Need a support group

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Janette Janette
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Need a support group

Hi!

I just finished Bea's book, and I am more motivated than ever to change my lifestyle!

I feel, however, like I need a support group to help me with all of the emotions and guilt that are surfacing because of this new awareness.  I am angry that I was raised to be so materialistic and to value stuff so much, and that I've allowed myself to be that way into adulthood. Now it is terribly difficult to let go. Why does changing my habits have to be so hard? Why is it so hard to make one tiny decision? Every time I try to change something, I come across a thousand roadblocks--everything from my own insecurity to the world's focus on consumption. It seems it's going to take the rest of my life to get where I want to be. I just want to be there already!

Anyone else having a simlar experience?
Steph in Berkeley (mywastelesslife) Steph in Berkeley (mywastelesslife)
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Hi Janette,

I totally relate. I started my journey about 2 years ago. The first 6mos I was dedicated, excited, and committed, and I needed all those qualities to help me establish some changes and implement new modes of living.

Just remembering my own shopping bags took months, and I learned to adapt when I didn't have them by simply buying less and carrying it or placing items back in a cart and unloading the cart instead of bags into my car. Letting go of paper towels was another journey, and learning to make more things myself (DIY instead of buy)...these have all been amazing learning experiences that have ultimately enhanced my life. I wouldn't change it.

The guilt is real and I still deal with it. Because, this isn't a linear journey, and I have bad days, days where I'm too stressed or tired and I make poor decisions. What's helped with that is first to forgive my mistakes, and then to commit to come up with a plan for most of them so that they don't repeat indefinitely. That takes a lot of time, as well.

How's your journey been going, and where in the world are you, Janette?
Janette Janette
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Thanks for the encouragement, Steph! I live near Kansas City and am originally from the Ozarks.

I really started my journey many years ago when I discovered flylady. After discovering Bea's blog and reading her book, though, now I realize that clutter is really about overconsumption and being oblivious to the consequences of our actions, not just having a clean house or being organized. I also realized living with less would most definitely help my chronic fatigue syndrome and my husband's ADHD.

My husband doesn't help much with zero waste because, as one example, he's embarrassed when I try not to accept the plastic bags at the store (even the plastic produce bags). That means if I want to avoid creating trash and avoid an argument, I have to go to the store by myself, which is really difficult given my chronic fatigue.

I inherited hoarding tendencies from my mom who lived during the depression and has always kept everything. One time we found a jar of old brewed coffee in her basement refrigerator! That was when I realized I didn't need or want to be like that! Also, my husband's parents are very materialistic and taught him to be that way. They and he think something isn't a gift unless it's a physical object and that you need physical objects to preserve memories.

Anyway, I've been doing a little here and there over the past several years, but I'm at a point now that I want total change. But that can't happen overnight, which is frustrating. Especially when I try to give something up and hear the old voices saying, "But you could use that. But you spent good money on that. You can't just get rid of that; it's new! But you can't get rid of that; it was a gift!"

Again, thanks for sharing. It's so good to know I'm not alone!


On Tue, May 21, 2013 at 12:33 PM, Steph in Berkeley (mywastelesslife) [via Forum] <[hidden email]> wrote:
Hi Janette,

I totally relate. I started my journey about 2 years ago. The first 6mos I was dedicated, excited, and committed, and I needed all those qualities to help me establish some changes and implement new modes of living.

Just remembering my own shopping bags took months, and I learned to adapt when I didn't have them by simply buying less and carrying it or placing items back in a cart and unloading the cart instead of bags into my car. Letting go of paper towels was another journey, and learning to make more things myself (DIY instead of buy)...these have all been amazing learning experiences that have ultimately enhanced my life. I wouldn't change it.

The guilt is real and I still deal with it. Because, this isn't a linear journey, and I have bad days, days where I'm too stressed or tired and I make poor decisions. What's helped with that is first to forgive my mistakes, and then to commit to come up with a plan for most of them so that they don't repeat indefinitely. That takes a lot of time, as well.

How's your journey been going, and where in the world are you, Janette?


