Resources for Minimalists

Hello! And welcome back. It’s me, Desiree’ Celeste!

When I first began purging my stuff, I felt like I was just trying to pawn things off on my friends, then donating everything to thrift stores to be resold. I don’t think that thrift stores are the enemy, they really are an excellent resource for people to be able to find items, but I would rather people not have to pay for my things. Not to mention, many thrift stores hold politics I don’t assign to, so I would rather they not make money from my stuff. Pushing my stuff onto my friends doesn’t make me feel good, either. Many of my friends are also minimalists, so I give them first pick and then use my resources to rehome the remainder. I do also donate a ton of stuff, but I enjoy knowing exactly where my belongings go and how useful they will be in their new homes. When I drop off dozens of pounds of clothing at the shelter, I know in my gut that fast fashion has resulted in an excess of clothing being donated. I help to unload my own car, so I see exactly how high their clothing mountain is for the week. I feel similarly guilty when I donate my dishware to the thrift store, especially now that I see from the apps listed below how many local families in need would rejoice to have my dishes. The list below includes the resources that I use to rehome my belongings, and is pretty much in the order that I use them.

Posting on my personal Facebook page:

My first route to relieve my things is to post about them on my personal FB page. I post photos and descriptions for each thing and let my friends sort out what they may want. Many times, they find fun stuff to give others in their lives, which is excellent. This is also a great way for me to see people I may not see very often otherwise.

 Buy Nothing Project group:

I have been lurking around my local BNP group for ages. I have scored some really cute things, but mostly I have been able to rehome a ton of things there. BNP is a series of Facebook groups that are specific to the area in which you live, helping to build community. The official Buy Nothing Project page is HERE but it’s more useful to use the search bar to look up groups for your area. When you join, an admin will most likely request additional information about where you live to ensure you’re in the right place. All of the groups have the same rules, as they stem from one central organization, the blog for BNP is HERE.

Freecycle:

Freecycle is very similar to Buy Nothing Project, but they have a centralized website and there is the option to get all postings sent directly to your email. While you can view all offered and wanted items on their website, you have to be logged in and a member of that group in order to post or respond to postings. I am really weird in how I use Freecycle, but have been doing it for AGES. I generally respond to all clothing related posts and let them know that if the items they posted didn’t find a home, I would pick them up to donate to the homeless shelters.

Freecycle + Trash Nothing?

In my hunts for extra resources, I found an app called Freecycle + Trash Nothing. The app looks similar but still very different from the Freecycle site and it made me confused! After doing a small amount of research, I found that the Trash Nothing app is an offshoot of the original Freecycle page, which used to be through a Yahoo group (and may still be). The Trash Nothing app was started to curb the spam that users of the original Freecycle Yahoo groups were experiencing. What does this mean for you? It means that you have choices. I like the Trash Nothing app, it is old AF but user friendly and still send email alerts when you message someone. Direct yourself to the Freecycle website if you’d rather use the desk top version or get direct emails about offer and want posts.

Let Go:

Let Go is an app where you can choose to sell things or give your things away. My friends have had great luck with finding cool furniture on there. It’s essentially a Craigslist with a cleaner, prettier interface.

Next Door:

Next Door is an app where you can monitor your direct neighborhood. People post about if a package was stolen from their doorstep, if they need to ask for a cup of sugar, if a teen is starting to babysit and looking for clients, etc. Posts offering up items are also allowed, but they only reach your immediate area. I mean, a few blocks. Next Door is a really convenient way to help those (literally) closest to you.

Facebook Marketplace:

I am hesitant about a few of the suggestions on this list, Facebook Marketplace being one of them. Facebook Marketplace allows posts for items for sale, but you can also post items for free. The marketplace is a great way to reach a huge amount of people, but it’s kind of a free for all.

