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.

Video

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.

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.