Since adopting the Zero Waste lifestyle, my life and that of my family has completely changed, for the better. We not only feel happier, we lead more meaningful lives, based on experiences instead of stuff.
Today, my goal is to shatter pre-conceptions associated with the Zero Waste lifestyle and share what we have discovered about its incredible health, financial and time saving benefits. 

Our white walls explained

Picture used for illustrative purposes only

Comments, such as the following, keep recurring:
  • "I certainly would not want my children, when asked what their mom loves [...] to answer "clear surfaces and white walls." Anonymous
Critics come in waves. Through them, I have had to defend our car usage, our meat consumption, our toilet paper purchase... lately, our white walls (and I thought I was making a statement with the white floors;). That's right. White walls and decorating style. I sure did not expect to spend any time explaining my wall color or design choices when starting this Zero Waste blog.
  • "Bea, it seems like you are advocating a style choice rather than a more environmentally friendly way" Anonymous
What do the color of my walls, and our mod decor have to do with Zero Waste? Where on this blog can you read that one needs white walls to adopt the Zero Waste lifestyle?


Honestly, these comments crack me up. They take my decorating aesthetics way too seriously. Again, this blog is not to dictate how one should live (or decorate), but to share the principles that I have found to work for myself and my family. This is simply NOT a decorating blog.

I thought it went without saying that to adopt of lifestyle of Zero Waste (or voluntary simplicity), mid-century modern decor does not need to apply, and could just as well be Moroccan, Mexican, shabby chic, French country... or whatever style you're into (I can't believe I writing such an obvious statement).


  • "You [Bea] confuse personal aesthetics with zero waste, [...] I would go nuts in a white home!" Mitty
Ironically, the color of our walls save us a lot of energy: We intentionally chose white to brighten up our house (and in turn lower our electricity consumption). Although we live in the trees, we do not need lights on a rainy day or before night fall. Every bit of daylight gets used and reflected. On a hot day, the house stays cool. Not to mention that for me, a light house has always meant a happy house. The white walls represent a canvas colored by people and their personalities, shadows on the walls change with daylight and seasons, the windows and outdoor views become living artwork. I understand that this color (or the lack thereof) choice might not be everyone's cup of tea, but hey, that's a personal preference, no need to lash out about it. As for our decorating style, it simply evolved from what we were able to find used...


None of this criticism obviously would have come out, would I have omitted pictures of my interior, which happen to be a quick and easy way for me to add visuals to my posts... I could search for alternative pictures instead, but I find that my time is better spent sharing lifestyle choices than decorating styles. That said, you are free to post and share pictures of your interiors on the forum or our FaceBook page.

Some days I wonder: What did I get myself into? What am I doing giving my time away to hungry angry critics using my walls as a target? What am I doing complicating my life by sharing our voluntary simplicity? Then I remember those of you, who do not get hung up on my white walls but rather read beyond or see through them and I keep going.


Now, enough about decorating style, let's keep this blog and its comments focused on the core values covered in the articles: Waste and time/money/resources wasted on the unnecessary (this article would be one example).

150 comments:

  1. I think it's beautiful and white is very much in style right now anyways :) you are very smart people. Looks like you are handling the annoying comments so keep up your great lifestyle and know that there are a lot of us out there who admire you!

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  2. This is such a slice of the downside of (mostly female) human nature. We get so offended if others don't do things the same way we do, as if someone else's choices, when different from ours, are comments on our inadequacy. People have occasionally inferred that my own desire for a clutter-free environment is an indication of dysfunction though I am not a clean freak and have pets and teenage boys, etc. I just have no desire to shop/acquire and visual harmony is important to me. Even worse, I am an artist by profession therefore people assume my stereotype requires clutter. How can I be "a real artist" and also tidy? :)

    You just keep getting the more important environmental message out and showing us IN PICTURES how it's done and ignore the critics who seem to think the way you do things reflects badly on them. Maybe it does. :)

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  3. I have to say, for my family keeping our walls white was an act of frugality and eliminating waste. We moved into a home with decent white paint already on all the walls. Although it's not my favorite, it seemed wasteful to paint over perfectly good walls. Not painting (with the exception of one room) saved us money, saved the environment the VOCs, and allowed us to focus our time on other things. We have paintings and photographs on our walls, so they aren't bare. We also rarely turn on lights, which is not a possibility in a darkly-painted room!

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  4. I love stark white walls! It makes my house feel crisp and clean.

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  5. Some people use the internet as a way to get out all their hatred and negativity. It is sad. It doesn't matter what you do, some net trolls will critisize it. You could have blue walls or orange walls or NO WALLS and you would still cop flack for it. Me? I don't like white walls in my house, but thats just because I am a grub and would probably marr them with dirty fingerprints after coming in from the garden. But your walls look lovely in your home and you are so right to say that we need to focus on the PRINCIPLES of less waste rather than nitpick about people's interior decorating choices! Different strokes for different folks!

    Keep up the good work, I love your blog.

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  6. Bea, Every time I look at pictures of your heavenly white house I feel so happy and inspired to make my home a beautiful experience. I spent the whole weekend saying I want to be out doing cultural things not looking after all my things!
    Less is more. Thanks for paving the way! Lindy

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  7. Bea, you and I are very different in our approach to most things but I value your zeal for zero waste! I have been challenged and re-challenged by your blog in those areas of my life. Thanks for that!

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  8. Anonymous5/24/2011

    Bea,
    I love that you post pics of you house because it makes the blog more personal and inviting. Don't let the negative comments get you down, there will always be people who criticize for anything. It makes the world more interesting :)

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  9. I agree with the last comment; the pics of your home make your posts more personal and inviting. Keep up the great work!

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  10. Wrennerd5/24/2011

    Gosh, I love the photos -- don't stop posting them! I never would have become interested in ZW without them! I agree that the comments geared toward color choices are focusing on the wrong thing and missing the whole point -- but I also think the white background allows those of us who are interested in the whole point of ZW to be able to really see how it's done in practice.

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  11. I like white walls, I also like colour. Like you said, it's simply a personal preference. Don't give up writing, I always love reading your posts - I may not be up to your level of commitment but most posts normally give me at least one or two ideas I can adapt for my own life. And every little bit helps right?

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  12. Hi Bea,

    I think that most of your readers appreciate your minimalist asthetic and style. I know I do, even though it's not my personal style (althought I AM a firm believer in white walls). In fact, I'm surprised that someone hasn't asked what color of white paint you used in your home. :)

    By the way, congratulations on winning the Green Award!

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  13. Anonymous5/24/2011

    You just can't win! All that matters is what you and your family call home. But if I may, I think your home is lovely and inspiring! More importantly, you have awakened something inside of me (and others, I'm sure) to start minimizing my and my family's waste. So much more important than a wall color choice, which is going to differ from person to person, anyway! Just know that for every critic, there is also an advocate. I don't mean to yell, but YOU JUST CAN'T WIN!!

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  14. I often use your photos as inspiration for my own home, including the white. They seem so clean and peaceful. Oh, the lined up jars in the pantry and bare counters!

    I now feel very peaceful in the one room that I've made mostly white and open, but there was a time when such a room scared me. It just depends on what stage in the journey I am. Other rooms do have a consistent color scheme, of which white is a part.

    Also, with less decorating, I've been making more thoughtful purchases going for a long-term commitment instead of an "at the moment" choice. That does embody at least a portion of zero waste, since I won't change things on a whim with the thought of just getting rid of the old.

    Please keep posting your photos! Your house and lifestyle are amazing and great examples for all of us trying to follow the path you carved.

