If Mother Earth were a real person, she would be ashamed of me. It’s been a long, wasteful year. I drive an SUV, my kids use disposable diapers some of the time, our thermostat is set at a happy 71 degrees….
I blame it on being outnumbered by small, needy children. In other words, the survival of these children trumps the survival of the earth. For now.
My priorities shifted this year. In the past, I’ve had a list of Earth Day goals to achieve and maintain throughout the year. I didn’t make any goals this year. I just wanted to survive. There will be a time in the future when I will have much more focus to dedicate to the cause, though. I think it’s important to remember that when that feeling of failure crops up.
Not all was lost, though. We had the garden, of course. And after many years of trial and error, I am finding the balance I was seeking in our food, toiletries and cleaning products. And let’s not forget the dismal condition of our lawn last summer because we didn’t water it. I got the bug to upcycle some old clothing into needed items recently, too. More on that in another post.
I did one big thing this year. I embraced minimalism. Admittedly, I didn’t do it with Earth Day in mind. I just wanted more time with my family, more time for my hobbies, more time to give back to others, more money to do the things we usually only wish we could do.
I went through every nook and cranny in our house and got rid of an enormous amount of things. Things that were taking up my time and energy. I emptied so many things out of the kitchen that I was able to fill a whole bank of glass-doored cabinets with just pretty things. I culled so many toys that I noticed a difference in how the kids play. And they happily clean up now that there isn’t so much. I’ve been through the bathroom closet six times and every time I find more that isn’t needed. I got rid of many extra storage pieces and also some furniture that was no longer needed. It was freeing beyond my wildest imagination. In terms of housework, I can have everything picked up, counters clear and bathroom shiny in about 20 minutes.
For everything in our home, I looked at it and asked:
Is it useful?
Is it beautiful?
And if it wasn’t being used and/or I didn’t enjoy looking at it, I removed it.
I look forward to maintaining a minimalist house in order to enjoy those things of greater importance to me than material possessions.
As for the year ahead….
I’m doubling the size of the garden and we’re replacing 5 windows on the house. I am seriously considering getting a compost bin from the city, too. Mostly, though, we just need to tighten up our current efforts. Enough to offset the fact that I drive a Jeep, at least.
Happy Earth Day! (A day late, but that’s prettymuch the story of my life.)