|Béa Johnson (Credit)|
The Johnson family takes minimalism to a new level. Here are just a few of the minimalist and eco-friendly choices they have made:
- Avoid buying items in packaging, accumulating only a few handfuls of garbage every year (yep, handfuls).
- No art or photos anywhere in sight.
- Q-tips, tissue and cotton balls are not used. Handkerchiefs are substituted.
- The family owns one television and they only watch Netflix movies. (Béa puts the removable strip on the return envelope inside the with the DVD and sends it back to Netflix in an effort to convince them to use totally recycled packaging).
- Use compostable toothbrushes from Australia.
- Each family member keeps just one box for his or her mementos. Béa believes it would be easier to have fewer items kept in one place in the event of a fire.
- Keep photos of children's artwork and crafts instead of the actual pieces.
- Takes glass jars to the market to have butchers and fromagers fill them with meats and cheeses.
- Each person has a set number of items in his or her wardrobe. Béa owns 6 pairs of shoes, 7 pants, 7 tops, and 2 skirts. She shops twice a year at thrift stores to replace items (not add).
Béa and her family take an annual trip to France to visit relatives, which they feel is a regression. I realize that air travel is wasteful and damaging to the environment, but come on! Travel is one of the great joys in life! I would be miserable without travel, or its prospect. And I'm confused about how their stance on air travel works with having compostable toothbrushes shipped from Australia.
That being said, I do want to adopt a less extreme version of some of Béa's ideas and habits:
1) I have already incorporated re-useable grocery bags into my shopping routine. But I am lazy about produce bags. From now on, I will re-use bags and bring them with me to shop (sorry Béa, I'm not ready to tote glass jars).
2) I will pay more attention to packaging when purchasing any item. Buying and consuming whole foods that don't come in wrappers or packaging will make me thinner, better complected and healthier!
3) I never considered the waste that my toothbrush creates until I read about the compostable brushes Béa uses. I did some research and the found these sold at Whole Foods. Preserve toothbrushes come in a reuseable packages that you can drop off at Whole Foods for recycling or mail back to the company, postage paid. At $2.99, they are inexpensive, come in fun colors and have a dentist-recommended slanted angle (which took a little getting used to, but I like it).
|I chose a baby blue color|
4) Keeping meaningful mementos in one central place is a good idea. Being married to a fireman, I know fire can happen to any of us at any time. Right now, I can think of at least four different places where LOTS of photos are kept. Purging and organizing them will be my first project of the year.
5) When the Christmas decorations are put away in a couple of days (yipee!) and the pictures, artwork and chotchkies come out of hiding, I'm donating what I no longer want and displaying only about half of what's normally out. The other half will be stored, then rotated every quarter to keep things fresh. I'm putting a reminder on my calendar to rotate April 1st.
My favorite quote from Béa is, "The less I have, the richer I feel. Stuff weighs you down." Love it!
Bringing some minimalist behavior into our home will be a positive change for our us and the environment. And although I find some of Béa's methods too radical for me, she has given me new found motivation to purge the excess and re-evaluate my needs and wants.
You can read more about Béa Johnson here and she has a blog. Or pick up an issue of January's Sunset Magazine...just remember to put it in your recycling bin when you're finished with it!