Sustainable – Minimalism – Compatible?

Sustainable – Minimalism – Compatible?

Does Minimalism leave room for Sustainable?

Welcome to our Sunday Snacks with Sam and Ellie! Today, Sam is wondering if sustainability, which includes her efforts to store a minimum of 30-day supply of food for her family of 4, works with Minimalism. If you follow our conversation, you’ll realize that these two concepts are NOT mutually exclusive. Sam in her 3 bedroom house and Ellie in her 400 sq ft apartment share their ideas. Sam’s ‘hot disaster’ description of her trying to minimalize is given some ‘breathing space.’

illustration of before and after - messy to organized kids room - by sabelskaya

At the same time, we also share that maybe the ‘beautiful photos’ of minimalist rooms and as Sam says, “Marie Kondo’s vision of organize and keep only what ‘brings you joy’!” are just that – images. Join us as we tackle these concepts and help Sam see her ‘hot disaster’ as a lot ‘cooler’ than she realizes!

Enjoy this video and let us know if, and how, you make it work. CLICK HERE to read the transcript while you listen.

Sam mentions our friend, Mary Ratzesberger, and her business – organization! Do visit your website and FB page.

Mary’s “WHY”

The practice of helping others eliminate clutter and create streamlined and calm physical surroundings brings me joy! I am committed to reaching my client’s organizing and simplifying goals.

If she’s not close enough to work with, her website gives some great steps to working on it yourself.

NOTE: If you enjoy our life hacks and simple common-sense approaches to sustainability and everyday life, please spread the word. Visit and like our youtube channel and our Facebook page. Sign up for our newsletter  – the form’s on the HOME page. Share your thoughts with us on youtube or FB. And share us with your friends. Here’s to your peace of mind because you’re prepared!

Between us, we have over 100-years of experience, and Sam’s only 40!
If you enjoy our life hacks and simple common-sense approaches to
sustainability and everyday life, please spread the word.

Sustainability Returns

Sustainability Returns

laundry hanging on a clothes line

Sustainability is the ‘in’ word today. But as we share our Sunday Snacks with Sam and Ellie, you’ll realize that sustainability has been with us for a very long time. From cleaning and flattening tin cans during WWII to grandma taking the vegetable peelings out and throwing them in the garden.

Sam shares how she learned to sew and now patches jeans and fixes buttons on their clothes. While Ellie shares stories from the ’70s when homesteading was a trend.

You can download the transcript with this link: Sustainability_Returns

Recyle – Reuse – Reduce

Although each generation likes to think what they’re doing is new, it quite often is not new! But our consumerism economy makes sustainability an ever more important concept today. What were common sense and practical decades ago is now a priority to save the planet. Even more importantly, many of these ways to recycle, reuse, and reduce are helping families and seniors to balance their budgets. Here’s a sample of how important small efforts can be.

Tin Cans Go to War

CLICK HERE for a great article from the Orlando Sentinel about salvaging tin cans to help win the war (WWII):

A 1945 magazine article said it all in two sentences: “Nothing is more American than the tin can; and Yankee ingenuity never stops. GIs use empty tin cans for literally everything….”

Ellie and Sam share some thoughts on their personal memories. Sam learned many tips from her grandmother that are very helpful and practical today. While Ellie shares favorites books from the 70s including the Whole Earth Catalog and Living the Good Life. The following quote from Wikipedia in reference to the Whole Earth Catalog gives us a taste of ’70s attitudes for many Americans. The resources in these old catalogs are still valuable although I imagine many of the resources are no longer available. But like perusing seed catalogs in the middle of a snowstorm gives one hope, browsing the pages of these catalogs can be just as hopeful to those interested in sustainability today.

The Whole Earth Catalog (WEC) was an American counterculture magazine and product catalog published by Stewart Brand several times a year between 1968 and 1972, and occasionally thereafter, until 1998. The magazine featured essays and articles, but was primarily focused on product reviews. The editorial focus was on self-sufficiency, ecology, alternative education, “do it yourself” (DIY), and holism, and featured the slogan “access to tools”. While WEC listed and reviewed a wide range of products (clothing, books, tools, machines, seeds, etc.), it did not sell any of the products directly. Instead, the vendor’s contact information was listed alongside the item and its review. This is why, while not a regularly published periodical, numerous editions and updates were required to keep price and availability information up to date.

Steve Jobs compared The Whole Earth Catalog to Internet search engine Google in his June 2005 Stanford University commencement speech.

When I was young, there was an amazing publication called The Whole Earth Catalog, which was one of the bibles of my generation … It was sort of like Google in paperback form, 35 years before Google came along. It was idealistic and overflowing with neat tools and great notions.

