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Minimalism

10 Minimalist Gift Ideas to Add Value to Your Life, Not Stuff!

With the gift-giving season fast approaching it’s the perfect time to rethink our normal gift-giving practices and adopt new ones. Gifts can help us to show how much we care for a loved one but they don’t have to be things in order to add value to their lives! Even with the best intentions, buying stuff can cause friends and family long-term clutter problems.

There is the guilt associated with receiving an unwanted gift that we have no use for. The worry of where to store or display another gift, that may have been extremely thoughtful but you know that space is severely lacking in your home. There is also the stress associated with buying a large amount of gifts with a limited budget. Not to mention the inner struggle of trying to guess what someone else might need or like when most people probably have everything that they need.

Sometimes the best gifts are not things at all and are just as valuable and useful to us. A donation of time to a family member in need, covering an expense that adds value to our lives or gifting an experience can provide a truly memorable gift that will be remembered long after that new set of tea towels you didn’t even need are forgotten.

If you are looking to simplify your life and holiday gift preparation consider giving a minimalist inspired gift. Here are 10 Minimalist Gift Ideas to add Value to your Life, Not Stuff for your loved one that will hopefully bring a smile to their faces and add value and joy, not more clutter to their lives.

1.  A Gift Card for a consumable
Is there something they need or love? Consider a gift card for a consumable such as a subscription service they love. Examples are Audible, Kindle Unlimited, Netflix, Spotify etc. They can read or listen to their favourite book or have a month of movies and TV shows on you!

2.  A movie gift box.
Let them enjoy a night in or out on you. Include a Netflix gift card or tickets to their local cinema, popcorn, drinks and snacks. Check out this movie gift box for some inspiration.

3.  An experience gift.
Such as ticket to the zoo, aquarium or the observatory. Other options are tickets to a show, game, or to see their favourite band.

4. Offer your time or skills.
Does someone you love need a babysitter, help with doing jobs around the house, someone to teach them to cook? Or simply offer to take them someone special. Sometimes donated time can be the greatest and most helpful gift.

5. Get artsy or crafty.
Put your creative talents to good use. If you are a sewer, writer, singer, painter, photographer, give a personal creative gift to someone special.

6. DIY beauty products.
Unleash your inner beautician with some Pinterest recipes of beauty products for lip balm, bath bombs, facial or hair masks. Some great ones are Vanilla Brown Sugar Body Scrub and DIY Home Made Soap Jellies.

7. Give the gift of food!
Everyone loves dessert, you can’t go wrong with this one! Some ideas are an ice cream box with different ice cream toppings and sauces, a waffle box, home made-brownies or cookies.

8. Their favourite beverage.
Let’s not forget the drink lovers. Cater to your loved ones preference whether that be wine, beer, spirits, cocktails, tea, coffee or hot chocolate!

9. Contribute to their upcoming holiday.
If your friend or family member has plans to go on a holidays in the not to distant future consider giving them money towards their trip to help them saving up for it. Alternatively ask them if there is a tour or attraction they wanted to do on their trip that you could gift them.

10. The gift of no gift giving obligation
Sometimes the best gift of all is simply saying to your family or friends not to worry about a gift. Gifts involve, planning, shopping, wrapping, carting them around on the day not to mention the cost of buying them. Save your loved one the stress associated with hitting the shops, finding a parking spot and managing the chaotic crowds at this busy enough time of year and give them the gift of freedom. Freedom from any obligation to buy you a gift so they can invest their time and money in something more valuable to them. Agree to forgo gifts and just enjoy each others company!

What are your minimalist gift ideas? Have you made any new family traditions around gift giving? Do you and your friends say no to gifts or have you found more creative ways to give at Christmas and other special occasions. Please share your ideas to simplify in the comments below!

 >>Heading off this Christmas season? Check out these 16 Easy Tips To Pack Minimally for Your Next Trip!
Minimalism

16 Easy Tips on How to Pack Minimally for Travel

What you pack can have a huge impact on the enjoyment of your travels. Packing with less can ensure an easier, less stressful travel adventure! Photo by: STIL

I’m back! I’ve just spent an amazing month travelling around Europe. It was my second trip there and I tried to soak in every minute of it. Of course every holiday must come to an end and I was quite glad to be home after a month of hauling our bags around from destination to destination.

This trip was a bit different than past travel as we were spending the first leg of the trip with the band doing a couple of shows so had to travel with our guitars as well as our luggage to all destinations. Unfortunately sending our stuff home was not an option. Many dollars were spent on that luggage, carting it across eight flights not too mention much the difficulty of carrying around 8kg backpacks on top of our other baggage. Not to say that we packed excessively but the situation certainly wasn’t ideal.

I looked over at travellers with one small carry on bag and envied them to no end! A man caught my eye walking around at Buckingham Palace with his tiny suitcase. At the same time, I watched people in the check in lines with bag after bag of stuff trying to assess what on Earth they possibly needed to bring in all those bags. (Faroese and Icelanders you are completely exempt your prices are ouch!). I knew where I wanted to be on the packing spectrum!

I was keen to take on the challenge of fitting our stuff into one suitcase for a month in Europe to see how little I could travel with. After travelling numerous times around the world I feel like with each trip I learn to get by with less and less and definitely feel that having less is more.

Here are 16 Easy Tips on How to Pack Minimally for Travel that have helped me keep our baggage minimal and essential.

  1. Use packing cubes to organise clothing.

I have never used these previously but was convinced after watching many packing videos that they were bound to make life on the road easier and more organised. On most trips I have found myself trying to find a sock or pajama top or something that was lost in the midst of my luggage bag, only to destroy the organisation of my bag in order to find said item. With these I could simply take them out and place them in a drawer or shelf and easily find what I needed.

These were a complete lifesaver on our trip. At one point we were over our baggage limit and facing the prospect of open our baggage and go through our unmentionables in view of the line behind us, we simply grabbed one of the larger packing cubes out to hold and voila we were under the baggage limit! They also give you a little piece of mind that if you ever had an issue with your luggage breaking you can easily grab your packing cubes and avert any huge crisis!

2. Use small containers for beauty products, creams etc. 

If you’re anything like me you have a myriad of beauty products that come with bottles of all shapes and sizes. When you are trying to pack these for a trip those large bottles can quickly add weight to your bag and take up considerable space. I love travelling but I am not going to do without my creature comforts.

For the past few trips I have been utilising small containers to help myself pack minimally and reduce the amount of products and large bottles I need to bring. These are great for storing bulky products like night creams, hand creams, moisturisers, toner, exfoliator etc.  They can be found at any cheap shop, grocery store, chemist or online. I particularly love the silicon squeezable tubes that are so easy to use and store a lot more of your product! I now can easily fit my different beauty needs without taking up too much valuable space.

3. Roll your clothing

Rolling your clothing can help you better organise your stuff. It can help you see what you have at a glance rather than piling everything on top of one another. It also helps to reduce your clothes from getting wrinkled. Some believe rolling your clothes creates more space but Tortuga Backpacks suggest that it only moves the space from the sides to the top of the bag. On my trip I personally felt like rolling did make it easier to fit more stuff in so would recommend it. Rolling your socks and packing them into your sneakers or shoes can save some extra space as well!

4. Pack enough clothes for seven days only 

It can be amazing how long you can survive with a small wardrobe! For Europe I packed two pairs of jeans, two other bottoms, a dress, two jackets, a pair of swimmers, two pairs of boots and a pair of thongs and about ten shirts. I thought that that would be a minimal wardrobe but when having access to a washing machine in our Airbnbs I really never got close to running out of clothes. If you have access to a launderette or washing machine or even, just hand wash your clothes as you need them you can help you get away with even less.

5. Pack a capsule wardrobe 

By packing a capsule wardrobe you can pack minimally and ensure that your outfit packing choices can mix and match and give you a range of outfits to choose from. By sticking to 2-3 main colours you can ensure most clothes can be worn with others and increase your options.

6. Review the weather of your destination before packing

On my first trip to Europe I was still new to overseas travel and really had no idea what weather I was in for. I packed a few summery items as we travelled in late September and I figured like our Autumn, it would still be reasonably warm. It wasn’t. I did not think to pack scarves, beanies, gloves or a warm enough jacket and so a lot of my packed luggage went unworn. The same thing happened for Thailand, I packed two pairs of jeans and didn’t wear them after I got off the plan and ended up having to buy a few clothes that were more weather appropriate.

