Tag Archives: minimalist

Mini Homes And A Mini Rant

Hey, how is it going? Did you have a nice weekend?

I have been thinking about blogging everyday again, I mean who does such a thing, it seems crazy?! I suppose if you write it like a diary it’s alright.., but yeah, for me it takes a lot of my time. And sometimes I’m so tired after a day of work and all this other crap I’m doing, it’s kind of almost not really fun. But I’m worried that if I stop for a day I won’t start again. And I do kind of like it.

There aren’t always new things happening as I mentioned in another post before, it’s more of a continuum. I have been watching some pretty cool videos, but they are all in German, so I don’t want to post them here. I also found a kids program I used to watch as a kid, it’s called ‘Löwenzahn’, which means dandelion in German, and it’s about an inventor guy living in a wagon, a trailer, whatever you wanna call it. It’s pretty cool. I just watched the first two episodes were he moves into his wagon. I just thought it was funny, because I don’t think they make children’s programs like this anymore, they are all so fucking annoying and screamy. I watched a couple of minutes of them the other day in the lunch room at work. Holy Fuck!! No wonder kids are fully ADD nowadays, with all this tv crap and the sugar and the msg and all the other freaking chemicals that are in everything.. We are pretty much fucked!!

So yeah, I couldn’t post the German videos. So I looked for some other ones. I’m still really into the mini homes idea, we both are, so I found those two videos.

Interesting construction having all the technical gear in the floor and using a Stirling engine. I still don’t know what the fuck a Stirling engine is, but apparently it heats the place at the same time as it produces electricity. And it runs on bio diesel.

Anyways, I thought the house in the videos is a bit different. It’s a bit big for transport, but it’s pretty cool. So I hope you like the videos. Have a great day or evening!

Saturday Update

Today we just chilled. It was raining anyways. So we watched some German videos on alternative living.

Then we made a list of stuff we need to sell on Ebay for our move. Gotta list them soon! As we need to move out of our house several days before we leave. Getting rid off most of our possessions is also gonna prepare us for the minimalist lifestyle.

And I’m just about to sell all the clothes from my online shop. Hopefully that isn’t gonna be too stressful. Also a bit sad, I’d hate to waste stuff.

And one of my blogging friends posted this link about Berlin foraging and mushroom walks in my comments the other day. I thought that was really awesome of her! We were struggling quite a bit with the foraging here and I think that’s gonna be a great introduction to the German foraging scene. I’m really excited about it! Gonna be eating dandelions soon and making woodruff drinks and shit like that.

Discretionary Spending

What is discretionary spending? Looking it up I just found there is quite a difference between disposable income and discretionary income. I always thought it was the same. I like learning new things..

Anyway, I think discretionary spending is kind of a flexible term. What counts as a necessity probably differs a lot between different people.

To us, it’s personal spending, that’s how we do our books at the moment. What each of us spends after we have paid rent, energy, water, petrol and food and stuff like that. The real basics.

I think once you set yourself up, with homewares and kitchen crap, clothes, shoes and furniture you don’t have to buy much stuff. I mean, what do you need?! If you don’t replace items just for a different style or for the sake of Keeping up with the Joneses and the latest gadgets, you just need to replace items if they are broken or become irrelevant. And you really don’t have to spend that much.

So now we are doing our spending diary, we can really see what we are spending exactly. We were never big on shopping and spending money on a whole lot of crap, but it’s really interesting to see what’s happening. I hardly spend any money on extras.

I got shoes, I got bags and I make my own clothes, not all of them, but it helps. I don’t buy shitty cosmetics. We hardly ever go out to fancy events, we are better at creating them for ourselves. Now that we are moving, we stopped buying homewares. But considering we are doing the minimalist thing, we would have done that anyways.

So yeah, I’m thinking hard, but I can’t come up with anything else people would “need to buy for fun”. I know some people have hobbies or like going out and that’s cool. What I’m saying is, you don’t always need the latest things or new things and you can have great experiences without spending a whole lot of money on them.

What do you spend your “extra money” on? Do you really need the treats you buy for yourself?

Minimalism, Some Inspirations

I checked out some youtube videos today to see how other people minimize their possesions and simplify their lifes.

Here is a video about some extreme minimalizing. You need less then you think! Most likely..

This guy puts everything he owns in his carry on luggage!

