Triumph of the Weeds

Personal Audit I

Here is a breakdown of my personal habits and commonly used items at the start of the year, before I decided to change. This is just to see where I was starting this journey from and to later use as a frame of reference to see how far I’ve come.

*Health and Hygiene
-Acne pads
-Mouthwash strips
-Body soap
-Diaper rash cream
-Liquid Bandage
-Bug spray
-Foot lotion
-Tampons and pads
-Rubbing alcohol
-Hydrogen peroxide

*Hair Dying Supplies:
-Disposable gloves
-Paper neckband


Cleaning Supplies:
-Disposable floor mops pads
-Plug in air freshener
-Spray air freshener
-Laundry stain stick
-Laundry spot cleaner
-Laundry detergent
-Disposable Lint brush
-Dish washer detergent
-Paper towels
-Toilet paper
-Toilet cleaner
-All purpose cleaner
-Disposable dusters

Cat Supplies
-Anti chew spray
-Cat toothpaste
-Cat litter
-Cat food
-Cat treats

Office Supplies
-Canned Air
-Cleaning Wipes for computer
-Printer ink
-Paper Clips
-Thumb tacks
-Scotch tape
-Duct tape
-Packing tape

Misc Household Supplies
-Light bulbs

Kitchen Supplies
-Plastic baggies
-Saran wrap
-Tin foil

Utility Use
-Water: my water’s not metered, so I’m not sure exactly how much water I’ve used in the past, but according to the USGS, the average American uses 80-100 gal/day.
-Electricity: According to my utility bill, I averaged using 9 kwhr/day.

Note: I don’t have a washer and dryer so I use a laundry mat (1 load/week), so my utility bill and water use don’t reflect that.

I’m most comfortable in t-shirts and jeans, so that’s usually what I ended up wearing day in and day out, except when circumstances dictate otherwise. Most of my clothes come from Walmart; my fancier clothes I bought in places like Lane Bryant or department stores. Shoes-wise, I’ve got sneakers, Crocs (Birkenstock before), flats and heels. And a pair of combat boots.

Travel and Transportation
I’ve got a Toyota Corolla, which has about the best mileage around for a regular car. On average, I drive around 10-20 miles per day to get to work/school and I get about 25 miles/gal in town, 37 miles/gal on the interstates. I’m an avid traveler, both by car and by plane (though that’s been curtailed a lot due to the post 9/11 restrictions). I’d say that I use approximately 1 gal a day to account for the occasional longer trip.

Growing up, my family lived in various houses in various suburbs. In high school and college, I lived in the dorms, and since graduating, I’ve lived in apartments, also in the suburbs. My ability to make changes to my apartment is naturally very limited and my choice of a new apartment tends to be dictated by location and price, not sustainable building or maintenance practices.

Waste Production
I’ve done the basic reduce, reuse, recycle thing since it became in vogue in the early 90s. I’ve also practiced re-purposing, though not as much as my mother, grandmother, or great grandmother. Like everyone else in my family, I suffer from a tendency to be a pack rat, acquiring things (particularly freebies) I turn out not to need and which later need to be disposed of.

Again, I didn’t calculate the amount of trash that I was producing, but according to the Clean Air Council, the average American produces
4.39 pounds of trash/day.


I hate to cook, so I’ve relied on packaged foods, easy mixes, fast food, and take out as much as possible. I’ve also usually opted for low fat and low calorie versions. I’m a regular old omnivore; I tried on numerous occasions to give up meat, but discovered that I loved it too much to do so. On the brighter side, I think I’ve probably consumed slightly less soda and junk food and slightly more fruits and vegetables than the average American, though that’s not saying much.

(As of January of this year) I’ve got a BMI of 40, which falls into the obese (cut off is 30), though fortunately, I’ve never looked like I weighed as much as I do. I’ve never had any major health problems, though my blood pressure and blood glucose level are borderline.

I hate shopping with a passion, but when I do, I usually go to Walmart as a default. In general, I’ve tended to prefer big name stores to smaller ones, and aside from the big purchase items, primarily used price and then quality to guide purchasing decisions.

I have moved around a fair amount in my life and I anticipating making several more moves before settling down (maybe), and for this reason, I’ve tended not to feel a real connection with the communities that I’m a part of (with the exception of high school and college, which are by nature transient). As a result, I’ve been shamefully uninformed about local politics and the communities I’ve lived in in general.


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