I knew the next time I travelled I would be more prepared! Before you head overseas review the weather forecast for the locations you are going and research on Pinterest what to pack for your destination and the appropriate season. Don’t pack a bag full of things you won’t need and regret leaving the things you will at home.

>>If you want to learn more about minimalism and it’s benefits check out 13 Benefits of a Smaller Home

7. Limit shoes 

Where possible limit your shoe selections to 2-3 pairs including a pair of comfy walking shoes. On my first Europe trip we both ended up binning a pair of shoes we had that became increasingly uncomfortable to walk in and ended up buying new ones which isn’t the easiest when you are in a foreign country (and certainly not cheap!). Don’t get carried away trying to bring a shoe for each occasion or outfit. Ideally bring something for walking, something dressier and if necessary something activity appropriate like hiking books or things if you plan to go to the beach.

8. Download Audio and eBooks before you leave home

In the past I would often bring two books to read on a trip. One I was currently reading and another to start when I finished. Sometimes this became bothersome particularly if I didn’t end up reading much on my trip and still had to lug around a book. Give yourself some space and get the Audible or Kindle app before your trip  or OverDrive to save on valuable space without forgoing your reading.

9. Keep make-up minimal

Make up products can easily get out of hand travelling. Stick to your favourite products and avoid doubles. Bring one foundation, one eyeshadow pallete, blush and so on. Just stick to the basics. I found on my trip after bringing a small bag of make up I ended up only using about six items each day. My ideal six were; mascara, eyeliner, BB cream, blush, & an eyebrow pencil with some lucas paw paw ointment.

10. Get a travel perfume/cologne spray bottle

Bringing a bulky perfume bottle can be avoided by buying perfume travel bottles. This also avoids the risk of your bottle being damaged in transit and save you valuable space. (NB: Try and find a quality one, my $2 version leaked on the flight over :()

>>If you want to learn more about minimalism and it’s benefits check out The True Cost of Our Stuff

11. Limit Hair Tools, products and accessories

Pack minimally by not going overboard with the hair stuff. If you are staying in a hotel or Airbnb they will most likely provide you with a sufficient hair dryer. Bring the hair straightener if you absolutely have to. You’re on holidays leave the fancy stuff for home!

 

12. Limit your accessories

Keep accessories to a minimum, the last thing you want to worry about overseas is losing a sentimental piece of jewellery. Pick a handful of accessories to bring with you and leave the others at home. Two necklaces, one bracelet, a belt, a watch, one other pair of earrings and a pair of sunnies should be more than enough to accessorise with. Wear one piece and pack the other to limit what is in your baggage even further. I bought two necklaces, a watch, sunnies and a mix of bracelets and that was plenty for me 🙂

13. Use products that double up for other uses

Using Dr Bronners soap can give you one soap for a variety of uses. It can be used as a facial cleanser, shampoo, dishwashing liquid, laundry detergent and hand soap to name a few. This can save you bringing many other products or buying any at your destination. Moisturiser can be used as eye make up remover as well as shaving cream. A microfibre towel can be a back up towel as well as a handy tool for drying your washing.

14. Pack clothes that are easy to dry

Where possible pack a few items that can be washed and dried easily to help your clothes dry faster. The quicker your clothes dry the quicker you can be wearing them again.

15. Downsize your handbag and wallet

Before you leave for your trip, clear out your wallet of any receipts, cards etc that you will not be needing. Only bring the essential. Leave your over-sized handbag at home as well and opt for a smaller bag that will be easier to carry day to day. Preferably an over the shoulder ones so your hands can be free.

What are your tips to pack minimally? Do you travel with the same number of clothes for each trip? Share your tips for travelling minimally below in the comments 🙂

 

 

Minimalism

17 Ways to Reduce Mindless Consumption in Your Life

Photo by freestocks.org on Unsplash

Do you buy things frequently on impulse without thought to whether you truly need something or what you will use it for? You might be a mindless consumer.

Consuming is a necessary part of life. We need things to survive and thrive and at other times consuming brings us happiness. We work hard for our money so why shouldn’t we reward ourselves with nice things? This is all fine and life shouldn’t be about constant deprivation, but there is a point when consuming can become mindless consumption  and get out of hand, causing harm that may not be easily identifiable to most.

Have you ever done the following; bought two of something when you only needed one because it was on sale, bought something you saw in a shop without giving consideration to how or where you were going to store it or bought something only to realise when you got home that you already had that item and had just forgotten or misplaced it? These are tell tale signs of mindless consumption. 

Mindless consumption occurs when you buy without thought, usually on impulse. If you mimic these behaviors you might be carrying out behaviour that is consistent with a mindless consumer:

  • You hit the shops regularly, particularly to alleviate boredom to browse the aisles or shelves to see what takes your fancy
  • You spend hours each week at the shops and consider shopping your hobby
  • you buy things on credit because they were not a planned purchase so you didn’t save up in advance in order to purchase the item
  • you buy things just because they are on sale
  • you buy new clothes when you know that you can’t fit the ones you have in your wardrobe
  • you find it hard to stick to your budget or run out of money well before pay day

If you find yourself buying things you don’t need or that you regret on a regular basis you may need to reassess your shopping habits. Mindless consumption can lead to anxiety and stress. Whether it’s from clutter in your home that makes day to day life harder, stress about keeping up with credit card repayments or buyers remorse when you’ve spent money you weren’t supposed to on things you realise you probably didn’t need.

If you want to change the cycle and learn to be a more mindful consumer check out these 17 Ways to Reduce Mindless Consumption in Your Life.

  1. Learn to be content with what you have

A large part of our consumer culture is trying to fit in with the people around us. Whether that be having a newer car, most recent fashion, or the most awesome looking holidays. We often compare ourselves to others we see on social media that seem to have perfect lives, disregarding the true picture. It’s unrealistic to compare our lives with others when we don’t know their financial circumstances. Compare apples with apples not apples with oranges!

When we look at others and what awesome things they may have we need to remember that we don’t their income, what expenses they have, how much they save each week or how much debt they have taken on in order to fund their lifestyle choices. Unless they tell us their most intimate financial details we can’t possibly know and we shouldn’t need to worry as we all have our own financials to worry about. Maybe they earn good money and saved up for their car over a period of years or maybe they are living week to week and bought everything on credit. Comparing our lives to others when we don’t know the full picture gives us an uneven viewpoint and takes valuable time away from our own goals worrying about others.

If you don’t have a new car and are driving your regular old car be content that you can get from A to B and not have a car loan to pay each week. If you’re always wanting the next designer handbag or latest Nike runners you will never find happy. With the current weekly fashion cycle there will always be something new and more in than what you just bought there to make you feel inadequate – if you let it. Step outside of the consumer rat race. Make decisions that will benefit your life and increase your true happiness, not to impress others.

2. Look for happiness in experiences not things

Choosing experiences over stuff can lead to more mindful spending and increase happiness levels. Compare your thoughts and feelings about past purchases versus experiences. When was the last time you reminisced about the $500 designer jeans you bought or the must have new heels that were irresistible? Think back to Christmas two years ago. What did you get? Can you even remember? It’s highly likely that you can’t remember the awesome stuff you got at Christmas or what you bought at the mall but you can remember the experiences you had on your last holiday. That is because the memories we create, and the relationships we form and maintain are more important than the gifts that were exchanged or stuff we bought.

Reduce the focus and value you put on stuff. Having 100 pairs of heels might seem like a dream come true but could you be just as happy with 10 killer heels that you love and a relaxing holiday to explore a new and foreign destination? Instead of spending $100 a week shopping on things you will probably leave lying at the bottom of your wardrobe and forget about, imagine if you had instead saved that money and put it towards an overseas vacations with your family or friends. Or signed up for something that truly bought value and happiness to your life like joining a martial arts class, buying tickets to see your favourite band in concert, or getting those singing lessons you always dream about. These things can bring a whole new level of happiness and growth that can continue to bring contentment well after you’ve lost interest in your new purchases.