Craigslist Free Pages:

Do you remember when Craigslist was popular? Before apps took over? Well, it still exists, and people who don’t have luck with these other, smaller scale apps can generally get interest on Craigslist. This is another one of those suggestions that I am hesitant about. Strangers from all over can respond to your offers, so you never know who you are meeting, who may show up, how dangerous it may be. I, personally, hate posting on Craigslist because it is so easy to create a new email account to respond to an offer and I am an intensely private person. I favor the above suggestions because people have profiles and there is accountability.

 

Some basic etiquette about being in these groups, which may just be me being picky:

  • Use complete sentences and humanize the original poster, simply writing ‘NIL’ (meaning ‘next in line’) always makes me feel like I am not seen as a person
  • Post items that you would feel comfortable bringing into your own home, dirty or moldy items need a clean first
  • If people are picking up from your doorstep, be sure to protect the item until they arrive. I have a large plastic container to store items in until they are retrieved
  • Don’t be a creep, don’t make inappropriate comments or prolong conversation past the immediate interaction, unless it is obvious that you both want to continue the conversation
  • It is not unreasonable to request to meet in a public place. You are allowed to make plans based on your feelings of safety.
  • You are allowed to deny someone if it doesn’t feel good, you are not obligated to give or sell your item to the first person who contacts you if the circumstances are not good for you
  • REPORT UNSAFE ONGOINGS! If someone continues unwanted contact with you, is inappropriate or aggressive, or selling or giving unsafe/unsanitary/illegal items, report to the website or moderators. Be vocal. These pages are for the community, and it is everyone’s responsibility to aid in keeping the community safe.

Are there more resources that I am not familiar with? What websites and apps do you use to rehome your belongings?

 

 

 

Fine Tuning

I fine tuned my bathroom this week. I don’t have a ton of bathroom things, but my big goal now is to have so little that I can pack it all into a bathroom organizer for travel. It sounds so crazy to me, compared to how much I had 5 years ago. All of those half empty shampoo bottles, a huge drawer set of make up, and unused nail polishes: all discarded. And now I want to simplify even more?! Duh. I love a challenge.
FT B 2My portion of the cabinet above the toilet, which is mostly items I am using through.
I originally thought about getting one of those hanging, soft sides toiletry organizers, but now I am wondering why I want to ADD to my bathroom! I am currently trying to find a physical way to dictate how much space I am willing to dedicate to my bathroom things. I thought about how awesome it would be to only use the toiletry bag for my things, and one for manfriend for his, but then I realized that this is my challenge and not his. I first brought out every single bathroom item into the living room, I spread everything out onto the floor and sorted them.
I had one pile for things that are trash only such as an eye liner I had used a few times but ultimately didn’t care for, one pile for things that could be rehomed such as a hair straightener that I used once and hated, a pile for things that would be useful in other areas of the home like a jar that I can use for food storage, and a repurposing pile. In the repurposing pile I put all of my lip balms that the texture or flavor sucked, healing salves, and a few cute tins that I didn’t know what to do with, I ended up cutting down the lip balms and scooping out the healing salves, putting them in to the tins, and melting them down to make lip balms that I would actually use.
FT B 3The space above my cabinet above my toilet, where I highlight a framed card from a friend,
my elephants, and a rockin Bluetooth speaker
For the items to be kept into the bathroom, they immediately got put into organizers with like items. I am trying to get away from having all of our bathroom supplies out on the counters and shelves, so organizing them while in a different room made it so that I had to designate an actual home for my stuff. I ended up with 2 small plastic storage containers, one with all of the cold and flu meds for the household and one for all other medicines, like headache medicines and bandages. I kept one zipper pouch for my essential oils. I have 2 small flip top containers, one that has our nail files and clippers, and all of my hair removal stuff like the epilator and my manfriend’s shaver, and one that has my accessories in it like handmade fascinators and my extra earrings. The items that I use often are in the over the toilet cabinet, like my homemade scalp serum, emu oil for my face, facial dry brush, toothbrush, toothpaste, and vitamin jars (yes, I pour my vitamins into their own jars).
FT B 4The space below the sink, where we store all medicines, towels, etc.
In the end, I didn’t get rid of all too much, at least in comparison to how much I one got rid of years ago, but now it is once again the bare minimum of what I use and need, and everything is so well organized again! I do have about 5 items that I enjoy but don’t need and probably won’t purchase again after they are used, and those items are now in the forefront so I am reminded to use them up. These items are a hair cream, a lotion, and a few other gifted items that smell nice or feel nice but are not mandatory to my way of life. I am as excited to use them as I am to use them up and regain that space! Ultimately, I would love to get to so few items that I can have everything out and not have it feel cluttered!
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Contents of my cabinet (that are not homemade):
Dr. Bronner’s Hair Crème in Lavender: Click Here
Nubian Heritage Lotion in Olive and Green Tea: Click here
Pacifica Solid Perfume in French Lilac: Click here
Bass Facial Dry Brush: Click here
Badger Facial Cleansing Oil in Damascus Rose: Click here
Crystal Essence Mineral Roll On Deodorant in Lavender White Tea: Click here
Pure Montana Emu Oil: Click here
SIBU Rejuvenating Night Cream: Click here

