I’m quitting the jar (sort-of)

Having a visual representation of trash we produce can be powerful and compelling. It can showcase just how much trash is produced by a single person or action, as is the case with these examples: 1 million disposable cups – the amount used by airline flights in the US every six hours Rob Greenfield wore his trash around NYC for 30 days A local Vermont student … Continue reading I’m quitting the jar (sort-of)

What do you actually need in your kitchen? Start with these five kitchen essentials - MeredithTested.com

Minimalist Kitchen Essentials

Unlike wardrobe essentials that cannot possibly work for everyone on the planet, there are a few things that I think every kitchen needs. This list is zero waste-friendly and plastic-free. Skip all the plastic crap that will break sooner than later and get good-quality, versatile pieces that will last a long time. Materials to look for: bamboo, wood and metals. If you think “good quality” … Continue reading Minimalist Kitchen Essentials

how to build a spring capsule wardrobe for New England weather

My Spring 2016 Capsule Wardrobe

It’s springtime! The sun in shining! The birds are chirping! … And it’s cold one day and hot the next where I live! Here in northern Vermont it was warm and sunny yesterday, and it’s snowing today. Haha. My husband and I made the mistake of switching out our capsule wardrobes a bit earlier than initially planned because we were packing for a trip to California in late March. All was well and good until we got back to Vermont in early April and it was 20 degrees F outside. Ouch.

Even though the temperature is wildly fluctuating, most of the items in my spring capsule are starting to get some use. My husband and I loosely follow the Project 333 capsule rules and we count clothing, shoes, accessories and outerwear but do not count pajamas, lounge wear or workout gear. The actual number of pieces isn’t as important to me. I’m just trying to be as minimal and practical as possible. I think my winter capsule was actually around 30 pieces, and my husband’s was right around 33/34.

For Spring, I have 32 items in the rotation. This doesn’t include my socks/underwear/bras, tank tops that are just for layering and never worn on their own, pajamas or workout gear. I have pared down those items considerably in the last few years, though. I don’t have many duplicates. Many items listed below were also in my winter capsule. If you’re curious about which pieces are staying through the seasons, let me know and I’ll go through and mark those items in some way.

Here’s a list of everything in my closet (though not all of it is pictured.) I tried to keep a mix of items that I could layer for cold days but also be nice and comfortable on warmer days. I like reading about specific capsule lists, so I thought I’d throw mine in the mix. I’d love to know what you think – Should I keep sharing details about my minimalist wardrobe or is it too much? Shout out in the comments below!

I work remotely – from home some days and sometimes from a local coffee shop – and I’m running around after my 17 month old daughter the rest of the time. I started working remotely in 2013 and that changed my outlook on my wardrobe a lot. I do like getting dressed in “real clothes” everyday, though. It might seem silly to switch from a pair of pajama pants to a pair of black leggings and call it being dressed, but for me it makes me feel awake and ready to tackle the day. I know a lot of people take advantage of working from home and stay in loungewear 24/7 but that just doesn’t work for me. One thing I’ve realized about myself during this journey to minimalism and exploring capsule wardrobes is that it helped me stay true to myself while still being practical. I’m less aspirational in my clothing now (bye bye all the blazers and high heels I was holding on to from corporate life,) but I also have way less loungewear than I used to because I just didn’t like it or wear it that often.

The colors I gravitate towards in my wardrobe and in the rest of my life (seriously, my home is also these colors!) are: black, white, gray, olive/army green, navy and pops of warmer tones like pink and orange. This season I only have a slight “pop” of color in a magenta scarf and a pair of light pink pants.

Meredith's spring capsule wardrobe - monochrome and minimalist women's wardrobe ideas

Continue reading “My Spring 2016 Capsule Wardrobe”

how to have an eco-friendly home + eco-friendly cleaning and living tips

Four things we did before committing to #ZeroWaste2016

While we definitely jumped right in to attempting a zero waste home, there were a few big steps my family took over the last few years that made the transition to reducing our waste a lot easier. We made a lot of changes in our home when we fully committed to going zero waste in 2016, but we weren’t necessarily starting at “square one.”

Don't compare your beginning to someone else's middle quote

Here are the four things we did in the past few years that helped our journey to a zero waste home:

Continue reading “Four things we did before committing to #ZeroWaste2016”

Minimalism and the problem with women's essential wardrobe lists

Minimalism and the problem with “wardrobe essentials” lists

I’ve heard the call for years – from fashion magazines and stylish people – to fill our closets with “high quality essentials” as wardrobe foundations. A quick internet or Pinterest search will bring you hundreds of these lists, compiled by everyone from Tim Gunn and Carolina Herrerra to Lauren Conrad. Long before I knew what minimalism was, and years before I ever heard whisper of the … Continue reading Minimalism and the problem with “wardrobe essentials” lists

What to take on a weekend trip - minimal packing list

Weekend Trip – Minimalist Packing List

*This post contains affiliate links, indicated by an asterisk.

If you follow me on Instagram, you might know that I went to Chicago for the weekend to attend my friends beautiful wedding. I got a few questions about what I brought in my small backpack, so I’ve laid it all out. Everyone’s bag and needs are different but this worked really well for me.

First, a few tips for minimalist packing, no matter how long you’ll be gone:

  • Find out what is available to you at your destination. If you’re staying with family and friends, can you use their washing machine? If you’ll be at a hotel, do they have a washer/dryer or other amenities available to you? For example, I stayed at The Freehand in Chicago which offers a full kitchen (with real, reusable plates/cutlery!) and laundry facilities to guests.
  • Build a miniature capsule wardrobe (even if you don’t use one in your day-to-day life.) Think about what you can re-wear throughout your trip, especially for loungewear and travel days. Think about layering pieces that will work under/over multiple outfits. Unless you’re traveling for fashion week, chances are you don’t need to worry about wearing different looks head-to-toe each day.
  • Shoes take up a lot of space. If you aren’t minimal anywhere else, be ruthless about choosing footwear that is versatile and that you’ll actually use.
  • Focus on multi-use items in terms of toiletries and makeup. If at home you use a day cream, night cream, eye cream, facial oils and more, consider paring down to the most versatile item. I chose to bring a small container of argan oil that I could use on my face, hair and on my hands and body as needed.

Weekend Trip Away - A Minimalist's Packing List

This photo was taken the night before I left, with my phone. Not the highest quality but hopefully it gives enough of a peek at what I packed.

Here are details on what I brought with me for my two night vacation:

Continue reading “Weekend Trip – Minimalist Packing List”

Are you afraid of being a careful consumer?

I’m not ashamed to say that before I took on a more minimalist lifestyle, I had a fear that having fewer, better things would get boring. I love testing out new products, discovering little shops, trying new things. Could I ever tame my consumerist beast? At one point in my life, I really did think it was easier to just buy a new shirt or new socks … Continue reading Are you afraid of being a careful consumer?

Capsule Wardrobe … Wishlist?

I finally built a capsule wardrobe … and now I have a wishlist?! …What? At 30, I really thought I had my “style” nailed down, finally. Years of wearing a uniform I liked but felt a little uninspired by (black dress + scarf, mainly) led me to exploring “colors” in the past few years. I ultimately realized that I just love neutrals and that’s okay. … Continue reading Capsule Wardrobe … Wishlist?

When we voluntarily undertake a difficult challenge

I recently came across this article by Miss Minimalist called “The Joy of One” So if you’re not living out of a backpack, why go to such extremes? Why own just One of an item, when you have plenty of room for two, or three, or ten? For the same reasons you might train for a marathon or go on a meditation retreat. When we … Continue reading When we voluntarily undertake a difficult challenge