How To Stop Junk Mail.

I mentioned in my first post about becoming Zero Waste that one of my issues is junk mail. Over half of what I receive in the mail is not important. I’ve automated most of my bills and the only one I can’t is my electric bill. So, the newspapers, the credit card offers, etc., were really beginning to bother me. Since some mail can contain sensitive information, I’ve always been a little squeamish about recycling it without shredding it first. Therefor, it usually goes into the trash. I can reduce my trash by stopping the junk mail from coming in the first place, though.

The method I’ve employed thus far is to call the phone number on whatever piece of junk mail I’ve received. I then struggle desperately to speak to a person and when I do, I make it very clear I do not want to receive anything in the mail from them again. So far, this has been a very straight-forward and easy way to stop the junk mail. For other stuff, sometimes it’s not so easy to find a person to speak to or even a phone number to call. That’s where the following websites come in:

  • https://www.dmachoice.org/ – DMAchoice™ is an online tool developed by the Direct Marketing Association to help you manage your mail. This site is part of a larger program designed to respond to consumers’ concerns over the amount of mail they receive, and it is the evolution of the DMA’s Mail Preference Service created in 1971.
  • https://www.optoutprescreen.com/– The Consumer Credit Reporting Industry’s Opt-In/Opt-Out site allows you to opt-out for five years, opt-out for life, or opt-in if you change your mind. You can also call them directly at 1-888-5-OPTOUT.
  • https://www.catalogchoice.org/ – Same concept as the previous two sites – you get unwanted mail, you report it to Catalogchoice, and they make it stop.

APPS to assist:

  • Paperkarma. Although not perfect, Paperkarma has successfully stopped several companies from sending me junk mail. All you do is take a picture of the mail you’ve received, post it to Paperkarma, and a magical elf somewhere makes it stop. If the elf can’t make it stop, they let you know that it was unsuccessful in reaching someone. Very cool.

I haven’t completely stopped junk mail from arriving but I have noticed a huge difference in the amount I receive now compared to three months ago.

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Must-Read Blogs for Zero Waste.

  • zenhabits.com / mnmlist.com/archive – Both of these blogs by Leo Babauta are excellent resources for those looking to change their life. His writing is easy to read and very inspirational. Although no longer in use, mnmlist.com was my inspiration to change the way I thought about things. You can still access all the articles at mnmlist.com/archive.
  • zerowastehome.blogspot.com – Zero Waste Home by Bea Johnson chronicles her and her family’s journey to a zero waste life style. Not only is her blog an excellent resource but it is a great example of how beneficial being zero waste is to your life – financially, physically, and emotionally.
  • lifelessplastic.blogspot.com – A blog by Jeanne Haegele and her struggle to go without plastic. It is a great resource for information on avoiding plastic. Be sure to read her shopping guide!
  • unclutterer.com – Unclutterer is a well-organized and visually pleasing blog about, you guessed it, organization. While not necessarily zero waste, organization and minimalism are good assistants when it comes to zero waste living.
  • thenonconsumeradvocate.com – This blog by Katy Wolk-Stanley helps people learn to live on less, and to do so in a way that lessens their environmental impact. She has a taken a vow to never buy anything new – an awesome way to eliminate waste.
  • myplasticfreelife.com – once  a blog but now a comprehensive resource on plastic-free living.
  • noimpactman.typepad.com – No Impact Man has created a formula for living earth-responsibly: Negative Impact + Positive Impact = Zero. No net impact. No Impact Man is also a book and a movie.
  • zerowastebloggersnetwork.com/ – “We’re connecting Zero Waste Bloggers, supporting each other, encouraging online and offline projects, group activities, and we’re supporting with technical and interpersonal issues and together find Zero Waste Solutions.”

I want to continue to add to this list as I come across great blogs about zero waste and sustainable living. What are some of your favorite sites?

How To Make Social Media A Positive Experience.

Social media is a part of our daily lives and science has shown that it can affect your mood. In my experience, my mood has been negatively affected by social media, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Just as negativity can travel through WiFi, so can happiness.

