For me, right now: January 2019

 

For me, right now: January 2019 - what I've been doing, reading, listening to, making and thinking about #slow living
Living here, we’re not desperate to get away for a holiday

School is back and all of a sudden, it’s stifling hot – it must be the end of January. I’ve had a very chilled-out month, enjoying the school holidays and opportunity to forgo my usual routines.

Introducing Holly and Lenny - two recent additions to our family #slowliving
Introducing Holly and Lenny – they’ve already grown so much since this picture

After Christmas, we welcomed two new members to our family: Lenny (he’s black and white) and Holly (she’s the tabby). We’re enjoying getting to know them and watching them get up to all sorts of mischief. It’s like having a toddler in the house again.

The summer holidays were one epic staycation. We took advantage of the beach being only a stroll away. The wee guy went on a little holiday of this own to my parent’s farm. Mr More Time and I had three nights at home by ourselves. It was quite a shock to the system.

The only big “it’s easier without the wee guy” task we embarked on was clothes shopping. It confirmed that wandering around the shops is not a pastime I miss, not that I was ever a great shopper.

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For me, right now: July 2018

For me, right now: July 2008 | Our kitchen and the joy sparking stools
Our kitchen and the joy sparking stools

“Does it spark joy?” For devotees of the KonMari method this is THE defining question as to what you should keep in your home and what you should ditch. I’m not a KonMari devotee – some aspects of her method appeal to me, others, not so much.

What I like about the whole sparking joy thing is the acknowledgement that our attachment to stuff isn’t purely rational. What I don’t like is some of the practices I’ve seen it lead to – what I categorise as rampant updatism. Like getting rid of all your towels, which, until yesterday, were perfectly functional, but now no longer spark joy and must be immediately updated to something more joy sparking.

Well, this month I did some updating of my own and it sparked a ridiculous amount of joy. We have new bar stools and every time I glimpse them I smile. I’m now considering updating something else. Is this the beginning of the end?

Continue reading “For me, right now: July 2018”

How to save time and energy using meal planning

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I stood at the checkout, nervously watching as the total climbed, hoping it would match the tally in my head. I handed over the precious bills from a dog-eared envelope marked “Groceries”, the steadily reducing amount scrawled on the front read $140, $120, $100, $80. We were down to our last dollars. We’d been paid everything we were owed and there was no new work in the pipeline. We had a nine-month-old at home and a mortgage to pay. Times were stressful, very stressful.

The one relief was that, as I left the supermarket to take the groceries home, I knew I had enough to feed my family for the week. Come what may, I had that comfort. I had that comfort because I had a plan. I’d meticulously planned our meals for the week to match our diminished budget. From there, I’d made a list of exactly what we needed, no more, no less.

While I started meal planning out of financial necessity, five years later, with our cashflow woes long behind us, it continues to be a weekly ritual. Why do I still bother? These days, it’s less about peace of mind and more about taking a load off my mind.

Meal planning saves me time and money, but most of all it saves me from that dreaded task of trying to think up something to cook for dinner every night. If you are looking for an easy win to simplify your life, it’s meal planning. It’s not rocket science, but there are definitely some traps you want to avoid and some tricks to make it easier.

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For me, right now: November 2017

I’ve got 46 minutes before it’s time for school pick-up. Before I head out the door, let’s see what I can tell you about what’s going on for me right now.

November highlights

This month was a bit of a milestone. I got my first gig consulting in the not-for-profit sector. This was a milestone in two ways:

  1. I secured my first ever client (I’ve since completed the work. They love it, I loved it – success)
  2. It was a significant tilt into paid work, I had a few wobbles, but I didn’t sink.

If you follow me on Facebook or Instagram you might have seen my post about the cakes.

My supermarket cakes

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Mantras to stop impulse buying

I’ve decluttered thousands of things from my home. I love it and I want to keep it that way. I’ve also set an audacious financial goal that excites me. Does that make me immune from buying crap on impulse – no!