3. Get hobbies other than shopping

NY Daily News reported that the average women in America spends 399 hours a year shopping over 301 days. Alarmingly, Adweek  published results of a study by Varsity Brands that identified 80% of 13-18 year old girls listed one of their main hobbies as shopping. There is an increasing trend towards spending more and more of our time consuming.

Hobbies can provide us with many benefits; we can get exercise, learn new skills, develop our creativity, make new friends and find valuable uses for our free time that don’t include work or watching TV. Shopping can become an extremely expensive hobby with very little true benefit. There is nothing wrong with  shopping for things that we need as we need them. But when we shop aimlessly and unnecessary, whilst we are stuck in 4 walls searching endlessly for the next bargain we are missing out on other value adding activities like visiting an Art Gallery, learning a new language, spending time exercising out in nature or doing anything else that might be of interest to you. Not to mention the True Cost of all  that stuff that we walk away with including the environmental impact.

If you find yourself hitting the shops every day or very frequently, consider whether you are investing more of your time then you would like at the shops and consider alternative activities that you would enjoy over your next visit to the mall.

4. Stop shopping socially

If your only plans with friends are to go out shopping together reconsider your catch ups and change them to something more rewarding and less detrimental to your wallet. Consider going out for a coffee together instead or a river walk or join a class together. Find a new social activity to replace the regular shopping expedition. Speak to your friends about your desire to spend less time and money at the shops. You may find that they have been thinking the same thing and you can all help each other with your new found goal to reduce your shopping trips. Or if you really do love shopping with a friend, make sure you bring your list that you have built up an thought about over time to help you stick to your goals of shopping more mindfully.

5. Adopt a capsule wardrobe

Reduce the desire to shop for unnecessary clothing by adopting a capsule wardrobe. When you only have 30 or so of your favourite pieces to mix and match in your wardrobe, you will no longer feel the need to continually shop for more clothing as you will be content with what you have in your own home. You’ll also be more aware of what you do. Having a capsule wardrobe will help reduce the impulse buy clothing as you will always have something you love to wear on any given day. Set yourself a new goal, if you bring a new clothing item home that you need to get rid of something else to limit the temptation to buy something you probably don’t need. As you shop ask yourself what am I willing to donate in order to take this home? This will help you to reduce mindless consumption and help you only bring home what you genuinely need and will use.

 

 

6. Have a wishlist of things you want

Avoid walking into shopping centres with no plan or purpose. If you walk around aimlessly into store after store, you are guaranteed to succumb to temptation and purchase something you really don’t need. Instead of going to the shops regularly and to browse, only go with a well curated list of things that you need. Add to and build your list over time, this will  allow you to reduce your shopping trips and let you buy what you need in one visit. If you can get your shopping done once a week instead of in multiple trips you are going to see the added benefit of time savings, and we can all benefit from that!

7. Wait 24-48 hours minimum before buying anything

To help you resist the urge for mindless consumption it pays to pause before making purchasing decisions. The bigger the purchase the longer you will need to access the decision you are making. Stopping to think before we hand over our cash or cards can help us resist unnecessary purchases that we will regret later. It also allows us time, particularly for larger purchases to check reviews in a relaxed environment, ask friends for product recommendations and to truly think about the item before you part with your cash.

Having time to carefully consider your purchase before exchanging cash will allow you to reduce the number of items you are bringing into our home impulsively and potentially save you thousands each year. When we stop to think we can help reduce mindless consumption. The smallest pause can make a huge difference. Even if you just leave the shop and decide to think about it a bit more before you part with your cash you can always come back to the shop before you leave.

8. Be patient and wait for the right item

Sometimes we can find something close to what we want and by it only to find what we actually wanted soon after. To help avoid this and mindfully consume we need to be patient. Ask yourself what is the ideal item I have in mind for this item I am after? Think about the features you want in it. If it’s a new backpack, maybe you want something that is fold-able, has hidden zippers, a bottle holder, rain cover and is blue. Don’t grab just any bag or the one that is on special. Hold out for the one that you want with the features you need.

I wanted a rose gold necklace and found one that I really liked which was only $4. I was so tempted to put it into my basket but I wasn’t sure if it was what I truly was after. I imagined what necklace I would by without hesitation right now if I saw it and it wasn’t the one I was holding so I put it back. Asking yourself ‘is this something that I will be happy with no matter what other item I found from here’ can help you make the right purchase decision.

9. Declutter your belongings

One of the biggest reasons we are mindless consumers is because we don’t know what we already have. If your wardrobe is overflowing and your drawers are packed full to the point where you struggle to close them it’s highly likely that you probably have forgotten about what you even own. Out of sight out of mind right?

After decluttering over half my belongings, my need to consume reduced drastically. I soon realised what items I bought unneccessarily and what I wouldn’t buy again. I learnt what clothing and shoes I liked and what I didn’t. Decluttering your stuff will show you how little you need to be happy what you can live without. It has the added bonus of ingraining in you how much money you have previously wasted. Every time I sold something for $10 and thought how much money had gone down the drain was a lesson for me to change my old consumer ways! I now know that I don’t need ten pairs of great jeans and that owning three is more than enough and know I never want to revert back to my overflowing chaotic wardrobe of the past. Here’s a list of where to start!

10. Learn to differentiate needs versus wants

The next time you feel the urge to buy yourself something ask yourself is this a need or a want. Learning the difference between the two can be budgetary speaking – life changing. Buying what you want over what you need could mean the difference between a future home filled with endless trinkets and decor pieces, with the stress and time outlay that comes with maintaining your stuff, with a side of sky rocketing consumer debt. Sticking to only buying what you need more often than not can mean achieving freedom from debt much sooner and a life of contentment with only the most valuable items to you.

Maybe instead of buying that lovely aqua vase you can just admire it, accept that it is a lovely piece of decor and acknowledge that you already have a lovely vase at home and there would be better uses for that cash such as saving it rather than buying another decor piece to dust every week. If you ripped your jeans and only have one other pair, then it’s safe to say you probably do need a new pair and you can go out and replace those confident that you are mindfully consuming.

When you adopt a lifestyle of less you will start to appreciate what you do have much more than ever before and feel most content with less as everything you do have will serve a purpose in your life and hopefully bring you joy in some way.

11. Start saving and investing

Some people genuinely don’t have a plan for their earnings and therefore find themselves trying to find more and more things to spend it on. I recently heard a millenial interviewed about housing costs that said that because she couldn’t afford a house there was no point in saving any of her money. I couldn’t believe my ears? Because buying a house seemed  impossible there was no point in saving for anything. When you have no financial goals mindless consuming can quickly become the norm.

When you change your goals from what you want in terms of physical stuff and instant gratification to what your future you want a whole new change of mindset occurs. You will now have a new idea in mind for your hard earned cash. Instead of regularly blowing $200 on an impulse shop you could save or invest that money for the future. Over time watching your savings or investment increase over time will give you an equally awesome, yet guilt-free buzz!

12. Donate and help others

If you have enough cash to hit the shops every single weekend and buy every new gadget as it hits the store shelves, maybe you could consider an equally rewarding use of you cash. Helping others such as donating to charities instead of consuming can give your happiness levels a much longer lasting boost. Consider the joy you feel when buying a new top versus the joy you would feel knowing that you had donated to a worthy cause and changed someone in needs life for the better!

If you have endless time to scourer the mall and aisles, maybe your time could be better utilised volunteering to help others in need. Find a charity that resonates with you and one that you would feel pride helping. Donating our time or money can bring us a much greater sense of purpose and joy.

When we want less, we are able to give more.

13. Say no to debt and buy in cash

There is no greater way to encourage mindful consumption than to pay with purchases in cash. The simple rule is if you don’t have cash then you can’t afford it. Just because after pay is available doesn’t mean it is a good idea. And we all know it is so much harder to pay for something after the thrill of buying it is over.

If you want to truly know if something is worth buying and a mindful purchase, save up for it! Wait whatever time it takes to put that money away for it. Every time you are willing to sacrifice going out for dinner or happy to skip the morning coffee you will know that what you are saving to buy is going to add value to your life and something you are willing to make sacrifices to get.

