2023 might just be the year you start your journey toward living a more sustainable lifestyle. While this might seem like a big undertaking, you don’t need to change everything right away. Start with little adjustments so they feel like a natural part of your life, and keep growing from there. Getting started early in the new year can help you learn what works for your life and what may take some getting used to. Don’t worry, if you aren’t living your most eco-friendly life by the end of January, keep going! Adjusting to a sustainable lifestyle can take some time. Check out a few ways you can get started this January below.
1. Consider Downsizing
This new year might be the right time to downsize your home. While it may seem nice to have a large home with a lot of space, it isn’t going to help you live sustainably. Having clutter in your space can cause unnecessary stress in your life. This new year, downsizing your home, whether it’s by getting rid of unnecessary items or moving to a new home entirely, can help you start living more sustainably. Living in a smaller home with less clutter can keep you organized and help you live an environmentally-friendly lifestyle. You won’t have the space to bring everything you own to a new and smaller home so it gives you the opportunity to take an inventory of what you have. Once you understand what you have, you can organize by importance. When you’re looking to declutter, decide what items are most important to you. Look at which items you use most often or add the most value to your life. This also forces you to look at your current consumption and rethink your consumerism in the future. You should also look for new uses in household items you already have or look to donate them if possible. This lessens the waste when getting rid of things and brings new life to these items.
If you’re looking to downsize by moving to a new home, consider how much space you actually need. You may have initially invested in a bigger home when you had a lot of stuff to store or just wanted extra space. After decluttering, look at the space you have left to see how much home you really need. Determine how much smaller of a home makes sense and what you want your downsized mortgage to be. Save the extra funds to use on upgrades to make your new home more efficient. Choosing a smaller house can help you maintain a sustainable life and be a lower cost to you in the long run. You will save on energy usage, including heating and air costs. The money you will save on utilities can also help go towards more home projects to improve the home's energy use to make it more efficient.
2. Automate Your Home
You can make your home more efficient this new year by looking at your current utilities and making a modern switch. While a vast majority of us depend on electricity and running water to live a functional life, there are ways you can start taking control of the usage of your utilities and save money this new year. Make your home automated by making updates to your systems. The temperature in your house, lights, and water tanks are some parts you can save money and energy. Adding smart thermostats and lights can keep you on a set schedule to avoid unnecessary usage. Think about putting in a tankless water heater if you can, which can prevent any extra water loss and help keep costs low. You will save energy within your home and decrease your utility bills by preventing unnecessary usage and creating schedules that fit your lifestyle.
A fully automated home can also help you stay up to date with your appliances and monitor how they’re functioning. Many of these upgrades allow you to check the appliance functionality on your phone, giving you more access and control while you’re away. The less you have to worry about appliances being properly used, the less you have to worry about waste.
3. Start Going Zero Waste
The start of the new year can be the start of your zero waste journey. You should start out by making small changes here, so it doesn’t feel too overwhelming. Remove external waste like restaurant take-out containers by bringing your own reusable containers when you dine out. If your state doesn’t already have a ban on plastic grocery bags, you can start the trend in your area by bringing your own reusable grocery bags to the store. Getting in the habit now might also save you some change, as many states now charge per bag in stores. Another way to go zero waste is to start ditching single-use items and replacing them with multi-use alternatives, such as paper towels for dish towels or sponges for washcloths. These reusable items can be used multiple times and can easily be washed. Utilizing little zero-waste hacks might even save you money in the long run as removing single-use items from your routine can remove extra costs in your grocery bill.
Once these little hacks start to become second nature, you can incorporate more ways to go zero waste into your year. If there’s a zero-waste store in your area, you may want to try to get your essentials there instead of the grocery store. This way you can bring your own packaging and get the right amount of product for your lifestyle, not just a general bulk amount. Also, try to reuse anything you’d normally throw away. For example, a candle container can be reused as decorative storage when the wax is gone and a pasta jar can be cleaned out and used for storing leftovers. Going zero waste in 2023 can help keep your life clutter-free and sustainable.
4. Switch Out Supplies
While it’s easy to buy multiple products such as cleaning supplies, or makeup and hair care products, finding alternatives or multi-use for these things can help you reduce waste from extra packaging. It can also be a healthy alternative to your current products! Cleaning supplies, for example, tend to have many toxic chemicals in them, with some just there to preserve the products. Finding a different cleaning agent can keep your home clean while also removing unnecessary toxins. One example is white vinegar; it can be used as a general cleaner, and is good for your floors, bathroom, and kitchen. This is a versatile product too, as it can be used in cooking as well, making it a true multi-purpose supply.
Changing up your makeup and hair care can be a cost-effective way to remove unnecessary ingredients from your life. You can use cocoa powder as an easy eyeshadow or eyeliner alternative. Switching your dry shampoo for cornstarch can be another easy way to use a food item in an alternate setting. These are just a few ways that store-bought makeup can be switched in your routine to create a stunning look that is safe from extra chemicals. Since these are all items used in cooking as well, they’ll have multiple uses, making them a go-to product to start a sustainable lifestyle.
5. Become a Conscious Consumer
Living a sustainable lifestyle doesn’t end with getting rid of unnecessary items and switching out your home's essentials for new ones. It continues with being conscious of what you’re purchasing, and how it’ll impact your life and your goal towards a sustainable lifestyle. Think about how the items’ past and future will impact the purchase. Fast fashion is an easy way to keep up with trends, but also includes a lot of waste in the long run. Buying clothes from a reputable and quality brand will get you clothing that’ll last a lifetime or more. Making sure the things you purchase are good quality will help you in the long run. You don’t want to buy a reusable container that’ll break after the third use, you want to make sure you can get your money’s worth out of it. Make sure your purchases are made to last, just like your resolutions for a more sustainable new year.