A Zero Waste Update: Does Anybody Like Moving?

For the past week or so, I have been shuttling my belongings the six miles from my apartment of two years to my new apartment. It’s hard to get excited about the move because I’ll be living alone (with three cats, because Sean found out his apartment doesn’t allow them after all). I don’t have any attachments to the old apartment itself aside from the fact that it has been my home for two years and it is a space I have become comfortable in — I can walk around in the dark without tripping over anything (anything stationary, at least). It kind of feels like a breakup, especially since I’m losing my roommate, who is one of my favorite people and other mother to two of the cats.

Disaster strikes when the apartment hears we’re moving out.

Given the history of our apartment (mice, mice, and more mice, greasy walls, sinks falling off the wall for no reason, etc.), it was fitting that the apartment’s last hurrah was to collapse one of the shelves and set off a chain reaction that destroyed the one shelf that held all of my food (the empty one in the picture above). This included my bulk food jars. Luckily only one of them broke, and I hoped that it wasn’t a sign from the universe that my zero waste attempts are futile.

Speaking of zero waste, things haven’t been going well recently. Last weekend, my sister, brother-in-law, Sean, and I hiked Katahdin, which was sweet, but hiking and backpacking trips make zero waste difficult because things need lightweight, individual packaging — i.e. plastic bags. If anybody knows of a way to carry trail mix in a reusable container that doesn’t weigh a ton, I’m all ears.

Atop the second highest peak in New England.

Moving also doesn’t lend itself to zero waste. Boxes, plastic bags, and multiple car trips abound, while life gets upset enough that it is difficult to hold a routine, which means forgetting to pack a lunch (or to even go grocery shopping). That leads to this, which makes me want to cry a little:

The opposite of a zero waste lunch.

I was so disappointed with myself for letting this happen. It basically reversed the few zero waste lunches I have managed. But blips will happen, and I promised myself that next time, I would do better.

Moving isn’t all bad for the zero waste journey, however. Yesterday, while standing amongst my boxes upon boxes of stuff, I said to myself, “Flanders, you don’t need any of this.” As my mother likes to put it, I got a double dose of the pack rat gene, and I have been fighting it all my life. I’ll unearth something I have forgotten I own and go to throw it out, and that little part of me says, “But wait…you might want this later!” Moving, and doing all of my organization on my own, has completely quelled that little part of me. Yesterday, I threw out a huge pile of horse show ribbons. I have three that I display on my wall: my only first place ribbon from my time on the dressage team, a team high point ribbon, and my third-place regionals ribbon. The rest languished in the bottom of a large tupperware container that was also full of my unused competition clothes. The clothes I put in a bag to take to the local tack shop for commission. The ribbons went into the garbage.

This freed up the storage container for things like my humidifier and my iron, which are items that I will actually use. It also freed up some of that clutter in my brain. I can’t wait to keep paring things down as I continue unpacking.

And now, some more Katahdin pictures, taken by my lovely seester:

Keep on climbing!

One of the many false peaks (wait…we’re not there yet?!)

The Knife’s Edge. We went up and down the Hunt trail, so we skipped this terrifying feature.

It was a pretty cool feeling being above the cloud line! We even got to watch the clouds form. After awhile, as the wind persisted and my sweat started drying, it was freezing up there!

Brr!

Katahdin is nearly a mile above sea level, and is also the northern end of the Appalachian Trail. That means that in one day I climbed the tallest mountain I have ever climbed and completed another section of the AT. Maybe some day I’ll have the whole trail under my belt.

Maybe some day I’ll actually achieve zero waste.

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