april zero waste // zero spend recap

IMG_4981April started off really strong with the no-spend challenge; it truly seemed like it was going to be a breeze. But ultimately I did break down and make a thrift store trip one evening after having a particularly rough day of “nothing fits or looks good on me.” I was desperate for new clothes, particularly because I started going to the gym again and needed some actual workout clothes (one tank top was NOT going to cut it). I ended up picking up a few shirts for summer as well, so I have 8 items I need to purge from my already small wardrobe (to keep up with my one in/ one out rule). I also bought two thrifted lamps. Pure impulse buy! But I love them and I am already using one (the other needs some love). I felt a bit guilty for sure, but I snagged them knowing there was no way they’d still be there by May. We also had to purchase a new door knob for Hannah’s room. We transitioned her from her crib to toddler bed (her crib converts with the swap out of the front portion). We needed to swap our her doorknob for the handle type she can easily use, since she can get in and out of bed herself.

My month ended with a back injury, meaning I was not as productive as I wanted to be. Despite that, I would say it was a successful month; not a zero spend, but at only $50 spent on anything non-grocery, it was close to it. It seems like I get more accomplished when I’m not spending money. And it was good for my zero waste efforts. The first phase is refuse, after all.  Not buying something in the first place is the best way to avoid having to dispose of it later. My goals for April were to have a no-spend month; bring out cloth diapering again; and focus on experiences. I made a good effort on the first two and did well on the last. It was a fun month! I love that Hannah’s favorite things in life right now cost nothing. She’s so happy with a trip to the library, a walk on a trail, and a picnic with last night’s leftovers. Is there hope that this is a trait I can nurture and ride it out through her entire adolescence?

Here’s what I accomplished (or at least attempted) this month:

  1. Re-attempted cloth diapering, but it was not successful. The cloth diapers don’t absorb enough and are so bulky Hannah would fight with me every time we tried one. Seventh Generation it is, til potty training happens (hopefully soon!).
  2. Bought thrifted gym clothes I really needed. I spent less than $20 on 4 tank tops and a pair of shorts, all name-brand and like new. Thrifting is the BEST.
  3. Began planting the garden. Thus far: carrots, turnips, beets, lettuce, peas, asparagus, onions, garlic. Growing from last year I have grapes, rhubarb, comfrey, rosemary (overwintered in the garage), oregano, and mint.
  4. Used old fencing as pea trellis.
  5. Planted seed starts indoors: cucumbers, squashes, pumpkins, zucchini. I made pots with recycled newspaper and toilet paper tubes.
  6. Gathered all last years’ plastic pots to return to nursery.
  7. Used my potted aloe for a sunburn (instead of buying aloe gel).
  8. Borrowed toys from the library, my new favorite thing ever! Our library has great wooden toys that can be borrowed for a couple of weeks. This is the ultimate for clutter-control! Just return them and pick a new one.
  9. Bought handmade gift for sister-in-law’s birthday (these cool earrings – have you tried Amazon Handmade yet? It’s like Etsy but (often) with free Prime shipping!).
  10. Toddler and Mommy Fun: lots of picnics, feeding the ducks, Nature Center hikes, Mom’s Club coffee chat (BYO mug), walking the local trails and visiting parks, yoga class, Zumba class (trying a gym with a daycare), lunching with my mom, visiting my parents, meeting up with friends.. we stay really busy!
  11. Took a free class on essential oils and have begun to better research them to use medicinally (using library books and podcasts).
  12. Began making my own herbal tinctures for various ailments.*

*I feel like I should note here that there’s nothing particularly zero waste about this new hobby/skill yet. Over the past years I’ve accumulated bags of herbs, vials of oils, and glass droppers and bottles. This takes up some cabinet space and will eventually create some waste (most recyclable and compostable). But I think it’s an investment in health to learn and use these things, and the more I learn, the more confident I’ll be to grow more of my own herbs (beyond culinary).

Goals for May:

  • Get rid of 1 item for each day (in addition to one in/one out– so adding my April purchases I now have 42 items to get rid of. Eek!)
  • Finish planting the kitchen gardens. I’m working on a zero waste gardening plan and will try to work it into a post.
  • Begin trench composting, at least until I can build a bin.
  • Replace coffee filters with a reusable one (since I’m finally nearly out of the paper ones).
  • Replace plastic-wrapped toilet paper for paper-wrapped recycled toilet paper (since I’m finally nearly out of the Costco stash from last year..)
  • Find a zero waste (or less waste) sunscreen option.
  • Incorporate more vegan and vegetarian meals into our menu again.
  • Projects I want to do if I can get hubby’s help: building a clothesline and a compost bin!

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