Sustainable Living, Well-being

One Month of Sustainable Living

So this is the end of my first month of trying to be a little more sustainable, or at the very least buying less.

It’s not been particularly difficult, primarily as I already have so much stuff that I have to use up that there has actually been no need for me to think about buying things, which I admit is a bit of a cheat.

It was also far easier for the first part of January as we were in Albufeira and there is nothing to buy and I mean nothing.  It’s a small town that focusses on the summer tourist trade, so the shops that are open sell the same tat all year round.  Tat that you wouldn’t want to buy, or need to buy on your summer holidays, so in the middle of winter it becomes really pointless.  There’s not that much need to a pair of flip flops, or a sun hat in the winter months, let alone a back scratcher!

Coming back to Bristol was more of a challenge, particularly as we arrived back towards the end of sale season and so the bigger, final discounts were starting to appear.  This is not made easier due to the fact we live right in the centre of town, Primark is my local store!  It’s made me realise just how often I ‘popped’ to the shops to fill time.  There have been a couple of times when I’ve been pacing around the flat at a loose end, having to force myself not to walk out to the city centre and just have a mooch around the shops.  Instead I’ve had to force myself to walk in the opposite direction towards the harbourside.  Either that or occupy myself in a more productive manner!  What is it about shopping that draws you in?  

Me:  I’m bored

Me:  I know, why not walk to the shops and spend money you can’t afford on things you don’t need.

Me:  Good idea, I’ll put my coat on

What is that about!  

There have been more frequent visitations to coffee and tea shops, rewarding myself for getting out and walking, going in the opposite direction rather than to the shops.  It also has the advantage of being infinitely more sustainable and also a tonne cheaper!  Especially at the local library where its still just £1 for a cup of tea!!!! The library has become a real life saver! I do love going there and perusing and can lose myself there for hours. Already, this month, I can see how it’s going to play a bigger role in helping me avoid the city centre!

Visiting the coffee shops is a cheaper alternative to shopping

I have brought some things.  A few kindle books, a couple of second hand books and a few things related to improving my general health.  I suppose that I’m generally trying to live a cleaner, healthier lifestyle and unfortunately, there were a few bits and pieces that I wanted to buy to help me on my way.

So I brought:

  • a dry body brush
  • a tongue scraper
  • a couple of essential oils

There were also a couple of more outrageous purchases one of which was an accidental tub of body butter from the Body Shop when I wasn’t thinking.  This was disappointing for several reasons:  I’m trying to reduce the amount of plastic containers I buy, I’m trying to use up what I have before I buy more and I’d really like to try making my own using essential oils and other ingredients!

I did also buy a pair of slippers.  These were a need.  I’m not a great fan of slippers, I’d rather walk around in my socks, but especially on the tiled floors of Portugal I just wasn’t getting my feet warm at all and it was becoming quite challenge and a real nightmare.  When we returned to Bristol I was dying for a hot bath, just to get my feet warm for the first time in a month.  So slippers.  My need for warm feet was a priority!

I’ve also had a great time making things using materials that I already had.  I made three pieces of Valentine’s day bunting, using material and felt I had in Portugal and binding I had in Bristol, all of which were donated to the local charity shop.  I also made a crochet brooch, a carnation, using thread that I already had in my stash.  

Valentine’s Bunting using existing materials

I do appreciate that as the months go by it is going to become more of a challenge as I need to start replacing things that I use up, which will then present me with a range of dilemmas, but also options to investigate!  Randomly, I have found not buying magazines a real challenge! Like many things, I don’t suppose I really registered quite how often I bought them until I thought about whether or not I needed them. At the moment, I am finding it very satisfying to see how I can make use of what I already have rather than automatically thinking I need to go out and buy something new.