The Different Values of Zero Waste and Minimalism Lifestyle

A couple of days ago, I heard someone say that they loved being an artist, but they felt as if they had to get rid of all of their art supplies if they wanted to become a minimalist. I immediately asked them if creating art is so important to them, why did they feel the need to get rid of their art supplies? They replied with the generic answer, "I want to become a minimalist to help clear my head of the everyday stress, and that means I need to get rid of all the clutter in my house." I replied to her by stating that being a minimalist and a zero waster does mean getting the clutter out of your spaces, but it doesn't mean getting rid of things you actually enjoy doing so it can fit within the instagram/trendy definition of the two lifestyles. I wanted to ask her, why would you ever get rid of anything in your life that makes you happy, just because it doesn't fit within the stupid generic guidelines?

After talking with this person, I realized that at the beginning of my zero waste journey I too had tried to fit into the typical zero waste/minimalist guidelines. I thought that my spaces had to be clean and minimal. I tried to only purchase food found in bulk, despite having a small bulk section at my local health food store. I even tried to fit all of my trash into a small mason jar. I quickly learned that these rules were impossible and unrealistic for someone like myself. It's difficult to go to a restaurant and not get a straw, or to refuse getting take-out with your friends just because it creates more waste. Throughout my journey, I began to create my own guidelines for the zero waste lifestyle. I believe that my ideals are reflected in the colorful pictures I post all over Instagram.

To explain my zero waste lifestyle guidelines, I have decided to take pictures of my bedroom and closet. It's important to note that I do live at home, as I am a broke recent college graduate who is way too much money in debt to afford her own apartment.

My bedroom is colored with orange walls and movie posters that encourage me to follow my passion for film and production. My desk and shelves are filled with beautiful memories that I hold dear to my heart. And my record player was the best Christmas present I ever received. Many zero wasters and minimalists would find my movie posters, pictures, and record player to be considered unnecessary clutter that take up too much space and would advice that I get rid of them to become a true zero waster/ minimalist. As long as I am alive, my room will never fit those ideals.

Currently, I am running out of places in my closet to hold all of my clothing, shoes, and accessories. Many might say that the amount of clothing I own is unnecessary and would assume that it takes me forever to get ready in the morning. Though in reality, it only takes me 30 minutes to get ready for the day and that includes getting dressed, washing my face, brushing my teeth, doing my hair, and putting on my makeup before heading to work. It doesn't matter how many times I declutter my closet, I will never be able to complete the minimalist challenges that are all the rage on YouTube.

I have decided to only purchase clothes from thrift/secondhand shops, and am hoping to begin making my own lotion and other daily purchases  that do take up clutter in both my closet and bedroom. At the end of the day, I am really happy with the way these two spaces look. I am amazed at how far I am in my zero waste/ minimalist journey, and can't wait to see what the future holds!