When you finally buy your item you can truly appreciate it for the hard work you put in and know you can walk away with your new awesome purchase completely debt and repayment free!

14. Borrow or buy things second hand

The next time you are on your way to the shops to buy something ask yourself could I borrow this or buy it second hand? I recently planned to buy an electric sander which was only $80, my thought process was – oh that’s not too expensive, I will just buy it. I then considered whether I could borrow it instead and asked around and managed to borrow one off my step father for free. My last photo shoot I wasn’t sure what to wear and managed to borrow a beautiful dress off my sister in law for the day that cost me nothing! Each of this little changes to buying habits adds up and in time you can return the favour.

Ebay, Gumtree and sites like Craigslist have opened us up to more options for things we need but don’t necessarily need to buy new. By borrowing or buying something second hand we can not only save money, but can help the environment by reusing something rather than having it end up in landfill. Thrift shops are also a great option to find pre-loved items on the cheap.

15. Ignore the catchy sale signs

I used to swoop to those sale racks or tables as quick as anyone else ever did. It’s what frugal people do right, who would pay full price? Maybe so, but it’s only frugal if you are buying something you need, not something just because it is on sale. Often people get caught up in the ‘savings’ and hype of a bargain. If you bought one $50 top and got one free you didn’t save $50 you spent $50. The next time you are at a sale rack ask yourself this:

“If this was full-price would I be willing to buy it”?

If the answer is no, then maybe you are just buying it because it is on sale and you need to reconsider your decision. If your answer is a resounding yes that would show that you have made an informed decision and found the perfect item, ideally an item that you love, that sparked joy and fit perfectly and made you feel great. When you stop buying things just because they are on sale you can start buying what you really want – even if it is full-price – as long as you are sure that it is what you truly want rather than just a spur of the moment decision.

16. Educate yourself on waste and the impact on the environment 

By educating ourselves we can open our eyes to the negatives of our consumer culture and mindless consumption and it’s impact on the environment. ABC’s War on Waste recently reported that Australian’s are disposing of 6,000 kilograms of fashion and textile waste every ten minutes. Being aware of our environmental impact can help us make better decisions. Sometimes we need that extra nudge to kick us into action and make changes to our consumption behaviour.

When we realise that our purchasing decisions can make an impact on the environment or other people or animals lives that can aid us to make more mindful consumption choices. When we see the level of waste that occurs we might think a little bit more about each purchase. It could be a simple decision to buy more quality, timely pieces that last longer rather then cheaper pieces that end up in landfill in 12 months time or after a season.

17. Learn to value your time

One trap of the consumer culture is that we all seems to lose sight of the value of time. We are all so focused on getting more and more money and more and more stuff and forgetting our most important resource – time. A resource that we can never get back.

Think back to all those hours you spent shopping. Whether it be at the mall or online, or browsing Amazon. Not to mention the time spent in traffic getting to the shop, the time spent waiting in line or to try those clothes on. Think of what you could have done instead with all that time! Was everything you bought last year worth the time you spent earning it? Or even everything you have ever bought? I am certainly no stranger to wasting money on things I didn’t need and that I eventually regretted buying. In order to assess this it can be helpful to calculate our purchases in hours, that is the time taken to earn the money spent as opposed to dollars.

As an example, you earn $20 an hour and want to buy a new handbag for $120. That handbag is also costing you 6 hours. So the total cost is really $120/6 hours. Does this change your decision? In order to mindfully consume we need to take into account the whole picture for each purchase. Not just the cost to our wallet but the time lost. When you take both into account the cost seems a little less ideal – even if it is on sale! This isn’t to say that nothing is worth our money and we should never buy anything and just hoard our money but considering the time cost goes a long way to helping us make more mindful consuming decisions.

What helped you to become a more mindful consumer? What tips to you have to limit impulse purchases that might be helpful to others? Please share your experience and tips 🙂

 

Minimalism

5 Lessons I Learned from my Capsule Wardrobe

When picking your capsule wardrobe aim for comfortable, versatile pieces that you love and you'll never feel the need to go back to a packed closet again

For some time now I have been attempting to adopt a more streamlined, thoughtful and less excessive wardrobe. This June I decided to make it official and adopt a 30 items capsule wardrobe for the June to August winter months. I didn’t want to make it too onerous so I limited the 30 items to clothing, and excluded, jewellery/accessories, underwear, gym and lounge-wear.  

We’re four days into spring and after three months of living my capsule wardrobe I thought I’d reflect on the process of choosing my capsule and what I learned and do a Winter Capsule Wardrobe update!

Here was my breakdown of my Winter Capsule Wardrobe:

Shirts – 9

Long sleeved shirts – 6

Coats, Jackets – 3

Jumpers/Cardis – 2

Pants – 5

Skirts – 1

Scarves – 1

Shoes – 3

Total clothing pieces 30  

WHAT I LEARNT FROM MY CAPSULE WARDROBE

Here are my main take aways from adopting a capsule wardrobe this past season:

1. You need less clothing than you think you do
I’ve previously tried to limit my clothes to a reasonable number but never gone through the process of setting a limit. I was surprised after three months that I managed to stick to a 30 item wardrobe and had 4 items still left untouched over that time (see the backwards hanger method for how I monitored this).

In three months using a capsule wardrobe, I managed to wear only 26 items of the 30. I was really amazed that I didn’t need a huge number of clothing. I never felt like I was too restricted and was wearing the same clothes over and over again. If anything, I felt like I had more variety than ever as I knew everything I had hung up in my wardrobe was wearable, comfortable and that I loved it. The fact that I could easily see everything in my wardrobe and grab it with ease was a bonus! 

2. Think ahead and be selective about what you pick for the season

A couple of weeks into my winter capsule wardrobe I realised I had a few too many cooler shirts in my capsule that just weren’t cutting it in the warmth department. Particularly as my 30 items had to be suitable for working in an office (which is freezing most days, am I right ladies?). So I decided, in order to ensure the success of my capsule wardrobe and my survival of winter (…okay that was a slight exaggeration) to swap in some warmer long-length shirts whilst removing some of the short sleeved tops during the first couple of weeks. I ensured I still stuck to the 30 piece goal I had set myself.

Towards the end of the period I had some more formal events including a bridal shower and wedding which I hadn’t really accounted for in my winter capsule wardrobe as I don’t normally like to wear dresses in winter, so had to expand my wardrobe to include something a bit dressier for those two occasions.

I’d managed to get through 10 weeks with my regular capsule, but realised in the last two that I hadn’t catered for any more formal events in my capsule.

Try and think ahead about what clothing you will need for the three month period. Do you spend your time in an office, or do you work from home? Do you do yoga every day and live in yoga pants or are you in court for work and need something more dressy. Do you go clubbing most weekends or spend them mostly indoors or in the garden. Try and map out what clothing suits your needs and allocate a percentage of the type of clothing you need for different activities in the week. It could be 60% work, 20% loungewear, 10% gym wear, 10% dressier occasions. Pick your outfit ratios according to the relevant percentages for your lifestyle.  

Bonus tip: Note down what you had in your seasons capsule so if you mix and match pieces across the seasons you will know what to grab when that season rolls around again.

3. Having a capsule wardrobe saves you time and stress

Each morning I knew in seconds what I would wear to work or out for dinner that night. Having less clothes in rotation and selecting easy to maintain clothes meant I didn’t have to waste more time than necessary on washing, folding or ironing them.  

A capsule wardrobe also has other time and stress benefits. I wore a dress I have worn a few times to a wedding last week and got many compliments on it. Barely anyone at that wedding had ever seen me in that dress so it would have been silly to feel self-conscious to re-wear it. Had I been afraid to wear a dress more than once I would have had to not only spend unnecessary money on a new one, but would have had additional time and stress trying to find the perfect dress for the wedding.

4. Having a capsule wardrobe helps you to reduce clothing expenditure
Thanks to my capsule wardrobe I felt less of a desire to go clothes shopping as I knew that for the current season I had everything I needed. Every time I thought of buying something new I had to think would I be willing to get rid of something in my capsule for this new item? Pretty much every time the answer was no. I knew I had something I liked more that had been tried, tested and paid for already at home.

