Saving the planet …

… my way.

This is going to be about the things we do to live a bit more eco-friendly. Note: I strongly believe that everyone should try to find what works best for them. Our way might not be suitable for everybody else, and also we’re still improving.

Now that is out of the way, let’s dive in.

1. Consumption

In recent years I found that I dislike the clothes of H&M and the likes. This developed into me getting curious about slow fashion and fair fashion. I also did several small purges and got rid of unloved stuff (which was donated). Currently I am on a „buy one, get rid of one“ shopping motto. When I bought a new jacket last weekend, an old one that looked a bit shabby and was more than 5 years old got donated.

Apropos: I wear my clothes as long as possible. I fix them when they get small holes or I replace buttons. If they aren’t appropriate for work anymore, they become either sleep wear or I wear them at home on weekends. And then they either get tossed or turned to rags. I still wear items that are easily older than 5 years. And I won’t need to look long for things that I got when I moved out of my parent’s in 2008.

We also try to not buy unnecessary things or only replace broken stuff. My cell phone is a bit over 2 years old now, but even though I could’ve replaced it with a newer one when my contract was up, I didn’t. It still works, and after buying a new battery and downloading a cleaning app it’s as good as new.

If we need some special stuff, we try to got for quality. I needed hiking boots, and I got good ones that will last longer than cheap ones. I am really grateful that with a bit of saving, if needed, I can afford good quality now. I know not everyone can manage that.

In terms of fair fashion, I also switched to buying from ethical brands. I cannot fulfill all my needs from these brands, but I try to use them as much as possible. Again, they are more pricey but I hope they will last longer.

Also with me knitting I have a different perspective on how long it takes to make clothing. I also want to get a sewing machine and start making my own clothes. It will also help with fixing / altering clothes.

Final fun fact: Today I over dyed an old faded skirt. Good as new, yay!

2. Waste

Food waste is something I still think we need to improve on. We are pretty good with leftovers from the weekend – in fact, every weekend lunch leftover is my Monday lunch. Yet we still toss too much. I’m not easily squished out by things past their expiration dates, if it looks okay I’ll eat it, but sometimes we just toss cold cuts because no one ate them in 3 days. That’s bad. Also we need to rethink buying apples – we buy them with good intentions but neither of us eats them.

Since Germans are masters of recycling, that really works. Nothing to improve. We also reuse things, see rags, but also boxes or similar things.

In terms of tossing things in general – I talked about it above. The rule mentioned there also applies to electronics and any goods an average household needs.

We also do not shy away from used things. If there was a good thrift store anywhere close, I’d be there. When my in-laws heard our new flat had a balcony, they gave us their old set of table and chairs. When they got a new kitchen table, we got the old one. After his Grandparents died, we kinda inherited the kitchen furniture. It was partially due to us being broke students, but also because it would be a shame to toss a still good wooden table.

I also have dug through the public clothes exchange in my work town and got many a book from bulk trash in the streets.

Friends gave me unloved clothes and even shoes (thank you, M.!)

Our new car already was a year old and used when we bought it. Yes, it was cheaper, but also it was already driven in and every possible „teen sickness“ found out.

3. Commute

Since I already wrote in length about my commute, you know that I take the trains to work. Better than a car. We also walk a lot (the joys of small town life) if the weather isn’t horrible.

4. Miscellaneous

Not yet a vegetarian, but I only eat meat on the weekend and sometimes on my sandwich. If there was lab grown meat already, I’d totally switch to that.

I am trying to use less and less plastic. That’s a hard one.

We switched to drinking tap water only half a year ago. Each one of us has a reusable metal bottle. I take mine everywhere. I also only drink tap water at work. Or tea. Or coffee.

If I need a coffee to go, I have it poured into my personal fake-porcelain to-go mug. No paper cups for me!

Our balcony will be a mini garden! Additionally to having flowers, we will be growing herbs, tomatoes, peas, salad, garlic and strawberries. It’s amazing to see what can be possible on few square metres!

Fun fact: My wedding dress was on clearance and the last dress the bridal store sold. It closed for good after we walked out. Still the greatest dress possible!

 

That’s it. This is only a snapshot. We try to improve and there is so much more to do as one household.

Let me know what you do personally to be eco-friendly and a bit more easy on the planet?

Relocation and how to bond to the new place

Hi there!

This post is exactly what it says on the tin – how I dealt with moving and connecting to my new home. I don’t know if some of you mght face a move soon, but maybe my tips help you as well.

