Tag Archives: minimizing

Reflections On A Month Of Blogging

I started this blog spontaneously on the 1st of January this year. I decided to change my life in some ways and on the last day of 2011 I thought it would be great idea to blog about my progress every day, so I can see how I go, connect with people and learn from them and maybe inspire them to take action as well. You know, motivating each other and stuff..

Blogging has been pretty good, it takes up quite a bit of time, doing research for example, but it’s also a great tool to keep on track. If I have to research and write a post I’m automatically learning something new EVERY day! Which is pretty cool.

I thought I’d make a list of things we have changed so far.

FOOD

•baking half of our bread ourselves
•go to the farmer’s market every week
•at least two thirds of our food is organic
•less processed food
•more cooking, preparing food ourselves
•eat vegan
•foraging(which I didn’t like so far)

MINIMIZING

•sorting things into sell, give away, keep, use
•de-cluttering space
•selling things
•whittling away at the things we think we do need, reconsidering them

SPENDING

•not buying anything else then the absolute essentials, basically just food
•spending diary, have a look at expenses for the month

LEARNING

•about edible plants
•about food
•about people’s lifestyles
•about alternative lifestyles, especially frugal living and alternative housing
•how to make bread
•how to install warm water units and compost toilets(starting to learn anyways)
•about blogging and wordpress

RANDOM

no more petrochemical cosmetics
•more reading books
•less wasting time

Hope I haven’t left anything out..

So yeah, this whole blogging thing is keeping me on track and it’s definitely awesome to learn new things and talk to people about it.

What have you learned lately? What aspect of your life do you like to work on?

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?

Work In Progress

I always go on about my house and how i tidy up some of the cupboards and stuff, so i thought i’d show you how it looks like, just so you don’t get the idea i’m a hoarder or like really messy or something..

I would say our house is pretty tidy and clean. But i can still see some clutter around and to me it isn’t just about clutter anyways, it is about simplifying my life, but more about that in a later post.

So, that’s our lounge,

Pretty nice, right?!

I love our lounge, but for some reason we always hang out in the kitchen, which looks like this,

Simple.

I like the kitchen too. LOVE the cupboards. We cleared out a lot of space, so they are at least half empty now.

One of the shelves,

Could you live with less? I don't think i want to live with much less.

The pantry is an ongoing project. I hate using top shelves, coz i can’t reach them, so i try not to use them. This one is empty..

Our pantry, i'm aiming for more organic, unprocessed food..

Food is still a massive project. Every weekend we go to the organic shop and the Farmer’s Market. Logistically that is quite an effort as they are quite far away.

I also want to get rid off all plastics in the kitchen. Plastics are gross! I’m going to replace plastic with water bottles, i don’t use plastic containers for food storage, and i’m trying to only use glass containers for work lunches. The ones with the rubber lids are pretty cool and sturdy.

I cut down drastically on my msg, refined sugar and salt intake. I don’t eat anything with msg anymore, but i know they put flavour enhancers in foods under different names and numbers and i haven’t really figured that one out yet, so i can’t say i’m off that shit completely.

Going off most things with processed sugar and salt was easier then i thought. Of curz it gets easier the more you cut out the processed food.

But these crackers are my absolute weekeness.

OMG, THEY TASTE SOOO GOOD!!

Unfortunately they got sugar AND salt in them, no msg though, but they are just sooo tasty!!

Now here is a little tidbit about me. According to some people i’m quite sensitive to smells. People eating or cooking certain foods, makes me nearly vomit sometimes. You know people smelling of garlic, OMG, so gross!! I love the taste, but i can’t cope with the smell!

And you know when you eat chips your fingers smell even hours after, even after you washed them like three times. I HATE THAT!! So normally what i do is, put the crackers in a bowl and eat them with a spoon. Or if they are chips, i eat them with chopsticks. Yeah, this is how i roll!

Ok, back to the subject, i want to reduce all my personal items, items like markers, drawings, photo negatives and my upholstery tools so everything fits in this cupboard.

Good size, what you think?!