Financial freedom feels better than any purchased products. Mantras to stop impulse buying. Shopping. Black Friday. Cyber Monday.

Despite all my good intentions, I still find myself in a shop, a prospective purchase in hand (or in my online cart), on the precipice of a not-so-great buying decision.

Occasionally, I slip up and make a random impulse purchase. However, while I’m still tempted – often – my powers of resistance are much improved. Pesky social conventions like actually buying the thing I’ve stood in line for five minutes waiting to purchase are no match for me! So, what’s my secret?

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Why I don’t sell my stuff … and why I don’t think you should either

Why I don't sell my stuff, and why I don't think you should either

I have decluttered thousands of items from my home over the last few years. I can count the number of items I sold on one hand. Selling things is not my go-to method of getting rid of my excess stuff and I don’t think it should be yours either.

When I started decluttering, the first thing to go was my Nintendo Wii. It had been sitting there, still in its box from when we’d moved into the house ­-two years ago! I loved that Wii; I managed to complete an entire 12-week fitness programme on that thing (something I’d never done before and haven’t managed since). But my life had changed, so it just sat there.

Just because I didn’t use it, didn’t mean I didn’t think about it. I’d catch a glimpse of the box under the coffee table and feel guilty – what a waste.

I must set that up.”

Ick, I can’t be bothered with setting that up. All those cords.”

Hmm, I should sell it. I’m never going to use it now, I can get some of the money back.”

Right, I’m going to sell it. Better set it up to check it’s all there.”

Well, if I can set it up, I might as well keep it. If it’s set up, I’ll use it.”

Ick, I can’t be bothering setting that up now, all those cords. I’ll do it later.”

Sound familiar?

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Minimalist Christmas – a gift guide

Gifts, the dilemma of dilemmas for aspiring minimalists! Giving, receiving – it all becomes fraught.

A Christmas Gift Guide for Minimalists

Personally, I wouldn’t be without gifts at Christmas. I love watching my Dad trying to guess all his gifts before opening them, and seeing my Mum coming into the room late in the day having just found that gift she bought for me months ago and had stashed in a “safe place”.

But then there is the other side – the gag toilet seat golf set from Secret Santa or another hand cream. You do your best to keep things minimal all year, only to be defeated by Christmas clutter creep.

You don’t have to be a Grinch to be a minimalist at Christmas. Here are some tips to help you through. Continue reading “Minimalist Christmas – a gift guide”

My must haves this Christmas

Warning: This post DOES NOT contain affiliate links. My holiday essentials aren’t something you can buy in a shop.

My Christmas Must Haves - How I Approach Christmas as a Minimalist

Christmas – you’ve probably noticed that it’s approaching fast. Here in New Zealand, we don’t have Thanksgiving and we don’t really have Halloween, so the shops have been waiting for Christmas since Fathers’ Day in September.

Some people love Christmas, some people hate it. I oscillate between the two. Generally, I enjoy Christmas day, but can’t stand all the hoopla of the whole holiday season. I’m not Christian (or religious at all), so it can be a challenge to find meaning in Christmas beyond consumerism – gifts and food, and lots of them. Not to knock gifts and food, but if you’re looking for real joy in Christmas, gifts and food alone isn’t going to do it.

Christmas is a challenge to my more minimalist and anti-consumerism values. But that’s not a bad thing, because preparing for Christmas prompts me to pause, reflect and clarify my intentions. That leads to my must haves for mindful and meaningful Christmas. Continue reading “My must haves this Christmas”

Zeroing in on food waste

It is Friday, so it’s time to check in about my food waste over the last fortnight.

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What’s going into my freezer after this morning’s supermarket shop

Above zero

I am pleased to report that last week was another zero food-waste week, however unfortunately this week we wasted half a scoop of chips. It was a classic case of our eyes being bigger than our stomachs when ordering at the local fish and chip shop. My husband diligently cleaned up and threw them out before I managed to make a move to save them. I was going to try to reheat them the next day – they’d probably be quite soggy I’d imagine!

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