Anime Fest 2017!

Helloooo! And welcome back! Last week, manfriend (if I’m going to talk about him, he must have a nickname, what shall it be?!) and I attended Anime Fest here in Denver, and I felt it was pretty successful! I have never been to a convention or anime/comic fest before and was very nervous about, well, everything. The influx of people, the thought that trash would be inevitable, the fear that I would go off the handles and want to buy everything in sight. You see, I LOVE anime and manga. I once had a formidable manga collection, which has now been scaled down to just the books I love to reread. If I could have a room dedicated to each of my favorite mangas and animes, I would have a mansion of diverse genres. However, I will never go back to keeping so much stuff.

To start off on the right foot, manfriend and I brought our own water bottles (filled with coffee). We had no idea how long we would be there, so I wanted to be at least a little prepared. I also made sure to bring my cross chest bag instead of opting for the fanny pack I usually wear when doing things where a ton of people will be around. Once there, I was bombarded by all of these beautiful people and things! I wanted to be behind my camera, taking photos of every person I saw, but dialed it back. I knew that I would probably not look back over those photos and would rather sit with the memory of being present that day. So, not a single photo was taken. But I did gawk at some amazing cosplays!

Manfriend and I decided we would be buying things that day, but we made the plan to be mindful. My first purchase was two draw string bags (pictured below), made of cotton and perfect for brussel sprouts or almonds! I, obviously, declined a bag and popped these beauties into my purse.

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Manfriend also surprised me with a new Sailor Mars wallet that forced me to further minimize my wallet items, and it’s small enough that it’s even more convenient to carry! And I bought him a 4 print set of our favorite Studio Ghibli movies. I WISH I would have picked up the artist’s card, because there are no markings on the art as to who to credit! If you know who did these pieces, please let me know so I can drop their link!

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I also got to sport my life uniform in a way that reflected my inner ChibiUsa! Overall, we brought home only what we found useful and created no trash, as even the lanyards and ID tags are being reused here at the house. I am pretty proud of my first Anime Fest experience!

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Intro To Cast Iron

Let me preface this post with some clarification. I didn’t grow up using cast iron, I didn’t get mine as hand me downs, and I am entirely self taught. I read a thousand articles on cast iron, I joined all of the groups on social media, and I felt utterly discouraged. Cast iron users are very passionate about cast iron, which I adore, but many also tend to speak about cast iron use as though it’s the hardest thing to master. Cleaning cast iron seemed to be a ritual, cooking seemed to be a right of passage. So, eventually, I stepped away from the articles and groups, and just started using them. Everyone has their own thoughts on what’s the right way or wrong way to handle cast iron, but I am very apathetic to those thoughts. If a method works, it works. This series of cast iron posts will probably be controversial, but that doesn’t bother me. I don’t judge if someone soaps their cast iron, or uses salt and a tater. I have weirder things to do in my day. Rather watch the video instead of reading? Check out my YouTube channel here!