Then at the very end of this commencement speech Jobs quotes explicitly the farewell message placed on the back cover of the last 1974 edition of the Catalog (#1180 October 1974 titled Whole Earth Epilog) and makes it his own final recommendation : “Stay hungry. Stay foolish.”

Sustainability today involves best uses for many products we use regularly and consideration of ‘just how many do I need.’ In the video, Ellie mentions a full-circle recycling company. Here’s the link:

From the website of ForDays:

So, what’s the problem?

Fashion is one of the most pollutive industries. We’re producing more clothing than ever before and wearing it much less. Over 85% of all textiles end up in landfills, including clothing from resale and donation centers. What they can’t sell gets trashed or burned, causing major social and environmental problems. Most of it can be kept out of landfills if we’re thoughtful and proactive.

Luckily, we have a solution…

For Days is the first circular fashion brand. We’ve spent the last 4+ years building a network of expert recycling partners to keep clothing out of landfills. We design products for circularity. Everything is organic, non-toxic, and can be recycled into new fabric.

We collect, sort, and recycle used garments, linens, and more, from any brand through our best-selling Take Back Bag.

Ellie will share her experience using this site in a future post.

In the meantime, we’d love to hear from you. What sustainable practice did you learn from another generation? Please share it with us!

If you enjoy our life hacks and simple common sense approaches to sustainability and everyday life, please spread the word. Visit and like our youtube channel and our Facebook page. And sign up for our newsletter  – the form’s on the HOME page. Share your thoughts with us on youtube or FB. Here’s to your peace of mind because you’re prepared!

Between us, we have over 100-years of experience, and Sam’s only 40! If you enjoy our life hacks and simple common sense approaches to sustainability and everyday life, please spread the word.

Changing for Good – a Positive 2022

Changing for Good – a Positive 2022

Sunday Snacks with Ellie and Sam

Good morning and welcome to Sunday Snacks with Ellie and Sam, where we’re definitely awake this morning. We had a good brunch.
Today we’re going to be talking to you about changes in 2022, because we’re ready. Oh, my word. It’s been a mess for two years of crazy!

SAM: I’m Going to go cuckoo.-kachoo like, it’s not going to be okay. I’m already going to a therapist to deal with some of the stuff, you know?

ELLIE: Yup. Yeah. Well, you know, we’re supposed to be getting like what four hugs a day or something to be healthy. Think of all the people who haven’t had hugs in years, I’m going to give you a hug. (Sam gives Ellie a hug). I’m trying to get a little more energy back by taking a little part-time job I have in an antique store. And just, you know, hopefully with spring getting outdoors a little bit more.
But we’ve developed habits over time. I mean, if we can change a habit in 30 days, what have we changed in two years?

SAM: You know, I’m currently moving three cubic – no four cubic yards of mushroom soil around my yard. That’s a lot of work and so I’m physically active. I’m doing all those things now. For me for 2022, it’s all about that mental cut the fat, because that’s just how it has to be because it’s not sustainable for me to just keep living in this heightened state of panic and fear and just God-awful pandemonium.

Ellie: In that grip of, of being hypervigilant about everything, we also, I think, discovered parts of ourselves and they don’t have to be positive parts, but if we can acknowledge those parts, then we know we, we now have clues as to what to use to improve in 2022. The things we learned about ourselves, and even though they may be negative, are still things to bring into a positive 2022, because we can look at those and say, okay, that didn’t work well. I don’t need to keep doing that.

What lessons are you carrying into a more positive 2022? Share with us on our FB page.


Between us, we have over 100-years of experience and Sam’s only 39! If you enjoy our life hacks and simple common sense approaches to sustainability and everyday life, please spread the word.



Introducing Sunday Snacks with Sam and Ellie

Introducing Sunday Snacks with Sam and Ellie

Ellie and Sam Discuss the Use of the Word: Sustainability

We’ve started a new series to just share a bit of ourselves, our concerns and philosophies, and sometimes just plain silliness. Join us for


Sam loves the word sustainability! Ellie thinks it’s overused and often misunderstood. She likes the word “Nourish.” Listen to the video – or read the transcript below. Then check us out on Facebook or Youtube and leave a comment as to how YOU might define sustainability.


Hi, this is Sunday snacks with Sam N Ellie. Good morning. So we’re here to talk to you obviously about sustainability because that is one of the big things that BeyondTPandMilk is about. Now, Ellie, tell the audience a little bit about yourself.

Ellie: I’m old, I’m 77 and I’m, I’m, Sam’s stand-in grandma, But you’re also like one of my best friends. Don’t don’t let her Nope. Nope. They’re my second family, her family. I’ve done lots of things in my life. Lots of years spent doing data entry, worked in corporations – admin person, published my own publications mostly in tourism.

Sam: So in short, you’ve had an adventurous life.


