Taking Inventory Challenge: Desk Space Make Over

One of my most cluttered spaces in my apartment is the desk. This is a space that is supposed to promote efficiency, critical thinking, and creativity. As you can see, this desk seems to have only promoted a place for piled up documents, mail, and just plain random things (AKA my dusting rag does not belong here). Half of this is junk mail that I never even needed to receive. Well the other day I finally gained the energy to dig through everything and sort it.

Before

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Sort into Piles

Yes, I literally sorted through every piece of mail piled up here. Oh, and there was more mail hidden in the cabinet of the desk! Goodness, there was a lot of mail. I made 2 piles: Recycling and Filing Bin. Everything in the recycling pile, as you can guess, was just mail or so outdated I didn’t even know what it was. We also had an absurd amount of notebooks. The ones unused will go to Goodwill and the used ones will hit the recycling bin. We also have a filing bin below that we keep all important documents such as bills due, past bills we need to keep records of, tax information, etc. I recently opted out of all solicited mail so fingers crossed no more junk mail!

Decorate but Not Excessively

Those floating shelves have only supported my knick-knack addiction. I love the look of them, but I just kept piling more STUFF on them! A few pieces is okay to liven up your space. Just because you want to live minimally doesn’t mean that your house has to be super boring. As long as you keep decor to a minimum, it won’t overwhelm you. I’m still not in love with the decor up there, but it’ll do. A couple of those items have sentimental value that I want to keep but they don’t necessarily have a place. We also use the kitchen chair when at the computer, we don’t need a fancy office chair. It works for us. (We plan on refurbishing the chairs).

Utilize Drawer and Cabinet

I wanted to keep the entire top surface of the desk as clean as possible. Sam’s computer, a pen/pencil holder, and printer were the 3 pieces I wanted to keep on there. I did keep a couple of notebooks because sometimes I like to brainstorm on good old fashion paper. All paper and Sam’s video labeling necessities are in the cabinet. Our smaller desk items such as checkbooks, flash drives, stamps, etc are in the drawer.

After

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What works best for you when decluttering? Comment below!

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5 Steps to Minimalism

Minimalism is a lifestyle movement about letting go of what is not necessary. Its a movement toward freedom from fear, overwhelming stress, guilt, and depression. People may think of minimalists as those who live below the radar of typical society: owning practically nothing, a tiny house, no car, no TV, no personal items. While those things may definitely help you achieve a minimalist lifestyle, it doesn’t have to fit in a tiny box of fixed rules. If you own less and consume less, you will feel more free in your daily life. That is a fact. Everyone transitions at different speeds and that’s okay.  Here are five easy steps to get you started.

Take Inventory

First step is to just take a look around and see how much stuff you have accumulated. You can’t fix the problem until you recognize the problem. There will be some posts in the future of me living this out, I’m going to go around room by room and count the amount of items I have in there. I think this is the most important step. I’ve been attempting to live a more sustainable lifestyle for months now, I work slowly when it comes to transitioning. Its difficult to break habits, but I’m hoping by Take Inventory project will help me move along quicker.

Learn to Say No

Do I really need to purchase this? Is it necessary? This is still something I am working on. I’m a sucker for knick-knacks and especially since the holidays are approaching, I feel the need to decorate festively around the house. I already have enough stuff for that matter. If I can avoid impulsive purchases, that will eliminate the clutter from building up. Learning to say no only helps implement a mindful lifestyle.

Evaluate Your Items

After you take inventory, you need to evaluate what you need to keep, want to keep, and don’t need. Things you want to keep but don’t necessarily need should be things such as sentimental items or use often enough that its worth keeping.

Purge Non-Necessities

Anything deemed as not necessary should be on its way out of the house. Now, I don’t mean to just toss everything in the trash. After all, we are still eco-conscious people! Look at your pile: Can it be donated? Can it be sold? Can it be recycled? Anything else, you can toss.

Eliminate your Waste

You can be a minimalist without being a full-blown zero-waster. Regardless of your location, you can definitely adapt to their principles and values. If you refuse what is not need and reduce what is needed, those two alone can make a huge difference. Most likely your number one source of trash is from the kitchen. If you eliminate waste while grocery shopping, that will also substantially reduce your trash. Other quick tips for eliminating waste is to put yourself on the do not mail list so you stop receiving junk mail, refusing all plastic bags, using a reusable water bottle, and recycling instead of tossing it all in the trash.

 

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5 Ways to Throw a Sustainable Party

As we head toward the end of our beloved Chicago summer, there are many parties and gatherings coming our way! Labor Day, Back to School parties, and of course the holidays down the line. When the opportunity comes for you to host, use some these sustainable ways to throw your party!

Skip the paper invites

When throwing a party of any kind – a birthday, bridal shower, or holiday dinner – skip the paper invites! Opt to use an Evite, create an event on social media, or good ole fashion email/text messaging!

 

Cook your meal

Instead of catering in food, get some of your friends or family members together before the event to actually cook the meal. Cooking together can be a bonding experience, plus, you won’t be using any disposable food containers. This also gives you the opportunity to cook an organic, healthy meal for your guests.

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Use your kitchen ware

Sustainability is all about thinking of alternatives to the disposables. Refuse to use paper utensils! Most of us have a dish washer, you can make a family style meal and advise everyone to just stick their dishes in the dishwasher when they’re done eating. Sure, it may take you maybe an hour to clean up, but that beats creating pounds of trash.

 

Opt for cloth napkins

Also, use cloth napkins – they’re prettier and more sustainable. Paper towels and paper napkins are overall not good for the environment. You could save another heap of trash by using machine washable napkins instead.

Decorate with the outdoors

Find some fresh flowers. You can easily use old mason jars you have lying around as a vase.  Wah-lah! Beautiful centerpiece made. In the fall, you can use some bare tree branches and leaves to get the holiday cheer going. There’s so many ideas floating around on Pinterest.

 

What other ideas do you have for throwing a sustainable party?

 

 

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5 Netflix Documentaries You Need to See

Netflix

5 Netflix Documentaries You Need to See

The True Cost

This Netflix documentary will open your eyes to what is really happening within the fashion industry. Directed by, Andrew Morgan, this film will take you into the hearts of the men and women of the fashion supply chain. The producers do an amazing job at showing you what fast fashion brands are doing to under-developed countries socially, economically, and environmentally.

Plastic Paradise

Every single piece of plastic that has been produced is still somewhere on this planet. Where does it all go?

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Reduce Your Waste in 5 Easy Steps

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5 Ways to Reduce Your Waste

Many times, we use unnecessary and single-use things in our daily lives. It doesn’t seem to phase us, where will this end up when I’m done with it? Below are some ways that you can begin to reduce your trash.

Say no to plastic bags

That little number 4 inside the recycling symbol doesn’t mean its recyclable. It’s actually just letting you know what type of plastic you are using.  Even if you try to recycle it, plastic bags get air borne and end up on the side of the road. Get yourself some reusable totes and always keep one in the car.

Stop using single use utensils

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