Why I deleted Facebook

559 words. 5 minutes to read.

I’m deleting my Facebook account this week.

Already I can feel a weight lifting.

For a long time I’ve barely used the site, yet for so long I’ve felt like I couldn’t quite let go. I wondered how I’d keep in touch with all those friends from school, from University, and from my life back in Australia that I left a decade ago. How would we keep in touch without Facebook?

I was afraid that if I let go, if I deleted my account, I’d regret it. It almost felt forbidden to consider deleting Facebook.

To delete Facebook would also be time-consuming. It would mean trawling through over two thousand images, plus probably a thousand more funnies, all in countless disorganized folders, plus my “timeline” and “mobile downloads” folders. It would take at least a day, probably longer.

Why I deleted Facebook

To be honest, the biggest difficulty was this: I knew that deleting Facebook would mean making hard decisions. Decisions I’d delayed. Deleting stuff would mean tying loose ends, finalizing parts of my life that needed to be finalized.

Facebook: Social media for electronic hoarders

Truth is, Facebook was holding my life for me, but it was a life that I didn’t particularly want to hold on to. It was controlling me, encouraging me to keep up connections and data that had no real meaning.

I called myself a minimalist, but online I was an electronic hoarder.

Taking a month off social media gave me time to consider what social media was actually about.

I learned that I used Facebook as an emotional crutch. It gave me excuses, over and over again, to not say goodbye to everything that should have left my life a long time ago.

Time to say goodbye

I desperately needed to say goodbye.

A normal human life involves letting go of the past. A healthy person becomes a hoarder when they are unable to do this, when every tiny little thing becomes important.

Instead of letting go they hold on and cling to the detritus of their lives because they’re afraid of throwing away something that might be important, maybe, possibly.

For me, Facebook enabled me to become a hoarder of friends and memories, of photographs and holiday memorabilia and people I haven’t seen for thirty years who have long since moved on to other things.

They should have left my life, but Facebook brought them back, and gave them a home in my already busy life.

I found myself having to find time not only for the friends I have here and now but for the friends I had when I was ten years old!

When I first joined Facebook, I rediscovered all these things that should have stayed in the past. Then I built pseudo-connections around them and spent time with them, to the detriment of living in the present.

I built an online hoarder’s world. And I only just realized it. I took a decade and more to realize it.

Awakening

So I’m letting Facebook go now.
I’m letting everything on Facebook go.

That doesn’t mean I’ll lose my friends, because the meaningful, current friends I connect with on Facebook will stay connected to me.

Real bonds don’t break. We’ll find each other, connect with one another, in other ways. The friends of here and now belong here and now. The important friends from the past will stay too, because they belong with me as I journey forwards. But I can say goodbye, and let others go, just as they can let me go too.

I’ve posted my details. My real friends will find me, as I will find them.

But Facebook? Yes, it’s time to say goodbye.

I hit delete.
I’m moving on. My Facebook account is toast.
I’m embracing today. And the fresh air tastes great! 🙂

How 30 days without social media made me happier

545 words. 5 minutes to read.

For the whole of March this year, I quit social media.

No Facebook, no Twitter, no Instagram. I shut the world down.

For the first few days, I missed everything.

Instagram was the worst. My partner and I are in the midst of renovating our family home, and I’d reach for my phone to post up our latest handiwork, as we smashed down fireplaces and blocked up old doorways… then I’d realize that I couldn’t post any pics I’d taken until the end of the month.

I didn’t believe I was addicted until then. But the first week, when I woke at 2 a.m. and couldn’t reach for my phone to “just see what’s happening on Instagram”… yeah, then I knew I was addicted.

It almost hurt to not post and share the stuff we were doing, and to read what was happening on my favourite feeds. I didn’t really know what to do with myself, and felt a bit lost. Worse still, it affected my sleep, and I found myself lying awake at night, unable to rest my mind as it turned over all the things I might be missing.

I missed the endless entertainment that Twitter provided, and the banal food posts of Facebook. I missed the endless political updates, and the stupid memes.

Life without social

Suddenly I had time of my hands.
I had time to do the gardening I’d been delaying.
I had time to clean out my inbox which had become cluttered with spam and email from the kids’ schools.
I had time to wash windows and sort shelves and clear the pantry – all jobs I’d been delaying because I’d been “too busy”.