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NAML

Steph in Berkeley (mywastelesslife) Steph in Berkeley (mywastelesslife)
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I can relate to your issue of the hubs not being on board with changes like plastic bags. Mine does *exactly* the same thing at the store. And as you said, I end up going alone most of the time, though I've adjusted to that, and am sorry to hear you have the added burden of CFS.

Letting go of objects just isn't easy for most of us, is it? I'd even say it's shocking how difficult it can be. This week I've been going through my "memory box" items. I want to whittle that box down to 1 to 2 binders instead of a half-dozen different photo albums and boxes of letters, etc. It's damn hard to get rid of much more, though. But I have a goal in mind and I intend to reach it. Because really, I don't need as many photos as I have. No one wants to see 50 similar looking photos of my grandparents, you know? --Even me! So, I'll spend some time organizing categories of photos and keep the best ones, and free myself of the rest.

Sometimes when I'm having trouble letting go of objects, I imagine my house with NOTHING in it except what I absolutely love and will use every day (or at least every week). I can imagine having a space for EVERYTHING and everything in its place, because I will not have to dig through the clutter of things I don't use in order to get to it. Once I imagine this image, I have an easier time removing items that don't fit into my vision, and I imagine the freedom of not having this stuff I don't really want. But it's *still* not easy to let some things, silly as they may seem, go. And it's also hard to pass up some things that are free, or inexpensive and seem like they could be useful, but in truth, I know they are much more likely to end up as unused clutter.

Thank you for reaching out...I'm here if you want to jaw about the time you're having eliminating clutter, or your hubs thwarting your efforts...you're not alone!
Deborah Deborah
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Hi,
I've been thinking about the older generations ~hoarding~ propensities.
Why did they learn to hoard?
Because they knew that "it" would not be available if they ever wanted "it" in the future.  Due to lack of local shops, or WW2 (in my mother's case), or lack of cash, or whatever.

Learning to NOT hoard is a powerful marker for a consumer society.  Nowadays, we know that anything ANYTHING we want, we can just pop out and buy.  No need to stash it under the stairs "in case".

But, of course, any learnt habit has a dreadful way of spreading through one's life - witness the old coffee in your mum's fridge!

Life is all a balancing act, isn't it!

good luck with finding your local support - sorry, I am in Suffolk, UK.

Deb


Janette Janette
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Deb,

You are exactly right--the fact that we don't need to keep things and that we can have a practically empty home (like Bea's) is very telling about our society. That we can obtain anything we want at any time does show what a consumer society we live in. It helps to understand why each generation acts as they do.

I've also been thinking about the way previous generations embraced fast food and processed food. They were just looking for some measure of convenience in their lives; they were tired of doing everything the hard way! Marketers didn't tell them and they didn't think about the consequences years later of how they were causing their children to become addicted to sugar, salt, and fat. They simply didn't realize these conveniences would cause heath problems and death.

Since some people are trying to reverse the processed food trend, maybe this means our society isn't all about consumerism.

Janette

On May 28, 2013 5:49 AM, "Deborah [via Forum]" <[hidden email]> wrote:
Hi,
I've been thinking about the older generations ~hoarding~ propensities.
Why did they learn to hoard?
Because they knew that "it" would not be available if they ever wanted "it" in the future.  Due to lack of local shops, or WW2 (in my mother's case), or lack of cash, or whatever.

Learning to NOT hoard is a powerful marker for a consumer society.  Nowadays, we know that anything ANYTHING we want, we can just pop out and buy.  No need to stash it under the stairs "in case".

But, of course, any learnt habit has a dreadful way of spreading through one's life - witness the old coffee in your mum's fridge!

Life is all a balancing act, isn't it!

good luck with finding your local support - sorry, I am in Suffolk, UK.

Deb





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Janette Janette
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In reply to this post by Janette
I wanted to share with those who care...I learned how to sell on ebay, and I sold my first item! I'm so happy to know how to do that, and now selling will be an option if donation doesn't seem appropriate. My husband is supportive and said, "I wish you'd go through the whole house and do that with everything we don't need!" Maybe he'll finally let me get rid of his stacks of old magazines??? I'm glad I was able to find a home for something that otherwise probably would have ended up in the landfill.

