How to Begin Decluttering Your Stuff (and Life) Or How to Begin Spring Cleaning

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hello!

So this past weekend (and continuing until this next week) I have been studying for three mid-term exams!  However, I have also wanted to clean!  It feels so spring-like here, I must be ready for spring cleaning 😉  The image above I feel is a good representation of how I sometimes feel surrounded by the stuff in my life.

So, here are some tips I have been using to help me decide what I no longer need 🙂  These three tips are part of Step 4-Don’t have a lot of clutter, from the Feng Shui: What Not to Do article here.

1. Do I love it?  For some people, the answer may be that they love every single thing that they have in their possession (for those of you who this applies to, skip this step).  For the rest of us though, we probably do not love every single thing that we own.  If it makes you sad, feel down in any way, or makes you angry, if it is possible, give it away!  This will help to bring positive energy and feelings to you and your surroundings.

2.  Is it useful?  This can be a helpful question, but it can also be a difficult one that allows a person to continue having clutter.  So, more specifically, is it useful to you now?  Ask yourself whether you see yourself actually using it within the foreseeable future.  If so, keep it.  But, don’t keep holding onto that one shirt you’re sure you’ll wear someday again (I have been guilty of this too).  Just give it away, and move on. 🙂

3.  Does it reflect who I am now in my life?  This was the question that really helped me the most.  Since I have lost 35 lbs. from cutting out processed foods and sugar, I have been still holding onto clothes that really no longer fit me, nor that really even fit my personality anymore.  I still am holding onto some clothes that are too big for me (that I can see myself enjoying wearing later on just because it has not even been a year since I have lost the weight yet), but I have let go of those clothes too big for me, that are much more high school-ish, and that I did not even like that I was holding onto merely “just in case” I gained weight again.  And I feel so much lighter for doing it! 🙂  I also am starting to go through my collection of books, and giving away some that just do not fit my personality anymore, or that just simply do not make me happy.

I hope these questions help you lighten your belongings and help you lead a happier, clutter-free life!

Also, I just started a Facebook page within the past week.  Check it out! 🙂www.facebook.com/sunnymothernature

Have a sunny day!

~Kim

Please Note: Only the three questions are from the article I linked above.  All the commentary and descriptions after the questions are my own.

Also, the image above is used under the Commons license, shared by the Smithsonian Institution’s Photostream on Flickr, and can be found here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/smithsonian/2551232980/

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Simple Ways to Reduce Plastic in Your Life AND Save Money! The Using Less Plastic Challenge

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hello! 🙂

Ok, so the image above of women wearing plastic face protection from snowstorms may have not caught on (thankfully), most of us can still reduce plastic in our lives very easily!

Here are some simple ways to reduce plastic in your life (adding onto my previous Using Less Plastic Challenge Posts).  Most, if not all, of these simple steps help you save money in the long run too!

1. Switch to body oil to moisturize your body.  Most lotions come in plastic tubes or plastic bottles.  By switching to body oil packaged in a glass bottle with a metal lid, you help to make sure that the packaging is truly able to be recycled.  Just make sure that your skin is damp (just after taking a shower is a good time to moisturize skin with oil), and you do not need to use very much.  A small amount really goes a long way.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2.  Switch to handkerchiefs.  This may seem like it does not actually have to do with plastic, but it does.  Most disposable tissue boxes do have a plastic window around the opening where you grab a tissue from.  Handkerchiefs are so much more economical (only have to buy them once and they last for years) and you can just throw them in with any wash load you wish.  Plus they feel, and are, so much softer on your nose!  The above image is my collection of handkerchiefs that I have been using for several months now 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. Switch to at least a couple natural homemade skincare products.  I know it is hard to switch all of your skincare products over, but even just switching over one or two helps to significantly reduce the amount of plastic consumed.  Honey is an awesome cleanser (the only one I use at this point) and fresh lime juice is a wonderful acne and acne scar treatment.

