How going green saved us lots of money!

Over the years, deciding to live a greener life, saved a lot more than our conscious. It also saved us tons of money.

. House size 3750 sq. 5 Bedroom, 4 bathroom house.
. Huge grass lawn filled backyard
. Electricity bill, $300 / Month
. Two cars + a BMW motorcycle. Three vehicle insurances. Three vehicle maintenances and registrations. Three vehicle gas. Car washes, big three cars garage house.
. Shopping without considering a budget. Buying, buying and buying too much.
. Always buying everything new.
. Throwing tons of food away. Left overs from Costco shopping.

. House size 1800 sq. 3 Bedroom, 2 bathroom townhouse.
. No backyard. Small patio
. Electricity bill, $130 / Month
. Two cars. One parked out and the Motorcycle parked in. Two cars garage town house.
. Shopping from farmers market and considerably reducing our meat consumption.
. Starting to research and buy second hand to consume less.
. Using leftovers and buy only what we need.

. House size 1034 sq. 2 Bedroom, 1 Bathroom.
. No backyard. Just a small draught resistant front yard.
. Electricity bill, $30 / month
. One car family. No Garage.
. Shopping from local family owned businesses. Only what we need.
. Buying almost only second hand and only if necessary.
. Minimalist simple life.

.House size, 1400 sq. 4 Bedroom, 2 Bathrooms townhouse. (The last home was temporarily and too small for a family of 4.)
. Two small patios with vegetable gardens in each,
. Electricity Bill, $60/ month
. One family Van and one fully electric plug in car (for work) . Two cars garage. Our teenager started to take the bus to school.
. Shopping from Farmers market and bulk stores, only what we need.
. Minimum amount of shopping. Buying only what we need.
. Minimalist simple life.

We started with a huge and wasteful life and reduces and reduced. With every change, we watched our expenses get reduced. When we started to reduce, it was hard to remember living any other way. All the things we didn't need and didn't buy, became extra money in our pockets. In this journey, we learnt to make many changes in our life style and at this point, I am proud to say we are closer to where we hoped to be. Living simple, low key, low expense, low waste, and a minimalist life was one of the best decisions we had ever made. We are still thriving and trying. We still hope to have only electric cars to produce zero emission. We are still hoping to have a solar powered house. We are still trying to educate our children to choose things that do not produce waste. We are still trying to shop only organic, local and unpacked. We are trying and choosing the less traveled road with the hope to make it the more traveled road. How has your life changed in the past few years?


Get rid of your closet clutter fast.

Here you see ALL my pants. Including shorts.
Once people hear that we live a minimalistic life, after the surprised look and curious talks, the first thing they start talking and complaining about, is their closet.
(almost every single time).

Our closets have become one of our biggest sources of stress. No matter how much we buy, or how many times we organize, or how many visits we pay to the organizational stores and buy bins and boxes to organize our closets, we manage to get overwhelmed by it in no time. Closet organizing , have become one of those giant tasks that we tend to procrastinate and postpone. Sometimes, they even manage to become as big of a headache as doing taxes ! But the difference is, we can postpone doing the taxes and not look at it at all. But with our closets, we see it Every Single Day. It stresses us out every day and is one of those chores that will bother us every single time we need to decide and choose something to wear. Oh, and at the end, almost all of us, have nothing to wear. Don't we?

To declutter your closet, the rules Here will help you tremendously. But if you don't have much time to dedicate and are feeling overwhelmed by the clutter, keep reading.

Here are some simple tips to get rid of your closet clutter very fast and very easy.

1. Imagine you are going out of town and need to pack for the next three weeks. Start the job with this mind set and get to work.

