6 Simple Ways To Lead A More Sustainable Life, Even When You're Unmotivated

I'll be completely honest: ever since we moved, I've found it incredibly difficult to prioritize sustainability in my day to day life. The act of moving to a new home is such a wasteful process in itself (the endless boxes and bubble wrap and back and forth and throwing away) that I essentially tossed the mindset, giving myself a bit of (necessary) grace until we slowly settled in our new home. 

But how long does said "grace period" last? It's been nearly three months and although we're technically "settled," my mindset about my daily habits hasn't shifted much. If I'm being totally honest (which I like to be, mostly) I'm feeling abnormally unmotivated to put in the work it takes to downsize waste and live consciously. I feel like I'm in a bit of an "eco-slump" when it comes to things like recycling, plastic elimination, and everything else it takes to live sustainably.  

Other than feelings of guilt about the amount of waste I could have been cutting, I'm realizing once again that sustainability is more about small lifestyle tweaks that add up over time. This blog post is meant to be a bit of virtual accountability and a slice of inspiration for anyone hoping to start living a more earth-friendly lifestyle. Or, like me, pick up where they left off, pulling themselves out of an "eco-slump". 

Sustainable living takes a lot of work- it's normal to go through phases of unmotivation, or carelessness. But with these tips, you'll be ready to jump back in.

1. Reduce Your Single Use Plastics: 

When you consider the fact that nearly everything we purchase is either wrapped in plastic or made of some kind of material that's meant to be thrown away, it should cause you to consider if there are better alternatives out there. Things like beauty products, household cleaners, and even our food often comes "plastic wrapped" in a neat, single use package that you're meant to toss (or recycle) once you're done. 

However, one simple mindset shift that I'm once again working towards is to work on eliminating these kinds of plastics from my home. I've found that the bathroom is the easiest place to start. I've recently run out of my first round of Plaine Products shampoo, conditioner, and body wash, but they're one such brand who completely eliminates the need for single use products by creating a subscription service for body products (for more information, read my review here and my interview with the founder here.) 

Reduce plastic in the kitchen by shopping in the bulk section and foregoing plastic bags. Store your food in reusable containers and recycle what you can't reuse. 

2. Shop Secondhand 

When it comes to clothing, I have a particularly unique situation as a blogger. But, even though I frequently receive clothes from brands, I've learned to be increasingly picky with what I add to my closet. When I do need a piece, even though I love supporting ethical brands, I make sure to check local thrift shops first, in case I can give new life to a discarded piece of clothing. 

Try hosting a clothes swap with friends, consign your clothes to second-hand buyers, or sell them online, instead of adding to the massive pile of clothing waste that already exists in the world. 

3. Don't Toss Your Food

It's a simple but important habit- stop tossing your food scraps. After my friend Cassie shared that she saves her unused (but not spoiled) veggie scraps in the freezer to later turn into vegetable broth, I've been hooked. Similarly, you can compost any other unused food to use in your potted plant's soil, add to your garden, or donate to a school or community garden. For an excellent resource on composting, see here

4. Walk When You Can

Living in a mainly rural area with fairly long commutes wherever I go, public transportation and walking isn't really an option most of the time. But for anyone who has that opportunity- use it! 

5. Carry A Waterbottle And Coffee Cup With You

I've gotten in such a habit of carrying my KeepCup and Yume water bottle with me wherever I go that I almost feel naked without them. Since most disposable coffee cups aren't recycleable due to their polyethylene lining, carrying a reusable cup literally saves waste each and every time you drink coffee. Waterbottles do the same since the vast majority of single-use bottles aren't even recycled. 

6. Upcyle and Reuse

Do you have any unused spray bottles lying around? Concoct your own cleaning solutions or beauty products to reuse the bottles. Reuse mason jars and bottles for (quite literally) anything under the sun. Consider turning your old clothes into something new or patching a few holes before throwing something away. 

7. Slow Down 

If there's one thing I've learned through this whole moving process, it's that slowing down is the only way to live a truly conscious lifestyle. In such a fast paced world, it's no wonder that we resort to tossing and rushing and mindlessly consuming. 

Instead, I'm working on slowing down (forever a work in progress, my friends) and carefully considering everything I buy, throw away, and use. 

*This post is part of a three-post series featuring Plaine Products. Thank you for supporting the brands that keep this blog running!*