Click here to see My Skincare Routine for Clear Skin Naturally post about how I use these!  You will also save money by switching to these if you typically use a little bit more pricy cleansers and treatments.  Also, you will not have as much visual clutter in your bathroom.

4. Switch to a safety razor.  What is a safety razor?  It is like a disposable razor, but rather than throwing the razor away, or buying new cartridges and throwing the old ones away, you buy a metal razor (some do have plastic handles) and you just replace the blades.  I have not bought a safety razor yet (I’m using up my disposable razors first) but many people who do use them say they give closer shaves, and that you do need to use a lighter hand when using them (ever notice how much pressure you have to use with disposable razors to shave?).

Now, you can buy a new safety razor, but they are expensive (the cheapest I’ve seen is $60 and up).  So, why not be extra nice to your wallet and the Earth by buying a vintage one? (You won’t be using vintage blades- essentially you’ll only be reusing the handle).  You can buy a vintage safety razor at some antique stores, www.etsy.com, among other sites.  And replacement blades can be bought in bulk on Amazon and are much less expensive compared to the replacement disposable cartridges.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5. Buy some of your clothes secondhand.  Although while researching I do not get a definite yes or no answer, most polyester (if not all) is actually plastic.  Have you heard of the polyester clothing made from PET bottles?  That’s why that is possible.  So, by buying some of your clothes secondhand, you help to reduce the amount of clothing made of thermoplastics, and also help to reduce the amount of clothing discarded yearly.  Buying secondhand also helps your wallet!  If you have a little bit more money to spare, organic cotton, or hemp, clothing are also nice alternatives to man-made.  The image above is a beautiful blue striped sweaterdress that I found at a local thrift store for $2.50!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6. Make your own laundry soap with castile bar soaps!  Even if we ignore the possible health problems of conventional laundry detergents (including even ones such as Tide Free & Gentle), these along with even most eco-friendly laundry detergents are packaged in plastic.  We can simply avoid this constant buying of laundry detergent packaged in plastic by making our own!  Above is a photo of the container I am using at the moment to hold my laundry soap (It is an old castile liquid soap container.  I plan to switch to a glass container at some point) and an old laundry detergent lid that has the measurements on it.

How to: Take one bar of castile soap and grate 1/3 to 1/2 of a bar.  Bring about one gallon of water to a boil.  When the water is boiling, stir the grated soap into the water, until it dissolves.  Let it simmer for another 5-10 minutes, stirring occassionally.  Then, take the pot off the stove and let the laundry soap cool for a couple of hours (or until it is completely cool).  Lastly, place into a container of your choice.

And there you have a wonderful laundry soap!  I personally use Dr. Bronner’s Castile Bar Soaps.  They smell amazing, and their Baby Mild one is nice if you are very sensitive to scents, or if you have young children.  My three favorites are Lavender, Peppermint, and Baby Mild.  They are a little less than $5 a bar of soap.  You can buy the Lavender and Peppermint scents at Target, or you can buy all of their scents on Dr. Bronner’s site at www.drbronner.com. So, you are paying $2.50 for laundry soap that is safe for the planet, safe for you, you are saving money, and you are reducing the amount of plastic consumed! 🙂  It’s a wonderful feeling.

I’ve found that I use the same amount of this laundry soap as I did with conventional laundry detergents.  If you have not used castile liquid soap to wash your clothes before, I have read that it may take a wash or two for your clothes to get the residue of the previous detergents off.  However, I have not found this to be the case, even when I switched from conventional detergents over to a castile liquid soap I bought (it was so expensive though).  Also, this laundry soap works nicely even in hard water!  I have extremely hard water, and it cleans wonderfully in it.

So there are some simple ways to reduce plastic!  Have you tried any of the suggestions above, or have any others to add?  Any questions?  Leave them in the comment section!

Have a sunny day!

~Kim

Please Note: The image of the women wearing the plastic snowstorm protectors is used under the Commons license, shared by the Nationaal Archief on Flickr, and can be found here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/nationaalarchief/4193509756/  All the other images shown are my own.