The capsule wardrobe also helped me to avoid the shops unless I had something specific in mind that I needed. As I knew that I could only have 30 items in my capsule wardrobe I made sure that any purchases were quality items that I loved, and felt comfortable in and would get a lot of wear out of them. Check out what I did buy below.

5. Your capsule wardrobe doesn’t have to be perfect

From this experiment I realised that there was no perfect capsule wardrobe. Through all my efforts of selecting versatile pieces that were comfortable and that I loved, there were still instances where I had to make changes some slight changes. There are no awards for perfection, keep your capsule expectations realistic. 

Whether you have a capsule wardrobe of 30 items or 40 the key is selecting the right number and pieces to suit your lifestyle and needs. At the end of the day any capsule wardrobe is a huge step on the path to more intentional life and will help you reduce the excess in your life. The benefit of this being less stress, less decision making, less spending in your clothing budget or a reduction in your need to shop unintentionally.

 

If you would like to know more about Minimalism and it’s benefits check out 13 Benefits or a Smaller Home and How  I Discovered Financial Stability Through Minimalism.

WHAT DID I BUY?

One of my goals of having a capsule wardrobe was to reduce my desire to buy more clothes to be content with what I had. I am pleased to say that I achieved this for the most part. Over the past three months I did make a few clothing purchases that I felt were necessary. Although I didn’t avoid buying clothes all together over this period, I was pleased that my clothes shopping became much more intentional and thoughtful. I only replaced or purchased things that I specifically needed and could get a lot of use out of. 

Here is a list of what I bought:

  • 2 Jackets
  • 3 Thermal singlets
  • 2 Thermal long sleeved tops
  • 2 Thermal leggings
  • 2 Pairs of thermal socks
  • 2 Long sleeved shirts
  • 1 Scarf

My criteria for these purchases were:

  • Do I need it?
  • Can I afford it?
  • Are they good quality?
  • Do they feel comfortable to wear?
  • Can I get a lot of use out of them?
  • Are there online reviews that recommend this particular item?

I made sure I tried everything on first to check for comfort and fit (except the socks of course :p). My shopping policy is – if I am too lazy to try it on I can’t buy it policy – which also helps me avoid any impulse decisions and saves me having to return anything I buy that doesn’t fit. I try to, where possible, read reviews online, and reviewed travel blogs about what to wear in particular climates and locations as all of the items purchased I would be able to wear during my upcoming Europe trip. A lot of what I bought was on sale and all were quality items.

Most of these items purchased were external to my capsule. I felt that my 30 item capsule other than a few minor additions was more than enough for my needs which helped me to resist making impulse clothing purchases. I look forward to continuing on with my capsule wardrobe and monitoring my clothing purchases over the next few seasons and see how my clothing purchases will be impacted in the long term!   

If you would like to start your own capsule wardrobe check out How to Build a Capsule Wardrobe: A Beginners Guide for tips on how to pick and check out my Pinterest board for Capsule Wardrobes for inspiration.

Do you have a capsule wardrobe? Would love to hear what you have learnt from your experience with having a capsule wardrobe and how many items you feel is ideal in yours. Leave your experience in the comments below 🙂

 

Minimalism

13 Benefits of Living in a Smaller Home

Downsizing your home doesn't have to be a bad thing. A smaller home can free up your time, money and mental space for more enjoyable things! Photo: Scott Webb

Living in a smaller house can have some often overlooked benefits. For some time there has been an increasing trend in housing towards larger homes. This was certainly evident in Australia during my upbringing in the 90s and 00s. The average size of new homes in Australia surged by 50 per cent between the mid-1980s and 2010. For a period of about 15 years prior to 2012, the average new house in Australia was bigger than that in the United States.

This trend has since reversed, with homes built in 2015 averaging 231 square metres, down from a record 247.7sqm in 2008-09. With house pricing in Sydney and Melbourne achieving above 13% growth rates annually it’s no wonder the trend for smaller housing is growing. The large home dream with double garage, outdoor entertainment area, and two or three bathrooms is now falling out of even the above average income earners reach.

This may not be ideal for some, but I wanted to share some of the benefits of living in a smaller home to those who might be considering downsizing or who aren’t pleased at the thought of buying a smaller home when the larger ones are outside of their budget.

In 2011 we bought our first home. It was a humble three bedroom home with study, one bathroom, one lounge room and a single garage and most importantly was within the budget we had set. We have been here for 6 years and plan to stay here as long as we possibly can. Here are 13 Benefits of Living in a Smaller Home and why we at least for the foreseeable future plan to stay in our cozy abode.

1. Your mortgage or rent payments will be more affordable
You can’t argue with that. The smaller the home the less you are going to have to fork out for it in rent or mortgage payments each week. I’ve never really understood the mentality where people buy huge homes, which come with huge housing expense outlays each week.

Those same people then proceed to work more and more in order to keep up with their mortgage repayments, leaving them with less time to enjoy their beautiful home or spend time with their family.

2. You’ll buy less stuff to fill it up

What happens when you have two lounge rooms as well as a theatre room, three bathrooms, a guest room, on top of four bedrooms and a study? You inevitably fill it up with stuff. Have you ever walked into a lived in home that left rooms empty? Of course not, who wants an empty room? We don’t want to look poor.

Buying all that extra stuff adds up. The extra lounge at $2000, extra buffet or hutch at $700, another bed $1500, quilt $150, rug $300, TV  $2000 and so on. Think of how much money could be saved if you had less space to fill.

3. You’re not throwing money away in unnecessary storage space

I am a massive fan of housing shows and always find it so bizarre that people insist on buying a huge homes with excess space, no matter how many people are living in the home. One episode a bachelor bought a 4000 square foot home just for him. The logic is baffling.

Others pay for a guest room week after week year after year for the two weekends in a year they have guests. If you work out the math, say 10% of your floor space x your weekly mortgage payment x 52 weeks in the year you could be throwing away $2600 a year on a guest room on a $500 a week mortgage that is only utilised 2 of those 52 weeks a year.

Others pay for a third garage to store boxes of unused stuff they probably don’t need and could just donate or sell. If they bought a home with only two garages or one, they could be savings thousands a year in mortgage repayments (not to mention the money they could earn from selling that unnecessary stuff!)

4. You spend less time cleaning it

There is nothing I love more about having a smaller home than the fact that it only takes me 35 minutes to vacuum and mop my entire house. We have one bathroom and one toilet to clean. One living area. On the weekends this couldn’t be more ideal as we can get our cleaning done fast and go our and enjoy our day.

If you pay for a cleaner it is going to cost you extra each week to cover the additional spaces you need cleaned, so although the house doesn’t take you longer to clean personally, it will cost you more on your cleaning bill.

Got a huge backyard? Well you’re going to be stuck mowing that football field for a couple of hours every few weekends. If you are not a huge fan of that chore it is going to get old fast.

5. You spend less on repairs and maintenance

The more space you have in your home, the more it will cost you in repairs and maintenance. If you need recarpet it, you will be paying a lot more to cover the extra floor area than you would have in a smaller home.

Having a smaller home gives you the ability to save on renovations. Get the renovation you want without spending as much as much as you would of for a larger home.

6. You’ll save on council rates and insurance

By having a smaller home and land size you will pay less in council rates (or land taxes) that are calculated on the size of your land. Your home and contents will also be reduced if your home is smaller and less costly to re-build and you have less possessions to replace in the event of an emergency.

7. You can pay off your mortgage faster

When you have a smaller home, the smaller mortgage that comes with that makes it a lot easier to pay it off and achieve financial freedom. Instead of slogging it out for 30 year you could pay off that mortgage in 20 or 15 years or sooner saving you tens of thousands of dollars in interest.

8. You can invest the mortgage savings

Imagine your $750 weekly mortgage repayment on a house that is possibly a bit on the big side for your or your families needs. It’s got a spare room that you don’t need, you don’t use the backyard and you’re sick of cleaning three bathrooms.

Let’s imagine for a minute that instead of repayments being $750 a week, you downsized to a smaller home and your new repayments are only $650.  Consider now what you could do with that spare cash each week. It’s real money that you can utilise.

If you were willing to downsize to a smaller residence you could invest that $100 a week. Over 15 years and with only a 3% return (Ubank and ING Savings Maximiser current rates) you would have accumulated over $98000. If you invest it elsewhere with a higher return that amount will only increase!

