Some thoughts on how a minimalist approach to clothes and makeup helps me save time. Less time spent on a busy morning routine = one happy girl.
Another month of empties. Some supplements (if you’re a repeat reader, you’ll know I’ve been experimenting with supplements to alleviate PCOS and thyroid symptoms. if you’re new, hi!), beauty, hair, and coffee related things.
- OLLY Restful Sleep – after weeks of sleeplessness, restlessness, and insomnia, I was desperate. I heard that L-theanine could help, so I decided to try these gummies; they have melatonin, L-theanine, and herbs. And they WORK! I never liked the idea of gummy supplements, but there’s something about this particular medium that my body likes when it comes to melatonin. I’m currently using the VitaFusion gummies and separate L-theanine capsules, and I’m sleeping at last.
- Solgar Vitamin E – I was taking these in conjunction with Selenium for my thyroid. I am currently taking a multivitamin that includes Selenium, but I may try vitamin E again (noticed that my skin looked great and my migraines seemed to improve – need another try).
- Jarrow Formulas Milk Thistle – liver support for PCOS.
- AuraCacia Sweet Orange essential oil – I love citrus scents. One of my favorites.
- ACURE day cream – so I use ACURE a lot… this is an old standard whenever I need a bit of extra moisture.
- ACURE radically rejuvenating cleansing cream – probably my favorite evening cleanser. Very gentle. I use it as my first cleanse to get things off.
- Juice Beauty Mineral Moisturizer, sheer – I prefer the tinted version of this, but the sheer is clear enough that I can get away with wearing it without makeup.
- giovanni 2chic Ultra-revive conditioner – My ends became extra dry when I had some ombré put in, so I went back to using conditioner. I liked this one, but I’m currently trying the purple Repairing conditioner from the same line and find that I prefer that one.
- Four Sigmatic Mushroom Coffee mix, Create with Lion’s Mane & Chaga – so I decided to try mushroom coffee. I can’t say I noticed a difference in my energy, but it was nice to try. I did, however, taste the mushroom. Maybe it’s just me—I am hyper sensitive to tastes and smells. Not unpleasant, just weird.
- Vital Proteins Collagen Creamer, coconut – I really wanted to love this, but the coconut milk just doesn’t dissolve very well. Still find that I prefer the basic collagen peptides mix.
Just wanted to sit down and share some thoughts on settling and why I won’t settle for good enough when it comes to stuff. It’s a minimalist win for me.
It’s a little more than 3 years since I decided to adopt a simpler, more minimal approach to life and consumption. I was already interested in green initiatives, but, naturally, this led to an increased interest in low waste, DIY, conscious consumerism, curated collections, and introspection. Like many, I started with a copy of Marie Kondo’s Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up and took off from there. The book really was life-changing, altering my philosophy on home, spending, and happiness in general. My initial goal in reading the book was to inspire my mom to change some of her own habits and overcome her fear of letting go, what I found was a new outlook that resulted in a happier, simpler me.
I filmed a few videos describing my early experience with “sparking joy” (I’ll be restarting that that series soon, re-titled “minimalist transitions”), but here are 5 things that facilitated the process and/or inspired me to think about what I consume.
5 things: minimalist transitions
This is the book that started it all for me. I borrowed it from my library and learned so much, I wanted to share it with everyone. I still apply KonMari’s philosophy and strive to surround myself with things that spark joy — in life, work, and home.
I have a coffee habit, and while I’m still working on minimizing my use of disposables, this was a start. KeepCup has since become the cup du jour among the cool kids.
I am not a cool kid, just a posh nerd.
Fjallraven Kanken (classic and mini)
I have two of these – the classic in red and the mini in brick. I work at a university and I have a lot to carry. I also travel for work and love Swedish design. These bags hold EVERYTHING and don’t make my back hurt (joy all around); they also helped me re-evaluate what I carry, and learn that I value comfort and practicality above all. I wear a Kanken on most days and have gotten sooo much use out of them. Fun fact, I used my amazon reward points to purchase both of them. I paid $0 for each.
Lesson: use those credit rewards!
