Clear the Clutter

Why would a Wasteless Pantry website have a blog post on decluttering? How unrelated could that be?

Not at all!

If you have so many things in your home that you can’t find what you need then this is a waste.  If you buy the same thing again because you didn’t know you already had one, then that is a waste.  And if you lose time or peace of mind everyday trying to control all the clutter that accumulates then you know what I think that means….

I love to chat about all things decluttering! I will post this in a series of bits and peices because if you let me I’ll go on and on about it all day!!  These are ideas that I have collected from too many sources to quote and have been tried and tested in my own home.

To get started:

First off start with the end in mind – do you want completely clear or just less than now?  If you want clear – remove everything from one tiny space, like a chair that collects clutter or one shelf or one draw, only put back what you LOVE.  If you are sure you don’t love it get rid of it – sell, donate, recycle or trash.  If you’re not sure then put it in a box in the garage or shed with a date (one or two months). If it doesn’t get rescued by the due date then it goes.
If you simply want less – same process but just one box at a time that leaves the house.

Guidelines:

  1. Only ever focus on one tiny space at a time until you get the feel good – ahhh – moment when you look at that space.
  2. Protect that space above all others.
  3. Don’t do too much too quick.
  4. Avoid looking through the box a second time before getting rid of it – you’re instincts are right and you don’t need to second guess yourself.

 

“Have nothing in your house that you do no know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.”  – Wiliam Morris

But what do you do with items that you want to keep but don’t fit anywhere in the location where they belong because you haven’t decluttered that space yet?

You’re not going to like this answer but in reality I put the stuff in a box and shove it wherever I can in that room until there is space.  I know this sounds really bad but the idea is to not get side tracked and miss out on the feel good from the space you are tackling.  Yes it feels off to be cluttering up other areas but they were cluttered anyhow.  Sometimes you have got to get the motivation from that single focus to overcome the overwhelm and inertia.  Once I’ve sorted that one little space I can free up my energy to tackle the next.

Prioritise based on impact

I try to prioritise spaces by what will have the biggest impact for me – visual or functional.  Like in the kitchen the visual of a clear bench is awesome, but the functionality of being able to get a cup out without fighting 50 others spilling is also important.  But the cupboard with serving platters that get used maybe once a month might not be a priority until the other two have already been tackled.

Find duplicates

Put all like things together too – all your pens together or all your serving utensils, etc – you might find duplicates (or more) – ‘keep the best, get rid of the rest’. Seeing them together makes the decision easier sometimes.

Think outside your four walls

Also think about storage more liberally – maybe you can ‘store’ some of your gear at a friends or family members home where it will get used more often and then you can call upon it when you actually need it. For example, my brother has a fan we weren’t using much – if we have a family function where it would be handy we could just ask that he bring it along. It’s not necessarily about ownership, simply sharing things so they get used to their best advantage.  Just something to think about – not for everyone, I know.

Challenge yourself!

If you are serious about getting the clutter under control how about setting yourself a challenge to not buy anything except necessities (food/toilet paper) unless something else leaves the house first.  No new kitchen appliances until at least one is donated or moved on first…

Make life simpler and waste less, one pantry shelf at a time.

Are you inspired to tackle the clutter or have your own tips to share?  Leave your comments below or share on our Facebook page.

Come Join Our Team

Did you know that it is less than 9 weeks until we open!!!!

Now is the time for us to select and get to know our team so please watch the video by clicking the link below and then apply if you think you are the right fit for our store.

 

Wasteless Pantry recruiterThis video is about Wasteless Pantry recruiter

Posted by Manda Moo on Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Just to recap the points in the video:

  • We are looking for casual Sustainability Advocates/Retail Assistants for approximately 20 hours per week
  • You need to be invested in the Zero Waste and sustainability ideals
  • Local, have a sense of humour, friendly, caring, optimistic and able to help others change
  • Adaptable, trustworthy, physically fit and have high standards of personal hygiene
  • Work with us, not for us to effect real change

Send through your resume including sustainability and nutrition knowledge as well as a cover letter explaining why you want to work with us and what you believe will be the keys to the store’s success to info@wastelesspantry.com.au

We are looking forward to some great conversations on the 21st April 2015.

P.S.  Start date for employment is likely to be mid May 2015.

P.S.S. We are not expecting you to lift 25kg bags, just help move them around the store!


Our Guide to Sustainable Food Choices

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When did it become so hard to source and eat food without the guilt?