Thank you all for your support in reversing my hoarding tendencies and clearing my clutter!
Steph in Berkeley (mywastelesslife) Steph in Berkeley (mywastelesslife)
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Congrats, Janette! That's fantastic!!!
Mary T Mary T
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In reply to this post by Steph in Berkeley (mywastelesslife)
Though I am reading this over a year (and a half?) later, I too am struggling with some of the same issues you all have mentioned.

I have been a clutter-clearer for years and considered myself kind of a minimalist, but I realize after having read Bea's book that I still have far to go because I am constantly in care of stuff, and it's exhausting.

Another issue for me is the community I live in: I feel fatigued from constantly turning down disposables, and this is coming from a person who eats and makes every meal at home because of Celiac disease and other food allergies. My two young kids are always being offered do-dads and such and they are so little (4 and 18 months) that they are only really seeing me as the example of zero waste (at least striving for), but not my husband or their preschool teachers or friends or really anyone else. Keeping up with the influx of trash is exhausting and I feel I have no one to talk to about it that understands or appreciates the struggle.

Most people think I am "going too far," and even my own friends and family here think I am a little radical. But I am nowhere near achievement of zero waste yet! I see how their consumer lives are affecting their health with constant emergency room trips and chronic illness, but they just want to take a pill and I want to be a supportive friend without seeming preachy. My community is not very friendly to any of my sensitivities: gluten and dairy-free, waste (no bulk shopping; only package-free is the farmers' market, thank goodness, but they are so insistent thrusting plastic bags there, too--crazy!), and reduction of plastic and general toxins. Even recycling here is very minimal. It's extremely frustrating.

I don't even know if i could find a therapist around here who wouldn't advise me to just join the mainstream. Thanks for reading, if you got this far!

By the way, for those trying to create a beautiful home environment where every object is meaningful to you, I recommend The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo. I am also reading Plastic Free by Beth Terry. An old favorite is Clear Your Clutter with Feng Shui by Karen Kingston. I hope these books help you the way they and Bea's book have helped me!
Trish Trish
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In reply to this post by Janette
I found that my husband is much more supportive if I talk about things in terms of saving or making money rather than what is best for the environment or even our life styles.  

He has been into selling things on ebay, which I appreciate!

He was on-board with reusables instead of disposables because of the money savings, again.  That is, until I said we were going to stop buying paper towels.  He decided to "put his foot down" and went out and bought a roll!  lol.  I decided to put the paper towels up on top of the fridge behind the colander and the tea kettle so he would have to reach up to get them.  Washrags require no reaching.  He goes for the washrags almost every time.  lol.  


He got on-bard with whole foods over packaged/processed goods but won't refuse bags.  I aslked him to give cloth diapers a 1 month trial, and at the end of the month he said "cloth diapering's not that hard, I don't see any reason why we shouldn't keep doing it"  He is totally on-bard with thrifting instead of buying new for the money saving... so I take what I can get.

I really appreciate the boards and Bea's blog for the camaraderie too.  It's hard when your partner isn't interested, but as he sees the differences zw is making in our lives, he is coming around...  He likes the safety razor, bar soap, and shaving brush I gave him for christmas I think mostly because I showed him the website, the Art of Manliness, and he dug it.  Slowly it's taking hold.  

Hang in there!
Catherine Sultana Catherine Sultana
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In reply to this post by Janette
Here's a thought that has been stewing on my back burner. I know this book is kinda old, but I'm thinking of starting a book club at my local library around it for a couple of reasons. Local folks applying Bea's ideas, sharing local solutions in person, creating a social group of likewise thinkers. It would also create a group of shoppers who would probably prove effective at converting local vendors to support ZW. I've only gone so far as to fantasize about an international organization of ZWHers with local chapters meeting every other month and an annual meeting held through some online mechanism... but it is definitely on my mind these days. How about you, would you participate in such a group?
mpenhoet mpenhoet
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Hi there

thank you for your post!