I’ve talked about these before (here, here, here, and here). These were the 1st big, well-researched fashion purchase I made after re-evaluating my spending and shopping habits. Purchasing a pair of $175 shoes is an investment and not one I made lightly. This purchase forced me to re-evaluate my relationship with fashion, and appreciate the quality and durability of well-made shoes. Two years on, my first pair is still one of my most-worn items.
Another happy side-effect, I was able to let go of all the shoes that made my feet hurt. I reach for tieks whenever I’m not wearing my Lotta’s (another purchase made for comfort and durability).
Note: I have the luxury of being able to afford these. This is a luxury that I did not have once upon a time, but one that I am aware of. Buying secondhand, quality items that live up to their value is always an option. Quality does not always = $$$.
project use it up
Not a thing, but a concept – “project use it up,” or tracking my empties, has resulted in a greater understanding of what I buy and use, which leads to fewer impulse buys and more selective purchases.
Do you need these things to adopt a lower waste/minimalist philosophy? No. Do they help? Sometimes, but you can find your own joy sparking alternatives. The items listed are items that I love and appreciate for their style and purpose; they have a classic, timeless style and will serve me for years to come.
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Another month, another round of stuff I used up.
Kicking it off with the supplements… my doctor is in awe of my self-experimenting and documentation.
- Vital Proteins Collagen Beauty Water: Watermelon Mint – Have to admit, this tastes pretty awful until you get used to the flavor. I’d much rather use the Collagen Peptides, but I decided to try this to flavor my water during the summer. I used it up, but it took some time. After trying a different flavor (and finding it just as bad), I’ll be sticking to the Peptides in future. I take collagen for my joints and find that it does ease my aches. Also, an extra source of protein since I tend to have a carb heavy diet on most days (especially after going mostly plant-based).
- Florastor – I had a nasty bout of tonsillitis in July (still not over it), and had to take a round of antibiotics. Once upon an infection, a doctor recommended this brand and I turn to it whenever I need to take antibiotics.
- Nature’s Way DIM-Plus – My first bottle and not my last. I started taking DIM because it works to balance estrogen in the body. I’ve been taking it for three months and have seen a significant change in my charts, as well as my overall mood and health. I’ve had fewer migraines since taking this and I am convinced this is due to the estrogen that it helps metabolize (I take it with milk thistle to detox my liver – where excess estrogen is stored).
- Vitacost Selenium – Selenium is important for thyroid health and *newsflash* I’m hypothyroid. I recently started a multi that includes selenium, so I’m not supplementing for the moment. I took it in conjunction with Vitamin E and noticed some improvement in my nails (there is a kind of nail splitting that happens when thyroid hormones are not being produced or taken up by the body).
- Solgar B-complex 50 – Not supplementing at the moment because of the multi noted above, but I used to take it for energy and metabolism. Sometimes, it made me a little too hungry.
On to the products…
- Suntegrity 5-in-1 in Fair – I’ve tried the Suntegrity Light, which is too warm on me, and decided to give Fair a chance. It’s nice, but still not my favorite. I’m currently using their moisturizing primer, which has a different texture and no tint, but smells very strongly of orange jellies.
- Kiss My Face Triple Action – My favorite brand of SLS, Fluoride-Free toothpaste 🙂
- Andalou Naturals A Path of Light hand cream in Lavender – At first, I hated the smell. I don’t love lavender (I meant to buy the citrus one and grabbed this one by mistake), but I grew used to the smell and I really enjoyed the moisture.
- ACURE Brilliantly Brightening scrub (trial size) – My BF recently noticed the number of ACURE products in my bathroom… they work well and are an affordable eco option if you’re trying to switch to a more natural skincare routine. I like this scrub, but the full size tends to go bad in my shower if I don’t use it quickly, because it’s so hot in my apartment. This trial was just right.
- Honest Beauty cleanser (trial size) – This was part of a Target beauty box. I always wanted to try the Honest cleanser and I’m glad I got to use a trial because it’s not a keeper. I used it while traveling and had to wash my face two or three times to get the makeup off. I ended up using it as a second cleanse to finish it up. Not buying a full size.
- Ulta Luxurious Cleansing Body Wash in Coconut + Almond Milk – Have to admit, this was an impulse buy that was on clearance, but I like a bit of bubble in my bath. Nice scent.