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  15. Personally, I find all the ridiculous criticism pretty hilarious. Quite frankly I don't care how you choose to decorate your home. I don't care that you use toilet paper. I don't really even care how much meat you eat. I love reading your blog because it's inspiring to see a person doing what they can to live as eco-friendly and simply as possible all while IMPROVING their quality of life. LESS IS MORE!
    I just can't understand why people are so critical...it almost seems as though by sharing your experience with zero-waste living others feel guilty or inadequate and in turn feel the need to criticize your lifestyle.
    My family is not even close to becoming entirely zero-waste, but we are trying our best! Your blog has inspired us to make much more conscious decisions as to what we bring into our home and I have noticed our quality of living improving exponentially as we do our best to simplify.
    Also, I love the pictures you post and to me, your house seems quite comfortable and inviting. Keep up the great posts! :)

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  16. These kind of comments are so ridiculous. I'm happy that you can look past them and continue sharing your wonderful ideas that have changed so many peoples lives, including myself :)

    It is because of you and your family and the things you've shared that I do things (now) with zero waste in mind. It makes me happy knowing that I can radiate some kind of change around me and my community. Reading your blog, gives me the inspiration to continue living with zero waste in mind. Thank you so much Bea for all that you do!

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  17. I think your home is lovely! I don't see it as monochromatic. Is it shades of white? The base boards and windowsills pop from the walls. Is it the sheen of the paint or the shade of white? I think it's fantastic. My place is also shades of white. It makes me feel like I am coming home to my serene relaxing sanctuary. It's also like my own private gallery for whatever I choose to place in the room and call 'art'. White is calming and does really reflect light. White also makes my tiny place look more roomy.

    I think your photos are fantastic! I have very much enjoyed them! I love the 'canvas of your home' and how the simple daily pleasures like bulk grains in bottles look even more beautiful when neatly organized against the white background!

    For some people, your lifestyle may be very different. I think it's beautiful! It is a lovely demonstration that we really don't need that much in life to "live".

    Bea, hang in there! You are doing a fantastic job addressing some tough comments! Keep up the great job! You are inspiring so many households all over this world!

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  18. Everyone above has already said it about the comments confusing decorating with living zero waste and I agree. Your home is refreshing and welcoming to me.

    I also want to say kudos for addressing the sticky issues head on- it seems so rare to find people who are truly sticking up for their ideals and who provide the counter-argument to criticism instead of just ignoring it.

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  19. Since reading your article in Sunset, I have been a constant follower of your blog... You inspire me... continue to inspire me... thank you for that. I take your example and your suggestions as inspiration, not as absolutes. White walls? beautiful... I have white and brown... It's how you live, putting people and memories above clutter and stuff that makes me want to be better... People tend to complain more than we thank... so please know that there are many more of us out there that are inspired by you and your family. Hang in there for us.

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  20. I LOVE THE WHITE! your house is a canvas, waiting to be colored by the people inside it. inspiring, clean feeling, and i assume it is easy to focus and accomplish tasks as there are no distractions! i'm working towards this myself as i am someone who is easily overwhelmed! thank-you for being you!

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  21. Anonymous5/24/2011

    Hey, everyone has their own decorating style. Can't we all just focus on the true purpose of this website and blog... Refuse, Reuse, Recycle, Reduce.

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  22. Anonymous5/24/2011

    I'd love to hear about your zero waste camping trip! We're always very careful when we are camping.... but would love to hear any tips from you as well!

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  23. Bea,
    I have a completely different decorating style (french country) and just as you said can still incorporate the principles of zero waste. Although my style is different, I too enjoy very much the pictures of your home- keep them coming!! :)
    For every critic there are a dozen other people who like what they see and don't say anything- so I guess I am just one of the dozen who likes what one of your critics doesn't.
    It takes courage to put what you believe out there for others to take or leave- some people just don't want to take but aren't capable of leaving either- at least you are capturing their attention! LOL

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  24. I guess I've missed the photos of your home on the blog (being a fairly new, but not completely green (no pun intended) reader). The photos in Sunset magazine were quite lovely and I don't remember thinking twice about the walls, other than the gorgeous living ones.

    Whether or not I try white walls or not (I'm thinking about it...or at least lighter, the sun savings is brilliant), I've never felt like your posts are tyrannical or meant to tell us all how bad we are and how good you are. I think you are great and I love hearing about your lifestyle and choices, whether or not I choose to make them myself. However, I guess opening yourself up to a blog does allow for crummy comments...that's just the way it works.

    Just know, the majority of us readers that rarely, if ever, comment, really do like what you are saying and are coming back each week to read it. So thanks for sharing. It's brave...and appreciated.

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  25. Bea,

    As an architect and interior designer, I commend your style choices though it wasn't what attracted me to your blog. I find the photos you incorporate to be an added visual bonus that invoke harmony, peace, clean and pure. And I agree 100% about why you chose white walls. I too have white walls in my home and minimal furnishings, etc. I've been told that it is very austere, minimal, cold, etc. Well, it is who you are and like you said, its not the focus of your blog. I commend your attitude and determination to want to give your children a better earth. I hope to continue my zero waste endeavors. Thank you for sharing your tips and suggestions. You have impacted not just one life but many. Thank You.

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  26. I'm a FREAK for color! Everything from red walls to yellow walls to our current chocolate walls in our dining room. That said, I just figured the white walls were your style and nothing more. We all have different tastes and if we were all the same this world would be boring. :)

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  27. Anonymous5/24/2011

    You know, Bea, I hadn't read this post yet when I was commenting to my husband earlier just this evening that the negativity your blog sometimes gets from some commenters surprises me because IT'S A BLOG. Every time I read your blog, I have to click on it. There is nothing, not one single thing, that forces me to do so. It's not even like the ads that pop up on some websites that won't close down. Nope, just a purely voluntary action on my part.

    I have no idea why someone who is NOT interested in what you have to share, to the point of being negative and even hurtfully critical (as opposed to offering constructive criticism in the spirit of furthering the dialogue) would read your blog. Or click on ANY website they don't want to, for that matter. And so many of these negative comments are anonymous, as opposed to having the guts to post their name! I often post anonymously, and am about to do so now, but it's not hate mail!

    I read your blog (voluntarily) because I'm learning from it. Sometimes I learn from the pics, sometimes from your post, many times from the comments. I don't always agree or intend to pursue the particular choice(s) described, but I am learning a great deal about this life style. I can't imagine the courage that it takes to expose your home and family life in the way that you are, especially in the face of spurious and tangential and irrelevant criticism, but please keep it up. Thank you, and thank your family.

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  28. Ha! My personal opinion is that people focus on your white walls and minimalist style because the vast majority of us are total slobs who could never keep a white house looking clean, or ever hope to maintain the level of zero clutter tht you have. I mean, face it, your house is immaculate and PERFECT!

    I think the negative comments are an expression defensiveness, not hostility. People are reacting to the pictures because they look unattainable.

    It's sort of like a size zero super model writing about weight loss. People feel like perfection is being flaunted in their faces, so they get defensive and it gives them a convenient excuse not to try. It's so much easier to just say "I'd never want to be so skinny", or "I could never live in such a cold and sterile home" than it is to deal with our own clutter and destructive habits.

    BTW - you have inspired me to think that while my house will never, ever look remotely as nice as yours does, perhaps there is some hope that I can deal with my lifelong clutter and messiness problem. I've now gotten rid of 5 car loads of stuff and I'm feeling better every day.

    You've also gotten me to realize that never throwing anything away is not the best way to be ecologogical. It would be far preferable to not bring the stuff into my home in the first place!

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  29. I applaude your grace and generosity in the way you answer your critics. Some ppl hide behind their computers to say things they would never actually say out loud in public. Boo! I have enjoyed looking at your interior pictures. Thanks for sharing them with us.
    Glorya @ mumminimalist.blogspot.com

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  30. I LOVE the white, Bea! I have also been teased about my love of white decor- white slipcovered couch, white bedding etc. For me, it feels relaxing and clean. I think that there are many people out there who may have been living a zero (or low waste) lifestyle but you are doing it with such style. You have made it more fashionable and have inspired others to improve their environmental impact. I think you and your family are great role models. Illegitimi non carborundum! :)

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  31. Anonymous5/24/2011

    Bea - Nowhere is it written that everyone must love us. Just push delete on the critics' comments and rise above them. These people are probably very annoyed at God for making avocado pits so big.

    What you are doing with your life and sharing it with us is terrific - thousands of us are "getting" your message and improving our lives the Zero Waste Way. I have stopped recreational shopping and am finding that much of what I "need" I already have!

