It’s a new year. We all get a clean slate, a fresh start, a chance to make a change.

This year, I want to simplify. 2016 will be a year of minimalism. Not scarcity or restriction, just simplicity. I want to have less stuff, use less stuff, and ultimately realize that I need less stuff.

But that’s a lot of change. Because I believe that big changes are best implemented in small steps, I’ve given myself a month-by-month plan. Every four weeks, I will challenge myself to simplify in some way. Some months will focus on clothing. (I’m starting what’s called a capsule wardrobe. You can learn more about them here, but it’s essentially a small wardrobe of high quality basics that you can wear every day). Other months will focus on food and home goods. The point is to take baby steps, to make small changes that will (hopefully) add up to a big change.

Here’s how I’m breaking it down:

January: Capsule Wardrobe

  • Pare down closet to only the items I actually wear.
  • Organize non-capsule clothing into groups:
    • Storage: clothing that is out of season, but that I wear a lot
    • Recycle: Damaged or soiled clothing to be made into rags
    • Sell: High quality clothing that can be sold online or in consignment stores
    • Donate pile: for clothing that won’t sell well but that still has some life left in it
  • Shopping fast: no shopping for clothing all month

February: Streamline Storage

  • Organize Basement
  • Clean out drawers and other storage areas
  • Shopping fast

March: Start a garden in our back yard

  • Spread compost
  • Plant seeds
  • Shopping fast

April: Capsule Wardrobe

  • Pack up and label winter clothing.
  • Bring out spring clothing.
  • Revisit clothing I’ve used.
  • Organize non-capsule clothing into storage, recycle, sale, and donate boxes.

May: Go DIY

  • Make a batch of cleaning supplies, and spring clean the house.
  • Mix up natural healthcare and beauty items, like toothpaste and body butter.

June: Capsule Wardrobe

  • Pack up spring clothing.
  • Bring out summer clothes.
  • Organize non-capsule clothing into storage, recycle, sale, and donate boxes.

July: Upcycle

  • Use old t-shirts or clothing in the recycle pile to make rags and shopping bags.
  • Dumpster dive for wood for my husband’s projects.

August: Shop local

  • Only buy food items from the farmers market, our local organic market, or from our own yard!
  • Eat only at restaurants that feature local meat and produce.
  • Shop for clothing and accessories locally.

September: Capsule Wardrobe

  • Pack up summer clothing.
  • Bring out fall clothes.
  • Organize non-capsule clothing into storage, recycle, sale, and donate boxes.

October: Reuse

  • Organize a clothing swap with clothes in the sell and donate pile
  • Give unwanted beauty products, household goods, and clothing/accessories to friends and family.

November: Zero Waste

  • Eliminate plastic. (No ziplock baggies!)
  • Don’t buy any packaged goods (unless they’re packaged in recyclable or compostable materials).
  • Compost or recycle all waste.

December: Be thoughtful

  • Buy only gifts that are sustainably and ethically produced.
  • No silly or gag gifts that will just collect dust.
  • Find creative to package gifts that doesn’t involve disposable gift wrap.
  • When in doubt, donate in someone’s name.
  • Take stock of the changes we have made this year. Write a new set of resolutions for next year.

All Year:

  • Only buy clothing that is made in the USA, sourced sustainably and ethically, or vintage/consignment.
  • Only buy clothing made out of natural fibers, like silk, linen, hemp, wool, cashmere, alpaca, modal, and tencel/lyocel. Polyester is okay if it’s made from recycled water bottles.
  • When I run out of beauty, personal health, or cleaning items, only buy ethical, sustainable alternatives.

I will provide monthly updates as I tackle each resolution. Hopefully by the end of 2016, my life will be a bit simpler, a little more streamlined. What are you hoping to accomplish in the new year?



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