#1499 Things I’ve Salvaged: Minimalism, Frugality, and It All Made Me Richer (Spiritually and Monetarily) – Dr. Plastic Picker

#1499 Things I’ve Salvaged: Minimalism, Frugality, and It All Made Me Richer (Spiritually and Monetarily)

| Posted in Personal Finance Blog - Financially Free to Save the Earth (FISE), Sustainable Life

How I felt yesterday after a few folks sent “helpful suggestions” to some work emails.

March 5, 2021

by drplasticpicker

Wow, 1499 things that I’ve salvaged from the landfill and redeployed into the human circulating economy of things that we use. #1499 single things that had use, that were going to be thrown away. You can always check out my Plastic Picking Totals Page that details it all https://drplasticpicker.com/plastic-picking-round-up/.

I had never sought out to be a minimalist, and I don’t think I am. It doesn’t make sense to me to get rid of things that have value just so that my house can have a certain aesthetic. My ethos is that I like to redeploy found items and upcycle things into our collective use to decrease the pressure of our natural resources and also to raise awareness. I already knew that I have so much already. that all of us have so much. But picking up litter and salvaging items is a stark reminder that I no longer need to buy mindless things. Much of my ability to be effective as a middle manager and as an environmentalist is simply that I have more time, because I stopped shopping. And this is from someone who never really shopped alot. Can you imagine how much time you are going to save if you are a normal consumeristic person and shop a lot? It is life-changing for sure.

With all that extra time, I find things literally and figuratively around the world that no one saw. I love making trash art, from found or salvaged items. These are the paper flowers that I made and am going to give away in clinic. The sticks are upcycled from an edible arrangements gift someone gave me eons ago.

Pretty paper flowers with upcycled plastic sticks.
Paper flowers.

I’m composting now and it is so fun! I have a new Instagram friend from Australia who is following along my composting journey and helping me keep my compost “hot!” I am so hot! I wandered to the coffee cart at work, and they said I can pick up the espresso beans on Mondays and Fridays to add to my composter. They are really nice people. Josue works the afternoon shift. [PAUSE] I just went outside to check on my composter at 6am in the morning. My mother-in-law just scared the bejeebers out of me. She was outside the back but behind our wooden electronic gate where the composter is. I noticed the wooden boards begin to rattle. We abut an alley way and there are homeless individuals who wander around and they are usually kind people, but you can never be too careful. I didn’t realize it was her when some eyes peeked at me between the wooden slats and she said “good morning” gleefully. I think she wanted to scare me! In all seriousness it was because I was enthralled with the steam coming out of the compost.

All of these salvaged items and emphasis on frugality has continued to increase my networth as well. We were already financially independent and could retire early, but now our investments are even doing better. One of our rental properties out of state is really really nice. It’s a single family home on an acre lot, near the great student group I advise at Sustainable Pharmacy Project in Virginia. We have a new tenant signed that the old tenant found, and the rent will increase a few hundred as concordant with the market. We upkeep that property as nice as if we would live there, which is my general ethos in real estate as a physician. I’m not looking to maximize cashflow as I have our MD dual incomes coming in. I more maximize equity and property value. That particular property has increased 185K over the last few years in equity, and another property I purchased at the beginning of the pandemic has appreciated 45K. While some folks at work are jockeying for silly things like a shift here or there, or nitpicking about an appointment slot – I just sit back and wonder why they don’t see the big picture? Yes work hard. Yes make money. But we are physicians, we are smarter than that. The large healthcare system sometimes makes people – I hate to say it, not as smart as they are. Yes be a good employee but keep the big picture in mind. You are more than your identity at work. Have plan b-z ready, Dr. Plastic Picker does. I don’t trust anyone but myself with our money. There are unethical people all around, at work and in the world. Be careful.

Anyway, with those random thoughts about security, minimalism, frugality and real estate appreciation – I am joyful to have a job during this COVID-19 pandemic. Financially freedom is a wonderful thing, and part of achieving financial freedom is living a less consumptive lifestyle. I really love composting! You are essentially makeing something wonderful out of nothing! I really hope I get my act together to be able to collect the coffee grounds from Hot Java today!

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