Mid-2018 Minimalism goals review

At the start of the year I made a post here about my goals for decluttering and minimalism in 2018. I had planned to declutter slowly but I’ve been feeling a lot better mentally and this has led to a lot of fast and furious decluttering – over 1700 items! As a result, I have virtually completed all of my goals for the year that I originally set so it’s time to set some new ones.

Review of my original goals

• The jigsaw puzzles I felt were becoming a chore so I donated them all including the puzzle board.
• The bath and body products have nearly all been used up and I am switching over to eco-friendlier alternatives with fewer chemicals.
• I am now down to only 7 notebooks and those that are left are almost finished, plus I have started writing again so it looks like I will actually need to buy a new notebook sometime soon!
• I tried to complete my cross stitch projects but honestly felt so burdened by the thought of having to spend so many hours to complete large pieces for a hobby I haven’t been enjoying for around 18 months now that I actually threw away my projects and then gifted all my threads to a family member who was very happy to receive them.
• I sold my D-SLR for £200 – the rising cost of electronics in the UK worked in my favour as a year previous I had only been offered £100.
• The colouring books were all either recycled or donated as I found it wasn’t a hobby I enjoyed after all.
• My final goal was to continue decluttering my books; well I have donated many books this year but I still have a few to read before I am down to owning only my absolute favourite and most important books but they are definitely thinning out. In total I now own only 39 books, down from over 600 before I began my minimalist journey 6 years ago.

Results

• It now takes us only 5 minutes maximum to pick up the entire room
• Free from other hobbies which were distracting me from my one true love, writing, I have now slowly started scribbling away here and there
• My partner feels happier and calmer in our new space, although he now claims that my share of the chores is far too small!
• I have begun eating healthier, including finally kicking my addiction to sugar since I have so few distractions now. I’ve also reformulated my work out plan to something I think will suit my lifestyle better and we started going to the sauna/steam room quite frequently which has been bliss!

New goals

• Notebooks – Finish using them all up until there is only 1 left.
• Books – I think my books can definitely be cut in half again.
• Headphones – For some reason we seem to have at 6 pairs floating around when 3-4 would be enough.
• Wardrobe – I think there are items in there I’m hanging on to that I could probably thin out. Especially socks, for some bizarre reason I own more than 60 pairs of socks…
• Jewellery – I rarely wear jewellery so why I still own a jewellery box at all is beyond me.
• Bags – I still own far too many bags when I typically only ever use one.
• Mementos – I’m debating getting rid of these altogether since I never look at them unless I’m decluttering – if they are so important why are they still shoved in a box under my bed?
• Toy animals – I’ve narrowed these down a lot, getting rid of 3 huge bin bags of them, but I still own far too many.
I guess mostly my goals now are about refinement and working towards the kind of lifestyle I have been wanting to achieve for a very long time. With fewer distractions, it’s getting easier and easier to focus on the things that really matter and incorporating lifestyle changes. I hope by the end of the year to be much closer to where I want to be.
How is your journey with minimalism going in 2018? Share with me in the comments below.

 

Advertisements

Am I bad for the planet?

I recently did an online quiz to calculate my carbon footprint and the results were shocking. My footprint was around 5.1 tonnes per year and as a result we would need two planets in order for the whole world to have the same lifestyle as me. I had been expecting to hear that we would only need one planet for everyone to live the way I do! In comparison to the average Brit who has an 11 tonne footprint though, my footprint was less than half of this which is positive at least. Still, it got me thinking, am I really that bad for the planet? And how can I improve?

What am I already doing?

  • Recycle as much as possible
  • I often turn things off at the plug when not in use
  • I only shower 2-3 times a week (I lead a sedentary lifestyle right now)
  • We don’t have children
  • I walk everywhere
  • I do not own a car
  • We wash our clothes on 30
  • We air dry our clothes
  • We don’t bag fruits and vegetables unnecessarily at the supermarket
  • We freeze or eat leftovers
  • I have many items of clothing which are ten years old
  • If I no longer want an item of clothing I donate it
  • I wear my shoes until they cannot be worn any longer
  • I mostly only buy second hand books
  • I no longer smoke
  • We are minimalists and therefore don’t believe in excessive consumerism
  • Our pets are fed and sleep on bedding produced locally rather than from miles away
  • Many of our food staples are very local and only travel a couple of miles to reach us
  • I have begun incorporating more fruits and vegetables into our diet
  • In general I try to use everything until the end of its life or otherwise donate it

What am I not doing?

