Minimalism – Living with less

Presented by: Priyadarshini

Take away from the webinar:

  • It’s important to understand the difference between what we want and what we need and that is what minimalist living is all about.
  • Think twice and analyze the stuff you throw in the dustbin
  • Cut down upon stuff that comes in single use plastic – milk, oil, vegetables, fruits, groceries, personal care products, cleaning supplies etc. that come packed in plastics, sanitary napkins, aluminum foil etc. They are bad for us and for the environment
  • To cut down, buy from the local farmer’s market, carry your own bag, and use steel or recyclable/reusable bottles. Buy stuff in large quantities, if plastic cannot be completely avoidable in urban set up.
  • Switch to homemade natural shampoos, soaps, toothpastes, detergent etc. Segregate and compost kitchen/wet waste. Dry waste put it in a bottle and create ECOBRICK.
  • Commercially available diapers and menstrual pads are toxic to self and environment as they have plastic in it. Use cloth diapers and cloth pads instead
  • Avoid online food delivery services and opt to dine-in a restaurant. Minimize online shopping.
  • Travel “zero waste” the cool way – carry cloth bags with you, take your own water bottles, carry bamboo cutlery or reusable cutlery kit (a spoon, a fork, a straw, a napkin, bottle), carry snacks, say no to straw, take ice cream in a cone and not cup, your own tiffin box to get leftover packed etc.
  • Move to refrigerator free life – Make food, idli/dosa batter etc. in small batches. To store, pour water in a clay pot and keep the batter/food vessel in that (but try and make small quantities).
  • To store greens, keep root in a glass of water or cover with a wet cloth, keep chillies without stalks, curry leaves can be stored air dried, keep onions and potatoes separately, buy tomatoes half ripe and half unripe. Again, buying small quantities helps as we also get to eat fresh and need not worry about storage.
  • A/C free home – Keeping home well ventilated, to reduce heartiness and warming the house during day u can use dark curtains in the afternoon to block the light during day, wearing light cotton clothes and eating right food and lifestyle practices would help you live without ACs in summer
  • Negligible/zero electricity bill lifestyle – switch off appliances when not in use, wash clothes in the washing machine only when full load, switch to non RO filtration water (saves both water and electricity).
  • Last but not the least, important note: do not dump now whatever you have at home and jump into minimalist living. Use whatever you have till the end of its lifecycle and now when you have become aware, next whatever you are buying, be conscious about that. Do not become an impulsive shopper.
  • The 5 Rs..Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Repair and Rot important Rs to be reminded for minimalistic living

FAQs from the Session

1. How to replace a plastic bucket?

Answer – “Plastic bucket can be replaced with brass
bucket. Those were also used by our elderlies. Not only does it eliminate plastic, it also has good health benefits”.

2. Which is the best BYO (bring your own) disposable cutlery in market?

Answer –“Whatever we use at home, carrying that would be more than enough. Just carry as per your requirements and what is available at your home”

3. How to store milk/butter?

Answer – “Buy milk in lesser quantities. We buy it from a local milkman. Everyday buy it fresh just for one or two times worth of consumption. Butter – keep it in vessel and then keep in clay pot filled with water, in cool and dry place, away from sunlight. For refrigerator less living, we need to plan our consumption of perishable items. Buying in small quantity ensures we need not worry about storage and also consume fresh food”


4. How to avoid diapers?

Answer –“There are many brands and varieties of reusable cloth
diapers available in market, kindly explore. Commercially available diapers are hazardous for the kids as well as environment.”

5. I have tried using menstrual pads but I have found them difficult to clean, what to do?

Answer – “Soak them in warm water overnight and wash them in the morning. It would be easy to clean that way. Keep a separate bucket or tub for the same. Use natural products for cleaning. Disinfect using turmeric and salt in water. Sun drying is extremely important. Following these methods, I have been able to use cloth pads for more than two years.”

6.Even though we avoid a lot of plastics we do get accumulated of pick up carry bags. Where I can carry my bags we do otherwise there’s a lot. I do not wish to dump them so I have put all the plastic bags in a box in my house. I couldn’t find a recycling team here what else can I do?

Answer – “Try to recycle the same or give them
away to vegetable or fruits or flower vendors as they still need to use those”

7. How are you managing with perishables given this Covid lockdown time? Since we cannot step out frequently right now?

Answer – “I am buying vegetables for 5 to 7 days at a go. Vegetables like carrots and beetroots can stay fine without refrigeration for 3 to 4 days. Vegetables like drumsticks that need moisture to be retained, I keep them on a thin cloth and cover with another thin white cloth and keep the cloth damp. I also use sundried vegetables. Also, sticking to two meals a day and using papads etc in our meal. Meal planning is the keyword”.

8. How to store homemade sprouts?

Answer – They cannot be stored. Must be consumed fresh

9. What are the best suggested ways of water conservation?

Answer –Reusing the water which we wash rice n dals, water the plants with this water. Instead of shower use bucket for bath. Slow the water in the tap by changing the valve setting, close the taps while brushing the teeth, etc.

10. Can ginger garlic paste be stored in glass containers.? I heard it is not good to store in glass.

Answer – You can add a few drops of lemon juice and Little turmeric when grinding ginger garlic paste. Yes, it can be stored in glass containers. It is safe.

11. I travel a lot and I am a vegetarian, so I need to carry ready to eat. There is a lot of plastic…any alternatives?

Answer – Carry a reusable cutlery kit. Like napkin, spoon, steel box, bottle etc.

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