I had time to cook better meals in the evening, and enjoy my true passions – writing and reading more.

I cleared my filing and paperwork drawers, emptied my receipts folder, updated my superannuation company, unsubscribed from junk mail lists.

I found I had time to help the kids after school with their homework, and time to go for walks myself in the morning before I started work for the day.

I even found time to start meditating again.

All this because I wasn’t on social media.

Until now, I’d never even questioned how much time I spent on social. If someone had asked, I’d have said I was a “light user”, maybe a couple of hours or so a day.

Certainly I was nowhere near the average nine hours a day teens spend using digital media for their enjoyment!

Going without social for a month made me begin to seriously question just how many hours of my life I was wasting on status updates, on giving “Likes” and on making comments that nobody really wanted to read anyway.

social media fast

The Return

When I returned to social media at the end of the month nobody even noticed I’d been gone.

One of my friends joked that everyone had been too busy checking their own “Likes” to notice!

It occurred to me how silly we are to spend so much time on something that nobody even cares about.

I’m not saying social is evil, or bad. But I am saying that, like alcohol, it is best used wisely and in moderation.

I’d even argue that social media is so addictive that it should probably never be used by children.

social media and kids

My experiences without social have made us reconsider how much screen time we allow our kids. They are no longer allowed screen time before school, and their after school time is quite limited.

They also have a curfew for devices, and all devices are left downstairs and are not allowed in bedrooms.

Reconsideration and new habits

How I use it now? I post my own content and I read social once a week for one hour – on Tuesday evenings. This is when I don’t have kids in the house.

I never skim read or scroll, and when I’m done I’m done.

I’m pretty weak-willed, so I set an alarm to beep at the end of an hour.

Oh, and I don’t keep the apps on my main phone screen, where the little blue circles of death can visibly tempt and stress me.

Blue circles of death

Blue circles of death. I’ve now removed social media apps from my home screen so these circles can’t be seen and prompt me to check social when I don’t plan to. This helps keep me in control.

Life is too short to be wasted on social media. Since my 30 day break, I’ve realized that real life experiences make me far happier than anything social can provide.

Throw away your yoga mat!

232 words. 3 minutes to read.

The media shouts at us:

Begin a yoga practice.
Start running.
Learn to meditate.
Learn a new language.
Learn a musical instrument.

The list goes on and on, voices telling us to add feature after feature to ourselves, like we’re some new tech toy for a bored teenager to buy.

But have you ever noticed that all of these things take our time?

They’re all work.

A regular yoga practice requires dedication, time and effort.
Running is hard work, and it hurts.
Meditation is difficult, and drains our time.
Learning a language to proficiency takes years of lessons and is often expensive.
Learning a musical instrument requires daily practice.

No wonder we’re all so tired.
No wonder we’re all so stressed.
No wonder we’re such easy pickings for the voices that tell us we need yoga, running, meditation, a new language, and a new instrument to be happy!

We work, we manage a home, we have a family and relationships and friends to care for and be with… and then we feel expected by someone somewhere to become more enriched individuals than our parents or grandparents ever were by taking on all these fashionable personal growth activities.

The one thing forgotten in all this mess is time simply to be.

Aren’t we personally grown enough yet?

So I’m saying – the minimalists are saying, don’t start something new.

Instead, get rid of all the old things cluttering up your life.

Not just stuff, but those practices that are exhausting you, filling your hours, sapping your energy. Get rid of everything that makes you feel like you’re inadequate.

You’re not.

Ignore the trendy personal growth activities we’re supposed to do, according to some expert, somewhere.

Throw away your yoga mat.
Give away the running shoes.
Stop meditating. The language you know is enough already.
Don’t learn an instrument. Instead, laugh into the wind and be thankful for who and what you already are.

And know that you are enough.

Throw away your yoga may

Throw away your yoga mat. You are enough, just as you are.

Minimalist travel – ultimate packing list

278 words. 3 minutes to read.

How often have you gone on holiday with suitcases stuffed full of belongings, and hauled them halfway around the world, only to return home having used barely any of it?

Being a minimalist when you travel can prevent stress and headaches, and make your holiday so much more enjoyable.

