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

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.

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