  • I usually take one round-trip flight per year of around 3-4 hours each way
  • I go through around 1-2 plastic bottles a day because of my addiction to sugary drinks
  • I still drink bottled water occassionally
  • I have begun forgetting to take shopping bags with me to the supermarket
  • I am almost always on my laptop or phone
  • I am always cold so the heating is always on

How could I do better?

  • Try to quit or at least reduce my addiction to sugary, fizzy drinks
  • Get even better at turning items off at the plug
  • Quit bottled water altogether
  • I could quit flying altogether (This shouldn’t be too difficult as I’ve developed a phobia of it!)
  • I could have a technology-free morning/evening once a week
  • Grow some of my own food (I have actually already applied for an allotment a few weeks ago)
  • Begin carrying a stainless steel straw with me everywhere again
  • Get back in the habit of always taking shopping bags with us
  • I only buy take out coffee on day trips somewhere but often this goes hand in hand with forgetting my reusable mug so I can try to remember this in future
  • Go back to using Dr Bronner’s soap

Well there you have it, I have some ideas on how to improve. What about you? Have you calculated your carbon footprint? What steps are you taking to change your lifestyle to a more planet-friendly one? Share with me in the comments below and thanks as always for reading.

A mini home improvement project

BeFunky Collage.jpg

We are really tight on space right now as we are living with family, but since we will likely be here for another 6 months I wanted to try and make the room look a bit nicer. Initially we were going to decorate the whole room when we moved in as it was one of the last rooms left to decorate after my family bought the home from an older lady. However we initially decided not to because we had so much stuff in there and did not think we would be staying so long, but as always life likes to throw a few curve balls! So the decor is a mix of old lady meets young couple who had to move their flat into a bedroom! Today I decided to tackle this mini project – the top of our chest of draws.

My idea was to reduce the amount of clutter in the room and also the different colours to more neutral tones to make the room feel less ‘busy’. When I began the project and I stopped to think about this space I couldn’t understand what was going through my mind when I bought those bright blue baskets as I have never decorated any space that colour and think they are a huge eyesore! I guess this is what happens when you buy on impulse and don’t think about what will suit the space and style you already have.

The first thing we did was to declutter the basket – we got rid of about 2/3rds of the items and then I replaced the blue basket with a more simple white one for £2. I returned the library book and removed the multi-coloured journals which are to be decluttered later tomorrow. The basket will go to be donated as it is in perfect condition and I am sure there is someone else out there who will enjoy that brightly coloured, er… monstrosity.

What do you think of the before and after? Have you been working on a home project lately? Or is redecorating on your to-do list in 2018? Share with me in the comments below.

 

My decluttering goals for 2018

As someone who has already been on the minimalism journey for 5 years now I am more in the maintenance phase of the journey, however I have noticed things starting to creep back into our space and so here are my decluttering goals for 2018.

My tower of jigsaw puzzles.

My overall goal is to focus on using up what I already have.

  • Puzzles – Quite typically for me, I went overboard buying puzzles during the period when this became my favourite hobby. Now I have around 12 or so left to complete. This stack is taking up 1/4 of the space under my bed so I’m keen to get them done and in future only buy 1 at a time.
  • Bath/body products – I was gifted a lot of bathroom products at Christmas but I hadn’t actually finished last years!
  • Notebooks – As a writer I have gathered a lot of notebooks over the years as I was in the habit of buying when I already had a stack. During the later end of 2017 I managed to finish several and plan to continue doing so in 2018 until I am down to only one notebook at a time.
  • Cross stitch – 7 years ago I used to love cross stitch. I spent hundreds of pounds buying threads and materials, patterns and so on. However for the last 18 months my interest has gone and now I am left with excessive materials which would take me years to use up, so my plan is to try sell what is left and recoup some of the money.
  • Camera – I bought a D-SLR camera almost 2 years ago but haven’t used it nearly as much as I thought I would so I’m also hoping to sell that this year.
  • Books – I have around 20 unread books at the present. After I have finished reading them I will donate so that someone else can enjoy them.
  • Colouring books – Once again I started a new hobby and went overboard buying far too much, unfortunately it turned out that colouring was not something I enjoyed as much as I thought I would and now I am left with several colouring books. Thankfully some are unused and can be sold or gifted on.

