TED talks to inspire minimalism

via @shirleybeniang

The new year is full of resolutions and wide-eyed optimism. There’s this feeling that the slate is clean and it’s time to start fresh. If you’re a fan of decluttering or feel that a minimalist lifestyle might help you clear your space and your mind, then check out these 5 TED Talks that will inspire you to be a minimalist. View Post

kids-declutter-toys

Do you ever look around your house and think – Where did all this STUFF come from?

It happens to the best of us. It happens to the ‘us’ that strive for minimalism in their daily life. It happens to mostly all of us. Especially when there are kids added to the equation.

I’m fairly diligent when it comes to purging toys and clothes, and donating or recycling them. I try to go through closets on a monthly basis to take out things that don’t fit right, I pull out toys that are no longer played with, but in all honestly, I usually do this alone.

Why do get rid of excess toys and clothes by myself? Because it’s easier!

There’s no children around to watch you get rid of their suddenly ‘favourite’ toys, their prized possessions that haven’t been touched in months… No whining about favourite t-shirts that are two sizes too small – it takes a lot faster to go through it quickly, throw it in a box, and donate it that same day.

But then it occurred to me that there’s no children watching me purge the excess stuff.

Kids do as they see – not necessarily what they’re told. They learn by watching. They see the example you set for them and they will follow it. Nobody likes to be lectured to and told what to do. And if the kids aren’t watching me remove the stuff that’s no longer needed, just hearing about it, how will they really understand? View Post

Books About Minimalism

When I first discovered minimalism, it’s like my eyes had finally opened for the first time.

I know that sounds so cheesy, but a lightbulb went off over my head and for the first time in a long time, I felt like I could breathe again. The anxiety I had incurred over ‘stuff’ that I wanted, and thought that I needed, became a dark shadow over my life. These things I had purchased, items that brought me so much joy, made me feel nothing. My life was filled was a whole lot of nothing.

Meaningless items, an abundance of clothing and shoes, junk paperwork mixed in with the important things – my life wasn’t extreme enough to be an episode of Hoarders, but I still didn’t feel good about my life and how I was living it. I was buying storage boxes to help me organize my stuff – and then I read to STOP buying plastic containers to ‘organize’ and store your things, and instead, just get rid of the things you don’t need or even use! An AHA! moment if there ever was one. View Post

Minimalist Inspiration

Minimalism inspires me. It gives me a sense of peace. When my surroundings are cluttered, so is my mind. Minimalism is a lifestyle. It’s an approach that can be applied to many elements of life.  Here are some of my favourite minimalist inspirations.

The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo
This book flips the usual minimalism approach on its’ head by simply asking if an object brings you joy – and if not, why are you keeping it? What purpose does it serve? The simplicity in this method makes it so simple to rid yourself of the excess.

Miss Minimalist & The Joy of Less by Francine Jay
One of the first websites I discovered about the minimalist lifestyle, I adore the weekly reader profiles and learning about minimalism through different perspectives. Francine Jay also wrote a wonderful guide book to minimalism, which I believe to be required reading.

Zero Waste Home: The Blog & The Book by Bea Johnson
A zero waste lifestyle is very comparable to a minimalist lifestyle, and eco-friendly to boot. Bea Johnson is a chic, French woman living in California with her husband & two children, who lives simply, reuses, recycles, and attempts to limit what ends up in a landfill.

Zen Habits
Leo Babauta is a self-help guru with a minimalist approach at his core. Every post is more inspiring than the last – from ‘How Not To Hurry’ to ‘The Zen of Doing’, and even ‘The Ultimate Guide to Get Lean’. Read his most popular posts here.

Nourishing Minimalism
A more gentle approach to minimalism, this blog focuses on real food and simple living. Rachel is a mom to 6 and encourages a minimalist approach in all aspects of life, from your closet to your kitchen.

The Minimalists
Joshua & Ryan have become superstars in the minimalist world. Having authored many books, going on tour, and speaking at TedX, they started their journey into minimalism with a 21-day journey. Read about it here.

