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?

Five ways to begin minimalism

434 words. 4 minutes to read.

There is no one path to minimalism.

My path to minimalism began with a car. For others a new relationship, a student trip overseas to Paris, or a strong desire to get out of debt might lead to a simpler life.

Here are five ways to begin minimalism that have worked for many people. Choose one, more than one, or a completely different method.

Whatever path you take, remember to enjoy the journey.

1. Create a capsule wardrobe. When I began my path to minimalism, I also began working with a Capsule Wardrobe, via Project 333. I strongly recommend it – take a look.

A capsule wardrobe is a great way to get an addiction to clothes shopping under control. With Project 333, I’ve reduced from having over 150 items of clothing – most of which I never wore – to a capsule wardrobe of less than 30 items, all of which I wear, use and love.

2. Play a game for removing clutter. If general clutter is a problem, try the minimalist game (hashtag #minsgame).

You start by removing one item from your home the first day, two items the second day, three the third day and so on. By the end of 30 days, you’ll have removed 465 items from your home. Not a bad beginning!

3. Categorize the mess. When I began decluttering, I found the Kon Mari method of working by category, rather than by room, very useful. I found that my home had over a dozen pairs of scissors!

Working by category helps us see what we actually possess, and eliminate unnecessary duplicates. After all, how many coffee mugs and shot glasses do we really need?

4. Find a home for everything important, and let go of stuff without homes. Giving everything a home really helps. Basic strategies such as providing a dirty washing bin and a wastepaper basket for each person really help keep mess under control.

A charity bin in the hallway for outgrown or unused belongings also helps clear items that are no longer needed or wanted, yet still may have use for others.

5. Take a Stop Shopping Challenge. Stop the input. Stop buying for a set period, be it a week or a month, or a year with a Stop Shopping Challenge. Learn to find contentment with what you already have.

Begin by beginning

Thing is, it doesn’t matter what path you take. It doesn’t matter what steps you take. To begin minimalism you need simply to begin.

So take the first step. However that step looks.

Take the first step.

Take the first step. Photo of Trees in Pukarau by blog author, 2017.

Clutter-free at Christmas

283 words, 3 minutes to read.

I’ve had The Talk with most of my friends and relatives.

Consequently, I receive very few gifts at Christmas. That makes me happy, knowing my loved ones are not wasting their money on stuff I don’t need.

But there’s always that one relative who insists on giving you gifts. How can you deal with them? They insist that Christmas ‘just wouldn’t be right’ without presents under the tree.

Here are some strategies you can take.

1. Suggest a consumable gift.

Hint that you’d love some chocolates. A nice bottle of wine. Some expensive fresh fruit or lovely locally-produced cheeses. Let them know than any of these options would be appreciated far more than socks, jocks or yet more hand cream!

2. Tickets to events can be a great idea.

Ask for tickets to an upcoming concert you’d enjoy. Or maybe suggest a nice meal out at a favourite restaurant with them paying for the meal.

3. Give to someone – or something – else.

Charities such as Oxfam give to those who are truly in need. It’s a great option for those who want to be generous.

4. Accept the inevitable and re-gift what they give you.

Homeless shelters and food banks are pleased to receive unwanted toiletries, clothing and other items. Ring before you drop them off, to ensure that the right item is going to the right place.

5. Sell the item, and use the proceeds for something useful.

If re-gifting makes you feel guilty, spend the money on a worthwhile charity, and convert an unwanted gift into much-needed assistance. I find that giving to worthwhile charities always eases any guilt I have!

Is it too early to wish everyone Merry Christmas yet? 🙂

clutter-free at Christmas

Time to have “The Talk” about Christmas

304 words. 3 minutes to read.

Christmas gifts from relatives and friends are always awkward.

Will they spend too much? Too little? Am I a cheapskate?

Are they going to buy something horrible and tasteless I have to pretend I like?

Am I going to get yet another pair of Homer Simpson socks?

Homer Simpson socks

Homer Simpson socks…do you REALLY need another pair?

It’s time to have The Talk.

Years ago, my brother and I agreed to stop buying each other Christmas gifts. It was a great decision that has made my Christmas better every year since.

We’ve both saved a lot of money and a lot of stress of having to work out what the other wants and likes.

Now, as adults who have pretty much everything we need, The Talk has saved us buying useless stuff that neither of us needs.

Over time, I’ve had The Talk with friends and other family members. I receive few gifts at Christmas, and it makes me much happier. I don’t feel indebted to anyone, and I don’t receive stuff I don’t want or need.

Likewise, we’ve encouraged our children to not buy each other gifts at Christmas and birthdays.

It has been a breath of fresh air in our lives.

Christmas should be about family getting together and sharing good times. If you’re religious, it’s about Church and Christ.

It should never be about guilt, consumerism and stress.

Chances are that some of your loved ones would love to have a No Gifts policy with you, they’re just not ready to take the first step. They’re afraid of what you might think. They’re afraid you might think they’re a cheapskate.

So be brave. Make your lives better. Quit the craziness. Find some peace this holidays.

Isn’t is time for you to have The Talk with people you love this Christmas?

Isn't it time you had The Talk?

Isn’t it time you had The Talk?