2. Bring some big boxes or suitcases.

3. Categorize! Categorize! Categorize! I can not emphasize enough in the importance of categorization in doing ANY task. A big task, could easily become manageable and doable with categorization. In the case of your closet, I suggest you to focus on only one category each time you get the chance to spend even only few minutes. For example, focus on pants and only pants first. Nothing else. Gather all your pants from everywhere (don't forget the ones in laundry basket) and place them all on your bed.  Now, fast, separate the work pants, jeans, shorts... . At the end, work on jeans only. Then get to the work pants and finally to the shorts and so on and so fort.

4. Separate the clothes you would need for your next three weeks. For that, use the following rules. Do you love them? Do they fit? Do they match the rest of your wardrobe? Are they comfortable to wear? Are they warm enough or cool enough for the season?

5. Do that for each category. Jeans, Shirts, Sweaters, Blouses... Place your next three weeks choices on the bed and the rest in a big bag, box or suitcase.

6. Once your closet is empty and everything is separated and categorized, start hanging and placing the next three weeks clothes you chose, back in to your closet nicely and organized, based on their categories.

7. Remove the storage boxes or suitcases out of site. You can always get to those later, one at a time.

8. Ideally, place the extra clothes in the boxes based on categories as well. This way, for example, you can get to the pant first and decide what you want to keep and what you want to let go without opening any more boxes. This, by itself, is breaking down your future decluttering task. (You can even remove those boxes and bring them straight to the consignment store and never look back if you are ready for this)

9. Congratulations!!! You took the first and the biggest step to building a minimalistic closet.

10. Focus on keeping your closet clutter free by using these very important rules.

Hope this helps.

Tagged as: Green living. De-cluttering. Clutter busting. Minimalism. Eco friendly. Minimalistic closet. Minimalist. Organized closet. Organize.

Such a beautiful day!

Such a beautiful day!

Today we traveled to San Francisco by BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) so my husband can help me learn the direction to my new part time job in the city.
There were two beautiful incidents that I thought worth sharing with you wonderful people.

First, after taking a bus and the BART and some more walking, I learnt the directions to my work and after that, we visited a store. My husband needed to do some shopping there. Our son (now 7 years old!) found a balloon left over from the store's marketing event and before we knew it, both our kids were tossing it to each other and playing. When we finished shopping, our son was allowed to keep the balloon.

We started a long walk outside on the sidewalk. My energetic son started playing outside on the wide sidewalk in a windy/breezy San Francisco weather. He kept hitting the balloon and running after it. A sharp and strong wind suddenly started and lifted his balloon up and away. We all ran after it.

Suddenly four to five passerby people started running after his balloon to catch it for him. The wind was playing with all of us blowing it farther and higher. People of all ages and genders were jumping up and down trying to catch it. Their happy childish faces were priceless. Our son couldn't stop laughing from happiness. The wind was pretty playful and kept moving the balloon farther away up and down. Before we knew it, there were almost 6-8 grown up people jumping up and down laughing and trying to catch the balloon for our son.

Every time one caught it and handed it to our son, he let go of it again laughing and some new people starting to run after it. He did this for a while and laughed from the bottom of his beautiful little heart.

The laughter, the kindness, the playfulness and the care of all those grown up, yet childish people, was one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen. I felt a deep happiness in my heart for being blessed with seeing such a beautiful scene.

Now, the second incident!

We walked for a long time to get to the Mall with few stops for our kids to see some stores. By the time we got there, it was passed 7:00 PM and the Mall was closed. We forgot that the Mall closes at seven on Sundays. Also my husband admitted, he walks the same distance a lot faster without the kids. So he miscalculated the timing.

We had plans to use a bus from our home and the BART(AKA metro) to go to San Francisco and the Bus only to come back home, so I learn where to find both stations. We started walking towards the Bus terminals. Again it proved to be a very long walk and our children were getting hungry and grumpy. Unfortunately, we didn't bring anything to eat with us. Suddenly our son saw the sign of a McDonald's from far and got super excited about it.
I know. I know. A horrible thing to do to feed hungry kids junk food. But none of us had the heart to pass next to one with our kids being so hungry knowing it is hardly a possibility we could find anything open at this hour of around 8:00 PM. Plus, hunger can cause big time grumpiness for both kids and grown ups, you know!

