Three month check-in

It’s been a little over three months since The Walker Four embarked on this zero waste project and, true story, Johanna is already asking how much longer we have to go. When I dug a little deeper, I discovered that she wants water balloons. We could get biodegradable ones!

Yeah, no, sorry kid, even if we weren’t doing this project, I wouldn’t go for that. According to the Environmental Nature Center, even biodegradable balloons take anywhere from 6 months to 4 years to disintegrate. Not awesome.


THEN I had to break it to her that the whole reason for the project is to lay the groundwork to, you know, keep this up even after our year is over. That was met with complete silence. Eh, she’ll need therapy anyway, I’m just giving her stuff to talk about.

Three months seems like a rather significant chunk of time — we’re a quarter of the way there! — and a good spot to stop and evaluate what’s going on over here. I feel like these past few months have been great in that we’ve been able to make several changes, but also that I lack focus … or maybe it’s that I’m NOT focused — I keep skipping around, willy-nilly, without a real plan of what I’m ultimately aiming for.

So on Tuesday (my 44th birthday, incidentally why I decided to take Wednesday’s post off), I decided it was time to take stock. What, exactly, do I want when I look inside my refrigerator? Under the kitchen sink? In the laundry room? … Well, you get the picture.

I want an oasis of “minimalist zero waste,” that’s what. Vague, though, right? I got specific. In my journal, so I can keep track:

Under the kitchen sink

  1. Glass bottle of white vinegar
  2. Glass jar of homemade dishwashing detergent
  3. Bottle of bulk dish soap
  4. Jar of homemade “soft scrub”
  5. Jar of dry scrub
  6. Repurposed spray bottle of homemade all-purpose cleaner
  7. Jar of bulk castile soap
  8. Repurposed bucket for our garbage, lined with newspaper or not lined at all

Inside my pantry

  1. Stock of home-canned and homemade items to give as gifts throughout the year
  2. Glass jars of home-canned awesomeness for the fam

Inside my kitchen cabinets


  1. Jars of bulk options
  2. Minimal tin cans and cardboard
  3. Cloth napkins (replacement for paper towels and plastic wrap)

In my refrigerator and freezers

  1. Glass jars and stainless steel containers for leftovers, cut up raw fruits and veggies, meats, etc.
  2. Glass jars of homemade condiments (mustard, ketchup, salad dressing)
  3. Minimal plastic (i.e., just our milk and cheese)
  4. (Freezer) Jars of blueberries, raspberries, etc.
  5. (Freezer) Jars of meat purchased from the meat counter in reusable containers

The laundry room

  1. Jar of bulk laundry detergent or soap nuts
  2. Jar of homemade stain remover (does such a thing even exist?)
  3. Repurposed spray bottle of DIY hardwood floor cleaner
  4. Scrub brush

The master bath

  1. Unwrapped soap
  2. Plastic containers of bulk shampoo and conditioner
  3. Safety razor
  4. Bidet (???)
  5. Paper-wrapped facial soap
  6. Repurposed bottle of DIY calendula oil
  7. Reusable tins of DIY products, i.e. makeup, toothpowder and lotion
  8. Jar of DIY cotton kleenx
  9. Jar of DIY cotton balls (a very nice reader sent me a knitting pattern I’m about to let Johanna loose on)
  10. Jar of toothpicks as a floss replacement (???)
  11. My plastic container of crystal deodorant
  12. And a bottle of purchased sunscreen, since I’m not sold on homemade versions being strong enough


For now, we’re leaving the girls’ bathroom out of this, although I imagine some of the solutions I come up with in the master bath can be used there, too. I felt like I could go off into the weeds and put bedrooms and the living room on the list, but that’s another story for another time … and the garage seems too overwhelming. That’s Eric’s domaine and honestly, I don’t have it in me to worry about that at the moment. So we’re just going to concentrate on the above for the next 3 months and see where it gets us.

I’m sure there are things I’m forgetting and will have to add to the list later. I tend to want the least amount of anything possible and underestimate what’s actually needed to, like, live. 😉 The thought of 12 items in the master bath stresses me out — that seems like too much — but that doesn’t even include towels …

Okay, panic coming on, hey, it’s cool, now we have a plan! I’m adding the additional goals of finally visiting the other shops in town with bulk options (tea shop, the supermarket I broke up with 5 years ago, the health food store, the deli-ish store), getting rid of the 10 gallon or whatever it is garbage can in my kitchen (I despise that thing), and making some sort of emergency work kit of reusable utensils and napkins.

I’ll probably still jump around a lot — it seems silly to hold up the whole ordeal just because of one missing piece on a specific list — but at least now I can visualize where I want us to be.

Next up: There’s something incredibly satisfying about making jam.