I just joined the forum after many years away! I am back on the zero waste bandwagon after straying from what I had hoped would be a permanent lifestyle change in 2011.

I was fortunate enough to live in the bay area back then and to have Bea in her very early years come to my house for 4 visits and totally revamp my lifestyle (we are a family of 7) . We dontated 50% of our belongings and totally revamped our kitchen and basement storage system. She was in there rearranging the shelving, repurposing things and taking much of my give away to her donation spots on the way home. Her enthusiasm is contageous- and she admitted at the time that with 4 kids and an au pair living with us, it would be an enormous challenge to exactly imitate her lifestyle. But just getting started and being aware was of course SOMETHING!

But the rigor of just the shopping and food keeping for a large family nearly sent me to bed for a year! I was also living a raw food lifestyle which is shopping and labor intense- making everything myself (fake tuna, dehydrated cookies, our own almond milk) it was utterly unsustainable. I did not utterly give up but we went way back to buying 50% of our food packaged and now after 7 moves (!!) we are at about 60% packaged items- I even gave away many glass jars before our last move because they break and I was not living the Whole Foods lifestyle anymore. Sad!

Now I have a kid in college and another on the way out so I have some breathing space. I too would just LOVE a group for support.

Your post got me thinking about looking for a meetup group locally (I live in Seattle- pretty groovy place)

I am going to consider the possibilty of starting a book group on the subject if there is not a meetup already .thanks again for posting. wonderful to know others are out there beginning, struggling or thriving in this model. Cheers!
Catherine Sultana Catherine Sultana
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In reply to this post by Janette
Love your selling on e-Bay, it's on my list too for my home and probably my parents at some point. As to your husband, an idea I have is to just make listings for everything I own of value and see what response I get.Have you continued to make sales, has it been worth the effort?
Liz Liz
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In reply to this post by Catherine Sultana
Friends keep asking me when I'm going to start my Zero Waste Group(book club) and to not forget them.  I have no idea how to lead anything like this. So, here I am at the forum looking for ideas and yours is the only post relating to books clubs. Is there a site that could tell me how to do this? Or do you have any advice? I'm so in love with the Zero Waste lifestyle. I find it to be a fun challenge and so appreciate how it makes keeping a house clean practically effortless. Any help you have would be greatly appreciated.  Thank you!

P.S.  Group shopping! You're a genius! What a fantastic way to convince stores to convert. Brilliant.  :  )
coldswim coldswim
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You can start with your friends. :)  If you already have interested parties, a "group" can be as few as two people.  When the word starts getting out, you'll probably have more.  

Ho Chi Minh started with three people in a grass hut, and ended up defeating the largest and most violent military on the planet. It's not impossible. :) Good luck.


Liz Liz
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Thank you so much for the support. I guess I can stop googling "How to lead a book discussion" and just start, right? :  )
Catherine Sultana Catherine Sultana
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Here our libraries have book club kits (basically a bag with several copies of a book, maybe a reading guide). So, I would suggest approaching your public library for tips (may even have a kit for her book) and then a. locate time in their space and get on their public events calendar; b. post notices in grocery stores, schools, churches, etc.; and c. come up with agendas for the chapters/meetings. I think Bea's book lends itself to the question: That's what she can do in her neighborhood, can we do that here, and what does it look like? Hope that helps. I agree with Coldswim that a group can be composed of 2. I haven't gotten on this task myself as life has taken over, but I still think it's a good idea. For example, my specific town doesn't have a co-op or a "whole foods" so connecting with others to find out about the surrounding metro area's offerings would be most beneficial part of attending a book club, I think.
Liz Liz
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Asking the library.....why didn't I think of that? I also appreciate your offering of the question, "That's what she can do in her neighborhood, can we do that here and what does that look like?" Very helpful! Thank you!


 

Catherine Sultana Catherine Sultana
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In reply to this post by Liz
Liz, how's it going? Have you made any progress on your book club idea?
randolf26 randolf26
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