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7 tips on how to live more sustainably

Businesses undergo a lean transformation to get rid of whatever does not contribute to a specific goal and thus eliminate waste of money, time an effort. Lean management can be perfectly adapted to our personal lives. If you might also feel the urge to get rid of the waste in your life but you don’t know where to start, here are a couple of advices.

1. Clear out your wardrobe
Check every clothing and build clusters, e.g. necessary for work, summer essentials, winter essentials, sports wear, special occasions. Then go through every cluster. Do you still like each of the clothing and is it of use? Put every clothing aside you have not worn for a (long) while and you don’t like any more. After having finished your wardrobe evaluation go through again to those clothes you don’t like and separate between old and new. You might need to spare some older clothings, e.g. keep some thick sweaters for cold winter days at home, some old clothing when you paint or help friends with moving. Get rid of the rest. Can they still be sold on Ebay and co. or can be given to friends or to a charity or do they finally need to go into the bin? Your wardrobe should now be filled with favorites and essentials. The challenge is now to work on your buying habit.

2. Buy clothes consciously
When we had a hard day at work, when we are stressed, when we don’t feel good etc. we tend to shop impulsively. At least this used to be my habit. In general, choices made when shopping impulsively are often poor. You might get a dress thinking you might need it one day. When the time has come you realize you don’t like the cut, color or material any more or the dress doesn’t fit to the theme of the event. Instead, buy clothes only when you need them. For example when you receive a wedding invitation, when summer is on its way and you realize you don’t have shirts for hot days, when you are out of boots and winter is just around the corner or when you run out of your favorite essentials e.g. oversized sweaters, skinny jeans, sneakers etc.

Buying clothes consciously also includes to consider the quantity of the items you shop. After oil, the textile industry is the second most polluting industry in the world and Fast Fashion has contributed a high amount to this. Before fast fashion, we did not have the pressure to consume that much as it is the case today with weekly new trends in stores. Instead of indulging yourself to more clothes, find alternatives such as having a massage, going out with friends for dinner in a restaurant or do something creative.

When buying clothes, be also aware under which conditions most of the clothing you chose have been made. Buying parkas with a real fur hood for example has become a trend again. People wearing real fur all say that real fur feels so good. However, it’s not even useful. They seem not to be aware of the harm done to the animals. They are beaten up and getting their skin pulled alive. Watch here. After having seen this video and other suggestions on YouTube ask yourself wether or not you are really in need of fur, especially when it is only used as an accessories. Does it justify the cruelty to animals? Owning fur in most of the countries is not vital.

Another aspect is under which condition workers in developing countries have to work. Fast Fashion by the way is never sustainable. All what Fast Fashion companies can do is to minimize the damage done to the environment. Since gaining transparency is hardly possible for us consumers, ask yourself what you really need. Therefore, we should rather ask ourselves what we really need. Buying less is a first step.

3. Clear out your apartment
The way you cleaned up your closet you should also clean up your apartment. Start with one room at a time, so you have a feeling of success more often and remain motivated when you tackle the next rooms. Depending on how much you own and the amount of rooms, this work can be quite a marathon. Make a plan which room you are going to clean up on which day and when will you be latest finished with the whole apartment. Keep the time frame short so there is an end in sight. Waiting 3 months to start with the next room will give you excuses to remain within your habits and you might never finish. So room by room, check your furnitures, appliances, decors, pictures, paintings, books etc. Put everything aside you haven’t used, don’t feel attached to it any longer and also see no use in future. Rearrange the room and tidy up. Then go over the next room. After having cleaned up every room now it’s time to dedicate yourself to the things you put away. Sell what can be solved online or on the flea market.

5. Clear out basement
When you haven’t got rid of old stuff, they might be on your basement for sure. Get rid of them at once. Call the bulky waste removal service or bring your household trash to the recycling centre.

4. Reconsider your nutrition
No it’s time to check your food habits. In this context it is important how you see your current fitness and health situation and if you were already trying to adapt a healthier life style. I won’t go into detail here since nutrition is an individual matter every one of us need to check with a doctor specialized in nutrition. In general, what counts for all: Give up fast food, eat more fresh vegetables at best organic, eat meat and fish consciously and ask yourself if you could live without them, e.g. would you need meat for iron deficiency and are there alternatives? Reduce sweets and go for fresh fruits instead. These tips might sound trivial, still, lots of people give it up sooner or later and stick to their habits.

5. Tidy up your desktop
This might be an easy task compared to cleaning your apartment. We tend to put every file to unnamed folders and plan to arrange the files as soon as we have time, which we don’t. Go through your unnamed folders, delete files you don’t need and arrange them in specific folders. Next time when you add a file to your desktop, put it right where it belongs. “I don’t have time!” is an excuse, it takes you not even a minute to put the file to its corresponding folder. What you don’t have time for is to rearrange hundreds of files you might have put uncategorized on your desktop for months.

6. Reconsider why you work where you work
Do you come home exhausted and frustrated every day, leaving your anger out on others or waste time complaining about your work in your spare time? When your job takes too much energy from you, you should considerer changing some things about your job and how you see your job. Is your work still the right job for you? Brainstorm what makes you happy and unhappy and check wether you can change some things about it yourself and which topics you might want to bring up in conversations with your supervisor. You spend most of your time working so it’s worth having a thought on this subject. Recently, I come across people who even quit their jobs which they loved because they simply kept working all the time and neglected family and friends and their health. When you start feeling the opportunity costs are getting too high then it’s time to figure out which adjustments can be done.

7. Your friends.
Think about your friends and fellows you are surrounded with. Who gives you good energy simply by having a good time together, being able to have honest conversations in which everyone of you can speak their minds openly, and support each other. Who leaves you angry and frustrated because again you were interrupted several times or your opinion was not accepted. Or it is only you doing your friend a favor while he/she never has time when you have a favor to ask. And so on. When it gets exhausting with a friend then ask yourself what makes it exhausting and dare to bring it up openly and in a friendly manner. You might be surprised of the feedback you get. We tend to be sure that clearly it is our opponent who needs to change but in reality we might attribute to their behavior. As a consequence, you might work on a friendship or decide that it’s time to have a pause.