural consequences ftw!
The biggest undertaking was weeding through the closets. I love fashion. I particularly love handmade and slow fashion. Between the three littles, we had amassed quite a collection. Not to mention my closets love affair with vintage finds. We passed on excess clothes to friends, and kept a capsule wardrobe. I even went one step further for the kids and created micro capsules. The cornerstone of all our capsules is classic, high quality pieces created in a sustainable, ethical, and loving manner.
Moving towards zero waste can be more or less challenging depending on where you are located. In Arizona you can’t recycle a milk carton, while in Stockholm nearly everything is recyclable. (Seriously!) The most effective way to eliminate waste is to not buy it. I made reusable grocery bags out of an old sheet about eight years ago. We carry one everywhere. When we buy the occasional packaged goods, we look for recyclable packaging. Produce is put directly into the basket (you’re gonna wash it anyway, right?!).
Clothing, and other things are almost exclusively bought from a sustainably minded retailer, or second hand. When we buy new, ethical and sustainable business practices are a requirement. Many items get passed through all three girls, and then on to friends. The small/handmade market allows us to buy and sell within the community if I’m not wanting to keep something for the next girl.
Maintaining what you have goes the furthest towards sustainable living. We search for great cobblers and tailors when needed. I can sew and mend textiles, and AP can fix just about anything else. The best part about it is that it has created a mentality in the kids that it is their responsibility to be stewards of the earth. Amélie had a favorite sweater that she stained terribly with turmeric twice. When it became unwearable she turned it inside out and sewed herself a new pillow lovey.
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