March is social media free month!

456 words. 5 minutes to read.

Have you ever looked up from your phone or laptop, and realized that you’ve spent hours stuck down the rabbit hole of social media?

I have.

I quit Facebook a few years ago, and before I knew it, I was addicted to Twitter.

Then I stopped posting on Twitter so much because I was wasting so much time there, and I got addicted to Instagram.

These days, I’m on a variety of social media, and it often feels more of a burden than a pleasure.

I often feel like I have to check my feeds, even when I don’t want to.

Social media in your life

If you take stock and be honest…

– Do you ever feel worried about what you’re missing out on, if you don’t keep up with your feeds? I do.

– Do you ever ignore your kids, partner or other family members because you’re “busy” reading social media? I have. 

– Have you ever reached for your phone and read social media when you’re with friends or family, instead of communicating face-to-face with them? I have.

– Do you ever worry about how many “Likes” you’ll get, and find yourself checking a post over and over again to see who has “Liked” it? I have.

– Do you ever worry about what people will comment? I have.

– Do you ever worry about saying politically incorrect things or upsetting delicate or sensitive readers? I do.

– Do you ever feel like social media is the biggest waste of time in your life, and that you could spend that time on far more productive, positive things instead of social media if you weren’t on it? I do.

I notice that the popular people on social media say politically correct, unchallenging things, and they don’t ruffle feathers.

I’m a feather-ruffler by nature, and find the social media stifling to my free thought and free speech. Do you ever feel that way too?

Social media often feels like a race to the bottom, rather than a sharing of great ideas and actions. Does it ever feel that way to you?

Social media isn’t all bad

There’s nothing wrong with social media in itself, but it is very addictive for most of us.

What that means is, we spend so much time on social media, we often don’t prioritise what is truly important in our lives, and we spend hours trawling through social media instead.

So this month – this March – I’m quitting social media. Just for one month. Just for 31 days.

No Facebook.
No Twitter.
No Instagram.
No Snapchat.
No anything else.

Take a break

If you’d like to join me and experience what real life is like without social media, feel free to copy the image on this page, and post it on your own feed. Then say goodbye to your social media for 31 days.

Remove social media apps from your phone if it helps. That’s what I’ve just done.

Take a breath of fresh air.
Step outside.
Enjoy the view.
Enjoy the free time.
You don’t have to take a snap or share anything or add any filters or look for the best angle this time.
This time, just for 31 days, your life will belong to yourself again.

The Minimalists Social media podcast: Social media
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social media free month

March is social media free month

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.

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?

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

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.


The meaning of life…

270 words, 2 minutes to read.

When I was a teenager, I helped my boyfriend clear out his grandmother’s house after she died.

She was a hoarder. It took twenty of us six weekends to do the job.

At first, the family members and I trod carefully. Everything we picked up was debated, questioned, argued over.

There were cupboards full of china knick-knacks (could be precious!), and shoe boxes stuffed full of stamps still stuck to torn-open envelopes (could be valuable!).

There were suitcases of unlabelled photographs that nobody could identify and – I remember quite clearly – a huge pickle jar full of baby teeth from the seven children and numerous grandchildren she’d cared for over her life.

There were clothes from the forties, fifties, sixties and beyond, all gradually falling into disrepair. All a feast for moths now, all shabby, stained, and musty. Three garden sheds and a double garage full of tools, wires, plugs that didn’t fit anything. Oddments of twisted wire and bent nails.

At first the twenty of us trod carefully. But soon we grew tired. Soon the treasures just became junk.

Leftovers of a life that had gone.

In the end, the family members took very few items. I was offered items, but I took nothing. I felt overwhelmed and exhausted.

The rest of the belongings were either given to charity or sent to landfill.

We all took a deep, thankful communal breath when the job was finally done.

The lesson I learned from those weekends sorting through a dead woman’s life?

It still lives with me, thirty years later:

That stuff we buy in shops? It’s all just junk in the end. Life is more important than that.

Don’t waste your life on stuff.
Don’t let your possessions become a burden, for yourself or those you love.

Your stuff will never love you back.

Stuff is just junk in the end

That stuff we buy in shops? It’s all just junk in the end. Life is more important than that.

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.