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

Treasure moments, not stuff.

320 words. 3 minutes to read.

My son turns 13 this week. He’s almost taller than me.

It seems no time since we brought him home from the hospital. He was so tiny, all swaddled up, his eyes so dark, his eyelashes so long. He was the most beautiful baby imaginable. I was immediately besotted.

I think every parent feels this way about their baby, when we meet our child for the first time.

He’s turning 13 now, and I’m very proud of the man he is growing to be.

We’ve had a bumpy road – a diagnosis of autism (Asperger syndrome), which has developed into him just being an extreme geek with a strong talent for anything computer-related. He’s doing very well at school, he has a strong family, friends that care.

Life is good right now.

Things haven’t been easy, but when I look at the hurdles we’ve jumped, I know that they are easier than some other families have dealt with.

I also know that these same hurdles have given us purpose and a strong relationship between us that will stand us firm in the years to come.

When I look back on our time with him so far – the time he has been alive on this world – it hasn’t been the stuff that made life great. It has been the moments.

His first day of kindergarten.
His first day of school.
His first fight.
Him making friends, and sometimes losing them.
The times we’ve shared an in-joke, or just relaxed at the beach with an ice cream.
The hugs at night, when I tuck him into bed, and tell him I love him.

All of it learning, growing, changing.

I’m speaking from the perspective of a parent proud of her son, but the lesson holds true for all of us: Treasure moments, not stuff. Life is short.

Spend your energy where it will bloom. Then you’ll see the roses grow 🙂

Treasure moments, not stuff

Life is short. Treasure moments, not stuff.

Create a capsule wardrobe…in under five minutes

480 words. 4 minutes to read.

Your Capsule Wardrobe is the clothes you love and wear every day. It’s that 20% of your wardrobe that you wear over and over again, while the 80% that is the rest of your clothes sit hanging, unworn.

Here’s how to create your Capsule Wardrobe with a total of less than five minutes of work.

I believe that this is the easiest, fastest way to create a Capsule Wwardrobe – and you don’t have to spend any money on new clothing, because it draws your Capsule from the items you already have!

You’ll have your Capsule Wardrobe with virtually no effort within two weeks, and you’ll have a chance to revisit and add to the Capsule over further weeks, if you choose to.

Creating your Capsule Wardrobe

Step 1: Take ALL your clothes off their hangers and out of your drawers and rest them neatly on the floor of your wardrobe or, ideally, in a pile in the corner of your room. This includes shoes, jackets and handbags.

Step 2: Every day for the next two weeks, choose whatever clothes you want from the pile. When they are returned to your room, hang them up in your wardrobe, or return them to your drawers.

By the end of 14 days, the clothes that comprises your Capsule Wardrobe will be hanging neatly in your wardrobe and sitting in your drawers.

Voila! You have a Capsule Wardrobe! 🙂

And the rest…

Any items still sitting on your floor that you don’t wish to keep at this point can be sold, or given to friends or charity.

Items you are unsure about – the remainder, that is – should be boxed up and dated for two months in the future. Mark that date on your calendar. Put the box on a high shelf or out in your garage. Don’t look at it for two months.

If you need an item from the boxed clothes (which may happen!), ask a partner or friend to get that item for you, so you’re not tempted to go through items you don’t need.

Two months later…update and declutter

Two months later, unbox your clothes and, without trying them on, discard everything that you don’t immediately feel the urge to wear. This will be most of it.

If there are any items you’re uncertain about, just re-box them and date the box for another two months in the future, when you can go through it again. You’ll gradually declutter the items in the box.

How many items should be in my Capsule Wardrobe?

Most Capsule Wardrobes sit at between 20 and 40 items of clothing, not including underwear or nightwear. It’s up to you to find a number that you’re comfortable with.

The Project 333, which I follow, suggests 33 items or less, and Un-fancy suggests 37. Most people find that 30 items is plenty, once they get the hang of dressing with less.

Minimalism is a rainbow…

240 words. 2 minutes to read.