 

We worry about:

  • creating waste and landfill contributions
  • how far it has had to travel to our plate
  • how many preservatives and additives are in our food
  • allergens
  • animal cruelty and deforestation
  • whether it has been overly processed
  • just how much refined sugars and fats have been added
  • water use in production
  • how long and how it was stored before it was offered as ‘fresh’
  • food safety, especially given the latest berry health scare
  • whether it is nutritious at all any more
  • whether the kids or husband or wife will eat it
  • if it is supporting local farmers
  • if there are GMOs in it
  • if it is organic and if so certified organic
  • what the best deal for your money is
  • whether it was fairly purchased by the middle guy
  • and on and on it goes….

 

When did sourcing and eating our food suck all the flavour out of life?

 

A large part of why we are offering you this store is so that these complex and complicated decisions about your next meal can be made just a bit simpler.

 

Wasteless Pantry is about making it easy to shop and eat responsibly because sustainable is responsible.

 

We are all about “Progress not Perfection”, a term that we have seen a lot lately including on Conversations with My Sisters blog.  This means that we are trying our best and always looking to improve what we are doing so one step at a time.  When we open the store we will have sourced the best we can at that point. We will make mistakes, we will experiment and get it wrong, but we will continue to try to get it just a little better next time. And that is all we ask of you too.

 

So how do we decide what are our best food choices? Below is the Wasteless Pantry Guide to Sustainable Food Choices….

 

  1. Less packaging is our top priority.

At the Less is More Festival recently; the Eco Faeries sang a very catchy tune that included the line:

“There is no excuse for single use”

Whilst everyone there probably went to bed still singing this one line, it was a simple reminder of the priority we are working toward.

 

If you think about it, all the effort and resources that went into every single use product or package you buy and then throw away is the equivalent to getting a beautiful handmade quilt from someone dear and using it as a disposable napkin. Only in 10 years time at least the quilt would have composted back into the earth!

 

  • So this is our first decision making question – how can we minimize the waste?

 

  1. Local is always better.

Producing, sourcing and eating locally grown food is almost always a more sustainable option than sourcing further afield.

 

Grown to be eaten sooner, the food can ripen more naturally. It is grown to be transported a shorter distance so it doesn’t need to be as robust, and can be more flavorsome instead.   Local seasonal food is picked at its best and most nutritious so is more likely to be better for you.

 

And best of all, local food doesn’t need to travel huge distances to get to your plate. You might even get to know who grew it and how. Anyone involved in the frozen berry health scare can attest to how important that is. Brook ‘Sparkles’ Murphy at the Less is More Festival calculated that her green super food smoothie was produced with a massive amount of greenhouse gases due to where and how the ingredients were produced and sourced.

 

  • So this is our second decision making question – how local can we get this product?

 

  1. Organic where we can.

The effort that goes into growing the wonderful food we eat makes such an impact on our environment. Organically grown food is more sustainable than conventionally grown goods as there is fewer chemicals put into the environment and these farmers understand the importance of putting nutrients back into the soil.

 

There are concerns about the chemicals used getting into our bodies too. Of course the quality of the soil greatly impacts on the flavor and nutritional density of the food grown as well.

 

The thing is though, that a lot of organically grown foods are packaged wastefully to stop them being contaminated by conventional food. Doesn’t this strike you as interesting that the farmer would go to all that effort to care for the earth and avoid the use of chemicals, to then have the food packaged in something made of chemicals that threatens the earth?

 

  • So our third decision making question is – can we source it as close to organically as possible?

 

Having made these three decisions of sourcing the least packaged, most local and closest to organic product we can get there is one final question that we raise throughout the entire decision making process:

 

  • Is the food ethically produced?

 

Every effort is made to source options produced without animal cruelty such as avoiding uncertified palm oil. We also aim to offer Fair Trade products and those that support a fair price for farmers locally. We are also keen to support Rainforest Alliance initiatives.  Rainforest Alliance has a broad social and ecological mandate that spans many sectors including agriculture. For example, Coffee is one of the agricultural crops targeted by Rainforest Alliance programs. The coffee certification program is aimed at ensuring that coffee workers are paid fairly, treated with respect and that the crop they tend does not contribute to soil erosion, water contamination and forest destruction: the Rainforest Alliance seal means that both social and environmental values are respected.

 

There are so many other considerations that just haven’t made it onto our radar.