What, exactly, is cast iron? Cast iron is a style of cookware made of iron that has been cast in a certain style. There are many styles of cast iron including but not limited to: frying pans, Dutch ovens, muffin pans, cake pans, and griddles. They tend to last a lifetime, sometimes even many lifetimes, and are very hard to destroy.

Where can you get cast iron? I am a huge fan of the hunt. Cast iron can be found at thrift stores and estate sales, both of which are like gold mines. Even rusty and worn pieces can be rehabbed. You may even have friends or family with cast iron hidden away in attics, basements, or in the back of a cabinet, so I suggest to ask everyone if they have neglected cast iron. Most stores that carry camping gear will have cast iron, as well. I have found it in many big box stores in camping sections next to shovels that fold down to tiny little… wait, off topic. However, the problem I have found with cast iron from regular big box stores is that they are not sanded smooth on the cooking surface. Old school cast iron were sanded smooth, where new ones generally are sold with deep divots and dimpling. When you buy cast iron with dimpling, you will need to work harder to fill those dimples to create a smooth surface that will cultivate more even cooking and great nonstick qualities.

How can you choose the right cast iron? I can’t really help much here, as everyone has their own preferences, but I will sure try! I choose as old as I can find, which means I ignore any sold new in store and look up any markings on the bottom of cast iron I find in a thrift store. I also feel the bottoms of the cooking surface for how smooth it is, as a smoother surface will be easier to season and get an optimal cook from it. I test the weight, I like heavier pieces because I have read they hold up better against extreme temperature changes and are less likely to crack if they are heavier. I favor deeper pieces, which I have figured out with use, because a deeper pan will be more multifunctional. I can simmer sauces, I can roast more veggies at once, I can make one pan meals that way. I do have 2 shallow pans and 2 deep pans, the deep ones are the winners. Now, would I choose pans with rust or caked on food? Definitely. In this series I will go over how to rehab a cast iron piece, and rust and food are easy fixes! But a smooth cooking surface takes longer to correct.

What utensils should be used in cast iron cooking? Pretty much whatever you want will work, but some pieces will help to maintenance the cast iron FOR you. I have used wood, stainless steel, silicone, and nylon cooking utensil in mine safely. Even regular forks and spoons. The nylon pieces will start melting if left in the hot pan, the wood will scorch under similar circumstances. Silicone holds up extremely well, but watch what the handle is made from! I favor my barbeque grill spatula that has a sharp metal edge. That spatula helps to maintain an even cooking surface but sloughing off any food chunks before they burn on. I also will scrape my grill spatula onto my cast iron between uses to help to keep the surfaces smooth and even.

Does cast iron really boost iron content in food cooked in it? Is this healthy? Yes to both. As a woman who loses blood every month, getting iron in my diet regularly is important to me. But I also prepare food for people who do not lose blood monthly and was wondering about their safety, as too much iron can actually cause heart problems. Upon researching, I found that cast iron does leech between 2-6mg of iron into the food prepared in it, and non-menstrual people are recommended to get about 8mg of iron a day, and menstrual peope are recommended to get 18mg a day. Considering many people, in America at least, are deficient in iron, this cookware seems to be a pretty safe choice.

What are the ways cast iron can be used? Ok, this part gets me hella excited. I no longer own any baking sheets or whatever people use in their ovens. I do use Pyrex for some baking, but mostly for food storage. Cast iron can easily transition between stove top to oven. You can roast veggies, fry bacon, bake cookies, damn near anything! And, big bonus, you can cook over a campfire with it! I always take my deep cast iron with the smallest diameter camping with me, as I can just set it directly into the fire to boil water for tea, to fry my eggs, and to even cook my hot dogs. I absolutely adore the versatility of my cast iron.

Is cast iron truly nonstick? I am not the authority on this. My cast iron is nonstick to a point, but there are times that oil or ghee are still a necessity. The big tip I have to avoid sticking is to preheat the pan. Yes, having a well seasoned pan is a major factor in how nonstick it is, but I am yet to see a pan so nonstick that you can cook absolutely everything in it without oil. This is why I can’t be the authority on it being nonstick. Hell, I can’t claim to be the authority on cast iron, period. I know only as far as I know. However, I know my pans are very nonstick, but I still use a little oil to cook my eggs, and I always preheat to get the best results.

