On the first Monday of every month, we take on a ‘mission’ – a shift or habit or inspiration – to work on together. There’s strength (and support) in numbers! On the last Thursday of the month, we reconvene to see how far we’ve come.
It’s really all about the little things, ya know?
At the end of our last mission, our 20th mission, I reached out to you guys for some feedback. I wasn’t sure we should continue forging forward in the same fashion, with a new mission each month. To be honest, coming up with new tasks has become increasingly difficult – we’ve done a lot already! We’ve covered dietary choices and health, we’ve become activists, we’ve become exercisers, we’ve worked internally on our growth, we’ve taken on environmental challenges, and so much more.
You know, I’m really proud of us.
But we can still push ourselves farther, can’t we? I really wanted to focus on an eco-friendly theme this month, but after the composting, the line-dried laundry, the reusable femenine products, the secondhand shopping, the driving less, and omg we mustn’t forget the cloth toilet paper for great hippie’s sake. What was left?
Last week I was making my coffee at midnight (I make it the night before and refrigerate it for iced morning java) and I came across the last of my paper coffee filter. And, maybe since it was midnight and I have a wandering mind, it put me to thinking. Do I really need to keep buying paper for my coffee, even unbleached, “natural” paper? Between my daily imbibing and Damian’s morning drip and on the weekend, our afternoon refills, we can go through as many as 3 or 4 of these filters a day. That can really add up! Is there an alternative?
And what else can we replace, or live without?
I remember how much I used to adore lotion. I would slather it over every inch of my body, every single morning. I even wrote about it, a review of all the most “natural” brands. It was the last non-homemade item I held onto, because I couldn’t imagine living without it, and because every time I tried to go off it, my skin dried out.
Well, then I had a baby, and my hormones got all wonky-like, and my skin got suuuuper sensitive, and also, I was really really really busy. There was no luxurious lotioning for me anymore. And when I did manage to get some on, my lovely lotion was giving me rashes, eek! One day I ran out and I just didn’t bother replacing it. No time! And my skin was dry for about a week, and then it balanced out. Now I never use body lotion and my skin is supple and fantastic and NOT addicted to added moisturizers. In the end, it’s so much better this way.
The same thing happened with Q-Tips. I’m not even kidding you, I was working my way through a Q-Tip collection the was 5 years old (Cosco, baby). I always said when it ran out is when I’d go off the Tips, but the truth was that I secretly dreaded it. I hated the feeling of water in my ears! I never felt like I was completely “clean” until I’d wiped my ears out. True story, I’m a weirdo.
Anyway, I’m sure you can see where this is going. I ran out of Q-Tips, I felt yucky and soggy-eared for about a week, and then I got used to it and now I don’t even notice anymore. Except that I’m no longer throwing away sticks of chemically-treated bleached cotton that I’ve shoved into my ears everyday. Q-Tips are really bad for you, anyways.
The point is, sometimes you just have to take the plunge and kick those old wasteful habits to the curb. Think you can’t function without paper towels in your kitchen? You can, I promise. Cut up an old bath towel and keep cloth rags in the cabinet. We’ve been paper-free in our kitchen for years.
You could replace paper napkins with pretty cloth ones (sewing project!)
You could replace disposable bathroom cotton balls with soft washable hemp pads.
You could switch from bagged tea to looseleaf, and use a metal strainer.
There are a million little things all around your house than can be replaced or done away with completely. These little things really add up, and over time it’s the little things that can actually do the most damage. So let’s not overlook them anymore!
Me, I’m starting with my coffee filters, and getting myself a metal mesh insert. I’ll also be keeping my eyes out all throughout my life, watching for ways to tweak and tame the wasteful beast.
What will you do? Do you accept this mission? Share your ideas in the comments so we can all benefit – I’m sure you guys will have some great ones!
Next month will be the first installment of our Bonzai Book Club, which will switch off with the Monday Monthly Mission, every other month. I’m so excited! But I know that reading can be time-intensive, and we’re a very busy bunch of movers and shakes around here. So I’ll always give you the reading assignment a month ahead, at the end of the MMM post, in case you want to get a head start.
For our very first BBC we will be reading James McWilliams’ Just Food: Where Locavores Get It Wrong and How We Can Truly Eat Responsibly. I can’t wait!