The minimalism blogosphere is full of black and white, grey and nude.

Capsule wardrobes in black and white, grey and nude.

Stark clutter-free homes in black and white, grey and nude.

It’s almost as if someone Up On High is declaring: If you’re a minimalist you must wear nothing but black and white, grey and nude!

It’s like they’re decreeing: If you’re a minimalist, your home must be stark and bare, with white walls and concrete, bare brick, and black iron metalware.

But what if, as D points out in The Dark Side of Minimalism over at Visible Spectrum Blog, your version of minimalism is rainbows?

What if the reflection of your truest self is bright, vibrant colour?

What if black and white, grey and nude make you depressed and sad?

Minimalism is not a religion!

The thing is, minimalism is not a religion – although sometimes its practitioners behave as if it were one! (Oops! Our bad!)

There are no rules, set down from some all-powerful leader.

There is no uniform.

There are no set colours we must wear, or items we must have – or not have.

If there is one rule it is this: Find your truest, happiest self.

If your truest self is a rainbow, then BE the rainbow! Joyfully, gladly share what you are with the world.

Only by being honest with what you truly are will you find inner peace and happiness.

minimalism rainbow

If your truest self is a rainbow, then BE the rainbow!

Ten ways to be happy right now

101 words. 1 minute to read.

So what are you waiting for?

1. Go outside for a walk.

2. Walk along a beach.

3. Climb a tree.

4. Write a letter to a relative or friend, and post it.

5. Pat a dog or cat.

6. Lie on the grass and watch the clouds. If it’s nighttime, go stargazing!

7. Listen to a favourite piece of music.

8. Spend five minutes quiet time, reflecting on all the good things you have in life.

9. Go to a local pond or river and feed the ducks.

10. Hug a loved one, and tell them how much you care.

The best things in life are still free.

The best things in life are still free.

My minimalist story…

460 words. 5 minutes to read.

It began when my nice luxury Peugeot station wagon died, four years ago.

The cam belt broke. Exeunt engine.

Luckily, a close student friend of mine was selling her car – a tiny 1997 Starlet, a 2 door hatchback.

Minimalism story

“The Beast” – the little car that sparked my path to minimalism. We still own it 🙂 It’s 20 years old now, and it runs beautifully.

We bought it on the spot. $2300 cash. We needed a car urgently.

The car had no power windows, no stereo, no heating to speak of, and it was 16 years old… but it was reliable and very economical.

We dubbed the tiny car “The Beast”. I fell in love with its gutsy rawness.

The Beast looked very odd compared to all the huge luxury 4WD trucks and station wagons the other mothers drove their kids to school in, when I drove to school on Monday.

I realised with a shock that
a) I didn’t care and
b) The Beast was perfectly adequate for my family, even though it was dwarfed by the cars around it.

Other parents commented on The Beast, but instead of being derogatory like I expected, they sounded almost wistful.

Like me, perhaps it reminded them of the freedom we’d had before society made us feel we had to fit in and impress each other with huge cars, big houses, and manicured lawns.

An epiphany

I started thinking, why did I have the huge mortgage, the fancy clothes, the expensive haircut, the designer phone?

Why did I have all this stuff in the first place, if what really made me happy was freedom?

I realised that
– my days at the beach made me happier than trips to the mall.
– my huge country home and farm impressed others, but to me it represented work and stress.
– my expensive consumer goods made me worry.
– what I truly valued was peace, freedom and being out in nature.

It sounds odd that a car could make me begin to question everything about my life, but it did.

Minimalism begins

Once I began questioning, the questioning didn’t stop. I started examining every aspect of my life. Most of my life changed as a result. I fundamentally changed the person I am.

These days I’m far less burdened by stuff. I live a much simpler life. I have much more free time, I appreciate life more and I’m much happier.

I’ve heard a lot of minimalist journeys are sparked by one thing. Divorce, death, babies, economic hardship.

Mine was sparked by a gutsy little car.