Happy Earth Day!

by Charlotte Newton
Taylor Magazine Minimalist guide to life

Small ways to make a big difference for Earth day and beyond.

When I moved back from Sydney this time last year, I was faced with a garage filled with almost everything I owned and yet hadn’t used for over three years. Unpacking box after box of things I forgot I even had made me realise just how much useless crap I had. For most things in there, I hadn’t missed them, I didn’t love them, and I survived without them for three years, so I clearly didn’t need them. I’d been getting more and more conscious of just how much I was ‘consuming’ and this was the final push I needed to reconsider my approach to what I was buying and using on a daily basis.

So where am I going with this? Today, Saturday 22nd of April is Earth day, and although we shouldn’t need a day to think about our planet, it’s a good reminder to reflect on the small ways we can reduce our impact. I’ve definitely not been an environmental saint in the past, but here are three ways I am trying to make a difference now.

Minimalism at home

Someone once said that we shouldn’t have anything in our home unless we find it to be useful or beautiful and nowadays I try to follow this advice. I am obsessed with homewares and am like a magpie to sparkly things, but I have one bed so I don’t need 5 linen sets and one bathroom which doesn’t need 15 towels. Before moving in to my new place I gave away almost everything and kept only the things that I loved or that I needed. Now when I go to buy something, I ask myself if I really need it and don’t buy stuff just because it’s cheap or on sale. Not spending money like this, means I can afford to spend more on things I love (like my weakness for Diptyque candles) and buy better quality products that aren’t going to break and need to be replaced in a few months time.

One in, one out

This has been one of the hardest to stick to, but after reducing my wardrobe to well under half it’s size, I now try and stick to a one in, one out policy. So if I want to buy a dress, I have to give away a dress I already have. If I want new boots, then an existing pair have to go…and so on. There’s a few times I have broken this, when I’ve needed new basics or genuinely needed something, but on the whole it’s a great way to evaluate whether or not you actually need something, or if you love it enough to trade it for something you already have. This also forces me to buy better quality clothes that will last longer, and stay away from cheaper, disposable fashion. Thinking about the origin of my clothes has changed where I shop quite significantly. I don’t want to support the sweat shop industry and want to know where my clothes come from, just as much as my food.

Plastic’s not fantastic

We use so much plastic on a daily basis without even thinking about it. I’m a bit OCD and used to wrap all my food in clingfilm and sandwich bags, so I bought a bulk load of glass containers and now store all my food in the fridge in them instead. I also bought a keep cup to get my morning coffee in, a reusable water bottle to replace shop bought ones and some glass straws for cold drinks. I never used to remember my bags for life and had about £20 worth of carrier bags under my sink, so now I keep one in my handbag and some in my car, so I am forced to remember them!

I’m sure I don’t need to remind you to recycle (it’s amazing how many people still don’t bother) and there are so many other ways you can reduce your impact on the environment; from buying biodegradable products, to remembering to turn lights off when you don’t need them. Small things make a big difference and you should never feel that what you’re doing is insignificant.

To find out more you can visit Earth Day’s official website here www.earthday.org

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