Blog for IWD~A Project and a Company that are Helping Connect Girls and Inspire Futures

Girls in front of Central Community House, St. Paul

Hello again and Happy International Women’s Day!

So I wanted to do another post for the Blog for International Women’s Day hosted by Gender Across Borders and CARE.  With this post though, I wanted to focus on a project and a company that are connecting girls and inspiring futures!  The project is xoJane’s Real Belly Project, and the company is Lunapads.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

xoJane’s Real Belly Project

This project is just what it sounds like it is: showcasing real, unphotoshopped women’s bellies in a positive light.  In my previous post I mentioned that we need to embrace our own bodies to help girls embrace their own too.  The Real Belly Project does just this!  These are actual women that have taken photos of their bellies and sent them to xoJane for them to make a photo gallery of bellies.

There is already one post on xoJane from a girl that comments on how this project helped her become determined to accept her body.  Want to check out this project? Click here: http://www.xojane.com/fun/gallery/bellies-part-2

Click here to read the girl’s story~ It Happened to Me: Real Girl Bellies Saved My Life: http://www.xojane.com/healthy/ihtm-real-girl-bellies-saved-my-life

Lunapads.com

Lunapads.com is this awesome Canadian women-owned company that sells reusable menstrual pads, pantyliners, and menstrual cups, but at the same time sends out the message of embracing, understanding, and loving our bodies.  Honestly, since I have started reading their blog posts, and watching their youtube videos (and overall just looking more into reusable menstrual pads and pantyliners and why they are better for my health), my attitude towards my body, and menstruation, has drastically become much more positive.

This kind of impact on all girls and women is so important!  Why should women or girls feel ashamed about something so natural as our cycles?  The simple answer is, we shouldn’t.  I love that Lunapads is trying to get rid of this embarrassment, and even often shame, so many girls and women feel towards our bodies.  Can I say that I love my period at this point?  I’m not there yet, but I have come a long way from hating my period.

Another wonderful thing that Lunapads does is that they donate pads to girls in undeveloped countries through their program Pads4Girls since 2000.  They send reusable pads to girls in areas where either disposable pads are too expensive, or they are just unavailable.  Therefore, girls have to decide whether to risk embarrassment by going to school, or just staying home for about a week.  This reduces these girls’ chances of staying in school, and ultimately can result in them staying in poverty, having children sooner, and possibly even dying sooner from childbirth complications.  So, Lunapads is helping to change this just by donating something that seems so simple as a reusable cloth pad.  But this pad symbolizes a brighter future for so many girls!

To find out more about Lunapads’ Pads4Girls click here: http://lunapads.com/about-us/donate-pads

We, as a culture, can help girls and women have brighter futures~ we just need to believe that we can!

Have a sunny day!

~Kim

Please Note: The image above is used under the Commons license, shared by the Jewish Historical Society of the Upper Midwest on Flickr, and can be found here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jhsum-commons/4419492544/

Blog for International Women’s Day~ Ways to Connect Girls and Inspire Futures

Girl in butterfly or flower costume

 

Hello and Happy International Women’s Day!

Gender Across Borders and CARE are hosting Blog for International Women’s Day 2012 today!  And this year’s theme is “Connecting Girls, Inspiring Futures.”

As a culture, as well as members of a global community, it is imperative that we are actively involving, educating and inspiring girls in a positive way.

How do we do that though?  Although this may seem like a daunting task, especially in the hustle and bustle of today, there are in fact many ways that we can do so just in our everyday lives.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ways to Connect Girls and Inspire Futures

1. Look at our own bodies in positive lights.  This may seem like this does not directly involve girls, but it does.  If we, the women of the world, do not look at our own bodies positively, how can girls who are growing up under constant media pressure that says anything bigger than a size 0 is not good enough?

By accepting and embracing our own bodies, flaws and all, and by radiating our love of our bodies, this could help even just one girl look at themselves in a more positive light.  The media tries to tell us, as a society, what type of body is acceptable, but we can help to lessen this pressure on young girls and teenage girls by saying and believing that this is not the case.