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  32. I personally LOVED the look of your home--it looks so clean and simple, which is what zero waste is all about! It works for you guys...it doesn't have to work for anybody else :)

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  33. Bea- your style appeals to me so much! I have especially admired the flooring. :) I posted your blog on my facebook not too long ago, and had some good thoughts and comments, but among them was one friend who couldn't focus past your walls. I'm not a fan of pointless negativity so I'm happy to say it was ironically replaced with white (delete!).

    PS. Looking forward to all of these things being addressed so we can get back to "functional" posts. :D In the meantime I'm rereading for bursts of motivation.

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  34. Bea, I haven't read others' comments and can't be bothered to at this moment, but your house is gorgeous. It reflects your simplicity and minimalist bend. It is even stunning to see such an extremely organized, minimal and even museum-esque yet beautiful environment being well-lived in. In part, I think the success of your blog is due to the striking visuals of your home and life.

    That said, it's clear that some folks get their thinking clouded by their eyes and other senses. The comments you mentioned simply aren't rational...they're baseless. There is really no reason to give them even the courtesy of a reply, or further, the courtesy of your thoughts.

    Sadly but truly, I think envy or possibly guilt/shame play a role in such attacks. I hope you not only continue your blog and sharing with the online community, but that your efforts and their results multiply exponentially. The award is a good start. What will you do with it?

    Best,
    Stephanie in Berkeley
    (of mywastelesslife)

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  35. I personally also love your style but it's a personal choice.

    It seems to me that the people who write those comments do not really read your posts but just a few sentences. And indeed they take those WAY too seriously.

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  36. Anonymous5/25/2011

    Bea,

    I discovered your blog three weeks ago and since then my husband and I and our five children have reduced our waste dramatically. We love your tips, your ideas and your focus on Zero waste. Ignore the negative, critical comments and know that really your blog is such a great tool to educate and bring more awareness of Zero waste across the world. Please be aware that there are many of us out here who are absorbing what you are writing, applying it into our life styles and teaching those in our communities. I now enjoy spending time talking to the local school teachers,local mums, butchers, produce managers and farmers here about being more Zerowaste and how we can adapt the concepts it into our lives.
    many thanks, Helen (Brisbane, Australia)

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  37. Anonymous5/25/2011

    Hey Bea,
    be assured, this post was no waste of time, but a thoughtful reminder to everybody who confuses advice with rules and learning from someone with copying someone's life, style and exact choices.
    Trying to excuse overcomsumption by not being able to live with so little colour is as stupid as not trying to minimize waste because he or she loves chocolate (which you don't).
    We please, please have to get over comparing and measuring ourselves all the time and just start doing SOMETHING (or preferably our personal best ...).

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  38. Anonymous5/25/2011

    I am saddened that you have to set the record straight about your personal style-who cares what colour your walls are? For me your message is Zero Waste and being a responsible citizen. For the haters and critics, I have only one question: "What have you done for the environment today?". For everyone else, we have a lot of work to do so let's get to it.

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  39. Anonymous5/25/2011

    Our family loves your place! My daughter and I are green with envy over the "bubble" chair. Keep up your amazing work. Surely, if you've been able to tune out waste you'll soon learn to give the critics no time either. In fact, just delete them them :)

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  40. Inspiring simplicity gracefully. Please don't stop. Thank you.

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  41. mrsnietodelatorre5/25/2011

    I think what your are doing is so important and wonderful. Please don't get discouraged!! I just discovered your blog and I am spreading it all around to my friends here in Spain.

    I love what you wrote about your blank canvas walls colored with people and personalities and shadows...great response to a bunch of people with too much time and not enough imagination!

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  42. Anonymous5/25/2011

    Bea,

    Not only do readers sidetracked by white walls, etc., waste their time and yours by writing about these irrelevant issues, they are wasting the time of all your other readers who have been eagerly looking forward to your spring cleaning posts!

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  43. Wow. I have to admit, I do not share your love of white walls, and prefer a much different decorating style, but I had never considered that to have anything to do with zero waste or the message you are trying to share... I'm not sure where those readers thought they saw commandments to paint their home white or how to decorate, but I've read every post you have and can't think of anything close to that... The important thing here is to avoid waste... whether you do that in red, green, purple, or WHITE doesn't matter...

    People can be so obtuse.

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  44. I agree with the positive feedback above as well. I don't think I could be zero waste but I have been inspired to think differently and have already purchased my produce bags at a green store recently and I'm challenging myself to think differently. Your blog is a great reminder every time I receive it. Keep up the good work. I am working with my kids to think differently about their wants and needs as well. Love the white walls by the way.

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  45. Anonymous5/25/2011

    Ignore all the odd angry people who are just looking for an excuse to avoid zero waste. I love the white walls! WIth other "styles" of decor, it becomes so much about the stuff that fills the space. I know I personally am guilty of buying decor items to make a color scheme or match a theme that I really don't need in my house. The white, as you say, is a great way to have the focus be on the people living there!

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  46. Anonymous5/25/2011

    I told my mother about your blog yesterday, and she was interested to find out that all my old jars and bottles that she keeps recycling are in fact a system being used by someone other than me! She thought I was being weird by trying to keep the Italian soda bottles that come with the soda that I like, but now she agrees to stop recycling them behind my back =) She also likes the white walls; growing up I always thought she was the weird one for having beige colored walls, carpets, and even cars, but now I see that just because accumulating lots of things for the sake of design may be popular to do, it is certainly not necessary to a happy home. I had many nice childhood memories of coloring our living room with my own art and creations, but had she been a more design-focused mother, I'm sure I would never have gotten to make paper ornaments for our Christmas tree or have children's tables and desks everywhere. Thank you for reminding me that popular isn't always best! =)

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  47. Stacy E.5/25/2011

    I love seeing pictures of your home and reading about all you do to keep your life as waste free as possible! You are such an inspiration! I love white walls but my hubby won't go for it but we do have very little hanging on them and very little sitting around. Makes me crazy to have too much "stuff"!

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  48. Because of your blog, I bought mesh bags and no longer use the plastic bags for my produce. Because of you, I am re-thinking a lot of things. I may never do everything exactly like you, but you have caused me to pause and reflect and think along new lines. I bought the Diva Cup, wooden toothbrush, cloth rags for dusting, etc.

    I appreciate the explanation for the white walls and want to offer empathy for the feeling of vulnerability and exasperation you must feel at being attacked when you are only trying to help.

    I moderate a forum for raw vegans so I know what it feels like sometimes and it is a bittersweet job.

    I do appreciate you sharing your lifestyle of your family with us, however, because you are making a difference more than you realize.

    Because of you I stopped buying fish for my cats in plastic individually wrapped packages and started asking my meat manager at the local grocery store to wrap it in paper for me. I tried to get them to put it in a glass container I bought, but they insisted I had to have it wrapped with their price tag on the paper. Perhaps they were worried I would steal.

    At any rate, the whole thing caused a conversation with me and the store manager about plastic bags altogether and just the night before the 6pm news had announced that Boise, Idaho (where I live) was contemplating a ban on plastic bags. :)

    I really appreciate all of your ideas because they are fresh and outside of the box.

    White walls personally hurt my eyes, but I appreciate what you are trying to do. I am reading a book on passive solar heating/cooling/lighting and anything we can do to lessen our use of fossil fuels is a good thing.

    I just recently made the decision to ride my bike as much as possible instead of using the car.

    One step at a time...if we all keep making these little steps we will get there.

    Just saw a great documentary on Cuba and how when the Soviet Union fell and Cuba had an oil crisis because of it, the country switched to organic farming and as a result of less fertilizers flowing into their oceans, the coral reefs are flourishing again and there are species that are thriving in Cuba that are not found in any other part of the world.

    Sometimes, in fact oftentimes, being different is not a bad thing. :)

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  49. Anonymous5/25/2011

    I have never posted a comment on a blog but I must today. I, for one, love your white home. Honestly, that is what keeps bringing back to your blog. More pictures please...they are inspiring.