Here’s my ultimate minimalist packing list for those of you who want to spend your holidays NOT carrying vast amounts of stuff!

Toiletries

  • Prescription medicine and doctor’s letter (if required)
  • Glasses (if required), sunglasses
  • Basic pain medication, cortisone or antihistamines (if required)
  • Diva cup (if required)
  • Toothbrush & toothpaste
  • Hairbrush or comb, hairties
  • Sunscreen
  • Soap, conditioner
  • Loofah
  • Razor

Cosmetics – if required

  • BB cream with sunscreen
  • Cheek stick
  • Eyeshadow stick
  • Permanent / long-last lipstick

Clothing

  • 7 x underwear
  • Slip on shoes
  • Flip flops (for communal showers and beaches)
  • Swimsuit and shorts (for workout), sunhat
  • Hooded jacket
  • 2 x tops plus 2 x bottoms OR 2 dresses (on or below the knee)
  • 2 x thermal tops (winter only)
  • Gloves, scarf and beanie (winter only)

Other items

  • Smartphone and charger
  • Beach towel
  • Sheet, pillowcase
  • Day bag
  • Water bottle
  • Wallet with drivers licence, passport and cash

All of this should easily fit into a small pack the size of a school bag, and can be brought in to a plane as carry-on, avoiding the need to checking in items, and making transfers quicker and easier.

Remember, unless you’re going to Antarctica, you can buy anything you need when you arrive, if you find you’ve missed something. Travel is supposed to be fun, not a shopping death sentence!

Next time you travel, I hope you have a great time bringing less. 🙂

Ultimate minimalist travel list

Minimalist travel packing list

5 minimalist New Year Resolutions

252 words. 3 minutes to read.

Here are five minimalist New Year Resolution ideas for those of us whose resolutions don’t include diets, meditations, gym memberships, giving up certain foods, or yoga!

1. Resolve to start a Capsule Wardrobe.

Both The Project 333 and Unfancy have great tips on how to start. As someone who started a Capsule Wardrobe 4 years ago and never looked back, I can guarantee you won’t regret it!

2. Resolve to edit your photographs.

Don’t keep photos that make you sad, make you feel bad, or make you angry. Let them go. Keep only the pics that represent the best times of who you are and what you want life to be.

3. Resolve to get rid of your fat (or thin!) clothes.

Donate – or ditch! – anything that doesn’t fit who you are, here and now. Then, if your body should change, you’ll deserve new clothing, won’t you!

4. Resolve to mend what is broken.

All those items you have that are broken and need fixing, from windows to buttons missing from coats. Make a plan to fix them – and follow through!

Life is too short for broken things.

5. Resolve to edit your relationships.

Make sure the people around you make you happier, support you, and love you.

Get rid of the “psychic vampires” – those people who make life miserable, and seem to thrive on discord and discontent!

Remember: you are a reflection of the five closest people to you. Make sure they’re people you would choose to reflect.

5 minimalist New Year Resolutions

Waste is failure

296 words. 3 minutes to read.

“Waste is a failure of the imagination.”

I came across this quote today, and it resonated with me, as a minimalist.

When we buy stuff we don’t need, spend money we don’t need to spend, or cling to items we have no need of, we fail to use our brains and our imaginations.

If we don’t need it, why buy it? Surely the resources are better used elsewhere, on someone – or something – else.

If we don’t need to spend, why spend it? Money is time and energy, both of which are finite resources in our lives. Use money wisely, treat it well, and we’ll be happier and healthier as a result.

If we no longer need something we own, why keep it? Let it go, and feel lighter and more free.

Our society as a whole has become incredibly wasteful. We live in a time of single-use plastics, fast fashion, junk food, and planned obsolescence.

Waste is a failure of the imagination.

Waste is a failure of the imagination.

Craft, care and skill seem to be leftovers from the past. Nothing much seems built to last, or made for genuine human benefit any more.

Yet within this world of so much waste, there is a movement for change. Minimalism is a part of the change for the better.

Minimalism gives us the opportunity to use our minds, think outside the waste, and move on from throwaway culture.

I believe that happiness begins with care and respect for others, care for ourselves, and a willingness to be better than the lowest bidder in life.