Mostly because once you follow these guiding questions your choice of what to eat next is reduced in such a beautiful way. It is not about which brand being advertised or which fad super food or diet to follow, or even about what that celebrity chef showed you on TV last night. It becomes about cooking seasonal goods that taste great and don’t come with a side of eco-guilt.

 

It becomes about getting the rubbish out of our kitchens and off our plates.

 

Like I said at the beginning this is a journey and we are just making one decision better each time.  Minimal waste, local, organic and ethical.
Are you coming with us? Let us know below or on our Facebook page.

Wasteless Ways: The Beautiful Pantry

“When you can find beauty in the mundane, that is where happiness lies.”

There may be more to life than a wasteless pantry.  There may be more beautiful things than a pantry which contains no advertising and instead only produce that will sustain and comfort you.  There may even be more satisfying things to do than to remove the rubbish from your pantry and replace it with organised shelves filled with goodness. But then I guess that depends on your perspective.

Whichever way you lean it is easy to see how a wasteless pantry aids in creating the life you want.

Here are just a few reasons:

  1. An organised pantry means that you save time, money and food by not buying doubles that then expire before you use them.
  2. Sealed containers minimise bug infestations and food going stale.
  3. It is easier to track what you need when you can see the contents of your staple containers decreasing.
  4. As you can easily find food in your pantry, it is easier to plan meals from what you already have.
  5. When you look at your organised pantry you are more likely to be inspired to cook from scratch all the goodies you have already on hand, instead of giving up and ordering takeout.
  6. You are more likely to be able to avoid preservatives, have fresher staples on hand and will be able to control the content of the food you eat.  Less sugar, less processed food, less allergy risk, less unknown entities in your food.
  7. Once you have transitioned to containers you will find it much easier to keep your pantry clean, tidy and in good working order.
  8. It will be easier for others to help you in the kitchen!!!
  9. Wasteless pantry items take up less space and have the potential to become full of a greater variety of food.

There are far more reasons than that but it gives you a starting point.

A wasteless pantry is more than being about waste.

It is about living a sustainable, simpler and easier existence; filling your life only with those good things you choose.

Head over to the Facebook page and let us know your reason for wanting a wasteless pantry, or share a picture to inspire others!

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Our vision

We’ve been dreaming of this store for so long now and thought you might like to join us…

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It starts with the clean and homely style of the signage and store layout.

As you walk through the front doors you will see smiling and enthusiastic staff ready to say hello to you by name and ask about your day. Inside the door you will put your reusable bags and jars on the bench space provided, settle children into the play area and then peruse the goods on offer. You will weigh the containers you’ve brought with you, refill your staples and ask for samples of new product lines.

At the checkout your name will be your loyalty card and you will probably talk about the lastest Facebook post or upcoming event that is of interest to you. Our staff will be clean, wearing their branded apron and always helpful. Today you ask for a gift voucher or a starter pack to give to a friend you think will love coming in too. You noticed that one of your favourite luxury lines is going to be rotated and our staff let you know that we will keep you informed of its return.

You comment that the store is always presented well, our staff are like friends and the quality and pricing of our products makes it enjoyable to shop for the sustainable goods you love having access to locally.

 

I wish we were open already!!

 

How about you?  Let us know what you think on the Facebook page or comment below.


Wasteless Ways: Cuppa sans waste


If you are anything like me, then you love to savour a good cup of coffee or tea.  The smell of it brewing, the warmth of the cup between your hands and the taste of that first sip of deliciousness.

To enjoy the experience even further how about going Waste Less?

All the waste associated with pod coffee makers just seems to take away from the beauty of a good cup of coffee made at home.  Making it without the waste takes no longer and leaves you with the feel good experience of living life simply.
Coffee can be brought as beans at places like Wasteless Pantry without the need for plastic packaging.  Depending where you go you could also use your own container.  Some places like Wasteless Pantry also have grinders onsite so your beans can be freshly ground for your delight!
Once home do not store it in the fridge – our friends at Yahava have clued us in on this common myth.
When you are ready for your brew there are a few methods available including plunger, but my preference is a stove top espresso maker.  These are as cheap or as fancy as you like – we have a range of these at Wasteless Pantry.  Works a treat.
Simply fill the bottom with water, scoop in 1-2 teaspoons of ground coffee beans into the basket per person, twist on the top and fire up your stove.  In 5 minutes you will have a smooth and delectable coffee ready for savouring the break in an otherwise busy or chaotic day.
A wide range of loose leaf teas are available from Wasteless Pantry if you want to give teabags the flick.
For even less waste grow your own herbal teas at home – fennel, chamomile, mint, raspberry or strawberry leaf, lemongrass, sage and catnip are all easy to grow and look beautiful in the garden too.
For tasty teas my preference is a simple strainer over the brim of my mug, but you could also brew in a pot or plunger if that takes your fancy.
The leftover tea leaves and coffee grinds make a great addition to compost in your garden too.

