Living with Less, Week 7: Medicine Cabinet & Toiletries

Living with Less, Week 7: Medicine Cabinet & Toiletries

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Landis Carey
Mar 10, 2011

My original inspiration for Living with Less came back to me as I was digging through outdated bottles of sun lotion and contact solution. I remember being so impressed when reading that Bea Johnson "uses only four beauty products: face powder, eye cream, mascara, and eyeliner" in Sunset magazine's article The Zero-Waste Home. I want to be like her.

Even though I don't often wear makeup, my toiletries bag and medicine cabinet would have let you think otherwise. Because if there was any one place I was holding onto outdated non-organic stuff, it was there. My goodness.

New to Living with Less? Catch-up with the recap below or jump ahead to find out the lessons of the week!

Project Recap: During Living with Less, Week 2: Clothes and Coat Closets, I pared-down my clothing from three bedroom closets to just the one in our master bedroom. And in Living with Less, Week 3: Linen Closet, I realized with a little order and organization, I could conveniently store a set of cleaning supplies on the second floor, right where I needed them most. In Living with Less, Week 4: Incoming Mail and Electronic Files, I realized as I began tackling our home office, I couldn't determine which magazines and books were essential or organize files until the junk mail stopped proliferating and our digital file structure was updated. So, I renamed the week to: Establishing Order to Live with Less. During Living with Less, Week 5: Home Office and Files, I realized I may never completely finish our filing system, but that's okay because the needs of a home office will change over time as our life evolves. So, I commit to fine tuning the system and flexibility. Last time in Living with Less, Week 6: Books and Magazines, I pared back and organized my library by subject.

Lessons Learned: Living with Less, Week 7

  • Review: Gather all of your medicine cabinet items and toiletries in one place; a table near a water source is ideal. This might not be the most convenient thing, but it will help you understand what you have, so you know what you need.
  • Purge and Clean: Responsibly discard anything out-of-date and everything you don't see yourself using again, including: old hair dryers; curling irons; worn out cosmetic bags; old nail polish. Wipe down anything that remains with a damp cloth.
  • Divide and Conquer: Once you've reviewed, purged and cleaned, divide the leftovers into categories. For example, I found it helpful to make one pile for my husband, another for me, a third for dental care and a fourth for commonly used products such as soap, bandaids and other first aid care.
  • Contain: How and where do you plan on storing what you've saved? To begin, select the items each person in the house uses on a daily basis. These products should be stored in the most convenient place. Now if you're like me and you didn't know what you had, you likely purchased more than you needed. These backup supplies can be stored in a linen closet in baskets or any other type of container you have.
  • Finish the Bottle: Besides ditching my eye shadow (which I did!), there are other products I would like to live without. But I also don't want to toss perfectly usable toiletries: astringent; nail polish remover; non-organic deodorant; saline nose spray. I haven't been loving my skin care and a few other toiletries for some time, so I see this as my opportunity to finish what remains then replace them with organic alternatives. That I can commit to!

Questions? Comments? Are you following along or thinking about doing so? Let us know!

(Image: Design*Sponge)

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