The red and green ones are actually declutters. I gave up on trying to use them because they were always scratchy and dry. They were part of a set that I plan to give away at work (where pens walk away on a regular basis). I used up the yoobi and the Faber-Castell was a mediocre brush pen for calligraphy that didn’t quite work out.
What I used up in May. Body care and supplements.
- Me! bath tini ME! Lavendar Lullaby bath bombs: These were part of a Target sample both and proved to be a pleasant surprise. It brought three little bombs and they were perfect and nicely scented.
- Dr. Bronner’s 18-in-1 Baby Unscented Pure Castille Soap: This is the workhorse: hand soap, brush cleaner, body wash, I may not have 18 uses, but it’s a fave.
- Oral B floss: True confession: I hate flossing. My teeth are crazy tight and I’ve yet to find a floss that doesn’t get stuck. This one was ok.
- Weleda Sea Buckthorn Creamy Body Wash: Another sample bag trial. Smelled like orange peels and felt like the L’occitane Almond Shower Oil.
- wowe wooden toohbrush: Not really an empty so much as a new addition… I went through all the plastic toothbrushes I had and made the switch to bamboo. So far, I’m impressed by the quality and like that they come in a 4-pack that will get me through the year. They’re no more expensive than plastic brushes. win-win.
- NOW Foods Super Enzymes: The best and always a repurchase. I started using these after my gallbladder surgery, when I started to have issues with food intolerance. They make my tummy happy and I can double up when I choose to indulge in something problematic, like ice cream.
- PB8 probiotics: Another frequent product. I alternate brands, but this is a trust fallback. As with the enzymes, probiotics keep my gut working.
Welcome to another round of “what I used up last month”
- ACURE radically rejuvenating under eye hydrogel masks: I’ve posted these before. Love them and they’re easy to find at my local Target and Whole Foods when I need a pick-me-up.
- California Baby Calendula Cream (for babies and sensitive adults… I’m def. a sensitive adult): one of my favorite creams when my skin is reacting or experiencing a psoriasis flare.
- First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream (citron scent): Another good cream when I’m experiencing a flare. The active ingredient is Colloidal Oatmeal and the orange scent is lovely is you like a light citrus (fades quickly).
- NEST fragrances in Dahlia and Vines: at the time of purchase, this was a Sephora exclusive scent. Light and floral, lasts a long time and didn’t give me a headache (always a win).
- LaVanila The Healthy Deodorant, vanilla scent: When I’m not using Schmidt’s bergamot and lime, I’m using this. It works for me, but deodorant works differently on every body. If you’re new to natural deodorants, this might not be enough to cover the initial detox stank.
- ACURE seriously glowing facial serum: This was a nice blend of nourishing oils, just what I needed when my skin was going through a dry spell. ACURE may have discontinued or renamed this since their rebranding.
- Desert Essence spot treatment: one of my favorites.
- Weleda Almond Lotion sample: Came in a sample baggie. I’ve used this before and continue to enjoy it. Very light moisturizer.
- avatara Calm Down blackhead pore strips: bought these on a whim at Target, they really work.
- Yogi Chai Rooibos tea: another tea successfully used up. Red tea with chai spice, no caffeine and no weird headaches (some chai blends give me a reaction)
- Traditional Medicinals Nighty Night: for when I need a little help to fall asleep.
- Solgar Zinc Picolinate 22 mg: part of my thyroid support protocol
- Mr. Bubble Meltaways Bath Candies: part of a Target discovery box. They do what they do.
- Kiss my Face Sensitive toothpaste, orange mint flavor: My favorite SLS/fluoride-free toothpaste. Been using it for at least 2 years.
- Weleda salt toothpaste: This… was weird. Part of the same Weleda bag mentioned above.
Just another random assortment of empties. #declutter
- ACURE radically rejuvenating under eye hydrogel mask: I was quite impressed by these. They really soothed my under eye area. I keep them in the fridge and have already bought more…
- ACURE facial cleansing gel: Picked this up after I ran out of my last wash. Nice and gentle, but it did not last as long as the cleansing creme from the same brand.
