January has passed and the month of wardrobe decluttering has come to an end. Reflection is an important part of the learning process so here are a few things that I learnt during my ‘New Year New Consumer’ (NYNC) personal exploration.

The Good

This month has been a month solid of reading. For a woman who struggles to find the time to read this is a serious accomplishment. Being able to reflect on this reading process and share the results with you has cemented some of the ideas firmly in my brain. Finding out my personal colour pallet lead to an exciting new adventure into the land of colour and I feel like I have a revised understanding of what ‘suits’ me. So much so that I am contemplating attempting long hair without ombre (I have had long natural before but not for at least five years due to a short natural pixie crop), and feel confident that in the right colours I won’t look washed out. Re-reading Voluntary Simplicity all these month later has seen it’s wisdom resonate with me in a totally new way. Like meeting an old friend and getting to know them all over again on a deeper level of understanding. If you are interested in the idea of simplifying I cannot recommend reading this enough!

Sitting down to contemplate the ideas of ‘why simplify‘, ‘what is simplicity‘ and ‘being an environmentalist and a hoarder‘ was a great way to reaffirm my direction in life and physically write out my shopping values to suit my sustainability journey. What I loved more than anything was the fabulous and thoughtful feedback from followers on these topics both on the blog and on social media. It was great to note the similarities and differences in others views of living simply. The best part about sharing is the new ideas that you gain new perspectives and can learn from others.

The Bad

Moths ate all my super fine merino wool. I discovered this tragedy during my closet clean up. Usually I store them in a big box with some stinky camphor. This year I stacked them in the closet (which I now have room for after my year long culling process) with ‘eco bug repellent sachets’ between them. These did not work. Now I have a VERY expensive pile of wool favourites that are unusable. These items have been ones I have paid a fortune for over many years and wear regularly, so it was a devastating find. They will now have to be used to stuff yoga bolsters when I get time to make them. Being ultra fine and stretchy wool layering basics they aren’t really repairable…. So sad.

The Ugly

January was a pain in the ass. Anything that could go wrong did go wrong. So unfortunately there wasn’t as much decluttering accomplished as initially planned. The process has indicated that a life overhaul is on the cards. One cannot have their jumpers in order and their life a mess without feeling that their priorities might not exactly be in the right place. The plan is to head back to uni in March and get some steady and regular income. This might not sound like a thrilling existence but after more than a year of ‘extreme living’ (no set work schedules for myself or my hubby and no secure income for me) it would be a welcome change. Which has lead me to the idea of dedicating the month of February to finding and sharing inspiration. A month of inspiration won’t be in depth or challenging as the past few months but will be a great launchpad for returning to study. To be honest I am well in need of some inspiration after the month from hell.

Wrapping it up

Some of the best reflection of the month was achieved on my four day long ‘Christmas’ trip to visit family. I realised on this trip how deeply set my environmental values were. My ‘on the road’ takeaway food options were all pretty much waste free (aside from a few paper bags that I brought home). I opted for places where I knew I would be served with crockery and ‘real’ knives and forks, meaning very little waste. I carried a fold up utensils for the trip but didn’t have to use them. Having packed my stainless steel straw in my bag I was pretty disappointed when I forgot to tell them to hold the straw on the juice I had with lunch. So I scored a plastic straw. Also when we were away I had tempeh at our family BBQ and couldn’t recycle the wrapper. I tried to redeem my eco self by sorting everyones recycling and washing all the plastic plates brought by other family members to the BBQ and putting them in the camp kitchen so they might get used again. My personal grocery shop was all done with just the use of paper bags for bulk buy items (snacks, nuts, etc) and my fruit and veg were loose in my shopping bag. The only real damage from my shopping was the tempeh wrapper. Obviously I couldn’t control what others purchased but did my best to help minimise the waste by recycling and reusing.

It was nice to realise that my efforts in cutting back on shopping have paid off. After being taken to a multitude of thrift stores by family and friends I left with very little (a vintage band tee I’ve been stalking on eBay and a jacket), in fact for the first time in my life I left my family thrifting and headed to buy a platter of veggie sushi instead. This (delicious) moment made me realise how far I had come following my Wardrobe Workout challenge.

Yesterday was a testament to how much one can accomplish without getting sucked into pretty stores. Left to my own devices in the city I managed to shop for headphones as mine broke a couple of months ago and I had a voucher, see my old back street stomping ground and the current street art, complete a lap of the botanical gardens, go to the shrine of remembrance, attend the  Jean Paul Gaultier exhibition at NGV, hit up Outre Gallery, and have a delicious lunch (despite the damn straw). All in four and a half hours on foot!

Have you had any personal discoveries on the path to sustainable living? If so you are always welcome to share them below!

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