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  50. I'm shocked at the negative comments and wish those people would find a different blog to follow. I mean they totally lost the point. Your blog about your white walls has had me thinking for days about simplicity. We are really struggling to declutter our house and you made me rethink my painting choices. Your house looks so clean, inviting, warm and free to be a family. I think the white color is very freeing and I commend your choice. Please do not let these negative comments deter you from your message. Your posts really help me and my family alot as we struggle to reduce our waste.

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  51. behappy75/25/2011

    Bea, I am 23 years old and want to thank you immensely for helping me focus on the goodness of Mother Earth. Your blog has given me an opportunity to reevaluate my lifestyle and those in my community. I have become a huge zero waste/environment friendly activist, in the midst of an online environment class I found this blog. Not to mention the fame from the Today show! :)

    I apologize that you have had to deal with negativity although, you know it makes us stronger. We continue everyday to change people's lives and the Earth around. I am grateful for your patience and devotion. Many blessings to you and your family as you continue to lead by example.

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  52. Anonymous5/25/2011

    I have shared your blog with my daughters' friend and as a young married woman it has given her a whole fresh new outlook and she no longer wants to "stuff her home with things."
    I personally now pass over many home cluttering objects and instead try and think of what I may already have that I can re-purpose.
    I have streamlined my home and absolutely love it. Your home is very inspiring and beautiful and I am so thankful you were willing to share. Keep up the good work! Ignore the critics. There are always some.

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  53. Bea, I hope the comments continue to crack you up instead of eating at you. I very much appreciate your blog and have started following some of your suggestions (although it's so much more fun to read your blog than go hassle people to remove me from mailing lists). Thanks for continuing to write despite the potential for detractors!

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  54. so pathetic that people have to nit pick on you just to justify them not wanting to or not being confortable with wasting less.. it is not a decorating issue.. i think it is a pride and laziness to change or scared of change issue. It is obvious that you are not pushing decor one people.. this just happened to be the style you like.

    I live in Norway in a fairly clean and white place like yours. However my dad lives in the Rocky Mountians in Colorado and lives in a cabin-esk place.. we both are working toward zero waste.. and never had we ever talked about style or decor when sharing tips.. we know it is just silly as we never have liked the same style.

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  55. Molly B5/25/2011

    Stephanie in Berkeley said exactly what I wanted to, so I echo her comment and would like to thank you for the inspiration and example offered in this blog. The photos and video of your home help me to know that I am learning to live a simpler and less wasteful life from someone who doesn't just talk about this lifestyle but actually lives it.

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  56. Anonymous5/25/2011

    I hope that the people that post ridiculous and off topic criticism start reading your blog instead. Reading your blog has completely changed my life!

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  57. I think Ecocatlady has a very good point.

    And I wanted to add that I come to this blog for inspiration, which it has provided in huge quantities. It has led me to other blogs in the zero waste/plastic free/green living community, too.

    Life would be boring if everyone did everything the same way. But life (for everyone on the planet) would be better if most of us put more thought into our choices in general. I'm sure many followers of this blog have a different style from Bea's. I guess I don't really see the point in arguing about it! Just enjoy this blog for what it is- inspiring for some, maybe even life-changing! Imagine what could happen if we keep passing this spark along to everyone we know...

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  58. I like all white walls. It looks so clean. I wish I had them. when we bought our house, it had already been painted in a scheme of green, red and beige. I just try to go with the theme when I have to repaint something. Is there a way to paint without generating waste ? I can't see it especially since I just finished another small touch-up project.

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  59. Melisssa5/25/2011

    Bea, you don't need to explain yourself to anyone - whether white walls are an aesthetic choice or an environmentally friendly way to go, it's your choice. I would not make all of the choices you make but I am always curious and often inspired by what you do. I make smaller choices that are right for me but you are slowly moving me in the right direction. Keep it up!

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  60. Anonymous5/25/2011

    I don't think you should waste your time on responses to these comments. As you know, some people just like to criticize and that distracts from the real issue. I would never decorate my house the way you've done yours and that is fine. What matters is that from reading this blog, I'm learning how to reduce consumption and waste in my home. That is the inspiration that I seek from your blog. Keep the waste-oriented postings coming! And I love the photos - even if it's not how I would decorate, it gives me ideas.

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  61. Anonymous5/25/2011

    If you are not part of the 'norm' then something is wrong with you. That is the mentality of the masses. Even if what you are doing is helping the environment and others. I hope you know that what you are doing is greatly appreciated. Striving to live a Zero Waste Lifestyle has made my life so much easier and enjoyable. Also, congrats on the Green Awards!

    Sheeda

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  62. Hi Bea,

    I personally love your white walls and your decorating style. It's very clean and refreshing :)

    mary

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  63. People always forget that when you talk about something you are passionate about, you are also human. We don't need to be pressed into labels. You live your life the way YOU WANT TO, not the way anyone else thinks you should. If you want white walls, by all means, have white walls. If you want color, by all means!

    Get over the details people and just start trying to be a better person to your family and the planet.

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  64. Jessica5/25/2011

    Bea,

    Excellent!!! Well Said!!

    Just know, you are appreciated :) The unfocused critics are the few.

    Your supporters are the majority :)

    Warm Wishes,
    Jessica

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  65. jill osbrink5/25/2011

    I'm glad the critical comments crack you up, but they tick me off. Especially the woman who says that YOU confuse aesthetics with zero waste. Seriously? She is confused. Obviously the pictures are your way of inviting us in to your home as you share the zero waste lifestyle with us, and teach us so much. How remarkably rude of people. I have never commented on your blog before, but been reading for months. So I just hoped to say hello and counteract the negativity with some gratitude. I am deeply thankful your work to educate people about zero waste, and your white walls. I fully appreciate that the walls are simply part of the canvas your family paints its life on:)

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  66. i love the white in your house. i love what you do... but i miss the "old" blog. i used to come here for recipes and ideas. but lately it seems the blog is about awards and defending your lifestyle (or in today's case, your walls! *gasp*)

    are you still planning on posting about composting??

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  67. I have never been under the impression that your lovely white walls had anything to do with your zero waste lifestyle. I find that many critics lash out because they are surrounded by negative emotions and unhappy. Who cares what color your walls are? I think by having a beautiful, clean and light home, you are surrounding yourself with positive and happy feelings. And I LOVE your concept of your walls being a canvas for living art...beautiful. I really look up to you and your passion. So, please don't be discouraged. And for the record, your home is gorgeous, and I love your simple white walls with your brightly colored pillows and wall plants. Simply lovely.

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  68. Pamela5/25/2011

    You rock, and that's that.

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  69. Simply put your commentary on this subject was well done! In reading it I felt you were not judging nor critical of the comments. Some people might take offense, but you did not.

    And my unsolicited personal opinion on design is minimal, but with warm colors because our house is very bright and can absorb the light without turning so dark. Also, I can not understand why someone following your blog would even comment on your decor! Especially since it does showcase very nicely the message of your lifestyle. Cheers!

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  70. Anonymous5/25/2011

    I really enjoy your pictures and the decor is very inspirational, clean and lovely. I actually recommended your blog to a friend for the white decor,which she adores also and seems to be very popular in Scandinavia. Many people just don't like what is different from their preferences. I think your style is great. Carolyne

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  71. Anonymous5/25/2011

    Hi Bea,
    I just wanted to tell you that I also made comments about art decor in my walls, but even though I disagreed with you, I still admire your hard work and I look forward reading your blog and learning from you. It is ok to disagree, and there will be times when your followers will question you because that’s the way we understand more about your incredible life style. The fact that you are allowing us into your home through your blog and that is completely awesome and admirable. To me my home is my sanctuary and my little nest and I would not want anyone to come in and pick it apart. So it is very brave of you, please keep on the great work.
    Ximena

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  72. Anonymous5/25/2011

    Well, it just goes to show you that people tend to comment about what they don't like. All of us who haven't said a thing until now, don't mind your decorating style at all. You embrace it, and it works for you and your family. I agree with you--stay focussed on your mission. It doesn't matter what one's decorating style is. What matters is that we care for the future of our planet with our choices!

