Minimalism, Slow living, zero waste

November in review

I thought I would start a new series that reflects on my monthly efforts on slow living and personal care.

Reading

Reading has been an essential part of my life since I was very young. Unlike most bibliophiles that I know, I don’t collect books anymore and haven’t done so in a while. I rely heavily upon borrowing books from the public library, which is something I’ve been doing since I was five years old. I also have a Kobo Plus monthly subscription, which allows me to read an unlimited number of books per month. I prefer e-books, as my e-reader is much easier to carry around, and I’m never afraid of running out of something to read when I’m outside of my home. When I do buy books, I prefer them to be e-books, as I don’t want the physical clutter of books in my home. I’ve been slowly whittling my collection of physical books; this past month, I let go of all my cookbooks, save one. I used to collect cookbooks and had over 40 of them at one point. I never got much use of my cookbooks, as I am an intuitive cook and don’t often use recipes. I keep a small collection of recipes on Pinterest but, frankly, I rarely reference them. The one cookbook I’ve kept is Veganomicon, as there are one or two recipes there that I use regularly. This allowed me to repurpose the bookshelf I used for the cookbooks, which now resides in a bedroom closet to better organize my linens. This is much safer than the older way I stored the linens on the top shelf of the closet. I’ve lost count of the number of times the storage bins fell on my head when it was time to change the towels or sheets.

Books I read in November:

  1. A billion years: My escape from a life in the highest ranks of Scientology, by Mike Rinder – Kobo purchase
  2. Inside Scientology: The story of America’s most secretive religion, by Janet Reitman – public library
  3. Hollywood ending: Harvey Weinstein and the culture of silence, by Ken Auletta – public library
  4. Cleopatra: A life, by Stacy Schiff – little free library

Films

I’ve been a cinephile for most of my life, so films are an important component of my slow living. I do own a lot of films, since I rewatch them regularly. I transferred all my DVDs to sleeves and decluttered the jewel cases, so my hundreds of DVDs now fit into three cases. When I buy films now, they are in digital form. Films I have watched this month:

  1. The Batman – Rental
  2. Top Gun: Maverick – Rental
  3. Lady Chatterly’s Lover (2022) – Netflix
  4. Batman (1989) – Owned
  5. Spider-man: No way home – Rental (will likely purchase)
  6. Ghislaine Maxwell: Filthy rich – Netflix
  7. Jane Eyre (2011) – Netflix

Minimalism and Zero Waste activities

In addition to decluttering my cookbooks, I gave away most of my collection of stemware, including wine glasses, brandy snifters, and water glasses. These glasses were rarely used and, since I stored them in a chrome and glass trolley, collected a great deal of dust. I’ve narrowed my glassware to a very small collection of stemless glasses, that can be used for wine, water, soft drinks, etc., and two cut-crystal tumblers. I don’t entertain much, as I’m a hermit, so I simply didn’t need all those glasses. What’s left occupies one shelf of my trolley, which makes cleaning so much easier. I so love seeing empty spaces. I’m not fond of single-purpose items, so I’m very happy to be left with only the stemless glasses.

Since my cats have free reign over all items of furniture, I have a lot of throws in the house, as I want to keep the cats comfortable and also protect my furniture. I had a few knitted and crocheted throws that I had made that were rather bulky to store, so I donated them.

I needed to buy a new stainless steel water bottle, as my old one was becoming very hard to clean and was very dented. After a lot of exploring, I purchased the LARQ Bottle PureVis, which has been on my wishlist for a long time. It’s an expensive purchase, but I have no regrets. It is self-cleaning water bottle and water purification system. It uses PureVis technology to eliminate up to 99% of bio-contaminants such as E. coli from the water and bottle. This is particularly useful when I don’t have access to filtered water. I find the water tastes much fresher, likely because of the regular self-cleaning cycle. I have learned from experience that I take much better care of items if they are expensive, so I’m hoping this bottle will better survive my clumsy ways.

Elate is now using a glass bottle for its mascara, which I purchased this month. I’ve been using their bamboo-packaged mascara for a while, but glass can recycle much better. I bought some new cloth toilet paper from a Canadian vendor on Etsy, to replace cloths that were starting to fall apart. I bought the mismatched set, as it’s a lower price and is more whimsical in nature. These cloths last for years (the ones I decluttered were over 5 years old), so they are well worth the investment. I also found some excellent vegan lotion in a cardboard tube on Esty.

Personal care

November was a particularly stressful month at work, and it took a heavy toll on my physical and mental health. Towards the end of the month, I went back to taking regular doses of CBD, which help me manage my stress levels as well as chronic pain caused by old injuries and widespread arthritis. I’ve been working with a dietitian, as well, to help me manage a health condition with which I’ve recently been diagnosed. I am taking rather more specialized oral supplements than I’m used to, but they are helping. The challenge for me is to take these items regularly, as I’m notorious for forgetting to do so. I’ve always been very stubborn about not acknowledging health limitations and simply powering on (e.g., continuing rigorous martial arts training when I was injured. Hello, arthritis), but the older I get, the less I can get away with this for too long. I’ve scheduled an appointment with an osteopath for next January; this will be a new experience for me, but I’m willing to see if it will help.

Food

I cook most of my meals, but I do like to treat myself to treats and prepared foods occasionally. Food items I’ve enjoyed this month:

  1. Magnum Vegan Ice Cream Bars
  2. Violife Vegan Feta
  3. Violife Vegan Parmesan Block
  4. Earth’s Oat Nog (delicious in latte)
  5. Have Fun espresso beans
  6. All the vegan goodies at Halifax VegFest
  7. Syd Delicious vegan cinnamon buns

Clothing

I needed to fill some gaps in my winter capsule wardrobe, so I added a pair of dark cream corduroy trousers and a black corduroy skirt, both sustainably made, from locally-owned Sattva Boutique. I’ve rarely found corduroy clothing that I’ve liked, but these two items are a rare exception and I have enjoyed wearing them. I also added a chocolate brown velvet blazer, which I simply could not resist, from The Social Boutique, a local consignment store, which supports the Dress for Success Halifax, a non-profit organization that offers programs free-of-charge supporting women looking to enter the workforce and gain financial independence.

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