Decision fatigue

I just want some peace.

That’s what I wrote way back in September 2012 when I came out as a minimalist on Pointless Ramble. Back then, I was struggling — I was paring down my kitchen, but was frustrated because it took a long time to actually get the items I’d culled out of the house, I was bringing new stuff in even though I was trying to purge, and while minimalism sounded promising, I was nowhere near achieving anything close to it (and being in flux has never been my strong point).


I don’t really have art for this post, so here’s a photo I took for The Simple Year when my Lush order came.

So yeah, when I hold up THAT yardstick, I’m doing pretty well now. I have plenty of time to read on the deck with a cup of coffee, which was my (weirdly specific) dream when I first started.

(Bonus: Hell yeah!)

One area I still struggle with: Decision fatigue. Although it literally just occurred to me that’s what it is — thanks, Nourished Planner!*

Being a minimalist isn’t really exhausting, not at the stage I’m at now. What’s exhausting has been adding the zero waste element to this whole ordeal — not that I regret it, just that I’m trying to be honest — and the decisions that come daily from trying to pick the least worst thing.

Take, for example, the task of purchasing makeup and the thought process involved:

  • I need to zero waste my makeup.
  • What options are out there?
  • Too many options! What do I really want in my makeup?
  • Too many options! Let’s cut it down to cruelty-free, recyclable and all-natural.
  • What brands meet that criteria?
  • Still too many options! Man, I hate research.
  • Screw it. I’ll just start with foundation and mascara in glass.
  • Do I like these products?
  • Since the mascara is terrible, now what?
  • Guess I’m starting the process over again.
  • Oh man, I haven’t even tried to figure out eyeshadow yet …

Okay, for starters, the easiest thing to do would be to just give makeup up, I know this. The problem with that is I’m vain and I don’t want to.

Well, bummer for me, because I’ve dedicated a lot of time — since last year! — to this stupid quandary. I had a momentary reprieve when I bit the bullet and ordered a foundation and mascara from Lush,** but I seriously hate that mascara. I despise the tiny little applicator brush and that every time I see myself in the mirror, it looks like my eyelashes are melting.

The other day on my lunch break, I headed downtown to one of our little boutiques that sells RMS products. The manager came over when she saw me checking out the display, and I told her I was looking for a zero waste (or recyclable, really) and cruelty-free mascara, that my Lush brand wasn’t doing the trick, and (because I was already rambling, why not go full throttle?) I’d read about people making their own out of charcoal and, like, soap, but how was THAT really a good option?

To her credit, she did not laugh.

But she did have a ramble of her own: We don’t have to compromise on most of our face — our eyelids, cheeks, and lips — but if you want a mascara that actually works, you are going to need to.

Then she told me how the RMS mascara won an award and she was required to purchase it for the shop, but she thinks it’s so terrible that she tossed it all in the trash. (Please don’t sue me, RMS. I’m sure there are plenty of people who swear by this stuff. Maybe Lush shouldn’t sue me either for the same reason.) I appreciated her honesty, and I also felt better about my quest.

Because … I mean, I’m trying. I’ve tried. And, quite frankly, I’m tired. So I walked out of there feeling free, somehow. I don’t have to think about this anymore. YES!

The next time Abby hit The Store That Must Not Be Named, I had her pick me up my old mascara brand. And that’s what’s living in my makeup bag right now.

What this has taught me: I get so wrapped up in the details, of trying to do the right thing, that I lose sight of the real goal, which is, I mean, sure, to reduce my trash output, but also to bring peace into my life. Into my family’s lives. There are a certain amount of decisions that have to be made each day, and that’s fine, but for something like this, the continuous search for “better” is counterproductive. I have three pieces in my bag, two of which are zero/minimal waste (foundation and eyeshadow) and one that is landfill fodder (mascara). It’s time to move on.

To the next thing, I guess, although I like to think I’ve at least learned a thing or two from this whole ordeal. Unfortunately, as we’ve established numerous times, I’m a slow learner.


If you want to read about my early battles with minimalism, click the link above — that was my first minimalism post — or HERE, HERE and HERE. There’s more, but let’s not get carried away.

*Disclaimer: I don’t have a Nourished Planner, but I follow this blog because they have some great reminders about taking time to live life as opposed to living by your to-do list, which I find helpful.

**Not an endorsement of any kind! Do not buy anything on my account!

Also, you guys know that I chose the free blog option, so any ads you see here have nothing to do with me, right? And that I encourage you not to click anything? I was slightly shocked when I was bookmarking my blog for my mother a while ago and saw ads in her feed — talk about irony. Also, I guess I should have paid attention to the fine print. 😉

4 thoughts on “Decision fatigue

  1. Roberta says:

    I was telling my husband about your “Hell, Yeah”s and your approach to Zero Waste. He’s working on Hell, Yeah-ing, and mentioned that zero waste is impossible.You have to make some waste. But it’s about *improvement.*

    So, I guess I’m just letting you know that you are making a difference, and we were just talking about how you can’t beat yourself up over not being 100% waste-free. Because, how big is a mascara tube anyway?


    • Trisha Walker says:

      Hell yeah!

      Totall agree that being truly zero waste is impossible. Which, when you think of the big picture, why am I stewing about a mascara tube when I have to drive about 20 miles each day to work and back alone?

      Anyway, definitely about improvement, not perfection — although I’ve lost sight of that in the last year or so (which is why I need the Hell Yeahs to help me forgo the guilt and embrace the joy). And I guess if you count what we’re all doing collectively, that’s gotta make some difference, right?

      (And thank you. You’re awesome.)


  2. sarahn says:

    I’ve not gone ‘zero waste’ on make up yet. Cause I’m in ‘use it up’ stage. And oh man, do things take FOREVER to be used up, even with daily use (I was not a daily use person previously, for what it’s worth!). And this is for BB cream, which I replaced already, in plastic, and CLEARLY months premature.

    Every time I’m in the bathroom, i feel like I should list plastic free and plastic-y, and stuff that’s Lush (which is like… take back to supplier recycler, which isn’t zero waste, but I like they offer to close the loop). Maybe a whiteboard pen list on the mirror, to satisfy my listing desires… Yes, I think I shall. Will post photos!


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