Ten months today

Time flies when you’re reducing your trash output.

Today marks the Walker Four’s 10th month anniversary (month-iversary?) of our Simple Year project (you’re thinking of what you’d like to propose for Year 6, right?). It’s been a pleasant surprise, what’s been possible in our small town — we may not be at zero, but we have been able to make great progress, and that’s exciting.

Now, a few odds and ends that never seem to make it into “regular” posts to celebrate:


I can’t even remember when it occurred to me that instead of making bath products like lotion and and facial cream, I should be using up what I already own. Well, some if it was stuff I inherited from Abby (teenagers …), but still, it’s kind of amazing how many products a girl can amass over the years without even trying.

So I decanted like items together into glass jars. And hallelujah, I finally used up the last of the store bought lotion! It was actually pretty terrible, but that’s probably because I mixed a bunch of scents together (and I hate smells anyway). I’m still working on a small jar of face cream and another small jar of leave-on hair … conditioner? … and a tiny bit of hand cream, and I’m all done!

Be gone! Seriously.

Not quite so long ago, Eric suggested trying to find another brand of bath soap, as the unwrapped bars I had been getting, while smelling fantastic (even to me) don’t last long and are slightly expensive. I wasn’t having much luck at the supermarket. Then, when I wasn’t even looking, I found an unwrapped bar in a cardboard box at a variety store. Downside: It smells kind of gross.

Well, we tried.

On the upside, it was $1.79 for a 4.25 ounce bar, and it’s lasted weeks now. Figures, since I just want it to be gone. There were other scents, but I keep forgetting to go back and see what else is available. I’m not as happy with this option as I am with the unwrapped bar, but there’s something to be said for marital harmony. 😉

And recently I decided to try bulk bath gel, wisely going with just a sample size in my container to test it out. Turns out that was a good call on my part, because I really hate this stuff — the smell, the lather (read: there isn’t any), even that it’s gel. I don’t feel bad that I tried because how else would I know? But wow, failure.

I still need to get my act together and come to a conclusion on the makeup front regardless of how overwhelming I’m finding that particular goal. Soon!


As alluded to in my zero waste at the office post, I have removed the paper towel from my Ron Swanson mug and replaced it with a hankie from my late grandma. It looks nicer and still accomplishes the “no dust in my cup” goal.

Plus it makes Ron look dapper.

On the home office front, we finally used up the last of the plastic-wrapped printer paper a la The Store That Must Not Be Named. As you may or may not remember, I bought some paper-wrapped paper for our Walker Family Christmas Form Letter in December, and, now having a better alternative, am thrilled that this piece of trash will be my last on that score:

Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.


When I went shopping this weekend, I was struck how I don’t really think about “zero waste shopping” anymore. Um, because now it’s just “shopping.” That is a really great place to be.

One of the checkers told me a couple weeks ago that she loves seeing my jars, and that there are several others who do that too, but I’m the one who brings in the most, consistently. Well, shucks. Also: I love that there are more of us out there.

This week, another checker was telling me how jars are such a great idea because it’s easier when you get home — nothing to decant. Definitely true, and nothing to toss afterwards, either. (Or recycle.) Oh, geez, and then I handed her my container of ground beef — the girls requested stuffed meatball sandwiches for dinner on Sunday — and was like, careful, there’s meat kind of smeared on there, so I’d like it in a separate bag, and she was like, um, why is it smeared? You should have made them wash it off! and then I kind of told on Mr. Plastic. Everyone at the meat counter is awesome about taring my container and filling it, but there’s this one guy who just doesn’t like to do it, and I try not to aggravate him too much, I said. But he does put stuff in plastic and then put it in my container, which drives me nuts.

And she was like, that is not right! As a customer, you should be able to get your products any way you want them! And I was like, I love you. 

But I also don’t want to start any wars. I mean, intentionally. I feel like a passive-aggressive jerk with what I said anyway. I don’t know, maybe it will eventually make a difference in the saga of Mr. P. Or maybe he’ll try to fight me in the parking lot.

P.S. I’m really behind on answering comments, and I’m sorry about that. Life has been … well. We lost a dear friend of ours recently to congenital heart disease, plus we’ve just had a lot going on, and I’ve had to make some time management decisions. I will catch up. I appreciate you all so much.

Next up: Let’s talk more about groceries.

11 Responses to Ten months today

  1. Yardley’s has a honeysuckle scent that I absolutely love. We bought this soap growing up and the scent that you bought is their worst. I’m the girl that opens all of the bottles/boxes to smell soap and such because I hate getting stuck with a bad scent.

    • Figures! And I bought two bars, of course. I’m going to swing by the store on my way to work this morning and see if I can find your honeysuckle scent. Thanks for the tip!

    • Thank you. This was a condition he was born with, and it’s probably a miracle he lived to be 43. But he was amazing and such a light — instead of feeling sorry for himself, he went to PA school and was helping heart patients up until about six months ago, when he was forced to take disability leave. We’re just so lucky to have known him at all.

  2. Really sorry about your friend Trisha. And never apologise for lack of blogging/answering comments! You are doing this for free and don’t owe your readers anything!
    Have you considered – um – just *not* using bath gel? I’m assuming you mean shower gel, not stuff you put in the bath? I haven’t used anything but water on myself in the shower for years and I’m not in the least stinky! (Believe, me, my family would let me know). I do use soap enclosed in a loofah-like cover for my feet, and sometimes a pumice stone in summer but that is it. My husband just uses sandpaper on his heels (which I personally think is just disgusting, but we all have our little foibles). With makeup/personal care Items I’ve been asking myself do I really need each item, and often the answer is no. I’ve been shampoo-free for years now, and I have longish, blondish, wavy hair which is much thicker and healthier than it used to be (just use bicarb and apple cider vinegar to rinse – once a week or so, and am experimenting with just a water wash every 2nd time – seems to be going well)
    PS Just used my new safety razor for the first time. Was petrified, but it turned out brilliantly!!

    • Thank you. I do feel like I owe you all, though — you’re so great and supportive.

      Yes, shower gel — definitely not my thing. I have read about people not using soap on the zero waste board I follow on Facebook, but I haven’t tried it. I’m kind of scared to! But that’s really interesting. I like hearing alternatives!

      I know! Safety razors are terrifying! I love mine (well, NOW I do) — that was a good change.

    • That’s my hope! Commented about it above, but am trying two new scents of soap now, just packaged in cardboard. If we can stand the smell, that might be our new brand. 🙂

  3. Would your unwrapped soap last better if you used the old fashioned thrift tip of keeping it for a while to go hard? I pop bars I my underwear drawer to keep.

    • What! I’ve never heard such a thing — I totally am going to try that! I assume you just leave it in your drawer until it’s rock hard.

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