It’s time to end the waste, end the trashing of this planet, and to create a fresh way of thinking that places value on our resources and our lives.

What do you think?

Declutter, simplify, face reality…

247 words. 3 minutes to read.

So often we keep items that no longer have relevance to who we are now.

We keep the guitar from those few lessons we tried, even though we know in our hearts we’ll never be a guitarist and we never really liked playing anyway.

We keep old, moth eaten stuffed toys from our childhood, even though we’ve grown up and become adults.

We keep items from a crafting project that failed, with the excuse that we might pick it up again, even though we know that we won’t.

We keep cheap souvenirs from a holiday that we’ve long since forgotten.

We keep clothes that don’t fit and are out of date, cosmetics that never worked for us, old computers and smartphones that barely work any more and that have long since been replaced.

These might have beens and once weres drag us down, holding us back from where we are now.

They stop us from seeing ourselves as we are, and prevent us from moving forward with our lives.

Become the person you are meant to be

Life is not static. None of us are the same person we were ten years ago, or even last week.

We all grow and change, and our interests and tastes grow and change too.

Accepting that life is change is necessary to achieve our full potential.

When we declutter, we demonstrate a willingness to leave the past behind, and to accept reality as it is, as we are now.

Declutter, simplify…and face reality. Don’t live in the past.

Decluttering: A willlingness to leave the past behind.

Decluttering: A willingness to leave the past behind.

Let it go

Declutter everything – with 5 easy steps!

140 words, 1 minute to read.

Ask yourself these five straightforward questions to declutter everything…

1. Is it a duplicate?
Do you have more than one of this item the same? If so, why?

2. Is it easily replaceable?
Can you borrow / obtain / rent / buy the item locally for a small cost?

3. Was it free?
If you didn’t pay for it and you don’t use it, why on earth is it still in your life?

4. Is it a gift that you dislike but feel like you have to keep anyway to please someone?
People don’t give gifts in order to burden you. Let it go.

5. You haven’t worn / used / consumed it in the last six months or more?
Don’t leave it in your life. Get rid of it!

After decluttering, what next?

250 words, 2 minutes to read.

You hear about decluttering. Maybe you’ve already done it, and everything you don’t need – everything that doesn’t “spark joy” – is gone.

Now you’re wondering, what next?

Minimalizing our possessions is the easy part.

It might seem hard at the time, but decluttering our possessions is the easy part.

The harder part of being a minimalist is understanding, at a deep level, why we are doing this, then working to become the person we feel we were truly meant to be.

True freedom doesn’t come from owning less. True freedom comes from our possessions not owning us.

Minimising our possessions brings our true inner self into stark relief.

Once we clear the clutter away, we’re more able to see ourselves as we truly are.

Once I’d decluttered my life, I realised I needed to do a lot of work on myself, as a person.

I was eating poorly, and was overweight.
I wasn’t giving as much to charity as I’d like.
My marriage was unhappy and unsatisfying, for both of us.
I had too many “Facebook friends” and not enough real relationships.
I wasn’t contributing to my community as much as I’d like.
I was spreading my interests and talents too thin, and was consequently ineffective at most things.

Minimising our possessions is a first step.
Minimising the parts of our life that are not meaningful is the second.
Take the first step, and you become ready for the second.

Second step to minimalism

Sharing our libraries, sharing our knowledge…

188 words. 2 minutes to read.

I used to own four floor-to-ceiling bookcases full of books.

Now I don’t.

Now I keep about 20 volumes inside our home, most of which are reference books, that I dip into over and over.

The rest are gone, and I don’t miss them. The floor-to-ceiling bookshelves are gone, and the time dusting them is gone too!

Our Lilliput Library, by our front gate, has made sharing away our books so much easier.

I put books I’m done with into the library. Passers-by are free to take them, for good or on loan.

They also add books of their own to what has now become a community collection, read and enjoyed by many.

Lilliput library

Share our libraries. Share our knowledge.

Anyone can have a Lilliput Library at their gate. You can build one yourself or, like us, obtain one from a community that builds them locally from donated materials.

Books are meant to be read and enjoyed, not hoarded on a shelf.

Share your library, share your knowledge.

Be free of the burden of ownership, and take one small step towards making our world a community again.