Or even putting that $100 a week away would give you $5200 a year to take your family on an annual holiday or put onto your mortgage to pay it off faster. When your money isn’t tied up in your housing you have more options.

9. You’ll save on Utility bills 

The larger your home the harder and more costly it will be to heat and cool it. I’ve heard stories of bill shock where people have moved into a larger home and see the first electricity bill has doubled from the prior one. If you downsize, you will get the added benefit of downsizing your utility bills.

10. You’ll have more time 

Having a larger home means working more hours and for more years to make the mortgage repayments, keep up with the rates, maintenance etc. The bigger it is the more time you are going to spend cleaning it. Downsize to a smaller home and watch your time free up for more enjoyable activities.

11. Your home will fell more cosy and connected

Having a large home can often feel a bit isolating. One of you is at one end and the other at another end of the house. I find comfort knowing that our home is more cosy, homely and compact and less isolated and empty.

12. It will help you to avoid the clutter monster

Having limited space for stuff will help you to have reasonable limits for how much stuff you can bring into your home. A three bedroom house sets the limit of your stuff to those three bedrooms whilst five gives you the ability to clutter up an additional two rooms.

13. You can free up money for other enjoyable activities 

Minimalism helps you revalue your priorities and find what is truly crucial. This helps you to minimise the excess and focus on the essential. When you realise that you don’t need a huge home with excess storage and a theatre room and gym with a basement you can find the money for more meaningful pursuits.

For us that is travel. We would not be happy with a larger home if that meant that we had to travel less, if at all. Maybe spending less on your housing will free up some cash to spend on your child’s dance classes or be the difference in going out as a family once a week as opposed to once a month.

Do you live in a smaller home? Share the benefits that you have found in the comments below!

 

Minimalism

How to Build A Capsule Wardrobe: A Guide For Beginners

Building a capsule wardrobe can be a great way to limit stress in your life. By picking a well-curated selection of 30 items of clothing in your capsule that you love, you can ensure you look stylish, and feel great each day with minimal effort!

A few years back at the beginning of my Minimalism discovery I came across the term Capsule Wardrobe. I’ve never been what you would consider a fashionista. My wardrobe normally consisted of jeans and a hoodie and band shirt. My friend and I used to laugh with our thrifty-ness of making old clothes last beyond their years through any means possible. If there was a way to be fashionable, and coordinate an outfit without much thought going into it, this was going to be a game changer for me.

Over the years I’ve done a lot of research on the subject, okay… a lot of Pinning more specifically. Whenever I talk wardrobes with people and mention the concept of a capsule wardrobe I’m often surprised to hear that most people have never heard of the idea. Which is a something I am hoping to change. Read on for how to create your own capsule wardrobe!

THE BENEFITS OF A CAPSULE WARDROBE

Before we start our capsule wardrobe we must understand the benefits. Here are the benefits I have personally found:

  1. Having  a capsule wardrobe means it is less stressful to get ready. It is one less time consuming decision to make during your day so you can focus on more important or enjoyable things like spending time having your morning coffee.
  2. Having all your clothes in one area makes it easier to mix and match your outfits. A well curated capsule wardrobe means that your outfits easily work together and items that suit your lifestyle which in turn leaves your feeling more confident.
  3. It saves you time on your laundry. If you have a capsule of 30 items, you will probably only have one load of washing per person per week. This avoids the dreaded mountain of unwashed clothing that comes with your average wardrobe!
  4. You can feel comfort knowing that everything in your capsule has been hand picked by you and are items that you love. No more walking out the door only to realise the pants you grabbed don’t fit anymore or are uncomfortable.
  5. It will save you money. When you have 30 or so items that you love you feel less of a need to continually hit the shops trying to find the perfect outfit when you have a perfectly amazing wardrobe at home!
  6. It is better for the environment. Fast fashion has created 6000kg of clothing and textile waste every ten minutes in Australia. By choosing to adopt a capsule wardrobe you are helping to reduce the clothing ending up in landfill by only buying quality, loved clothing pieces and being more mindful of what you buy.
  7. Despite what you may think having a capsule wardrobe is less boring and more creative as each day you get to create a new outfit mix, rather than picking the same old items in your overflowing wardrobe.

Now that we understand the amazing benefits of adopting a capsule wardrobe we can get started!

WHERE DO I START?

Before you make a start on your capsule wardrobe you are going to need to identify what you want in it. This involves going through your current wardrobe and decluttering and only keeping what you love or in Kon Mari’s words what “sparks joy”. These steps will help you get your decluttering started:

  1. Prepare your working area. Make the bed as a clothing work space, grab a few boxes, containers – whatever you have and label them with the following 4 signs; Keep, Toss, Donate, Mend.
  2. Take all your clothing, all of it, and lay them out on the bed. Grab anything in your washing baskets so you can ensure you haven’t missed anything. If you are someone that only has small pockets of time to declutter you can do this by category such as shoes, shirts, dresses and so on until you have gone through each category. This will make the process slower but is better than not doing it at all.
  3. Next pick out the items that you love and wear on a regular basis from your pile. Put the “love” items into the container marked keep. It is often easier to choose what we love than what we don’t so is helpful to start with the ones you know you wear and love first.
  4. Go through your pile and put anything you don’t like, or don’t wear anymore in to two separate piles. One to be donated, any items that are still wearable. One to Toss, for anything else that is not in good condition. If you have the time and energy, you can also put some of the more pricey donate items into a pile to be sold to add some extra cash into your budget.
  5. If there is anything that you love, but that needs repairing put this into a separate ‘mend pile’ and action these in the next week or so. If they need a new button sew it on, if you need to take it to the professionals put them in your car to take to your alteration store.
  6. Continue to work through your pile until you have sorted all items.

If you are left with anything you are unsure about, I call these the “Maybe”pile you can do the following:

  1. If you are not yet ready to part with items in this pile you can place the items in a container to be stored out of your closet for a short period of time. I recommend no more than three months.
  2. Set a reminder on your phone to review the container once the time limit is up. If you find you do want to use something you’ve stored away, you can go and ‘save’ it.
  3. After three months donate the items in the container. Generally after three months you will realise that you don’t miss the items you stored anymore and don’t need them and be willing to let it go.

>> Check out  9 Decluttering Methods For Your Home for extra tips on methods you can use to declutter your wardrobe and home.

After this process you will now be ready to curate a capsule wardrobe from your newly minimised wardrobe.

 

Mix and match your favourite colours in your capsule wardrobe. Picking 3-4 colours can make styling different outfits much easier.
Photo: Priscilla Du Preez

 

CLOTHING TO SUIT YOUR LIFESTYLE

It is important to be honest with yourself and what you wear day to day. Are you really going to wear that old bridesmaid dress again? Do you own 5 pairs of short shorts but never wear them? Do you have clothing that needs ironing which you haven’t ironed in six months? This wardrobe is designed for your lifestyle now.

Pick what you love to wear now, what you feel comfortable in and what suits your lifestyle. If you work in an office that might mean more button up blouses, if you are a yoga instructor you might only own one button up blouse and 10 gym outfits. Curate the capsule wardrobe for your present needs.

To make your capsule flow day to day, try and pick a colour theme. Basing your wardrobe around three to four colours is ideal. For example, if your wardrobe is made up of black, white, grey and blue you can mix and match these colours effortlessly. Of course feel free to pick whatever colours you love, it’s your capsule 🙂

CAPSULE WARDROBE RESOURCES

Check out Fashion Youtubers such as Lindsay Albanese for tips on How to Flatter Your Body Issues With Clothes to help you pick the right clothing choices for your capsule or watch Jennifer L. Scott’s Ten Item Wardrobe TEDx Talk for tips on where to start with picking the core items for your capsule wardrobe.

My favourite Capsule Wardrobe blogger Courtney Carver’s Project 333 is a great starting point for your capsule wardrobe. Courtney started blogging about her wardrobe of 33 pieces including accessories and shoes in 2010, in which she picks a capsule wardrobe of 33 items including clothes, shoes and accessories for 3 months and changes them out each new season.

 

Take the Minimise With Me 21+9 Capsule Wardrobe Challenge!