As some of you might know, in October we moved to a new place. Taking in consideration our workplaces, we made a completely rational decision to go to a town which was conveniently located in the middle between the town towns my husband and I work in.

I used to live in my worktown, and he had just gotten his gig in his town. Now we have about the same distance to cover to get to our jobs.

I went from a quick bike ride to an hour-long commute (as detailed before). So with me getting up early in the morning and being home late (think 7 to 7), I spend more time on the train or away than at home. And most of that time I was asleep!

The short weekends didn’t help, and I felt dislocated and really not at home.

Worktown (where I used to live) has about 230,000 inhabitants, but now we have only 27,000 other people here. That’s quite a drop, and naturally you see it in infrastructure and size. (Still so glad I have a small cinema here! Couldn’t live without.)

Then I got sick and was on sick leave for a week. I ran errands or had a walk everyday, and actually being around town helped a bit.

During the holiday break, I got to spend even more time in town. We went to the Christmas market several times, shopped in the local stores and I signed up for the gym.

This really made me feel at home. We participated in a guided tour around town, hearing some interesting bits about its history, discovered more favourite walk routes and got really settled.

To me, it was a gradual shift. At the end of my holidays, I realized that I was „home“, that I felt comfortable in my new place.

Still some challenges remain: Making friends and acquaintances, which is difficult where you’re working away. I’ll try.

Getting adjusted

In September last year I was offered a traineeship. At this point I was only looking for an internship because I had to do one for my Master’s degree. But this traineeship was a very good offer, and I accepted it.

I had to move, again, thus having moved the fifth time within 5 years. First move was to my study town, then I changed the student’s dorm in my study town; after that I lived at my boyfriend’s for half a year, doing an internship there, then I moved back to my study town to get my Bachelor’s degree; finally I enrolled in 2nd study town and move there too. Let’s say I’m pretty good at driving large cars now 😉

Well, I moved to H. It was near to L., where I did my Bachelor’s, and therefore I was closer to my parents again. Now I don’t need to sit through an annoying three-hour train ride anymore, it takes an hour (again), and I’m home. Plus, I’m back in the federal country I grew up in and I still kinda identify with.

H. is often underrated. It’s neighboring town L. is considered more beautiful and generally better than H. But, it isn’t. H., too, has some great sons and daughters, and the quarter I live in can be compared to L.’s student quarter. Often guest are surprised to find their prejudice about H. broken. I really like this town.

Though I sometimes miss L., I think I don’t miss the city, I’m missing the time I had there. I went to the movies quite often (about twice a month), I met my friends regularly and went out dancing or drinking. I haven’t gone dancing once since I started working, and to be honest, I don’t quite miss it. Sometimes I feel like going out and dancing, but since I was never the partying type, the urge vanishes fast.

Working is really something different from studying. I wasn’t an eager beaver when I studied, I enjoyed life and still took my studies serious; but in retrospect I guess I was more out of the house then. Now I’m quite happy if I can sit down, watch some tv show an knit. Or sit on the balcony, blogging 😉

Plus, I’m a full adult now. Well, I guess I’ll never be an adult thoroughly, but that’s a whole other story. Anyway, being an adult means you have more things to keep in mind, things you didn’t care about as a student. Or at least I didn’t think about. And I’m not talking about tackling Mt. Laundry or getting the bills paid. When I studied, all that would happen if I screwed up was that I was bummed. Just me. Now if I screw up it might have an influence on my company, on my colleagues. This is called responsibility, and I still have to find out what that means for me. What my part in the success of my company is.

Also, future. I have high hopes for the future, moving in with my finance and getting married are only two of them, and I feel the need to plan. I also need to save money, and resist the temptations of various yarn shops.

These are things I didn’t anticipate when I thought about getting a job. Oh, and the lack of a cafeteria and long vacations is something that still boggles me 😉

Anyway, after more than half a year, I think I’m almost there. Sometimes, like now, I am really amazed that I cope with all this: That I show up properly dressed (though mostly in unironed shirts…) at the right time at my office, that I do work, go home and eat dinner. I do the groceries, the laundry and the cleaning and I still have a social life (thanks to my flatmate and my Stitch’n’Bitch). I work in the field I always dreamed of and I don’t worry that I didn’t finish my Master’s degree. I will move in with my sweetheart and everything will be fine.

I have adjusted.