Here are a few ways to change your own experience:

  1. Post positive things. I’m not saying you should fake happiness on social media – but sharing positive experiences and thoughts can solidify them in your mind.
  2. Like stuff! Use the like button often and use it for positive, not negative, things. Liking negative propaganda is not necessarily a positive thing even if you agree with what is being said.
  3. Say goodbye to the negative people on your feed. I’m not saying ditch every friend that posts a downer now and then or even a friend that disagrees with you – but if your blood pressure is skyrocketing when you see a post from them, it might be time to rethink how much you want them in your life (or on your friends list, at least). If you want to avoid the de-friending drama, Facebook has an option to hide these people from your news feed. I use this method often.
  4. Don’t make Facebook your source for news. Everyone has an agenda – it may be one you share or don’t. Either way, information on social media is even more biased than the media and that’s saying something.
  5. Don’t be a know it all. This one I have trouble with on the daily. We all, at times, think we are the person who knows best about something – but unless your advice or opinion is asked, don’t chip in until you can think of something positive to say.
  6. Be selective. Every friend request does not need to be approved. Consider carefully who you want to be seeing on your feed. After all, when you friend someone, you are inviting them into your daily life. You invite them on to your computer screen and the screen of your iPhone. If you think someone is not going to have a positive impact, don’t add.
  7. Promote your business on a separate page. Don’t bombard friends and family with it constantly. Invite them to like your business’ page; that way people who are truly interested will see what you post.
  8. Try to have fun :) Social media was made to connect us with our friends and family, not divide us. So, make your social media experience a pleasant one, on both sides.

Why Being Zero Waste Will Make You Happy.

1. Expenses. You won’t need trash pick up. I’m saving $10 a month. You no longer have to buy: paper towels, napkins, paper plates, aluminum foil, plastic wrap, cotton balls, q-tips, etc. because you already have a reusable alternative.

2. Less Chores. You don’t have to take out the trash.

3. Environmental Impact. You are no longer contributing to the landfill. That’s definitely something to feel good about.

4. Less Shopping. Referring back to number one, all of these things you no longer have to buy are saving you time while you do shop. You won’t be wondering down random aisles trying to find Q-tips anymore.

5. Elitism. Come on, no one is immune to a little vanity and pride. There’s nothing wrong with being proud of yourself for accomplishing something so drastic as completely changing your life style. If you’re proud of your accomplishment and happy, people will see this and want to try it themselves. Spread the good word and inspire others to create less waste and help the Earth.

Must-See Websites For Small Home Enthusiasts.

As a small home dweller, I am constantly scouring the internet for inspiration. These are some of my favorite sites to frequent.

  • http://tinyhomeblog.com/
    • The Tiny Home Blog has links to great articles, blogs, and videos about tiny homes. It hasn’t been updated in a while but it’s a great resource.
  • http://cabinporn.com/
    • Cabin Porn is a tumblr that posts beautiful photography of nothing but cabins & shacks. Great inspiration.
  • http://www.smallhousestyle.com/
    • Great blog entries about tiny-living.
  • http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/
    • Although for apartment living, this site has great tips and tricks for living small, and most of them can be implemented anywhere – your tiny home, tree house, apartment, or vintage camper.
  • http://chrisandmalissa.com/blog/
    • Chris and Malissa have a great blog with a lot of photos of their life in a tiny house.

What are some of your small-living resources and inspirations?

Late Night Internet Junkies, Trouble Falling Asleep?

If you’re like me and you like to wind down at the end of the day with some late-night internet browsing and tumbling but have trouble falling asleep afterwards, you might want to download this program called f.lux.

F.lux adapts the light of your computer screen to the time of day it is to keep your body’s circadian rhythm correct. I am using it and the program is flawless. It finds your location and gives you a 24-hour preview of what your screen will look like throughout the day. It automatically changes the screen in a way that is completely unnoticeable to the user. It hides discreetly in the area icons.

So why is the computer screen keeping us awake? The circadian rhythm is our internal clock; it helps us wake up in the morning and fall asleep at night. This clock works by gathering information through our eyes – how light or dark it is in our environment. Unfortunately, unnatural light is interpreted incorrectly. Blue light is associated with the dawn and orange light with dusk. So when you’re sitting at the computer, your brain is interpreting all that blue light being emitted from the screen as time to stay awake. That’s how f.lux fixes this – by reducing the blue light in your screen and increasing the orange light to tell your brain to go the fuck to sleep.

Another good feature of this program is the ability to switch it off easily – good for graphic designers who are working with colors.

Sleep is important to your health. Be good to your body and download this awesome program.

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