Values - A Slow & Simple Living Plan: May & June Update
At the beginning of the year I set out my intention to live more according to my values; health, considered living and happiness. Each month I set down on paper my plan for how I want to achieve these goals, doing what I can to stick to them but not beating myself up to much if I can't get everything done. If you want to read more on why I'm choosing to do things this way, then please have a read of my original post here and you can read my last update here. I find it's good for me to have a list of things I want to get done around the home and sticking to only buying what I've budgeted for as there is something deeply satisfying about ticking things off the list when it's completed. Slow and steady changes make everything more manageable and I feel less overwhelmed too.
I'm a little behind with these posts, so please forgive me. Freelance work is keeping me busy and I'm playing catch up but as I've mentioned before, something's gotta give. Anyhoo, here is a little update for May and June.
Home: New double bed for moody teen's room - bought. His bunk beds were given to my friend's daughter and we opted for a pine double bed from Ikea. As much as I'd love to be able to buy a vintage bed frame, access issues into our home prevent us from choosing anything that isn't flat packed. We also bought the matching bedside table and made the moody teen help us build it (which wasn't a fun experience, but a good skill to try and master). The bedding is also from Ikea, a simple stripe set in cotton and I bought some other linen pillowcases from H&M. All the single bed duvet covers were in good condition and I donated them to charity. The black clip on lamp is from Baileys and we have several of these in our home as they are so useful. Teenagers don't smell very pleasant, so I'm trying to combat this by bringing more plants into the bedroom. I chose a spider plant from Botany as they are great at dealing with indoor air pollution and it's in a concrete pot from Forest.
Wardrobe: Buy one linen top for spring/summer wear as I haven't really got any clothes for warmer weather. Bought. Back in April I ordered the Harper top from Linen Fox. Made from 100% linen and by hand, it takes around a month to receive it. I couldn't be happier with my top; it's brilliant for keeping me cool in these extreme temperatures and gets softer with every wash.
Get organised: Cancel magazine subscriptions and clear out old editions that I have piles of and never read. Done. I found back issues from 2014 that I haven't picked up since then, so they all went to the recycling centre. In addition to this we also cancelled our family National Trust Membership as we haven't used it for over a year. Moody teenagers aren't generally interested in trailing around an historic house. Getting rid of the magazine subscriptions and the NT membership has saved us £200 a year which can go towards home improvements or a future holiday.
Zero waste living: Switch from bottles of shampoo to shampoo bars. Failed. However, I did buy and use several shampoo bars and they made my hair a horrible texture and I was scratching my scalp all the time. As an alternative, I'm using non-toxic products from Faith in Nature. These are working well for me and I'm going to invest in the bulk sizing once my smaller bottles run out. It's not zero waste I know, but it's certainly less packaging and no toxins will be going into our bodies or getting into the water supply.
Home: Desk for moody teen's room. Failed, again. Mostly due to me being unable to make up my mind about what would work in the space. But, that's a good thing as it's better to wait rather than buy anything that I'll dislike later on. I'll just have to keep searching.
Wardrobe: One pair trousers for spring/summer to replace shabby ones. Bought. I chose these three quarter length trousers from Simply Grey which are also 100% linen and handmade. I opted for black ones as they go with everything and they are unbelievably comfortable. They are more culotte in style and look great paired with summer sandals and a simple t-shirt.
Get organised: Clear out old cleaning supplies. Find storage box to contain what I do have. Done. I used up all the old cleaning supplies and gave a few away too. Now my cupboard has only a few products, all of which are non-toxic, natural and environmentally friendly. The galvanised housekeeping bucket came from Labour and Wait. Inside I have washing powder in a paper bag from BioD, Dr Bronner's Sal Suds biodegradable cleaner and a box of Bicarbonate of Soda, all of which came from Big Green Smile. The two brown spray bottles have my own homemade recipes in them, which you can find here. I have a few cotton cloths for worktops and that's all I need for general household cleaning.
Zero waste living: Switch from paper towels to reusable bamboo towels. Done. I bought mine from Eco Egg at Big Green Smile. They cost around £10 and last for 1700 uses. You simply pop them in the washing machine when they get dirty and when they come to the end of their lifespan, you can add them to the compost bin. We were going through a couple of packs of kitchen roll a month, so we have reduced our waste quite significantly. The sheets are large to begin with but they do shrink after they have been in the wash. I haven't quite worked out a way of storing the dirty ones other than shoving them straight in the machine which isn't ideal but the clean ones get folded and popped into this little wire storage basket from Nkuku.
And that's pretty much it for May and June. Lots of small, sustainable changes that simply become part of the everyday. Here's what the plan is for July and August (and yes, I know July has been and gone!).
Home: paint the landing
Wardrobe: buy nothing
Get organised: frame pictures for landing
Zero waste living: switch from shower gel and handwash to soap bars
Home: buy new wardrobe for my bedroom
Wardrobe: buy nothing
Get organised: declutter old wardrobe
Zero waste living: look at ways to reduce food waste