The Clean Hippie

Seeking the sustainable life in New York City

More laziness = More Stuff December 31, 2009

Filed under: Apartment,green angst,Tips — Alden @ 4:41 am
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There are two components to this equation of More Laziness = More Stuff: The first component is obvious. As people have sought to make their lives easier, they’ve bought food processors, washing machines, dish washers, and even stupid stuff like shrink-wrap machines or countertop rotisserie units. That part is pretty obvious.

What I’m talking, though, is creative laziness. Our society has a huge dearth of it these days. Oh sure, there are some incredibly talented artists out there. I get a kick everyday out of seeing beautiful objects repurposed from castaway hot air balloons and soda cans. I especially love the seemingly overabundance of paintings, sketches, and graphic art floating around the web. But the average American seems to have lost all that childhood imagination, that something that said to us, “That couch, with a little work, could be an awesome fort!”

This is what I mean: Americans, whenever faced with a challenge – making more room, a hole in their comforter, a colorful shirt that needs a matching bottom – never pause to think creatively about a solution. Instead we just go out and buy the answer. Closets overstuffed? Go to the container store! Hole in your comforter? Buy a new one! (Even though I just LOVE the flower patches I sewed onto my comforter a few weeks ago. They’re adorable!)Something to go with that cute top? Pshaw, “shopping in your closet” is for losers. Just go get a skirt in that perfect pink that you will wear probably three times a year.

Americans are so lazy that they don’t want to exert themselves to find something repurposed either. It takes a more time and more creativity to find a suitable chair at the flea market. You may come away with something well-made, unique and beautiful. But in return you have to trust that the apartment Gods are smiling down on you that day and you have a good eye. That’s just too much for some people, who would rather just go to Ikea and pick out a plastic chair. I mean, Ikea has some great qualities. But it shouldn’t be a solution to every furniture quandary.

So here we are, too lazy to figure out where to recycle batteries. Too lazy to cook ourselves a delicious meal instead of microwaving one or ordering in, too lazy to save the wrapping paper at Christmas so we don’t have to spend money on a new roll next year. Some of it is physical laziness. After all, flea markets can be hard on the feet and the back. But most of it is mental laziness. Just can’t take the time to see that you don’t need to buy a special jewelry box when you probably have something in your closet that would do just fine if it got a fresh coat of paint.

I think the world just needs a little bit more creativity! Instead of a knee jerk response of “Bed, Bath and Beyond will have one,” what if we just sat down for five minutes and said, “I have all those old drawer pulls that would make adorable little hooks for my coats.” It’s so ironic. One of the most popular stores these days is Anthropologie, which specializes in faux-repurposed/vintage stuff. They charge an arm and a leg for this stuff. So why can’t we just learn to be creative with what we have?


Essentials for a eco-chic girl’s purse December 13, 2009

Filed under: Products,Tips — Alden @ 10:01 pm
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Being sustainable can really take thought and perseverance. So after many months, I think I’ve almost perfected what tools it takes to be sustainable on a daily basis in the city. Voila:

1. An iphone with lots of apps to help you live greener: Good Guide, 3rd Whale, iRecycle, What’s Fresh, Go Organic!

2. A vintage wallet from the flea market. (Better than buying new!)

3. A locally and hand-made leather purse that will stay in style and last forever.

4. A reusable bag that is so tiny when folded up you could fit it in a party clutch.

5. Organic and toxin-free hand moisturizer. Especially for those winter months!

6. A BPA-free reusable water bottle.

7. Your ticket for public transportation.

So do I have it all? I think I might add one more think: some vintage handkerchiefs so I can stop using and throwing away tissues.

What would you add?