Buy Less, Borrow More

My husband and I left the country last August for five months of travel around Australia and Asia. Before we left, we downsized our life to fit into a 9×9 foot storage unit; it was a painful process to make thousands of decisions on what to keep and what to let go of. We spent weeks making these decisions and then went about selling and donating the hundreds of items that we let go of. Read More »

Join the Litterati Movement

I lived in the Presidio in San Francisco for six years, a former military base turned national recreation area right next to the Golden Gate Bridge and the Pacific Ocean. It was a beautiful place to live, full of meandering trails, dense eucalyptus groves, and more often than not, small pieces of litter that had either been dropped or escaped people’s trash cans, blown by Read More »

7 Ways to Make Your Clothes Last

As I mentioned in my blog Opt-Out of Fast Fashion, the clothing industry has moved from creating quality clothing that last years to creating low quality, disposable clothing that quickly falls apart. I’m opting out of the system, because fast fashion is both bad for the planet and for me personally. By spending a bit more on quantity clothes up front and making them last, I end up saving both time (since I have to shop less often and can spend my weekends on more fulfilling hobbies) and money. While I may spend $50 on a single wool shirt, I make it last for years and thus the cost per use is lower than with a cheap $10 cotton-poly blend shirt that starts to pill and fall apart within a few wears. Read More »

The Lunette Menstrual Cup. Image courtesy of

The Magic of the Menstrual Cup

Ladies, it is time to reconsider how you manage your period for the good of your wallets and our planet. According to this article, women in the United States spend from $150 to $300 per year on menstrual products. Over her lifetime, the average woman will use 11,000 tampons and the manufacturing process is resource-intensive, full of chemicals and all tampons end up wrapped in one or more kinds of plastic, depending on if you use an applicator or not. That’s a lot of hard earned cash being spent each year on your period and a lot of waste being generated per person. What if we could easily solve those problems with one small change?Read More »

Let’s Rethink How We Give Gifts at Christmas

The holidays have become a time for taking on debt in order to honor the “time-honored” tradition of giving gifts at the holidays. CNBC reported in November that many American still have credit card debt from last Christmas. However, according to this article in The Atlantic, the tradition of gift giving at the holidays started after our country was founded and it was originally focused in giving gifts to children only. Obviously, that changed over time and we now give gifts to not only our children, but our families, friends and often co-workers. This change has been driven largely by retail who want to encourage us to spend more money to grow their profits and this is a great year for them as sales are up from last year.

While it is good for retail, I’m not convinced that the growth of this annual spending frenzy is helpful to the rest of society. The problem that I see with the proliferation of gift giving is twofold. Read More »

Eco-Friendly Ways to Wrap Gifts at the Holidays

I have a love-hate relationship with Christmas. Growing up, I loved the decorations, baking Christmas cookies, picking out a Christmas tree with my family, listening to Christmas carols and of course, the gifts. My sister was the master gift wrapper in our house and made a game out of gift wrapping. She became known for creating a Russian dolls of boxes; wrapping a gift in a small box, then putting that in a bigger box and that box in an even bigger one, each covered in a layer of wrapping paper and then often, a layer of clear packing tape to make it impossible to open. As I grew older and became more aware of the waste that we as a family were generating, I started to save the comics from my newspaper and wrap Christmas gifts in that. This met immediate disapproval from my little sister, who cherished a beautifully wrapped Christmas gift above all else. She was right; my gifts looked cheap and were not the least bit festive.Read More »