Zero Waste: ready, steady, throw


The less you have, the less you have to worry about ||Gautama Buddha||

So it has now been about 10 days since starting this new Zero Waste Home lifestyle.

Step 1: Decluttering our home.

We live in a  very small house on a beautiful farm near Walkerville, Gauteng. Our house does not have any built in closets. Actually, it doesn’t really have any cupboards. So when  we moved there from a rather large home (5 bedrooms) in Pretoria, in June 2016,  all our ‘stuff’ had to fit into our new home. Needless to stay, it didn’t. Not even half. So we went European and made everything we thought we needed (thought) fit. We put things under, on top, behind, and everywhere we could find an open space.  My clothes couldn’t fit in my loose standing closet, so there were things stacked on top.  The closet didn’t really fit into the room either.  We placed the rest in storage.

Now, the problem with this clever Europeanization of our home is that it became extremely cluttered. Constantly having to bend down and reach under the bed for something became really frustating. The house became untidy because it was too much trouble to place things back where they belonged.  A little cockroach family moved in, along with a lot of dust. We found a Rinkhals (very poisonous snake) right outside our house. A rat in our daughter’s room. A blind snake under my sink (not dangerous, but hey) and many frogs. Clutter + animals = Great hiding and breeding spots.


And so we did: We went through every cupboard, every chest, every box and drawer, the food, the toys, everything.  We had a lot of S-H-I-T. We placed everything we didn’t want, need, or use in our car and took it to a Non-Profit Organization (they sell things at a Jumble Sale for next to nothing). We sent clothes, toiletries, toys, even an old laptop. We removed expired food. Recycled what could be recycled, composted what could be composted and unfortunately had to send some things to the the landfill (which will hopefully not happen so often anymore).

Everyone’s definition of ‘need’ is different and very personal. Mine is quite simple because I am black and white in my greyness. If I don’t use it, or if I can use something else, I don’t need it. I really tried not to ‘what if’ while choosing what to keep: Two spatulas, 1 pair of scissors, 1 pencil, 1 pen, clothes I actually wear. I had nearly 30 pantis (why!?), I had an onion slicer, a broken blender, and the list goes on. I gave it all away. I’m sure I’ll continue to do so in the weeks to come.

Now all those spaces are clear again. I don’t worry about a snake living under our bed, or a rat making it’s nest between my daughter’s shoes. My clothes fit in my cupboard. I have space, and the house can breathe.

We have less, but we have less to worry about.


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