2. Talk about other girls and women (and boys and men) positively, including about their appearance, body, and personality.  Even if we all are able to accept and embrace our bodies, if we are judgemental towards another girl, woman, boy, or man, it shows our insecurities, as well as teaches girls a trait that does not help them to think positively about themselves, or others.

3. Tell a girl that she has a beautiful soul and heart.  Often times, we as a society focus on how beautiful a girl, or woman, is on the outside.  Yet, being beautiful on the inside is often more important in the long run.  Although some girls may feel this is cheesy, it will probably still warm their hearts to hear.

4. Genuinely compliment a girl.  This does go along with the previous suggestion.  So many girls I’ve known that are my age just do not believe a person when they compliment them.  They believe that either they are just saying it to say it, or that they are indirectly suggesting something negative.  This is rather than just believing that someone is, in fact, being nice to them.

We can help so many girls overcome this mentality by complimenting genuinely, and by accepting compliments that others give us too.

4. Be open to talking about topics that girls want to ask about.  So many topics still seem off-limits, between parents and their daughters, between sisters, between friends, and so on.  And therefore, there is often this silence.  Help to break this silence around various topics including menstruation, girl’s health, etc.  If we do not talk, who will?

5. Let a girl know that it is wonderful to be herself.  Remind her that being herself is much more important than being the most popular, or trying to be someone else.  And support her in the journey to find out who she is.

6.  Encourage girls to imagine.  Whether it’s imagining a job they may want when they grow up, re-enacting their favorite book or movie, pretending to be a mommy to their doll, or just playing make believe, let them dream.

And lastly, we need to help bring boys and men into the conversation as well.  Neither women nor men truly live separately in society.  So, we can encourage and teach boys and men to treat girls and women as equals, and not as objects to acquire, or beings to only take care of them.  We can do this partly just by acting and believing that we are equal.

 

Today is a positive day!  Just over one hundred years ago, women were not considered equal really anywhere in the world.  Now, we are in many places.  However, so many women are still struggling for equality.  And even here in the U.S., women still do not have equal pay to men in various jobs.  So, help to connect girls and help them believe that they are equal and that they do deserve equality, equal pay, and respect.  By helping to build girls’ self-esteems and confidence, we can help them to feel empowered.

Sometimes it is the most simple actions that can create a positive reaction.

Let’s get the conversation going! Do any of you have other suggestions to help connect girls and inspire futures?  Let me know by leaving a comment down below!

Want to check out the other blogs that are participating in this event?

Click here: http://www.genderacrossborders.com/blogforiwd/

Have a sunny day everyone! 🙂

~Kim

Please Note: The image above is used under the Commons license, shared by The Field Museum Library on Flickr, and can be found here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/field_museum_library/3405449438/

Lunapads Haul and Intro

Hello everyone!

So I hope the sun is shining in your area of the woods today.  I haven’t gotten a chance to do any videos recently, and this is something I’ve been looking into for a while.

This type of video (or topic) is not for everyone, and I understand this.  I feel that menstruation is a part of life and is a natural process though.  Therefore, I wanted to share with you a new company that I recently ordered from~ Lunapads! 🙂

Lunapads is a women-owned Canadian company that sells reusable cloth menstrual pads and pantyliners, along with some other items.  One of the things that drew me to Lunapads was that they truly want women and girls to accept their bodies, and feel great about being a woman.

If you aren’t sure whether reusable menstrual pads are for you, that’s ok.  I recommend trying reusable pantyliners first.  I did this, and this was what convinced me that I did want to try Lunapads pads too. 🙂

So enjoy watching, and if you have any questions or comments, leave them in the comment section below!

Have a sunny day 🙂

~Kim

Check out Lunapads here: http://www.lunapads.com

Check out Planet Wise here: http://www.planetwiseinc.com

Please Note:  I bought all of the items shown myself just because I was interested in them, and I am not affiliated with Lunapads or Planet Wise.  I wanted to share this with you because I feel that these types of products have the potential to have a very positive impact on our individual health and Mother Nature’s health as a whole. 🙂