Sam: All right. And that’s, I mean, that’s just the tip of the iceberg. She’s got lots of stories and they’re amazing to me. I’m 40. I have two kids. I’m married and I live in a house in the suburbs. I mean, it’s not a really exciting life, but it is definitely something that makes me happy and lights me up. And sustainability is a huge part of that for me.

Ellie: I would say your life is exciting, always on the go and always busy and your kids are always busy and everybody is always busy.

Sam: Although I don’t try to be so busy, but that’s, that’s part of being a stay at home, mom and entrepreneur, a spouse, an avid gardener, school or homeschool. I mean, the list just goes on and on, but do you do Friday game night? I do. I love game night. Our whole family loves gaming. We love having you over for game night. But that leads us to why we’re here. You know, one of the things that Ellie and I have noticed over the years is even though we have such a large age gap, we have similar and yet very different views on the world. And one of the things that I love to yabber on about is sustainability. And I don’t know that you would agree that that’s the best word.

Ellie: I just give her a hard time, because I think sustainability is one of those fad words today that means so many different things to different people.

Sam: So we’re going to try to find a way to make all the pieces fit together. Yeah. I mean, I definitely was using the word sustainability before it became popular, but you know, not everybody would agree. So how would you define sustainability?

Ellie: Well, I see it used in relation to lots of different things from, you know, our health and preserving our food and being ready for Armageddon and the apocalypse and the zombies. And we’ve certainly, you know, shared a lot of those ideas, but, but I think sustainability to me is, I guess if I were to pick a word, I would use nourish more than I would use sustain.

I just think people get it. You know, they know what your kids need to thrive. They know what your garden needs and what flowers need. We all need sunshine and water and good feelings and all those kinds of things. So I, I just think that sometimes using the latest catchword, we, we, it, it gets numb. People get numb to the phrasing and that’s, that’s really, I’m, I’m not anti-sustainability at all. I just think that sometimes in using the latest phrase we, we oftentimes will lose audience because they think we’re, oh, you know, you’re that eco person or that environmental person when I know for a fact that you’re more than that. Yeah. It’s much more complete.

Sam: Yeah. I mean, for me it does involve a lot of what you’re saying, nourishment. But sustainability does tie heavily into community, which you don’t really talk about other than the environmental nuts out there that are like, Hey, all, all of them, you know, I don’t know, kumbaya, loving together. I know don’t let me get her started Stealing my phrases. Well, let me get her started. But you know, there’s community and then,  obviously the environmental impact and there’s just so much for me, a lot of it is food. I mean, I think with my gut, right?

We call this Sunday Snacks, yeah, we already had. I had two cherry turnovers and you had a donut. I’m on like my fifth cup of coffee is fine. Water now. But like really we, you know, for me with sustainability, the crux of why I’ve always used that word has been we need as people to sustain ourselves. Like you, you even called me out on that earlier.

Ellie: You know, if we don’t sustain ourselves, we die. So why is this such a popular word? You know?

Sam: And rightly so, that’s a great point to make. And for me though, it’s not just about sustaining me to live. It’s just about sustaining every aspect of me because there’s the old concept that we inherit our land from our ancestors and that’s not exactly how I view it. I view it more along the line of the Indian proverb that we are borrowing the world from our children. And frankly, I don’t want to leave my children a crap hole. I want to make it better.

And one of the words that you brought up to me was steward. That was such an interesting concept. It’s not something I would think about. It’s an old word, but it goes along with the Indian story. Yeah. But like you said though, like, I, I wouldn’t, I want to raise my children as positive stewards of their community, of the environment of just life. So I don’t know, sustainability, I guess, holds true with the nourishment concept, but I don’t why we wouldn’t want to have a catchphrase, but yet I get so viscerally aggravated by catchphrases as well.

hands cupped, holding a flowering plant in dirt.

Ellie: Well, I, my problem isn’t with the word itself. It’s, It’s one of those catchphrases today that can mean 101 different things. And I think our audience is broader than those who just use sustainability in terms of ecology or environment. I think we think broader, for instance, when I mentioned steward in, in my growing up, even though we believe, you know, we inherited land from our predecessors, steward – being a good steward of that land for those who follow you, was the rest of that story. So that, that wasn’t just, you know, that we got it for us. It, our job was then to be good stewards to pass it on. So, so I guess that’s why I have problems with just phrases, you know, the latest popular thing. Not that there’s anything wrong with it, but I do believe knowing you as well as I do that, that you also think in much broader terms than that. And that’ why I think nourish whether it’s homeschooling or food or our community or each other you know, is, I think to me it’s a more human word, which is what we’re trying to accomplish with sustainability.

Sam: True.

Ellie: You know? So I think it’s a word that touches people differently, I guess maybe that is why I like that word better.

Sam: And by the way, folks, this is coming from a lady who has a bug-out bag in her back closet where I, the crazy one that uses the word sustainability, doesn’t have one.