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  73. Anonymous5/25/2011

    Love your blog! I actually dreamed of doing what you doing - getting rid of the clutter and distractions of life and living simply while documenting it in a blog (to keep myself accountable) a few years ago. Instead of getting rid of my clutter, I bought a bigger home. Of course, I thought this would make me happier, make me more sane amongst the heaps and piles of kids toys, my obsession with books, and my husband's and my collection from our travels abroad. I'm still distracting myself with stuff. Then I turned on the Today show and saw how your family lives. WOW! I was sooo happy to see someone doing this because it is exactly what I had been dreaming of. So, yes, I failed at my first attempts at living simply, the way I truly want to live. But your blog reminds me again and again how I want to live my life. I think I struggle with society's pseudo image of a successful life - a big house decorated beautifully with lots of accessories, with every toy a kid could dream of having, and the objects trying to explain who I am - like books and my traveling purchases. Your blog teaches me how to live the way I want to live. It's interesting that your blog today talks about the decorating choice of using white. In fact, I thought of your reasoning behind it too. White makes me feel more clear and light. And it makes me focus on the people and the true fun of life. One will always have someone commenting on aspects in your life - the way you live, the way you raise your children, and the choices you make. Stay true to yourself! You are teaching many on how to live a better life and how to raise children who can focus on what really matters!

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  74. margaret in holyoke, ma5/25/2011

    I was drawn to the Sunset article and then the blog because the family and house style portrayed was hip, modern, and progressive. I wanted to know how they had such an aesthetically pleasing environment without having an overflowing recycling bin here, escaped worms there, and every square inch of the kitchen draped with drying plastic bags and containers! When you think of a radical eco-conscious lifestyle, you might think of lots of milk crates, dirty five gallon buckets strewn around the yard, and some kind of outdoor latrine. This family shows us how to be zero waste and not disgusting! Yay!

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  75. Another vote here for not stopping with the photos!

    That much white isn't my personal style, but the photos of your home (especially the kitchen!) are so inspiring - please don't stop!

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  76. Bea, I was hooked on your blog and philosophy the moment I saw the photographs of your house. While I don't share your exact style, the images of your life showed me that ZW could be creative, attractive, and even beautiful. They gave me just the right nudge that I needed to move on from enviro-ambivalence into a whole new level of wakefulness. And I am loving it, so THANK YOU.

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  77. Anonymous5/25/2011

    We do a great deal of camping. I'd be very interested to reading a blog post about your trip and your zero waste strategy. Thanks!

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  78. Anonymous5/25/2011

    It amazes me that people can't understand that personal decorating styles don't have anything to do with zero waste living. Love your blog and photos! Keep up the great work! You are motivating so many of us.

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  79. Anonymous5/25/2011

    Bea,
    I too don't understand why people would lash out at you for your decorating style. No white might not be to everyone's taste, but we are individuals and have are own style.
    I for one enjoy reading your blog and you have given me a lot to ponder and think about.
    I am trying to come up with ways to reduce my waste and get rid of the clutter thats in my life. I feel like its weighing me down and it needs to go!!
    Keep up the great writing and I applaud you for what your doing.
    Cheers
    Ann

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  80. THANK YOU BEA for all that you share. You have changed my life and I want and need you to know that! Right now, as I begin my own journey toward simplicity and (almost!) Zero Waste, I find I need you more than ever. Your guidance, suggestions, ideas, research and everything you have done thus far is so VALUABLE to me and to my family who benefits also from what you have already done! I've already gotten 5 more people addicted to your blog and we are all anxiously awaiting your suggestions on how to go about simplicity and minimizing waste room by room. Please don't focus on the negative. Those are people who are currently unhappy with their own lives and hate seeing you happy in yours and with LESS, no doubt! You are such an inspiration. I beg you to remain so!

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  81. Anonymous5/25/2011

    Dear Bea,
    You are an inspiration! But please, stop being so angry! You have chosen to expose yourself to publicity. And people have opinions. You don't have to explain them anything and you don't have to be so defensive about what you do and how you live. You always say how happy your lifestyle makes you. So just be happy and don't be bothered by people who doubt or judge or don't like your ways. This blog is so angry sometimes. You yourself become a hater. Please focus on the positive things. Even if you explain, why you have white wall, people are not going to stop judging you. More positivity, less anger please! Cheers!

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  82. What really cracked me up was the heading under today's photograph: "Picture used for illustrative purposes only"! :)

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  83. I love your style! White is so soothing and pleasant and like you said, a great canvas for the precious human beings in your home.

    It's got to be wonderful to escape this crazy world that bombards us visually, and have some peace in a restful, clean, simple home.

    BRAVO TO YOU, BEA! Never quit!

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  84. Anonymous5/25/2011

    Bea said: "Now, enough about decorating style, let's keep this blog and its comments focused on the core values covered in the articles: Waste and time/money/resources wasted on the unnecessary (this article would be one example)."

    Very well said! Cannot wait to read your next post.
    Natalie

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  85. I like the all white. I don't want to live with it, but I like it.

    I have lots of vivid colors in my home, terra cotta orange, bright yellow, dark green. Then again, I don't have curtains, no pictures on the walls, no knick knacks on the tables. My friends think it's funny, but I think it's serene.

    It's your life, live large!

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  86. Anonymous5/25/2011

    Keep going Bea! I love your white walls! They are crisp, refreshing, and relaxing!

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  87. Anonymous5/25/2011

    Because you live a lifestyle that is not common and by doing so are living a way more advanced lifestyle than most of us, people feel threatened by how you live. Have you seen Wall-E? Well if we don't rein in our garbage we will be living on a space ship for the next 700 years! Your lifestyle makes people think or their own lifestyles and so makes people feel threatened. Do not worry about what people think! You rock! Your blog alone has reduced my garbage by 2/3! The info you post has made me very aware of my consumption. I think you are inspiring. Comments about your walls are simply the adult version of the playground taunts of "well....my dad is bigger than yours." or "well... you are ugly". Those people just have nothing else to say!

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  88. Great post as always Bea, very well said. People unfortunately are always going to complain no matter what you do. I personally love the feeling of white walls, so calming and relaxing.

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  89. Anonymous5/25/2011

    Dear Bea,
    Don't let the curmudgeons in this world spoil the fun. Your home is lovely to me. Your lifestyle inspires me. I look forward to your blog and the ideas you so generously share with us. Frankly, I love white walls but even if your walls were purple (not a color I like on walls) I'd be reading what you have to say. By the way, where did you get that wonderful living room sofa? Its gorgeous and so practical. Believe me, you are making a huge difference in not just the way you live but also in the sharing of it with the rest of us.
    Laura

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  90. Anonymous5/25/2011

    Bea, thank you for your blog. Thank you for inspiring me to live a zero waste life. I understand that white walls might not be everyone's 'cup of tea' but I personally think your house is lovely and I don't think anyone should judge your decorating style. It's petty to do so. Anyone that passes comments against your style should probably be spending their time over on the 'Pottery Barn' website instead of your blog since they are not serious about zero waste. Please don't be discouraged.

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  91. I have never followed a blog as consistently as I do yours. There are lots of people blogging about sustainability, low/no waste lifestyles etc. But you do it with an incredible sense of style and gorgeousity (both of self and home), and an emphasis on quality of life. This is what keeps me coming back and appreciating what you do. I'd like to think us inspired people far outnumber the critics/green guilters!

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  92. Anonymous5/25/2011

    Hi bea, I agree, no more anger at people who follow your blog. Your post WAS about your decorating style. The post title was "Why I've let go of nonfunctional items in my home" This is a direct reflection of how you decorate your home in a minimalist style.

    I also think that writing in such a disdainful demeaning tone to followers of your blog really makes people view zero waste in a negative way. The statements you cited by commenters seemed very respectful and enthusiastic about zero waste as a whole idea. In addition, you took these comments out of context and ignored their core concern which is that people appreciate color and art in their life and don't believe that it conflicts with zero waste. I read the comments in their entireties and the main issue was not about white walls or mod furniture.

