Minimalist, frugal living, and the path to zero waste management

The one-way airmile ticket to Amsterdam in mid-June led me to the Dutch lock-keeper’s house in Utrecht, a place I had called home  for a decade. Void of furniture and furnishings, it felt small. In fact, everything looked smaller than I had remembered it.

Goldilocks comes home and asks herself,”Who has been using my kitchen?”

The five-burner gas-fired stove and electric oven was sticky to the touch. I tried every detergent I could think of to remove the stubborn black grease. After a day of scrubbing and making scenarios of previous tenants’ irresponsible habits, I came to the conclusion that they were simply too busy to care.

That explains why the front and back gardens were completely overgrown, overtaken by rampant weeds and an overly ambitious raspberry bush, competing side by side with the outstretched hortensia bush. Once upon a time, the lawn was mowed on a weekly basis, if not more often. There was a silent competition with the next-door neighbor’s lawn, equally uniformly green and level.

The Dutch are house-proud. But now I conclude, only if they are owners, not tenants.

The previous tenants, in their haste to recover their deposit, had painted the walls white, the wrong kind of white. A professional painter was hired to redo the walls in eggshell white, paint the upstairs wooden floors a dark green throughout, and all woodwork (window frames, doors, etc). This was a three week job.

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