This is obviously great if you wanna lead a lifestyle of travelling, learning new things and connecting with lots of people. Not so great if you want to cook something, except if you can share a flat. If you need furniture, like a bed and a wardrobe or something you can always get that quite easily.

Woman reflecting on her minimalist experience.

Preparing for living in one room.

And here is another one that goes more into the zen direction.

Have you found any good videos about simplifying or alternative lifestyles? Post them in the comments!

Minimalizing vs. De-cluttering

I wrote a couple of posts about de-cluttering and minimalizing now, so I thought I’d explain what the difference is to me between those two.

To me minimalizing is quite a bit different to de-cluttering and organizing. Of curz, in the beginning they may look kind of similar, you’re getting rid of stuff and tidying your shit. I think the attitude is very different though.

To me de-cluttering is about a temporary state, it’s about getting rid off shit, but if you don’t change your attitudes towards stuff and consumption, soon enough you will have to do the same process again. And often it involves buying all sorts of storage containers and systems and all this shit just adds to the stuff you already got.

Minimalzing on the other hand , even if it means different things to different people, questions consumption fundamentally. Some people do it for political reasons, like for the environment, sustainability and avoiding mass produced items made by slave labour. Some people just want to live a life away from the mall and be more in the now.

I think minimizing is a huge process. That depends of curz on how extreme you want to go. For example, people who live in tiny or tree houses, house boats or sustainable communities are to societies standards quite extreme, but not to everyone’s standards of curz.

I’m trying to minimalize all sorts of things, spending is the obvious one. But when I buy stuff, even more then ever I’ll ask myself, “Where am I going to put this?! It’s just gonna clutter up my space!” I like having a clear space. It doesn’t need to be huge, but I like it simple and organized.

But minimalizing is even much more then that. It’s about simplifying your life. Stop doing all these time-sucking activities that are not really rewarding or relevant, like wasting hours on facebook, ..that would be a big one for me. Hanging out with negative people, that drain all your energy out of you, as I’m quite anti-social in general that isn’t really a problem for me and stop wasting time with whatever bad habit it is you do. You may even find the time to study and learn something new or make something you’ve never made before! Now how exciting would that be!!

To me minimalizing is about quality over quantity. To get something of great quality that lasts many, many years, instead of several items of it that are cheap crap. To spend time with quality people. By the way I hate the phrase ‘spending quality time’, people use it for all sorts of shit, like when they spend time with just one of their kids, it’s automatically quality time. No, it’s not, you’re just spending time, if you call any time quality time, you might as well just call it time, coz it’s nothing special. Even every day activities can be “quality time”..it’s not so much what you do, it’s how you do it!

To eat quality foods, instead of a lot of junk food crap is another point some people integrate into their minimalist lifestyle, to eat more consciously. To spend time doing the things you love instead of just doing the things you are used to. Yeah, think about the things you normally do for a minute and decide which ones are the activities you like doing and which are the ones you might have neglected and would like to do more of.

In our society it’s all about more, faster, quicker and keeping up with the Joneses.

It’s no wonder the Slow Food, Slow Living, Slow Parenting Movements catching up in popularity. Most people can’t and don’t want to keep up with it anymore. And are sick of just being patronisingly told very narrow definitions of how to do things, to worship consumerism and have products sold to them to fill the voids that are left in their lives.

So yeah, I love minimizing, it’s a long process, but so far it’s fun!!
Are you thinking of minimizing parts of your life or your whole life? Which parts? What makes you excited about it?

Problem Areas – Kitchen

One problem area for a lot of people seems to be the kitchen. Especially that dreaded cupboard with the random collection of plastic storage boxes. Yeah, you know the one I’m talking about!

We used to have a cupboard like that too. But not anymore. As I quickly mentioned in this post I hate using the top shelves in our kitchen ‘Coz I Can’t Fucking Reach Them!’. And it just makes me angry using them! The storage boxes used to be on one of the top shelves, so it made me extra angry. Coz plastic boxes are so ugly and random anyways.. it makes me angry just writing about it. Well, you get the picture..

I literally used to throw the shit in there coz, well, what’s the point, I’d have to get a chair and there was just too much shit in there. And then when i tried to pull them out I had to jump up, yeah, how fucking pathetic that must have looked like and pulled out half of the shelf at the same time, which ended in a lot of yelling and frustration.

This is how the top shelf looks now

One day i decided I am not going to take this anymore.