 

MWM 21+9 CAPSULE WARDROBE CHALLENGE

After researching into different capsule wardrobe options, I decided to come up with my own capsule wardrobe challenge. After considering my wardrobe needs I came up with the following:

Two capsule wardrobes that can blend together to fit different areas of your life:

– a 21 item wardrobe for your non-work, everyday life and

– a 9 item wardrobe for work

I don’t wear my work pants or all of my work tops on the weekends, but I do mix and match things like my scarf, some of my tops and coats/jackets so I came up with having a capsule for work and non-work occasions that is still inter-changeable so I can wear pieces for both work and outings but not have my main wardrobe taken up by pieces I only wear to work.

What is excluded: In my capsule wardrobe I exclude pajamas, gym clothes, lounge-wear, swimmers, underwear, singlets or thermals, and accessories.

I feel that buy the time you add in a couple of necklaces, a belt, sunnies, a scarf, a watch and bracelet to your capsule, a lot of your capsule wardrobe limit is taken up so I wanted to be free to mix and match accessories and not focus too much on those limitations within my capsule. By all means don’t go crazy buying 10 belts and 15 pairs of earrings for yours but allows some variety!

The goal is to limit your decision making and stress! My necklace collection is probably larger than others, but as I do wear what I have, I wanted to ensure my capsule didn’t restrict the freedom for me to do that.

What is included: Include all other clothes – pants, tops, dresses, shorts, skirts and so on as well as your shoes.

BUILDING YOUR CAPSULE WARDROBE

Grab a pen and paper and create a list for your capsule wardrobe. Start with the numbers 1-21 on a piece of paper for your every day wear and 1-9 for your work wardrobe. Create a blend of items from your new wardrobe of ‘loved’ pieces. Pick ones that are suitable for the season you are going to be in for the next three months. An example of my current winter capsule wardrobe is:

Everyday Capsule (21 items)

Shirts – 10
Coat/Jacket/Jumpers – 4
Pants – 3
Skirts/Shorts – 1
Shoes – 2
Scarf – 1

Work Capsule (9 items)

Work pants/skirts – 2
Work shirts – 5
Long cardi – 1
Shoes – 1

Once you have your 30 items hang them up in your wardrobe and box up the remaining items to be reviewed next season. Don’t go and fill your wardrobe with new clothes now that you have more space unless you are missing key pieces or want to swap out items in your capsule.

WHAT IF 30 ITEMS IS JUST TOO LIMITED FOR MY LIFESTYLE

If you find 30 items too difficult to get to, aim for close to that. Go up to 35 or 40 items and see if that can work for you. You might find you don’t need the extra items after all or even if you do, you’ve at least come a long way from where you were previously with a bulging wardrobe.

REVIEWING YOUR CAPSULE WARDROBE

In order to check what you have and haven’t worn without much thought, use the Backwards Hanger Method. Turn all your coat hangers backwards when you start your capsule wardrobe and put worn items back the regular way when they are washed. At the end of the month you will easily be able to see what you did and did not wear. This will help you to make decisions on what to keep in your capsule for the next season and what to donate.

At the end of the three months, check what you did and didn’t wear and alter your wardrobe accordingly.

KEEPING YOUR WARDROBE MINIMISED

A good rule of thumb to avoid getting carried away and refilling your newly minimised wardrobe is to implement a one, one out rule. This rule requires you to donate one item for every item of clothing you bring into your home. It will help you resist the urge to buy something unnecessary when you have to think about what  you are willing to get rid of in place of it.

For more ideas on building your capsule wardrobe check out my Minimise With Me Building a Capsule Wardrobe board on Pinterest for some inspiration. 🙂

Do you have a capsule wardrobe? Let me know how many items you find works for you in the comments 🙂

 

Minimalism

The True Cost of Our Stuff

Often when we shop our main decision basis is one of price. We review the price tags as well as asking ourselves questions like; is it on special? Does it come with something free? Can I get two for one or buy one get one half price? We assume that we are frugal or budget savvy by considering these price points before purchasing. The issue is that this often means that the true cost of a purchase is not considered.

When we only consider these price points in the decision making process for new purchases we forget the most important costs. One of the prime and irreplaceable costs being – our time. One of my favourite quotes is from Minimalist blogger Joshua Becker from Becoming Minimalist. He says “We don’t buy things with money. We buy them with hours from our lives.” A thought I try to be conscious of this each day.

Before we head out to the shops, or to buy something online – or anywhere, we need to consider a few things. Not just the money spent to make that purchase, but the investment of time involved in owning something. This assessment allows us to truly make wiser purchasing decisions and to consider the true cost of our stuff.

There is much more that needs to be considered than just price alone. Here are 7 other things you should consider when making purchasing decisions to assess the true cost:

  1. Lack of mobility

When you consume excessively your rob yourself of future opportunities. What if a new position came up interstate that would be perfect for you but because you have a huge home filled with stuff you can’t move. What if you find the perfect rental property and you need to be out in a week but miss out because you can’t physically pack up all of your stuff that quickly. What if you need to sell your house whilst the market is booming but you take three months to declutter and pack your stuff and during that period the market drops suddenly and you lose thousands in the lost market price? Having too much stuff can hold you back from decisions that make you happy and add to your life and stop you from being mobile when you need to be.

  1. Environmental Cost of Excessive Consumption

When we consume in excess we increase our impact on the environment. Everything you buy comes with packaging – boxes, plastic, tape, tissue paper, foam and other stuff that will quite possibly end up in landfill. Not to mention the cost on our natural resources. Clothing manufacturing uses vast amounts of water and chemicals. The more we buy, the more our valuable resources are depleted and the more waste we create.

This impact is often not seen by the consumers but born by the wildlife and locals who live in the areas of manufacturing. Check out True Cost on Netflix for a great documentary on the environmental and human cost of our fast fashion industry. 

  1. Opportunity Cost

This is the cost of what you could have done with that money had you not spent it on a new outfit or tech gadget. Instead of buying more stuff you could have invested that cash in yourself such as; by starting your own business, signing up for an educational course, contributing to your retirement, going on a holiday, paying off your mortgage or other debt. All these things have the potential to greatly improve your circumstances.

When people reach the end of their lives the common regret is not wishing they bought more things over there life times, but wishing they would have spent more time with family and friends and traveled more. There would be more time to do in our younger years if we stopped working more and more to buy things we don’t need. Rather than spending our hard earned cash on more stuff, we should consider the true cost – the opportunity costs of spending that money on stuff which could have been redirected to save for our future and retire earlier and have more time to spend with the people we love, doing things we truly enjoy!

  1. Less time for your important relationships.

Whilst you are spending all Saturday morning cleaning your large home you’ve missed out on brunch with a friend, going out with the kids on a road trip, a morning walk with your wife.

The more stuff we have the more time we invest in cleaning it, maintaining, repairing not to mention the other stuff we don’t think of – the time we spend unpacking and setting it up, the time we spend reconciling our accounts each month, filing our receipts, finding a place for the item, washing it, moving it to dust or vacuum. The list goes on.

When buying something new ask yourself what is the true cost of this item? Are you prepared to spend the extra time to look after this item, dust it regularly, iron it weekly, pay for maintenance costs, take it for repairs when necessary and so on.

This goes for buying a house. A house is one of the biggest drains on your time. Consider whether you really need a two story mansion for you family of three or if you would rather spend the time you would have spent cleaning each weekend with your family not to mention the extra work hours needed to cover the larger mortgage.

 

If you like this article you may also be interested in reading “10 Benefits of a Minimalist Inspired Life“.

 

  1. The Cost to Our Health.

The more we spend, the more money we need to bring in to stay ahead and on top of our debt. Maybe you are working 80 hours a week to bring in the big bucks to keep up with your spending. As a result of overworking you get home too tired to spend time with your family or do anything for yourself like exercise or read a book. You begin to live for the weekend with Monday to Friday just being a blur of alarm clocks and falling asleep on the couch.

Not only is your health suffering from lack of time to exercise, cook a nutritional meal and relax after work but you will be carrying around a lot more stress if you are living pay-cheque to pay-cheque. This can soon escalate if you are constantly worrying how you will meet your bills and debt repayments each month. Many people are reaching retirement age saddled with large consumer and mortgage debts without considering the consequences if they suddenly have to retire due to health concerns.

