Category Archives: Around the house

Making A Move – Eco Style

Grant and I have lived in the same awesome 100 year old duplex in Vancouver for 7 years. We’ve been lucky to have  a variety of great roommates at various times as well as a landlord who lets us have free reign in the garden, but at the beginning of the month, we decided to make a move into a place of our own.

Because it was just a couple blocks away and because we seem to talk a lot about living sustainably these days, we figured we’d forgo the traditional moving van and make it a DIY people powered deal.

I borrowed a huge cargo bicycle trailer from the Vancouver Area Cycling Coalition (you guys are awesome!), brought out my own little trailer, and invited friends to come over with dollies, wagons, and bicycles.

Moving this way was basically free. I borrowed a bunch of rubbermaid containers from a friend (thanks Becky) and found boxes at the wine store. Grant bought some beer, my Dad made some chili, my sister baked bread, and my mom made muffins to thank the 15 superheros that came out.

I think we all had a pretty good time. Thanks to everyone who helped out!!!

Waste related details to follow. For now, here are some pics.

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Filed under Around the house, DIY

The One in One Out Wardrobe

The rumors are true. I went clothes shopping.

Since the project, shopping from clothes is something I rarely do. I’m not sure if it’s because not buying stuff makes me feel virtuous or because my closet is so chock a block full that I can’t cram anything else in there. Maybe it’s the feeling that I should be doing something better with my time like having picnics or going hiking.

In any case, last week while in between film screenings on Vancouver Island, we went thrifting. It turned out that it was half price day at Value Village, so I managed to snag 3 sweaters and dress all for $15. (Mmm hmmm – that’s a bargain). I was pretty pleased with myself, having stuck to my  eco guns and shopped secondhand.

And then I started thinking about minimalism. Minimalists aim to live with very few belongings (eg. some people actually count their belongings, aiming to own just 50 or 100 things tops). And I have to say, I’m inspired.  Not to the extend that I am going to ditch my blender or my tickle trunk of awesome costumes, but I have decided to cap my wardrobe.

That’s right, in my newly dubbed ‘one in, one out’ closet, I am going to have to donate 3 of my current tops to charity in order to get my 3 new-to-me sweaters in the door. (No fair trading an old pair of socks for new jeans – they have to be the same general category of clothing).

It seems easy in theory, but when I actually tried to do it, I just couldn’t find three shirts I was willing to part with. I have two rubbermaid containers full of shirts; I only wear maximum 2 at a time; but I seem to have sentimental attachments to every single one.

Grant has been successfully trimming his belongings by taking photos of the items he feel some distance nostalgic connection to and them dropping them off at the Sally Ann. But so far all I have managed to get rid of is a couple pairs of raggedy underwear (rag bag), a few single socks (dusters), and some t-shirts that would fit a 12 year old.

Seems like to road to wardrobe minimalism is going to be a long one for me.

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Selt Directed Greens vs Uninterested Polluters

I’ve had tons of people come up to me in the past year and tell me about how they only have to take their bin to the curb every few weeks, or how they started composting, or how it drives them crazy when their co-workers don’t recycle. It’s actually fascinating and uplifting all at once.

But I know that for every person like that, there’s another one who drags their overflowing wheelie cart to the curb every single week and that chances are it contains paper, aluminum, glass, and other valuable resources. Continue reading

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Filed under Around the house, recycling

Babies Equal Garbage?

babyOk, this is it, I’m a declaring to the world that when I have kids, they will be using cloth diapers the majority of the time.  And you can hold me to it.

What else in the western world creates such volumes of consumer level garbage?  What else makes your garbage smell that fricking bad? Except disposable diapers.

Not that I haven’t been aware of this for awhile, but last weekend, I had occasion to have a few disposable diapers left in my garbage bin, and let me tell you, if I had a garbage bin that smelled like that during the garbage strike, you betcha that I’d be pretty irate.  I’m starting to sympathize with those parents who resorted to dumping their trash in public parks just to get it off their property. . . . Continue reading

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Day 151: Pet Waste

fiddleGato, our cat, was none too impressed, but our household acquired a new member on the weekend: a puppy.  Of course, being of the zero-waste sort of persuasion, we started thinking about pets and the world of waste management.

I will fully admit that we are not the most responsible of pet owners when if comes to waste, allowing Gato to do his thing outside wherever he pleases (which turns out to be primarily under the deck), but a dog is another thing.  Dogs don’t stick to one place, and you can’t have dog crap lying around the yard.  You have to do something with it.  But what? Continue reading

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Day 262: Cluck Cluck Cluck

henIt’s official! Vancouver has joined the ranks of such municipalities as Seattle and Victoria and has voted to allow the keeping of backyard hens.

Now, you may think that I am just jumping on the hot new trend of urban chicken keeping, but I assure you my interest is genuine.  Continue reading

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Filed under Around the house, composting

Day 224: Toxic Shampoo And More

shampoo2If you didn’t already need another reason to stop using store bought shampoo and conditioner, the Canadian government just decided that 16 chemicals, two of which are common ingredients found in shampoo and cosmetics, are actually toxic.

According to a story on GreenBiz.com, Siloxanes D4 and D5  which are found in products such as shampoo, antiperspirants, lipstick, textiles, paints and coatings, sealants, plastics, and food additives, were determined to be substances toxic to the environment. Continue reading

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Filed under Around the house, Hygiene