    Here are some comments of yours that I found extremely hurtful. "That's right. White walls and decorating style. I sure did not expect to spend any time explaining my wall color or design choices when starting this Zero Waste blog" "I can't believe I writing such an obvious statement" and "Honestly, these comments crack me up."

    When I see these sarcastic remarks it makes me sad to be on your blog instead of excited about finding a new way to go zero waste. By ridiculing your audience you are doing your cause a disservice.

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  93. Anonymous5/25/2011

    Hi Bea, I have to say that I totally disagree with the comment above. Your post about letting go of non-functional items was not about decorating, it was about letting go of non-functional items. While I'm normally inspired and interested by people's comments, the discussion on that post really went off on an unfortunate tangent. People kept talking about their multiple art pieces that they love and couldn't bear to part with, and your post wasn't criticizing that at all. It was asking people to take a look around and not question the pieces of art they love, but all the other objects surrounding them, whose presence they don't question, but just accept as an everyday burden without realizing it. We fill our homes with so many things that we think are meaningful or important, but after some real thought and evaluation, we can realize they aren't constantly reinspiring us, but wasting our energy on their upkeep. There are a precious few things really worth keeping.

    I was really thrilled to see how many wonderful comments you received from your readers today who actually get what this is all about. I was then disappointed to see this last claim of your "disdainful demeaning tone" and "sarcasm." That is certainly not the case and I have never picked up any "anger" or anything "hurtful" from your blog. You've never done me any disservice in your posts- I think your blog is an oasis of calm, inspiration, and wisdom and the people that don't get that and just want to pick you apart and are total waste of your time and energy. Don't let them distract any part of your mission because you are truly making positive change happen here. It's their loss and there's nothing wrong with you.

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  94. Tihana5/26/2011

    Bea, i don't want to even say if I like the white walls or colored ones. It doesn't matter. For me it's a pity that this last post was about this, and that this thread of comments was about this. I follow this blog and I am inspired by it for different reasons. I hope you continue with it as it was, about ZW living.

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  95. Anonymous5/26/2011

    Clutter clutter clutter why ary thy there? 
    Clutter clutter clutter why are we here?
    I put you away but you are here to stay
    Clutter clutter clutter please go away.
    I just made this up all by my self.hihi have a good day Bea:) You are the best.Btw white rocks.

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  96. Sorry you have to even entertain this silly stuff. Your house is yours and if you find it beautiful, then that is all that matters. I thought your house was very modern and clean. No need to compare what or how I would decorate my house, because it is your style and it suits your family.

    Thank you for all that you do. You are truly an inspiration and we have changed so many things in our life in an attempt to be more Zero Waste!

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  97. Anonymous5/26/2011

    Bea, I follow your blog consistently and it has really inspired me to move towards a zero waste lifestyle. That being said, when you say things like "mid-century modern need not apply" it comess across just as judgemental as some of the comments that offended you in the first place.

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  98. Anonymous5/26/2011

    I have to say, it stinks that this article was necessary! I've noticed that about angry people, though - they pounce on irrelevant things. I think your house is nice to look at in a minimalist artsy sort of way, and I enjoy looking at the pictures - thank you for sharing them! My own house? Not a white wall in the place. Each to their own! People should really concentrate on your message, not your decorating style! Keep up the good work and don't let the trolls get you down!
    (And the decluttering here continues - taking 2 boxes of books to the used bookstore today, 1 box to the library, and have successfully shredded one old box of useless old papers - 2 more to go! I actually feel like weights are being lifted off of me as I do this! It is wonderful! Thank you so much for being so inspiring!)

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  99. Melissa in OR5/26/2011

    Bea- You can see how positively you have affected people, but we don't all comment about it. I hope you realize that there are so many more of "us" than of "them". In fact, I was holding you up as an example to a friend the other day of someone whom I think deals so graciously and effectively with negative people. You probably don't even realize that you are also inspiring in that regard as well! Keep up the good work!! You are changing lives.

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  100. Hi Bea,

    I believe your blog has such an impact of people not only because of your philosophy, but also very much because of the photos - you might not have realized how powerful they are, as this is your everyday environment.
    But I am sure the photos "sold" the principles of Zero Waste better than many words could have done.
    People have strong reactions pro these pics (how many comments use the word "inspiring"?), it then follows that the negative comments are equally strong.
    One simply can't control what people choose to see and hear...
    Please keep posting these pics. I for one love them and find them, well, inspiring (as the whole blog that goes without saying!).

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  101. Anonymous5/26/2011

    I really appreciate seeing your home and how you have put it all together. White walls are not my thing at all, but I still get inspiration and ideas from seeing your home. I think some people just enjoy being critical. I hope you won't let that keep you from sharing your message and pictures of your life. Keep on keeping on with those white walls.

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  102. You handle all this criticism so well. I think people are looking to you to emulate, and when people do that, they emulate everything! It's great that you clarify that you do have your own tastes. I think what's great is that you are showing that you can live this life in a modern way--that you don't have to move to a commune and remove yourself from the world to make an impact. I'm so thankful for you putting yourself out there. I'm sure you've inspired so many more people than you know.

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  103. Anonymous5/26/2011

    Hi Bea,
    I would love to see a breakdown of the amount of time you spend on simple tasks such as getting out the door in the morning--including bed making, breakfast, dressing, etc. My sense is that as I move towards zero waste, my time frees up considerably. I always wonder how much time you, at zero waste, spend in these "maintenance" parts of life. Other examples would be dinner prep and clean-up, coming home from work, putting away groceries, etc. Thank you!

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  104. Anonymous5/26/2011

    I see both sides, that wasn't your intent to say everyone has to be this way.

    But also, remember you've created a public blog, a place where people in the public that are interested in this topic come to read. It isn't a self congradulatory committee or place for only people who agree, I think if more bloggers saw it as such they would be less suprised/annoyed/hurt by comments. Consider that this is the new journalism, and journalists have always welcomed criticisms as ways to improve.

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  105. I never thought your white walls were anything other than a decorating style choice. Plenty of people who have white walls or white houses still take loads to the dump. Conversely, many people who paint their interior wall with color may produce very little trash. Anyway Don't stop posting photos of your home! :-) :-) :-)

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  106. P.S. The house I grew up in, for example, had mostly white walls (and white rugs), and was alwasy very clean and neat, yet my parents threw out *two to four* full cans of trash every week for most of my life- we were NOT a zero waste household in the 60's and 70's!

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  107. I have to say this is my favorite post of yours so far. I think you really distilled the important issues, the way you've distilled them in your life. The criticism would irritate me, and it has on my own blog. I'm amazed at what people will find to take issue with, but I'm a big believer in the Carl Jung idea that whatever people dislike intensely is either something they themselves do or an undeveloped part of their personality. I wonder how that would apply here. Perhaps people wish they could strip down and be more minimalist, but something is stopping them so they lash out about your stripped-down decor, trying to prove that it's not the best approach so they themselves don't have to worry about pursuing it. (Not to say that you're forcing anyone into anything. But by in large people do not want to change and they don't want anything to convince them they should.)

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  108. I'm in a rental with (pretty) yellow walls, and wish for plain white. Though white in this house, with its older carpeting, wouldn't look as appealing ... instead it would look ... well, like a rental. But if I could pair white walls with beautiful wood floors, that would be my ideal.

    White the way you do it is fresh and pristine!

    I *hope* people will post their own photos. I can see farmhouse or shaker styles in addition to the ones you suggested.