As you can see the vast majority of my plans are long-term so in essence my decluttering for 2018 will look like a walk rather than a run!

My notebook stash.

How about you? Do you have plans to declutter in the new year? Share with me in the comments below and thanks as always for dropping by.

Using it up: Going zero waste beyond packaging

I wanted to talk about something today regarding going zero waste. The focus of the zero waste movement so far has been about making no rubbish which has to go to landfill as well as producing fewer items for recycling. But recently I have been thinking about expanding the meaning of zero waste in my life.

The Chain of Waste

If I purchase a book, that book will have arrived at the bookstore in a large cardboard box along with either paper filler, bubble wrap, or plastic fillers to prevent damage; sometimes plastic wrap is also used. If I purchase an item of clothing in a store it will have arrived in store shrink wrapped in plastic which is removed before the item goes out on sale. If I purchase loose fruit and vegetables the trays used to transport that to a supermarket are still covered with large plastic liners. Whenever we purchase anything there is a whole trail of waste created right from the raw materials being mined, logged or manufactured all the way through to how that item reaches the store in order for us to purchase that item.

Therefore in order to further the zero waste lifestyle I feel that we must look at not only how much packaging we take home with us, but also consider how much waste was likely created for its production – after all, if we follow zero (home) waste, then we could purchase 100 items of clothing and recycle all 100 cardboard price tickets, and call this an ecological act.

I think when we consider the amount of waste created in order for a product to reach us, then we owe it to our wallets and to the environment to make sure that we use the items we purchase. After all if we buy 100 items but only use 2 then the resources and money required for those other items are being wasted.

A Culture of Hauls and Stashes

Being in many groups on Facebook for various hobbies over the years I have seen the rise in doing hauls, stashes and excessive buying grow in increasing popularity. There’s nothing wrong with a haul now and then but often I saw people buying far more of one particular type of item than what I could see them feasibly using in a lifetime – and that’s if they even decide to keep doing that same hobby for the next fifty or more years!
I used to be jealous, but now I reflected and I wonder how can you be jealous of people who buy things they will never use? If we don’t use something, what is the point in owning it? I don’t believe there is any joy to be gained in items that just sit and gather dust year after year, if anything the need to clean those items, maintain them, arrange them and so on just makes me long for the simple life! I’ve also seen a really ungrateful attitude with some people doing hauls – in one I watched as the poster opened box after box throwing the contents carelessly to one side!

My challenge to you

If you’re reading this blog I’m guessing it’s because you have either an interest in zero waste or minimalism, so here is my challenge to you for the following year – please let me know how you get on, I would love to hear your stories!

How many of us have books, DVD’s, clothes, various hobby paraphernalia lying around at home which never sees the light of day? I think everyone does to some degree so I’m challenging you to look around your home and ask yourself what you can prevent be wasted in your home. What books haven’t you read? What movies have you bought and never watched? Could you finish an old project you began? If you no longer have the same enthusiasm for a hobby anymore, could you pass on the related items on while they are still in good condition to prevent them being wasted? If you still enjoy your hobby what would it be like to have only one project at a time and stick with it until completion? Here’s a couple of key questions to ask yourself:

  • Do you have items in your home being wasted through lack of use?
  • Could you make a commitment to using those items up before purchasing new ones?
  • If you no longer wish to use the item, can you donate it to a charity or friend who will use it?

My commitment

Of course I am not going to challenge you to something I am not prepared to do myself so here’s a couple of plans I have for 2018 with regards to not wasting items.

  • For a while now I have seen my interest in sewing decline with no renewal so I am planning to keep only the threads I need to finish my 2 current projects and selling the rest to someone who will use them.
  • I also have a pile of maybe 15 books which are currently unread so in 2018 I will be working my way through the pile and donating the books afterwards.
  • For several months I have been working my way through my stack of notebooks and paper and am pleased to say I’ve finish several since I stopped buying. I’m hoping to get down to owning only 1 notebook in 2018 instead of 20 half-finished ones! (As a small side note I recycle all the paper I use.)

Let me know how you get on in the comments below!