So have we tempted you to take your drink differently?  Let us know on the Facebook page or comments below.


Wasteless Ways: Bring Your Own Container

You go to the store or the butcher, pick out your cut of meat or deli item, the assistant packages your goods in a bag or tray, attaches a label, then you buy it at the check out where it is packed in a plastic bag and then you go home.  At home you use the food and then immediately throw away the bag, tray and plastic bag – or use them once and then it all goes to landfill.  Apparently Western Australians are one of the largest producers of waste per person in the world! Not surprising given the scenario above, so what do we do about it?
That’s just how you do it, isn’t it?
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The alternative is actually very simple – bring your own containers!

You can bring any clean food grade container you have from home to the store to get your goods.  I have taken tupperware, disposable plastic takeaway containers that I’ve reused until they died, glass or metal containers with good lids and wide mouth jars.  So long as it is clean, it can be used.
The steps:
  1. Take your container to the counter and hand it to the assistant asking for your item to go in the container
  2. The assistant will place your container on the scale and press TARE (this sets the scale to zero so that you only pay for the weight of your food item)
  3. The assistant will then fill your container, weigh your food item and print or note the price
  4. You can ask for the printed label to be attached to your container – they come off easy enough
  5. Then take it to the cashier as normal
When you get home the container of food is stored as normal but at the end you don’t have all the waste. Simple!
By far the scariest part of this is asking the assistant to put your item in the container the first time.  If you go to Swan Valley Market – deli or butcher,  Hills Seafood or JB Butcher (Glen Forrest) they will be happy to help – they have been doing this for Jeannie and I for some time now 🙂  You can blame us if you like – “Jeannie and Amanda of Wasteless Pantry told me to try this“… I’ve had plenty of people comment that it is a great idea to bring your own container, it is much easier to store in the freezer and fridge because it stacks nicely without getting stuck together, and often times I can serve deli items straight from the container which is a little time saver.
Yes you need to plan your trip, but given that that is such an important practice in reducing food wastage you are killing two birds with one stone.

So we challenge you – for just one purchase this week, take your own container and then post a picture on our Facebook page or leave us a comment about whether you would do it again.

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Wasteless Ways: Produce Bags

The simplest thing I have found to reduce my landfill contribution is to use Produce Bags.

Jeannie and I regularly get curious and positive comments about these bags whenever we do our shopping, and I’m starting to see more and more people getting on board.  These are reusable bags made of mesh or cloth which you take to the store to buy your food items that you might otherwise put in a disposable plastic bag. Everyone seems to love the idea!!

produce bags

I’ve used mine over and over for buying fruit and vegetables, bread rolls, nuts, snack foods and legumes from bulk dispensers like the ones at Wasteless Pantry.

As they are lightweight you don’t need to weigh them first, just pop your goods in and go. If you are using them at a store with a dedicated label machine just stick it on the bag – it is easy enough to remove later.  When you get home you can store your fruit and vegetables in the bag or empty into your usual crisper/containers.  It is easy enough to add them to your washing if they get dirty at all.

As well as being waste free, they are also a lot stronger than the disposable plastic so no more pears tearing their way out of the bag!  They hold a decent amount too – I’ve easily fit 1.5-2kg of fruit in an Onya one.

These bags compact down so much that there would be plenty of room in a handbag to have them with you all the time – then you won’t get caught out trying to remember them.

Onya have a range of bags available for purchase or you can easily make your own – I made mine from baby muslin wraps as it is a lightweight fabric.

What I really love the most about shopping with produce bags is that when I get home all I have bought is food.

I didn’t waste my time grabbing something that will end up in the bin as soon as I get home. My kids are far more excited about helping my fill a Produce Bag than one of those fiddly plastic ones too.

However, if you do get caught out at the store without them or without enough of them, which sometimes happens, then can I suggest you grab a paper mushroom bag or the paper potato bags on offer instead for whatever food you needed?  At least then it is something truly recyclable or compostable. We’ll talk all about the plastic recycling myth down the track….