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  109. Olivia5/26/2011

    Dear Bea,
    Your blog has inspired me and my family to greatly reduce our waste. Keep up the good work! I am looking forward to reading more of your practical suggestions.
    However, I do sometimes feel hurt by your defensive sarcasm and anger that seem to be triggered by criticism. Maybe in the future you could be kinder and more forgiving to your readers? Please be more tolerant and open to suggestions, because we are being open to your suggestions to change our lifestyles.
    For example, your tweet "Made a vegan dinner tonight... Scott still hungry" seemed to be an attack on people who suggest that you become vegan. Although I'm pleased that you have tried veganism, the tone of this post hurt me since I am a vegan. I'm not asking that you become vegan right away, but please don't post sarcastic tweets like this.
    Maybe I'm being defensive (my mom criticizes me for being defensive all the time, which just makes me more defensive! so I can understand the cycle of criticism and defensiveness) but here's what I think:
    Since we are trying to adopt your zero waste lifestyle to help the environment, it is natural that we would want you to adopt our own ways of going green (such as veganism or going carless). Since you seem so perfect in the ways of zero waste, I wish you were perfect in all other environmental ways. This is not your fault; nobody is perfect. However, you have to find the balance between self-acceptance and self-improvement. Although you shouldn't let negative people bring you down, you should consider their criticism without immediately trying to defend yourself from it. This comment is meant as friendly advice, not criticism. People have given me this advice about my own response to criticism, so I wanted to pass it along to you because I think we have similar personalities.
    -Olivia
    P.S. Your blog is really amazing! Thank you for everything you have taught me about going zero waste. I really admire your determination to go against the mainstream American lifestyle and do what you know is right!

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  110. your counter-culture message unfortunately must strike some as a personal attack on their own lifestyles. I always enjoy your answer to such comments, because in your passion, your message comes through all the clearer. I've often admired the patience and good grace shown in your responses. And though ZWH is NOT about what you HAVE but instead about what you DO, I'm glad design comes up at times...this post contains info pertinent to your overriding goal. For instance, I've got something new to ponder: white walls DO reflect the most light. I'm trying to waste less electricity, so is there any room in our home where paint would reduce energy costs (and hence my carbon footprint)? Something for me to think about. thx, ZWH!

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  111. White paint would not suit my home but learning that it reflects light is very intriguing. Thanks for sharing.

    Don't worry about the criticisms. They will always be there.

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  112. Jo Ann5/26/2011

    Bea,
    I'm sorry you have to defend the appearance and style of your home. It's too bad people are that critical. Your blog is wonderful and a great platform to show how beautiful this whole way of living truly is and you do a really wonderful job! Keep up the great work. It's always refreshing reading your blog. Thanks for sharing and putting your life out there like you do. I'm sure it's challenging to have to defend so many silly things that are completely beside the whole point of what you are trying to convey. I am very grateful and refreshed by your blog and lifestyle. You are a blessing to many. Keep it up girl!

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  113. Anonymous5/26/2011

    I don't know if I am the only one but I am amazed to see the number of comments on such a post! I hope you'll respond before next Wednesday or close the subject because we might reach a thousand comments by then and this could become a real clutter. Although, it is informative to know more about your followers and their amazing diversity.
    Natalie

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  114. Hannah5/26/2011

    Bea, I was kind of sad to read this post. I really enjoy reading your blog and this post was not a pleasant one to read. It sounded very critical in itself. I read the comments on your decluttering post and can't remember one that was written in a sarcastic or angry critical tone. Who could be angry at you for decorating your home the way you want to? I think that those you concluded were criticizing you were in fact honestly expressing that they follow a zero waste lifestyle (or something close to it) in a different way. It confuses me that you share in this post that someone can have a different decorating style than you and still be zero waste, and yet you accuse the commentors who expressed precisely that of criticizing you.

    I think that those comments that expressed a difference of opinion were good for two reasons:

    1) There was an honest discussion going on, which is what I hope you want to foster on your blog.

    2) Since you agree that one can make personal decorating choices and still be zero waste, I think those comments may help beginners who read that post and might be initially scared off by your personal style, confusing it with zero waste.

    That said, the conclusion that you were advocating minimalist deco as part of zero waste was any easy conclusion to jump to. Since this blog is about zero waste and since you only post once a week and therefore we imagine you choose your topic carefully based on its relevance to zero waste, it was easy to understand that you were saying minimalism and zero waste were one and the same.

    Now we've all read the clarification and hopefully we'll see more pleasant posts. If we're following your blog we're most certainly not angry critics, but we may sincerely disagree with you sometimes.

    Keep up the good work and the patient explanations. Please don't get too exasperated.

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  115. Personally, I think this entry is genius. Now, instead of explaining over and over why Bea makes these choices, she can simply direct them to this post in which she explains it fully. :)

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  116. Megan McKinney Gillespie5/27/2011

    Great response, Bea. I'm definitely a color freak, so white walls are not my personal thing, but I've never felt you were advocating I adopt your decorating style in order to reduce my waste. It's so obvious that your blog is not about decorating, but instead, is about reducing waste and keeping personal consumption in check. I'm very inspired by your efforts, and hope you'll keep sharing your journey.

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  117. Anonymous5/27/2011

    It's worth repeating the benefit of white walls, right? "the color of our walls save us a lot of energy: We intentionally chose white to brighten up our house (and in turn lower our electricity consumption). Although we live in the trees, we do not need lights on a rainy day or before night fall. Every bit of daylight gets used and reflected. On a hot day, the house stays cool."

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  118. Jessica5/27/2011

    @ Olivia, RE: Vegan Dinner. I just wanted to share that I took the vegan dinner tweet in the other direction, I saw the humor and wondered, "what did you make?"

    To me, it seemed more like saying, 'Scott is still hungry, did I do something wrong' or similar. It does not seem this vegan meal worked well, I have plenty of first time recipes that fail. So that's how I took it.

    It's all open to interpretation...I figure someone else will end up being 'offended' by the extreme couponing tweet. :D

    we all know the saying....you can please some of the people all of the time, most of the people some of the time, but never all of the people all of the time...

    :)
    Jessica

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  119. Hang in there, Bea. I love you blog and I don't have a single white wall in my house.

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  120. Anonymous5/27/2011

    Well said Hannah. I was going to say something along those same lines, but you said it so diplomatically and eloquently that I will only add another thought.
    I was the person who wrote the second comment featured on this post. Bea, I think you misunderstood me. My comment was not about white walls or your decorating style. It was about how I disagree that de-cluttering goes hand in hand with zero waste. I was very hurt that you would devote one of your weekly posts to ridiculing my comment sarcastically. I am sorry if my comment upset you. However, I hope we both can be more respectful of each other on this blog.
    I have been deeply inspired by your lifestyle and have loved your blog up until this last post. I can assure you that I have read every single post on this blog, and many I have read more than once:)
    I hope next week there will be something positive and constructive rather than something negative or destructive. I would love to learn about zero waste camping or what you do with 36 lbs. of strawberries. Do you have any good jam recipes? I have been trying to find a good strawberry jam recipe that isn't too sweet.
    Please don't give up on your blog, you are making such a big difference in the world.

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  121. Anonymous5/27/2011

    Hi Bea,

    There are so many comments here I don't know if or when you will see this one, but I hope you do. I have wanted to share this for awhile but now seems most approrpriate given the current dialogues. It is a printed quote I found at the Huntington Library many years ago during a display of the work of William Morris - the quote is from a speech given on February 19, 1880 - and yet I think it rings true all these years later. He said,

    "Believe me, if we want art to begin at home, as it must, we must clear our houses of troublesome superfluities that are for ever in our way, conventional comforts that are no real comforts, and do but make work for servants and doctors. If you want a golden rule that will fit everybody, this is it: HAVE NOTHING IN YOUR HOUSES THAT YOU DO NOT KNOW TO BE USEFUL OR BELIEVE TO BE BEAUTIFUL."

    Keep up the good work,

    "Disneyland Anonymous" ~ Lisa

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  122. Don't listen to the angry naysayers! So many people out there are looking for outlets to vent their anger. Nothing to do with you. Ignore them. You have spurred me to be much more thoughtful about waste and it has made a big difference in my life. For that I thank you. I don't give a toss what colour your walls are :)

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  123. Anonymous5/28/2011

    Clearly the readers that feel the need to comment on your decore choices aren't really getting the point. Readng your blog has reminded me to focus more on what I'm buying and bringing into our home. It's made me think more about being less of a consumer and focusing on what I can contribute to the health of our planet. You're thoughts have reminded me to live with more awareness. Thanks for all you do.

    roseatta long,
    Hamilton, ON, Canada

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  124. Anonymous5/28/2011

    Bea -

    I was inspired by the article about you in the January Sunset magazine. I have since changed a lot about my wasteful life style because of you. I hope that you will focus your efforts and blog entries on inspiring those of us who support you instead of addressing those who criticize you. You may never win them over. The kitchen is where I am having the most trouble (zero waste recipes and so much time spent hand washing things). I am a single mom of a 2 yr old, and any time saving advice in your blog would be great. I read many of the comments (not all) and they were very supportive...focus your efforts on us!