So we entered the McDonald's and ordered some food. Sat down and started eating. Our moods lifted immediately.

On a big long tall table close to us, a group of young people were leaving and a homeless looking dirty man stopped them on their way out and asked to dig in, in to their trays looking for some leftovers. He found few fries here and there and ate them fast and sat back at his table waiting. I saw this scene and it broke my heart to see someone this hungry seating across us. Told my husband about it and we started talking about buying him a meal.

Suddenly , I noticed the guy got up fast and grabbed a forgotten phone charger from the big table. Looked like someone from that big group that just left, had forgotten it.

I started describing to my husband what I saw, because his back was towards that big table. At that second, a young man ran in the store looking around desperately and asking the two girls seating on another table about a phone charger. Once he made an eye contact with me, I pointed to the homeless guy believing he had the young man's forgotten charger.

"What?" He asked.
"Looks like you lost your charger. That gentleman seating over there just found one and grabbed it. It might be yours." I said feeling sorry for the guy.
"No. I didn't loose my charger. I just need one desperately. Do you have any?" He said.
"Sorry. We don't carry one. But check with that guy there. I believe he might have one." I said.
"Thank you." He said going to the homeless man asking about a charger. The man showed him his new found treasure and it was a match!!! Yes. The charger matched his phone!!!
"I sell it to you for $5" the homeless man said.
"Yes. Yes. I will buy it from you. Here is $5" The phone charger seeker said very happily and paid him $5 cash. Got the charger and on his way running out, he looked at us and said " Thank you!!! You guys are life savers. I really needed that charger. It was an emergency" I nodded and smiled and he left.

The homeless guy went as fast as he could and stayed in the line to buy food. Few minutes later, he came back very happy with a proud look on his face along with a plain burger. He sat on the big table, eating, counting the rest of his money over and over while happily watching TV.

This scene, not sure what to call it, serendipity? mercy of a higher power? the law of attraction? Was a scene that truly brightened our hearts. Seeing those two very happy faces, was definitely priceless. As long as we were still there, no one came looking for a forgotten phone charger. We just hoped the person that forgot the charger, has a backup one.

What an awesome day!!!

What are some of the little perfect magical moments in your days? If you like to share them with us, we truly appreciate it.


Simple Green living, My father's style.

. The Ozone layer has a huge hole in it and is impossible to repair!
. The wild life species are disappearing!
. The pollution is everywhere!
. The water is acidified and corals are dissolving!
. The fresh water reserves AKA Aquifers are finishing and drying!
. We all are doomed!
. ...

Yes, it is happening. Yes it is bad. But the question is, what are we all going to do about it? Should we just seat down, be scared and complain? Should we continue living our lives the way we are told to live and once awhile feel bad about the garbage we are producing and recycle one or two bottles? Should we drive our SUV's around and get angry at the others and the government for causing pollution? Should we be very scared of all the chemicals in our genetically modified food and yet when it comes to buying None GMO food, complain about the high cost and think only obsessed and crazy people buy "Organic " food?

When I look at my own home and my own family, there is so much more we can do. There is so much we can change to become better tenants to our earth. Should I dislike my own life, make my family and friends miserable and nag and complain about the wasteful lifestyle? Or should I focus on positive changes we have done.

"Be positive" is the last thing I personally want to hear. Few years back, when depression came to my life and changed me forever, everybody was kind and loving. But not knowing what I am dealing with, people kept telling me to "Be positive". The problem was, I was and still feel that I am one of the most positive people that I know and yet being positive by itself, did not solve any problems for me.

My father.
Now let me introduce my father.
My father is an civil engineer. He studied in Munich, Germany over 45 years ago. He has many memories about how his landlords lived so frugally and how nothing was wasted.

