Capsule Wardrobe

Can You Be a Zero Waste Traveler?!

I have always loved to travel! I have been to Canada, Mexico, England, Italy, Poland, Germany, Czech Republic, and Hungary. I even lived in Scotland for 5 months while I was studying abroad at the University of St. Andrews. These are just the countries that I have visited. I have traveled all around the United States by plane, train, and car. Needless to say I love to travel. But, can I consider myself a zero waste traveler or am I actually the most wasteful person on this planet?!

According to an article in the New York Times, “ One round-trip flight from New York to Europe or San Francisco creates a warming effect equivalent to 2 or 3 tons of carbon dioxide per person. The average American generates about 19 tons of carbon dioxide a year, the average European, 10.” This is a ton of carbon dioxide that is polluting our environment. What is one to do? Stop traveling?

I can’t imagine my life without travel. I currently have dreams to visit India, Thailand, Vietnam, France, Iceland, and so many other countries that not traveling isn’t an option. So, I try my best to find other ways to help reduce my overall waste. I try to only support local farms as much as I can, even when I am traveling, I bring my own food onto the plane for meals, and I only purchase “souvenirs” that people will actually use. But, what about all the waste that you may end up producing. What if I forget or don’t have enough time to make my own food- forcing myself to eat what’s on the plane? What if I can’t find any local farms while traveling that are within my budget? All of these what if’s are terrifying for many zero wasters who want to travel.

Try To Do The Best You Can!

Just because you aren’t in your house doesn’t mean that zero waste goes out the door. But also don’t beat yourself up if you get hungry and you end up eating the airplane food. If you have any dietary restrictions- just make sure to make it clear on your ticket before you get on the plane. This trash could have been avoided, yes, but don’t beat yourself up because no one is ever perfect. Many times the waste is out of our hands. If you visit countries like India that don’t have clean tap water, your only option is to drink bottled water. This usually comes in plastic water bottles and there is nothing we can do to avoid it. Even many of the high tech filters still wont extract many of the bacteria that is found in the tap water. Just be safe and drink the bottled water that many times has been imported from other countries in Europe. At the end of the day, we have to focus on trying our best and forgetting the rest.

Always Bring Food With You To The Airport!

Airport food usually sucks and is super expensive. Pack your own oatmeal that you can add hot water to when you get on the airplane. I have even packed some potatoes and veggies to eat for dinner before or during my flight. You can bring pretty much anything onto the plane- with the exception of fresh fruit to many countries- just as long as it isn’t a liquid or a gel. This means avocado, already made oatmeal, nut milks, maple syrup, honey, and other foods that have a gel and creamy like texture. This allows you to eat healthy, cheap, and plastic free whilst you are traveling!

Bring A Empty Water Bottle through TSA And Fill Up At The Gate!

I can’t not live without my empty water bottle. It is a simple and easy thing to do as soon as you pass through security. If you are going to a country with unsafe drinking water, then I would leave the water bottle at home and just grab a big one from the gate. I also keep a few tea bags with me and an empty travel mug with me to make some hot tea wherever I go. I love hot tea whilst I am flying, it really helps me to relax and sleep while I am on any red eye flight! Just make sure that there is no water in it before you go through security.

Shampoo And Soap Bars!

The Zero Waste lifestyle is the perfect Minimalist lifestyle because it allows you to pack all of your items into a small carry-on suitcase or backpack! Instead of trying to fit liquid shampoo and soap into your little plastic baggie, just opt for the shampoo and soap bars! For any liquid face oil or essential oils- I keep them in the same plastic baggie that I have been using for years. It doesn’t stay close all the time, but I just make sure that it is when I pass through security. A few times my bags have had to be checked again, but it’s not a problem.

Essential Oils!

Ever feel nauseous, get a headache, or that stubborn pimple? Essential oils are your best friends on flights. Bring some tea tree oil as an antibacterial after using the bathroom or to wipe down your seat before sitting down. Peppermint for that stubborn headache or nausea when you are on the plane. I also have some that are super helpful for I get really bad stomach aches. My current favorites are Lavender and Clary Sage for when I have to get a few hours of sleep on any red eye flights!

Bring a Disposable Razor!

Yes, I know this may sound a bit odd but if you are a women that is going somewhere warm and you want to carry on your suitcase, bring a disposable razor. I have thought about just bringing my metal one, but it is more likely to be flagged during security because it is bigger and made out of more metal than a disposable razor. I have never been caught with a disposable one, doesn’t matter what country I am going to. I have heard of quite a few people that have been forced to throw away their safety razor. Save your money and just have on disposable razor for any trips that you end up going on!

Bring tooth powders and facial powders!

Try to bring as many powders as you can to help limit the amount of liquids and creams that end up having to go into a plastic bag if you are carrying-on your bag. It is also just way more convenient to carry around with you wherever you go. I have some recipes for my tooth powders and facial powders on my blog.

Refuse What You Can On The Plane

Refuse the single use plastic cups, the headphones, the pillows, and even the blanket by bringing your own! This doesn’t always happen, especially if your carry-on isn’t that big. But, your own pillow and blanket will be a lifesaver for red eyes, since the blankets aren’t usually that comfortable. By refusing all the disposable items, the food that is packaged in a ton of plastic and non-recyclable materials. This will do a ton more than not flying to a different state or country on our planet. Even though carbon dioxide is very harmful to our environment. By continuing to use disposable items that pollute our environment by creating more greenhouse gases and filling our land with a ton of trash that will never decompose. By following these steps, we can help limit our carbon footprint on our planet more than just refusing to fly the world! However, at the end of the day, we need to focus on what we can and can’t do. We can’t stress ourselves out for the mistakes that we make!