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  125. This blog is fantastic and feh to all your critics. You have inspired me to: 1. switch to a Diva cup, 2. switch to cloth napkins, 3. reduce my use of plastic storage bags in the kitchen to almost zero by reusing glass jars, 4. switch to a shampoo bar soap rather than liquid shampoo that comes in a plastic bottle, among other changes. You are making a difference!

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  126. i defended you in assuming that you liked white bc it really shows up if anything is out of place..it unifies the space..like i have all white floor tiles. everywhere. but the bedrooms are brown wood. it would be the same if you liked RED in your living room and someone brought in a piece blue bike. ?
    the same way you would not find a car in a library. things all have a home, in my house...pots n pans live in the kitchen.
    my grandpa's wife liked white spaces, too and so she had a living room just for her. funny, children were 'out of place' there. lol..bc she feared stains. keep up the fight, Bea,no matter how exhausting waste-free can be in an age of plastic. you are one of my solid inspirations. keep that and those close to your heart:) hugs

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  127. Anonymous5/29/2011

    I personally find your decluttering message inspiring (after all, if you have more stuff the chances are good that you'll have more waste) and absolutley love how your house looks. But, I don't know how someone could read your blog and not be struck by your willingness to support anyone who seeks to reduce their enviormental footprint, remove themselves from a materialistic cycle, etc. I'm glad you corrected this incorrect assumption, and I look forward to future posts with useful tips.

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  128. Bea, I think your house is beautiful.

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  129. I love your house and think it is visually stunning. Decor is personal, and I don't understand why your choices seem to have raised such ire.

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  130. Bea,
    You guys are so inspiring. Your blog has resulted in so many changes in my family's life. People are such idiots sometimes. What weirdo reads all this and only comments on the walls? Your message is so much deeper. Keep up the wonderful posts. I love reading your blog!!!

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  131. Anonymous5/30/2011

    Dear Bea -

    Please delete this decor-response page so we can climb off this dead horse.

    You have so much good info on zero-waste management to offer us - let's all move ahead!

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  132. Anonymous5/30/2011

    Bea,
    Please don't listen to or be bothered by the negative nellies! I truly enjoy seeing pictures of your home- it gives me inspiration! You have inspired me greatly and I don't understand why a few unhappy individuals have to try and ruin it for the rest of us! Seriously, LIVE AND LET LIVE!!! I LOVE YOUR blog!!! Thank you for educating me and showing us how you chose to live!!!
    Shakira :)

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  133. Bea, I think your home is beautiful. For me, the pictures really enhance the story and I find them really motivating. I think that the people who criticize your decorating choices are being petty. I hope you will continue to share photos of your interiors in your stories. ~Kelly

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  134. Tamsin6/01/2011

    i just think those critics are jealous because it shows how much you are in control of your life and they wish they could be as well... keep keeping on....

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  135. I love white walls and I love color. I didn't think about white walls contributing to energy efficiency. Cool. I'm sorry you have to endure the "haters."Sorry you had to waste your TIME writing a response to crazy-ness.

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  136. Elle X6/05/2011

    I love your blog. Just the way it is. Thank you for the wealth of information!
    Peace be with you and your family.

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  137. That is so funny that people actually criticize your decorating choices. I believe your blog challenges us all to just take one step closer to true full out zero waste. For me? white walls might be hard because I have a kind of moroccan bohemian decorating style but I would never think that you were trying to make me change that. What I have come to love though is the look in a kitchen of white walls with reclaimed barn wood cabinets and open shelving with white dishware and white things on and in it. I think we all do what we can and it is blogs like yours that make some of us feel we can do just a little bit more ... and then once we do that little bit more, we want to do even a little bit more and who knows how far we can go to becoming a truly zero waste household. Thanks and never stop blogging!

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  138. I never thought about white walls reflecting light and being an energy-saver... good idea! I also like that you put personal pics on your blog... makes it more realistic. Don't let the negative comments get you down... you are doing a world of good!
    ~Corinna

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  139. Yes! I get flack for "not decorating" all the time. I just find it relaxing not to be surrounded by clutter and to have lots of light in my house. This really drives some people—even my best friends—to distraction. I don't understand why they have to comment on it every time they visit and can't just let me live my life; I don't criticize their design choices.

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  140. Anonymous6/22/2011

    Don't sweat the haters. Haters gonna hate. It's just a sad fact of life.

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  141. I love your home. It is so fresh and clean feeling. I would miss seeing pictures of your actual home - your blog feels more personal this way.

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  142. Good on you for speaking your mind and putting those stupid comments in their place. Who cares what kind of design style you have chosen? If someone thinks that is the point to this blog then they're obviously here for the wrong reasons. I can tell you right now I have a completely different style to you but I am trying to follow many of the principles you find core to your beliefs. I love that you include such personal touches in your blog and would hate so see those disappear. Ignore those who are just trying to spread negativity and focus your efforts on engaging with those of us who think about the things that really matter. Not the colour of your walls.

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  143. I would LOVE to live in your home!! I love everything white! It definitely makes the home feel clean, crisp, and happy. Dark, clutter homes really depresses me. I'm actually thinking of painting some of my wood furniture white. :)

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  144. Anonymous11/02/2011

    Well said! I found your blog by accident, but I love it. Pardon this very personal question (you do not need to answer and forgive me if you already posted it) how about feminine products. What do you use?
    thanks

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  145. Anonymous11/30/2011

    Please keep doing what you do, including posting pictures of your beautiful home! It is beautiful and serene, but also lively and energetic. Your style of decor and palette choices blend these energies perfectly. As for the critics..some people are just critics I suppose. I think insecurity may be at the root of it for some and I love your response because it encourages others to seek inspiration for their OWN IDEAS and creativity. I think that is exactly what you are doing with this blog..not to have others mimic you, but to find their own way in this process. For example I absolutely adore color and some days emotionally feel that I could not do without it. On the other hand, I feel that my fetish for colorful clothes, shoes, art, decor, accessories, etc is simply a symptom of my deprivation in other areas. What happens when we spend more time in nature,watch birds and insects, plant a garden, eat a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, ...simply look into people's eyes when they are speaking to us...we begin to notice and appreciate that we are saturated with magnificent color and some of us are perhaps inspired to collect fewer colorful "things" that clutter our lives and drown out the rich and colorful natural environment around us.

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  146. oh, yeah Bea. You go girl. My gosh these people forget their common sense. I learned and understood the concept but DUH, I'm not going to rip my home apart, install a solar roof tomorrow, or style my home to look like yours. What ever anonymous wrote that clearly does not understand the principal of your blog. Although its hurtful to receive negative feedback it gives us your readers more fire

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  147. I think part of where that persons comment came from is the very American thought-process that everyone's lives need to look the same. Even if you're not mainstream, everyones "non-mainstream" lives should look the same, too. I've noticed this before just in clothes with us high schoolers - the "Preps", the mainstream kids, wear the same season of the same brand, the "Outsiders", the non-mainstream kids, wear the same season of the same brand. The only difference is usually what brand.

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  148. You are such an inspiration to me. I am declutering my cloth closet as I write this comment. I have spent the week nursing my newborn while reading your amazing blog. It has opened my eyes to the possibility that my own family can significantly reduce our footprint.

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  149. Amen! I'm so sorry you deal with such awful comments! Thank you for continuing to blog despite the hardship of hearing such hurtful statements. When I saw your home on the Today show, I loved how the people take center stage as the color in the house. They shine as what is most important. I am completely inspired. Bless you

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