Check in next week for Part Two of Intro To Cast Iron! I hope you enjoyed it, and please feel free to leave suggestions, questions, and more info about cast iron!

You can also find me on facebook here: Desiree Celeste

SnapChat: DroppinEffBombs

 

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5 Bathroom Basics

.I often see minimalism and zero waste/low waste colliding, and I tend to see it most in the bathroom. I was about a year or so in to my minimalism journey when I started my low waste journey, and thankfully I didn’t have to make all too many changes in my bathroom to accommodate both. I see so many conversations floating about in my online groups about what is considered a necessity for what area of the home. I have compiled the top 5 items that I feel are necessities for the bathroom if you are trying to walk the blurry line between Zero/Low Waste and Minimalism.

One: Menstrual Cups and/or Cloth Pads: I know that I enjoy my menstrual cup and will never go back to cotton tampons. I never really used single use pads and see no reason for me to get reusable pads, but I included them in this list because they truly are useful for those who prefer pads. These options help by way of minimalism because you are able to have products that are reusable as opposed to single use, and with single use items you always have to store extras. This factors into zero waste because you’re not tossing these items, duh! You are able to sanitize and reuse for years on end, creating much less waste.

Get the Size 1 Diva Cup here.

Get the Size 2 Diva Cup here.

Two: Body/Face Dry Brush: Starting dry brushing was a game changer for my health and wellness. Since starting dry brushing my face, I have been able to stop using face soaps, moisturizers, and exfoliators. With dry brushing of my body, it has reduced how visible my cellulite is, smoothed my skin, reduces my body odor, and helped me to stop using soap, lotion, and exfoliators. The same 2 brushes have lasted me for years and are compostable. They are easily sanitized by spraying them with alcohol. I have been able to do away with almost all of my shower and cabinet items just by using these 2 items.

Get the facial dry brush here.

And the body dry brush here.

Three: Epilator: I have a magical epilator that has an attachable shaver head. I know that safety razors are very popular amongst zero wasters, but I feel like I found my own perfect solution. My epilator recharges via wall outlet and is easily cleaned with an included brush. My epilator removes hair by the root from my legs, which over time damages the follicle enough to not really grow. I am now at the point where I only need to epilate once every few months. The shaver head comes in handy for my bikini line and my underarms. There are no disposable heads, no razors to ensure proper disposal of, and one item takes the place of any additional pieces.

Get the dual head epilator here.

Four: Coconut Oil: Coconut oil is one of those One Size Fits All type super products lately. Everyone is clamoring about how amazing coconut oil is, and for good reason. One jar can do the following (and more):

  • brush your teeth with coconut oil instead of toothpaste
  • use as a defrizzer or hair serum
  • use before the shower and be able to skip conditioner
  • use as a lotion
  • can be used as a facial moisturizer (use with caution, as it may not suit your skin)
  • oil pull with it for superior oral health and body detox
  • remove waterproof make up
  • anti bacterial and anti viral properties, so excellent as a healing salve
  • natural spf of 8, good for a natural sunscreen
  • when taken internally, will act as a mild laxative

Get Nutiva Organic coconut oil here.

Five: Glass Nail File: I love my glass nail file. Instead of generally hoarding a ton of emery boards, I have been using the same 1 glass nail file for the past 3 years. Glass nail files can last an entire life time and then be recycled, they also close the nail bed as opposed to a regular emery board leaves it open. Closed nail beds lead to stronger nails that grow longer and last through much more nail use. I use my nails as an extension of my fingers, so this is especially helpful for me! I have 2 glass nail files, one for my purse and one for my bathroom, and gifted some to my friends who still are loving them years later.

Get a 5 pack of glass nail files for less than 3$ here.

What bathroom items do you find to be your essentials?

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