For more tips and tricks I highly recommend checking out Emilia from The Girl Gone Green who traveled around Asia for a few months. Emilia is a well known zero waste activist who gave a Ted Talk on how to live a more eco-friendly, sustainable, and zero waste life. However, during her trips to Bali, Indonesia, Thailand, India, and various other countries- she found that she couldn’t live the “perfect” zero waste life that her audience had presumed she lived all the time. Instead of forcing herself to only show the “perfect” aspects of her travels, she revealed the hard issues and the amount of trash that she produced whilst traveling. This allowed for many to realize that the majority of the world can’t be zero waste because of the amount of health issues that occur if you eat and drink any of the fresh food and water in that country.

At the end of the day, no one is perfect all the time. If you believe that I shouldn’t be traveling than that is fine. I try to limit my travels by car. Instead, I opt to take the plane or the train when I can, because those two modes of transportation are always running. If I didn’t take that seat, then someone else would. When it comes to a car, you are the one who has decided to do the traveling to a different state, city, or even down the street to visit someone, go to the grocery store, or to your job.  

 

My Fall Capsule Wardrobe!

There are a lot of different types of capsule wardrobes. The most popular Capsule Wardrobe is Project 333. In this capsule wardrobe, you are supposed to have only 33 items, including shoes,  that are changed every 3 months. I have always enjoyed fashion, and believe that this strict limit doesn’t allow me enough creative freedom. With the help of some awesome minimalist fashion bloggers, I have curated the best capsule wardrobe for any season. I love my current fall wardrobe the most because it’s me. The best part of all is that I have found ways to ensure that it stays me!!!

1.     What are your Fashion Words and Colors!

This little tip is from fashion blogger Budget Bohemian, and is the best start to any wardrobe. Before you start purging, find the three words that you want your wardrobe to capture. This season mine are Comfort, Vintage, and Adventurous! These are the two pieces that I believe best exemplify my words. My colors are burgundy, brown, and black! Even thought I have ventured out of these three colors a little bit, I believe that these words and colors allow you to be critical of every piece you currently own or will at some point in the future. Live by these words and colors, and your wardrobe will make itself!!!

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2.     Take everything out and lay it in one spot!

I take everything that I own it put it on my bed. It’s a ton of clothes, but it really shows me how much I actually own. It may seem overwhelming, but I swear this will help you see that you may be hoarding some unnecessary items that you have to get rid of. Make sure that you leave enough room to make three piles. One for keep, another for maybe, and another for donate or to reuse. (side note: I always take EVERYTHING I own out onto my bed. I know that many wont have enough time, so you can just do your fall clothing items if you want to).

3.     One at a time

Take each one of your items and look at it critically. Does it fit in your color and words palette? Can you wear it with more than just one other item? Do you truly love the item? If the item answers all of it with a yes, then keep it! If it answers most of the questions with a maybe, then put it in the maybe. If it answers all of the questions with a no, then get rid of it by donating or turning it into something new! This section of decluttering takes a while, sometimes the whole day, and can be emotionally and physically draining. You will love yourself after your done!

4.     Take another look!

Put all of your Yes clothing items into your closet. You can start with just the fall items and move your way through your closet. Once you have done this, then you can start looking at your maybe pile more critically, do you already own a bunch of the same items? Do you really need it? Does it fit? If you believe so, then add it back in, but switch the hanger. That way when you reach for the item and put the hanger back, you will actually know that you wear that item. However, if the item answers all the questions a second time with a no instead of a yes, then put it in the donate pile.  

5.     Arranging your Capsule Wardrobe!

I have a big walk in closet with shelves and hangers. This means that I am not able to hide all of my clothes that I don’t wear the rest of the year, and only leave out those that are in my capsule wardrobe. Instead, I divide my wardrobe into seasons. The first part of my wardrobe is for my current capsule, and the rest are for the other seasons. This way, my other clothes do not distract me when I enter my closet and get ready for the day.

6.     Poshmark or Donate!!!

I would recommend trying to sell your clothing items to see if you can make some money on the side! If you donate your clothes, that item may go to someone in need, or it may go straight to landfill because they have too many clothing items. If you really want to donate your clothes, look up your local shelters and foundations, and find ones that aren’t as popular as the others. I wouldn’t donate to GoodWill, since they have been under a lot of fire for not paying their employees fair wages.

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7.     Make the week’s so much easier!

Don’t you wish that a fairy godmother would come down in the morning and pick out your clothes for the day and lay them out neatly on the bed. I am not sure if this is going to happen anytime soon, but I do have a fashion hack that will make your life a little bit easier. When you are putting your clothes away, find some outfits, take a picture and store it in your phone. That way, when you are scrolling through your phone in the morning, you already have a couple of outfits to choose from that are in your closet!  

7.     Should I buy this?

Now that your done decluttering and formulating your capsule wardrobe, you may want to go shopping! What should you buy? Make sure that anything you purchase is made of high quality materials, I am currently not purchasing any polyester items, and that it will go with the majority of your wardrobe. If you need to some help, I would recommend taking pictures of a couple of items in your closet to ensure that your new items fit in your current wardrobe!

These tips will help you continue to downsize and curate a wardrobe that you love! I am currently working on hopefully downsizing my closet to be 20 items per season. I am far way from that goal, and I am okay with that because I love everything in my wardrobe. Whenever I step into my closet in the morning I am overwhelmed with the amount of clothes I want to wear!!!