Let us know if you think the idea is worth trying either on our Facebook page or comments below.


It all starts somewhere

Nurture-300x208Have you ever woken up one day and thought to yourself, “Wow, how did I get here? I love it!”
I have.
One day I woke up and sat down to a breakfast of homemade bread using flour from a local mill, yeast I brought package free, topped with WA butter and my own marmalade made from oranges grown just down the road that were offered for free.
And that was just breakfast.

I should explain why that was such a big deal to me…

For years I have wanted to be someone who lives sustainably, healthily and also got to enjoy life. I recycled most of the time, I brought and ate lots of vegetables, we have a rain water tank. But I was forever dreading taking out our overflowing smelly bin. We cooked using packet mixes and jars of sauces, lots of canned foods and frozen vegetables. I had a garden of sorts but didn’t really spend much time there. I drank diet soft drinks and went to the gym but struggled with my weight anyway. We used a lot of disposable stuff and our house was full of things that took up space but rarely got used. I was considering getting more storage. I assumed that the food I was eating was good for me, because that is what the advertising said. I assumed that you had to buy everything in plastic, because that’s all I saw on offer. I assumed that doing what everyone else was doing was the right thing, because if I recycled then that made up for all the other things that I did that weren’t such a good idea. I assumed that living this way would make me happy, otherwise why would everyone be doing it?

And then I saw something.

It was just a little thing really.

My cousin posted on Facebook that her family were going to eat local for a month.

Just a month.

I thought myself, that’s an interesting thing to do. And then I read a little on local eating. And I read a little more on how some of our food is produced. And I read a little more on what it takes to get my processed dinner from imported ingredients all the way to my plate. And I thought to myself, well that doesn’t seem quite right. So I started looking at the food I was eating and slowly started researching what options I had. I made small changes until those small changes seemed to gain their own momentum. I took the challenge for a month, enjoyed my food, got excited about gathering my groceries, and got healthier in the meantime because it is easier and cheaper to make your own from local than to try and find locally processed and packaged food.

Once you get started, it is hard to go back.

I was learning more and more about my food, out of curiosity and excitement at my finds, creations and the skills I was developing. And then I stumbled across Plastic Free July. Wow, that really dealt me a blow! Becoming aware of how disposable our lives have become was a shocker! To be honest, it was daunting and a bit depressing. I learnt things that whilst I don’t want to forget, I sometimes wished I didn’t know. Mainly though I was thinking “How the heck am I going to do anything about this one!” But I took the challenge, I didn’t go for everything, just the big four – disposable cups, water bottles, straws and bags. I remembered my reusable shopping bags, I said ‘No’ to straws, I took my own travel mug and reused my stainless steel water bottle. I watched documentaries, I read blogs and I found ‘Zero Waste Home’. I would encourage every single person to read this blog or book. In the beginning, I’ll admit I thought to myself “Is this chick for real!!” They said ‘No’ to so many things and her house is really, really, really sparse. I mean, seriously people, not even a photo frame. But you start getting to the crux of the story behind it and I could see myself finding a better way of doing things. What if I did stop with the disposables and just had reusables? What if I did stop buying things that I don’t really need? What if I only had one set of dinnerware? Did having more really make my life better?

And so I started living in a way that actually was authentic. Those things that I valued – sustainability, health and enjoyment of life – were now more possible. Less stuff meant easier cleaning, more space and less feeling overwhelmed in my own home. Reusable containers, produce bags and shopping bags meant that I could feel better about my contribution to the next generation, created less waste, saved time and got me supporting local and independent businesses. I get to live hands-on.

Fortunately, I have the support of friends and family who might not live this way themselves but are open to the idea. They try to use less disposables when I’m around, tell me how they cooked something from scratch or get excited about a new local option that would be right up my alley. Whether they want to believe it or not I’ve seen the seed of change in them too, but we all find our own path and pace with these things. Sometimes we get lucky and find someone who gets what we are on about almost completely – and that’s when ideas like opening Wasteless Pantry are born. My dear friend Jeannie read the ‘Zero Waste Home’ book I leant her and was struck by the idea of living waste free too. We tried using the bulk stores available, however local options that met the mark seem to be lacking. So here we are!

We are so looking forward opening the store and also being able to access local, healthy, sustainable package free food just like the rest of you!!!