So I got a chair, pulled it up to the shelf and threw all the plastic boxes onto the kitchen counter. All of them.

I made a plan of how to structure the kitchen cupboards more accessibly. I cleared out one of the lower cupboards to use that as well, so the top shelf only had a few items right on the edge that I could reach.

Then I sorted them. Decided what we need for each person and to clean used ones every day so we don’t need an excess amount.

Threw the scratched and old ones out. I don’t have any random ones, but PLEASE, if you have plastic containers without lids or broken ones, THROW THEM OUT! Thanks!

Then I cleaned the shelf and all the containers and put the nice ones back in.

I also reuse glass jars for dried fruit or food storage as you can see in my post about my pantry and this one where you can see how I store spices.

So now that you know how I’ve done it you can do it too.
AND REMEMBER, DON’T BUY ANY MORE CONTAINERS, rather invest money in like two or three glass dishes for each member of the household.

I like glass containers better, but I still kept the plastic ones, I will be phasing them out though. I also don’t usually put damp containers in the cupboard, but if you have to just turn the lids inside out, so you can still stack them, but the air gets in.

And this is the lower shelf. My camera takes the shittest pictures in low light!

Ok, now that you sorted that dreaded storage container nightmare(that is, if you had one of them in the first place) we move on to that cupboard or drawer where you keep all your random shit in. Yeah, that one!

Same procedure. Pull everything onto the kitchen counter or table. CLEAN the dreaded thing. And sort through everything that is in there. Do you really need ten wooden spoons or three different sets of measuring cups or whatever you got in there?! Try to go for just one item each, depending on how large your family is and do the dishes more often.

Then give the extra items away to the charity shop or throw them AND DON’T BUY ANY MORE. Give the items away that you only use once a year or those awkward ones that you don’t use at all. Then clean and put the good ones back in.

And if you have to buy something new for the kitchen make it as practical and multifunctional as possible.

We had one of these clutter drawers and it wasn’t even that bad. Now that we sorted it it actually has a system. Yeah, amazing right?! I think, once you have a system in place, with less stuff, you are less likely to just throw stuff in there.

Minimizing is like taming a beast. You gotta be on your guard constantly.

Tell me about your problem areas! What sort of clutter always seems to collect?

Get Rid Off The Clutter

Rule Number 1, DON’T BUY ANY MORE CRAP!

I think if you just stick to that rule, depending on your buying habits, you should half your shit in no time. If you’re having problems sticking to that rule maybe start a spending diary.

Secondly, go through your shit. Do it by room, by drawer, whatever, find your own pace. This is an ongoing project, remember. Pile shit into,

•throw

•sell

•give away

•use

•keep

Put the shit you throw in the designated bin.

If you wanna sell shit, put it in a spare corner somewhere and then put a couple of items each week on Ebay or something. Or hold a garage sale, if that’s what you’re into.

Decide who you can give your shit to. If charities are not for you, maybe you know other organizations or you might wanna give it directly to people who need it. Post it on websites like freecycle. Please keep in mind that the things that are worthless to you might be what other people need. Don’t give broken, useless, dirty items aka rubbish away, that’s just gross!

If you have three of the same items and you only really wanna keep one in the long run, but you don’t wanna part with the rest, use them! Just DON’T buy any more.
Swap them around, put them on the counter, the front of your wardrobe, so you’ll see them.

Clean out your drawers, wardrobe, whatever and put the shit you wanna keep, that’s in good condition and you’re happy with back in place.

Personally, i find it useful to leave some of the things i wanna use more/use up lying outside(not too many or it’s chaos). That may look a bit messier for a while but if you stick to it(and don’t buy any more, remember) then it should start looking better very soon.

Coz you might find that, either you can go without the stuff that is lying about and give it away or you can’t go without it and find a place for it. Or just use it up and DON’T buy any more spare!

Change things around every week, play with them, even if you just rearrange the pantry, it will make a difference. Some projects like cleaning out the garage you might do in one day, other take a lot longer.

Getting rid of stuff, getting things freshly organized can be very liberating and a breath of fresh air.
But even if it doesn’t involve things of sentimental value,  just like any other change, purging can be painful. Letting things go, changing your lifestyle, can be scary.

It’s a bit like loosing weight, you don’t wanna go on a crash diet and throw out all your shit and then go a shopping binge. It can be a slow transition.

Just stick to it, make some plans and have some fun!
And you should have more space and more peace of mind in no time!