Minimalist Baker
Taking the simplified approach to cooking by sharing recipes that take less than 10 ingredients, use one bowl, and take 30 minutes or less to make. The beautiful photography makes me salivate…

Little Eco Footprints
Tricia writes this blog about living better with less, which for her means living close to nature and helping her children discover the beauty of simplicity. Playing in the dirt is mandatory.

20 Liter Life
A backpack that can contain up to 20 litres of stuff is all that Vince & Franklin each need to live comfortably. A blog about travel, productivity, and enjoying life without accumulating all the baggage that goes with it.

Project 333
Taking a sensible minimalist approach to your wardrobe. Courtney challenges you to wear 33 items or less for 3 months. Could you do it?

Rowdy Kitten & You Can Buy Happiness (And It’s Cheap)
Tammy Strobel, writer and photographer, decided to drastically change her life, sell her stuff, and live in a tiny home on wheels. Her story inspires many, and proves that there is no one right way to live a life to equal happiness.

Does minimalism inspire you? I think everyone could benefit from a little bit of simplicity, whether that means saying ‘No’ to unnecessary demands and saying ‘Yes’ to yourself, cleaning off your bedside table, or eating a whole foods diet. What are your favourite minimalist sources?

Minimalist "Playroom" c/o Houses Interior Design

Minimalist “Playroom” c/o Houses Interior Design

With de-cluttering on my brain, I’ve come across a lot of blog posts and articles about our kids’ toys and minimalism – or rather that toys ≠ minimalism. Shocking, isn’t it? I’m always limiting toys, purging toys, donating and selling toys – but it’s like a plague over here, they keep coming back! It’s like they’re all hiding under the bed, waiting for me to get rid of the ‘sucky’ toys, and come out with a vengeance. Yes, the toys.

You might know that I’m taking a well-deserved break this weekend in Whistler, but come Monday I’ll be de-cluttering and getting rid of even more toys, to at least a minimum level, an acceptable, easy-to-clean level. But what is that level exactly? How many toys is enough?  View Post

How to Pack Light on Vacation - Tips!

Packing light is an art of practicality and a test in minimalism. As the years pass and we’ve taken more trips as a family of four, I’ve received a first hand education on how to pack light on vacation.

It wasn’t always like this! I’m an ex-overpacker, it’s true. I used to pack almost our entire wardrobes to go on vacation, just to make sure we’d have everything we could possibly need. Each family member would have their own suitcase (that’s four huge suitcases taking up trunk space), plus there would be an additional mini-suitcase for toiletries, a beach bag full of towels, and sometimes I’d need another bag just for extra shoes.

The reason for all this over-packing was worry and fear. It was perfectionism in the worst form: to make sure everything was just right I would have to bring everything we could possibly need and use, so my family wouldn’t go without anything. There were different outfits for each day of our trip and for dinners at night, and sometimes there would be alternate outfits in case something got dirty or ruined, justincase! If anyone got cold, or it was rainy, or too hot, we were prepared.

But it was exhausting to pack like this. It made vacations less fun to have to carry so much around. And it would usually find me searching through piles of clothes because I know I brought this one item that I now can’t find in the sea of suitcases.

Therefore, I learned to pack light for vacations. View Post

7-diy-home-cleaning-recipes

Years ago, I became obsessed with the idea of saving money on things I used on a day-to-day basis. Influenced by shows like Extreme Couponers, I quickly joined up couponing websites and forums to try and catch the best deal possible on everything imaginable. At one time, I spent a couple of months purchasing cleaning products at great prices (basic couponing tip: use coupons when the item is on sale at the store! A window cleaner’s regular price might be $4.99, on sale right now for $2.50, and I have a $1.50 off coupon, making that $5 item only a $1.00!) – only to discover after that I had hoarded almost one hundred bottles of various home cleaners.

None of which were eco-friendly. Not only had I gone against basic minimalist principles, against basic zero waste principles, I now had enough toxic chemicals to kill a baby bear (I wish I were joking…). And I had a new baby in the house and was suddenly stressing out about all the toxic chemicals that I was putting on surfaces and into the air. So I sold these store-bought cleaning products to a local cleaning lady (making a tiny profit!) and went back to square one. I started making my own DIY natural home cleaning products.  View Post