I have always been quite practical and i normally just get items that serve a practical purpose, i hate knick knacks. I’m also quite creative and like to make things so, yeah, as i said the items in the cupboard are gonna be all artsy, crafty stuff. I got some items that i just find cute or pretty, but not that many.

Have you got any suggestions for minimizing your stuff? Are you minimizing and struggling with something, a certain area or something? What is your most important reason to reduce stuff?

Hoarding

I love watching documentaries. They are the only films i watch at the moment. What i find interesting about documentaries on peoples lives is, that i see a different perspective, understand people’s behaviour better and learn something from it.

Hoarding to me is a lot like overeating. Building up an insulation against the outside world, it gives you a sense of security, as the woman in this video explains.
But it also isolates people and makes them socially insecure.

Some of the psychotherapists you see in these shows are a bit crap. I know that progress is slow, but i’d question how effective some kinds of therapy are. A lot of times doctors work more on the symptoms instead of the underlying issue, like the focus is predominantly on the clutter, not on why people need it. Therapists are expensive, the more drawn out a therapy becomes, the more money is to be made, just sayin’..

This video shows people explaining what triggered their hoarding and how it makes them feel safer.

Hoarding is a bit extreme, but compulsive and destructive behaviour can be triggered by life changing experiences or just start creeping up on us.

Buying too much stuff is becoming a hobby in our consumerist society. I think we all could do with a bit less stuff and more real experiences in our lives.

Just imagine how much better you will feel when you reclaim your space, get some unfinished projects done and can focus more on the favourite things in your life. Just enjoy yourself more and get rid off all this mind clutter!
Let go off the past and delusional safety nets.

I noticed that even little improvements make a difference. It’s a breath of fresh air just to rearrange one room. To get rid off and spend less time looking for things. To just have more peace of mind and the ability to focus on a few areas in your life properly, instead of being all over the place and forgetting things.

A great strategy is taking baby steps and then to really enjoy the freed up space and time you got and imagine how much better it could be if you moved  forward a bit more. That’s what i’m focusing on.

So yeah, baby steps and some imagination and don’t forget to breathe.

Shop At Home (it’s not what you think)

I got inspired by this catchy phrase one of my friends left in the comments on my post on spending the other day.

“And, last but not least: shop at home. Have a rummage through the stuff that you already have & you’ll be amazed at what you have. Spend a couple of days using it and playing with it.”

It describes pretty well what i’m doing at the moment, so i thought i’d use it.

I’m minimizing my stuff at the moment, i pulled all this shit out of cupboards and shelves and things and it looked like.. like a family of possums had attacked our house, okay, maybe not that dirty.. I sorted everything into things to sell, things to give away, things to use(up) and things to throw. Anyways, i found all this stuff that i never use, unfinished projects and things..

Here is some stuff that i found

art and craft supplies

books

cosmetics

jewellery

I love and i hate getting rid off  things. I like giving them away, but still, if i spend money and time accumulating those things that i’m planning on using and then i end up not using them, coz of lack of time or whatever, it makes me feel bad. And it’s the things you get and wanna use, like art supplies, that i can’t let go off, coz it feels kind of sad. 

So i thought i’d use them. I’m not spending any money on anything other then on food at the moment anyways(and of curz all the other shitty bills, like rent and electricity..).

I’ll definitely have some fun with that stuff. And imagine how much more space and time and peace of mind i’ll have once i finished all those unfinished projects.

Black Night

 
For example, i did this crazy painting the other day, i just painted this canvas i had black and put it in the rain. If i would have really painted it pitch black it would have turned out better. But nevermind. It’s just, those unfinished projects, the things you always wanted to do and thought you either didn’t know how to do or didn’t have the time for. Just do them. Go crazy with them! Who cares?! You don’t have to sell them and no one else other then you has to like them! Anyways, i’m not finished with this painting, i was actually just drawing a black base. It definitely needs some more colour ..just some..
 
What unfinished projects are waiting in the nooks and crevices of your house?
What would you do if you had half a day spare and could do whatever you wanted(and no cleaning and shit like that, that’s cheating)?