One of his landlords he often talks about, back then, was an old German lady with memories from the war era. she had talked about the hunger, the hard life they had to endure. But one thing my father talked a lot about was the unbelievable amount of effort invested by every single person in post-world war recovery to rebuilding their country. He talked about how he ended up learning a lot from his own simple life back in Iran and the student life he lived in Germany.

When my father finished his studies, he went back and went right to the harshest areas of Iran. He worked hard in the southern Persian golf coast's heat and also in the freezing cold weather of northern Iran. He worked in dirt and mud. He worked in unlivable environments and yet enjoyed every single thing he built. He built bridges, factories, roads and dams for areas that otherwise had none.

Years late, when he got established, he created and managed a huge firm with over 40 engineers under his commend. He made great money and built a very comfortable life, yet when it came to water and goods, he valued every single grain of rice and every single drop of water. He never waited for a draught announcement to start conserving water, nor he waited for his financial situation to go down or the Electricity to become expensive to start turning off the extra lights. He just simply knows how much hard work and how much tear and sweat and blood it takes to produce these amenities. The amenities we take for granted. He simply valued all the hard work that was invested, so we can have clean running water, electricity and energy on demand. Yes, he values every resource we have been blessed with and use. He is one of the most positive people I have ever seen and had the pleasure of knowing.

Fast forward years later, my father is retired and lives in a cute and cozy house he himself built many years ago. This house is located in a village in the north of Iran next to Caspian sea. The locals used to maintain their lives with planting and selling rice, citrus fruits and Etc. But now, the lands are being sold and developed. The developers are building luxury vacation homes and villas close to the sea and the nature is changing rapidly and drastically. When I was growing up, that cozy house used to be our vacation home. We have great memories with our neighborhood children. He had created a deep bond with the neighbors as well.

Being retired and financially secure, he is enjoying the helps and gifts he is giving to young people, friends and neighbors around him. Yet when it comes to his own life, every single thing become repaired and every inch of dirt becomes used, planted and greened with something eatable or beautiful. Many years ago, he planted many citrus trees in his garden and when the fruits are ready, he contacts the neighbors to come and pick them up. It is actually nice and interesting to see how he names his trees based on his neighbors he dedicated the trees to that year.
"This is Mr. ...'s tree this year. I let them know when it is ready, so they can come and pick the fruits up. I am going to give that one to this young neighbor. They just had a baby and could use the money. They sell the fruits in the stands their dad owns" He says.

He is also the main giver of free fruits for neighbor's weddings, memorials, new baby celebrations...
My father doesn't know much nor is concerned about all the environmental problems and pollutions around us. But unknowingly, he lives the greenest, non-consumeristic life one can live.

Absolutely nothing gets wasted in his home. Every single thing has value and is getting reused.
"I don't like to buy cheap plastic things when all these good sturdy old stuff can still be repaired and reused" He says, not knowing anything about the anti-consumerism movement that is growing roots all around the world.

"Simplicity is the most important thing in life. Living simple and joyful is the best way of living. Why should I buy what I already have. I have more than what I need. How many clothes and stuff can I need and use in a life time. One belt is enough to secure my pants. I bought it 18 years ago and it still is good." He says.

He is not a hoarder. On the contrary, he is a minimalist and doesn't know it. He never just gathers things for the sake of having them. He just has and keeps strictly what he needs.

" Lets buy our groceries from the local stands. They need help" He says buying only from local small farmers to help them, but he does not know about the movement called "Locavor". He cooks from scratch, not because he wants to live green. Because he believes that is how the food should be. He buys only organic, not because he is fighting Monsanto, because he is believing that the food taste better and is healthier and again, that is how it should be.

Now my friends, about our planet and lives, being positive does A LOT for us. Choosing small changes, believing we ARE a part of this planet, being grateful and appreciative of the lives we are living and being content and stop our greed, can make a huge impact in our planet' well being.

How much do YOU respect and appreciate the amenities you have been given?