I admit I have fallen off track a little with My Declutter Project. I have continued to work towards my goals and align my actions with my values but I haven’t been able to commit the time to take on a specific aspect of my life and write about it, things have just gotten too darn busy.
Having said that, I am busy partly because I am pursuing doing things I most want to do rather than always putting it off until the future. This was in fact one of my initial priorities for the Declutter Project, to choose experiences over things. I think I have done this pretty successfully over the last two months with increased time spent climbing, a hiking and climbing weekend in Wales, more track cycling, learning to ski, enjoying a spa day and watching plenty of my cricket and football teams’ games.
But, I want to get back on track as I only have two months left and I would like to feel a sense of direction in the final leg of this project. So, for May I have decided to declutter my products, i.e. cosmetics, cleaning products and make up. I felt inspired to do so after listening to a podcast with Alexx Stuart of lowtoxlife.com (Find it here: Primal Shift Podcast). This is something I already started a year ago by simplifying my beauty regime to use less products on my face. I have seen real benefits from using coconut oil morning and evening but I haven’t taken an in depth look at what I use, so this month, that is what I’m going to do.
I have largely been using chemical-free, synthetic-free, organic, not animal tested products for some time and this is a key value in deciding what products I want to allow into my life. One of my biggest challenges has been living in a shared house where I have no control over the products used by others so I have decided to make a commitment to myself to live by this value regardless.
These are the four steps to decluttering my product use that I am following during May.
Step One: Take control of what products you use. I will use my own separate washing up liquid and soap and use eco-friendly cleaning products wherever possible. I can’t control what other people do but it doesn’t mean I have to give up on what I value.
Step two: USE the products you own. I will keep aside the products I use during the month and at the end of the month see whether I really use all the things I own. If there are products I never use, out they go.
Step three: Detox your products. Reduce plastic consumption (something I have been embracing in the kitchen) by consciously deciding whether I need to replace items with new plastic bottles or if I can refill or use plastic-free items instead. There are many chemical nasties in plastic that I try to reduce in my diet but why not do the same with other products? Not only is it good for me but it’s better for the environment.
Step four: Read ingredients labels. Research ones you don’t know and then make informed choices about what to use. Reducing chemical nasties is important to me but it’s easy to let these into my life surreptitiously. Being careful about what I eat is easy but consuming toxic ingredients on a daily basis in cosmetics and cleaning products can easily be overlooked.
These are my four steps based on my values of low-tox living and making small, positive steps to protect the environment. They are simple ways to make incremental changes that over time will build into habit. If you want to know more about why I am concerned about plastic use and reducing synthetic ingredients you can find out lots of information with a simple google search or using recommended links below. It may not be for everyone but if it’s something you’re thinking about then arm yourself with knowledge and start making small steps. Overtime these will build into big changes (see my post Resolutions are a Journey not a Destination).
I will update on my progress at the end of May! If you are thinking of doing something similar, please get in touch and let me know what you are doing!