- Kiss my Face moisture shave: Lasts FOREVER and makes my skin incredibly soft. The peppermint is especially cooling during the summer. Always repurchase.
- Solgar Vitamin D3 2200 IU: I regularly take Vitamin D to help with my lack of energy (hello, thyroid). I amped it up to 2200 IU, but I’ve since switched back to 1000 IU because I’ve started taking Cod Liver Oil again (which also has Vitamin D).
- gaia herbs Turmeric Supreme Joint: I don’t take this regularly, but it’s helpful when my TMJ is flaring and I think it has some effect on my migraines (needs further testing). I’ve switched back to the Extra Strength, which is a slightly different blend of herbs.
- Japanese green tea, Twining’s pure rooibos red tea, and Zhena’s Ambrosia Plum white tea – three teas done!
- Tea India Chai Moments Chai Tea Latte Mix, Ginger: The last of the chai mix I purchased at the Diwali festival. Will miss it.
- Traditional Medicinals Health Cycle: A regular repurchase. Helps with cramps and makes my stomach feel less awful.
Happy Easter! Here’s what I used up in March.
- avatara wipe out nose pore strips: first time using these and it was quite a nice experience. I picked them up at Target and definitely noticed a difference.
- elf Ultimate Blending brush – Probably my favorite elf brush, but I had it for years and it gave up the ghost
- Juice Beauty SPF 30 Tinted Mineral Moisturizer in Sand – One of my favorite sunscreens. It just matches my skin tone without turning orange. Currently using the un-tinted one in an effort to simplify my makeup look.
- fresh Rose Face mask – sample from Sephora. Just a lovely mask that leaves my skin feeling soft and refreshed. I’d be willing to buy a trial size in future.
- Dr.Bronner’s Pure Castille Soap in Peppermint – a classic. This is a trial size because I like to rotate the scents and even the small size goes a long way.
- Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides – My favorite collagen supplement for skin and joints, but it’s pricey and I can’t always justify the cost. I splurge when my knees are feeling particularly achy, or I want a skin boost.
- Rainbow Light Just Once Iron-Free – The best multi I’ve tried and one I continue to purchase.
- Jarrow Formulas Femdophilus – Probiotics for ladies. ’nuff said. I can’t say I noticed a difference, but it was on sale and I thought it worth a try.
- Gaia Herbs Quick Defense – This is one of those products that I try to push on people. I keep a bottle on hand for colds and flu and it WORKS. It speeds up a cold like you wouldn’t believe.
- A pen – Because every pen is a success.
- Re-Boost decongestion spray – picked this up a few months ago and it’s come in very handy. It’s a natural product that actually works to clear things up.
- Nature’s Bounty thrive blend – It smells strongly of clove but I like to think that it works to clean the air during cold season. At least it helped when I was stuffed up last month.
I’ve managed to keep a fairly streamlined collection since my first round of KonMari de-cluttering, but times change and things that sparked joy no longer spark. Rather than hold on to every thing, I’ve learned to let go and edit on a regular basis.
Here are the results of my latest round:
A quick review of my closet revealed a few items that I failed to reach for this winter, or which no longer fit as I prefer. The two smaller bags are items from my makeup collection that I cannot donate or share, and a few bits of paper and miscellany clutter that needs to go.
A review of my unmentionables revealed some items that no longer serve, whether because the fit is off or the fabric is too worn.
I use a diffuser to scent my home on most nights, but sometimes I just like the look and feel of a candle. Because candles come with jars, I’ve amassed a fair number of them. I’m getting rid of these, but looking to rehome or recycle where possible.
Decorative pillows and stuffed toys from the ikea bin. I have a weakness for cute pillows, but these serve no purpose beyond gathering dust. I traded them in favor of the toys and pillows that I do use (mostly to prop my arm up while I sleep).
Not pictured: the freestanding mini elliptical machine I bought two years ago in an effort to move more during writing days and have an alternative to outdoor walks during the rainy season. I used it for a few weeks and found that I didn’t like it, but it was too late to return it. It’s too large for me to try to sell it, and I can’t stand seeing it gather dust. I set it on the curb and hope someone picks it up. It’s wasteful, but a lesson learned.