Ellie: Yeah. Well, you know when I was younger, I was afraid that someday I would be homeless. And so a counselor told me to pack a bag with what I thought I needed. Cause I need, I knew I’d need like a couple of changes of clothes, so I could apply for jobs and look respectable and things like that. Then she said, just put it in the back of your closet and you’ll be prepared. So it’s part of our sustainability. Yeah. It is. It’s nourishing the soul, you know, when you’re, when you’re living in constant fear, you can’t function. Right. So she, she gave me an out for dealing with that. And it’s just been there ever since. And you know, I mean, Luckily I’ve made it this far without needing it

Sam: And that right there is a winner. That’s right. So we’ll leave you with that little nugget.

We would love to know what you believe is sustainability, right? I mean, you like the word nourish. I still haven’t found a better definition for the holistic manner in which I speak about sustainability, but I do like nourish. Not sure if I’m going to land there. What do you think? We’d love to hear from you in the comments? Perfect. Bye guys.

Ellie: Bye!

NOTE: Comment in our youtube channel or our facebook page.

Strawberries and the Power of ONE

Strawberries and the Power of ONE

So why am I coming at you from the ground?

I’m sitting on the ground inside my berry patch. Um, so why am I down here? I’ll show you.
During the height of the pandemic. I bought 40 – and I repeat 40 -strawberry plants. They were bare root strawberry plants and let’s be realistic, only one of them survived! One.
Now I have two 12-foot long sections of my garden that are two feet wide full of strawberries from ONE plant that survived.
Am I the best strawberry gardener? No, evidently I couldn’t keep 40 plants alive, and they were bare roots, strawberry plants, but one survived.
And now I’ve got a plethora of strawberries, to the point that I actually shared them with other people. So what does that have to do with sustainability and Beyond TP and Milk?
Handful of delicious red strawberries
Well, here it is. What I’ve done now with my strawberries is I thinned them out and I’ve now separated them into two full garden beds from ONE plant.
I let the ONE plant take over last year, send runners out everywhere. It looked like a hot disaster nodule in this spring when everything was still like, just waking up, and pretty cold. My husband and I spent an entire day breaking up this bed that was full of strawberries.
So the strawberries are an amazing source of just awesomeness for us and our family. Our kids love them. We love them. And you know, we’re not gonna probably jam as much or do any of those kinds of things with it, but we do eat them like crazy.
What makes this sustainable isn’t necessarily that I have lots and lots of strawberries and strawberry plants from one plant.  What makes us sustainable is that I was able to then share this with other people. I had so many strawberry plants when we spread them apart that I was able to give them to two other families who now have deck boxes and put them in their garden at their house.

And that ONE plant will become even more prolific and in sustainability and looking at just the reality of how our environment and how the political scene is, and how everything is going on with our economy, we need to start really thinking about ​the people around us.

Now, mind you, I live in a community with a lot of people who are much older than me.​ ​So instead of trying to ​barter with them, what we have done is just built-in goodwill.​ We give away a good portion of our produce that we don’t eat?

We save, we store it. We do all the things that we need for our family for full sustainability for our household.But​ ​we also share our bounty and we share our wealth and our abundance and in doing so, we’ve gotten it back 10 fold in just the three years of living here.

So when you think about sustainability and you think about everything with the pandemic and things like that, and you hear the term ​’​prepper​’​ and homesteader​, think of it​ n​ot necessarily in those context​s. ​Think of it more as you’re building community, when you start really stepping outside of your box and you realize, okay, I want a sense of preparedness.​ ​I want a sense of being safe.
You can’t do everything for yourself. You can try​, but you’re going to​ burnout​. ​But if you build a community of people around you that you support and that support you tenfold, you’ve got a wealth of abundance that you never even knew you had.
And I can say that ​hands down from truthful experiences, just living here in my own neighborhood and sharing eggs with people.
And my husband was at work before the pandemic even happened. And our pipe burst. And I didn’t know where the shutoff valve was in our house, but I knew my neighbors did because they had been in our house before​ ​we had even owned it.
So I sent my kids to get my neighbor. He came over and helped me find the shut-off valve. ​He actually started helping us with the piping, not because he had to, but because he was kind and what we were able to do then was just get brand new pipe and fix it​. And all was good in the world.

But all that came from saying​ hello

…and giving a smile and a dozen eggs that I had an abundance of that anyway, at the time.
So when you think about sustainability, don’t just think about what you can do. Think about what you can do to maximize yourself through your community. And you’ll be surprised at what you’ll get. It’s just like my strawberries. ​ONE little strawberry​ became​ this whole garden.
Enjoy yourself. Bye-bye.
Between us, we have over 100-years of experience and Sam’s only 39! If you enjoy our life hacks and simple common sense approaches to sustainability and everyday life, please spread the word.