  1. Anxiety and Stress Caused by Excess Clutter

Having lots of stuff adds stress and anxiety into our lives even if we are not aware of it. Clutter makes it difficult to relax physically and mentally and can make it an embarrassing time if unexpected guests rock up. Not to mention the added stress of not being able to find things, having to step over things constantly, pick up things endlessly to tidy up, or seeing cluttered spaces every time you open your drawers or wardrobe. The clutter is always there to remind us. This stress can be reduced by minimising your possessions and limiting what new items you bring into your home. Having space in your home, a sanctuary that you love can do wonders to alleviate stress and anxiety.

  1. Missing Out On Valuable Experiences

When we become so obsessed with buying more and more stuff we often miss out on the important things in life like experiences. How many people do you know that have never been on a holiday but easily spend money on other things without much thought – their nails, a daily coffee, an expensive car, new jewellery or outfit for a party. They constantly say I can’t afford to travel and yet don’t realise that if they were just a bit more intentional with their spending that they too could go on an occasional holiday. Whether it be a local one, interstate or overseas.

It doesn’t even have to be a holiday. Maybe they want to go to a fancy restaurant for their anniversary but can’t afford it. Sometimes we place more value in things that we can see and hold and keep and hold onto for years and years and we forget the importance of creating memories with loved ones. If you just saved $20 a week – just 2.5% of a $50000 annual after tax salary, you would have over $1000 saved with interest to invest in an experience that is important to you. It could be a weekend away, spa day and nice dinner and only takes a very small sacrifice each week.

Have you identified the true cost of stuff in your life? What changes have you made since to your purchasing choices? Share you comments below 🙂

Check out How I Discovered Financial Freedom Through Minimalism for more benefits on focusing less on our stuff and more on what is truly important to us.

Minimalism

How I discovered Financial Stability Through Minimalism

What if I told you there was a whole new way to financial stability that you may have not yet heard or considered? You might say something in reply like ‘Well, I’ve tried everything and there is no way I can get ahead’ Or ‘I don’t earn enough to save or have any financial stability’. But don’t fret!

What if I could show you that there was a way to get your finances in order without having to save every cent. Without living miserably whilst trying to keep your head afloat financially. Hoping that one day you would land a better paying job or win the lotto and your financial problems would be solved. A lifestyle where you could buy that expensive insert quality material possession you’ve wanted guilt free with a bit of forethought.

A couple of years ago, I stumbled across the term Minimalism by accident. It was during my lunch time Pinterest scroll where a few Pins came across my feed. I’d never really heard of ‘Minimalism’ before and wanted to learn more. I started to read the first post I came across. Then another and another. I became infatuated with the idea of living a more intentional life, reducing the excess to focus on the essential. Not long after I was reading and watching everything I could about the Minimalist lifestyle. What I didn’t realise at the time was how much this would have a positive effect on my financial stability.

Fast forward a couple of years to the present as I am typing this article. Minimalism has allowed me to change my whole relationship with money. I’ve always considered myself a frugal person that budgeted and saved and was keen to stay out of debt as much as possible. Those are all great financial habits and helpful to get to a point of financial stability, but I now see the missing piece of the puzzle. Through Minimalism, I have developed a more intentional approach to my finances and even more foresight for my financial future than ever before.

In the past most of my financial decisions were based on a price basis. I’d ask myself questions like – Was what I was buying a good price? Was is it on sale? Good questions by all means but they weren’t getting to the heart of the spending issue. Minimalism has opened my thought process up to a whole new dimension of financial decision making.

Instead of being focused just on price, I now consider other aspects of the purchase. These include asking myself questions before spending my money such as; is this the best use of my money? Could something I already have do the same job? Could I borrow this from a friend or family member if I only need to use it for a short amount of time? Is this something that will last me and be a quality product? Could my money be better utilised elsewhere?

The Minimalists define Minimalism as a tool that allows you to make decisions more consciously, more deliberately. To live a minimalist life to me, means living within your means and living more intentionally, getting off auto-pilot and reassessing your daily interactions and decisions. This I believe, is the key to financial stability. It doesn’t matter if you are earning a six figure salary and are spending more than six figures or only on a small wage. Minimalism can be used to help people on any income at any point on their financial journey.

I have found Minimalism a great tool in many areas of my life and one that can greatly add to your financial health. Here is How I discovered Financial Stability Through Minimalism.

  1. I trust myself to plan for the future.

I know that I will, through everyday actions, be thinking of ‘future me’ and how I can ensure ‘future me’ is not left behind at the expense of ‘today me’. This gives me confidence to know that my financial future will be one of stability as I have plans in place in order to prepare for any financial emergencies that may present themselves unexpectedly.

  1. I consider the bigger picture in decision making.

Minimalism has taught me to consider each purchase and take pause. Every purchase is well thought out and intentional. If I’m in kmart it’s because I’ve already made a list of what I need or want, where I am buying it and asked why I am buying it, and where it’ll be stored in my home. The temptation to impulse buy is reduced when you have to stop and think about your purchase decisions more thoroughly. The less I am buying on impulse, the less I will have to deal with buyers remorse and the shopping hangover that comes after a shopping binge.

  1. I no longer feel the need to impress or keep up with others.

Minimalism has taught me to appreciate what I do have and shown me that I don’t need to make decisions to impress others. Being more aware of what truly makes me happy gives me financial stability and the financial freedom to make decisions for the right reasons, not to impress others.

Not everyone has the same financial circumstances and bank account balance as you. No one knows what everyone’s personal financials are and we shouldn’t be blindly trying to keep up at the expense of our own financial stability. If you want something and can afford it, that’s great, but don’t do it because of some need to impress others.

  1. You’re more aware of your needs vs wants.

We bought our first home in our mid 20s, assuming at some point in the future we’d need to upsize when our one garage home with small rooms and one bathroom started feeling claustrophobic. Since discovering minimalism, instead of upsizing to a larger home, we donated, sold and cleared over half our our possessions.

Rather than getting a bigger home (and mortgage to go with it) we’ve stuck with our humble abode that is the perfect size for us. Sure, it might be nice to have some extra space and a more modern home, who doesn’t want that?! But we would rather have a smaller mortgage we can comfortably afford to pay.  And even better, being able to afford additional payments means we can be debt free earlier and that is more important to us.

  1. Seeing the importance of planning for unexpected financial disasters.

Before I discovered minimalism I maintained a small emergency fund and always made sure that if the car broke down or the hot water system blew we wouldn’t be stuck. There was some foresight to tackle any small potential disasters. But it was through discovering minimalism that I discovered a whole new level of financial stability.

I learnt how important it was to forgo temporary joy in the present for my future financial stability. This includes saving up three to six months of expenses to prepare for even bigger hiccups such as the possibility of a job loss. Having a goal to get an emergency fund of three to six months of expenses is no easy feat, but certainly adds a level of financial security.

If you were to lose your job tomorrow with a few months of pay stashed away, it would still be an unexpected development but one that you were prepared for. This emergency fund could give you the time to find a new job without worrying how you will pay your bills or put food on the table.

  1. I value my time and money more

Minimalism has taught me to value my time and money more and that means finding ways to spend my hard earned cash more efficiently. Like looking for new ways to decrease my expenditure and therefore hours required to earn that money, without necessarily decreasing my spending. Spending time to find discounts on bills such as insurance, registration, utilities, and phone bills which can add up quickly in your budget and often only require a quick call or online quote.

I save time by automating my saving transfers and ensure my money is transferred to a separate savings account before I am even tempted to spend it.

Each small investment of my time to reduce expenses not only decreases the time I need to spend working to earn that money, but also better manage my money so it can be better utilised and contributing to my financial stability.

  1. Minimalism frees up time which can in turn increase your savings.

In addition to the above point, one of the biggest benefits of minimalism is finding more free time and using it more efficiently. When you spend less time organising, cleaning, maintaining stuff and less time shopping for things you don’t need, you open up time to dedicate to more value adding activities.

This could include freeing up time you might have spend at the mall that you can now dedicate to reviewing your budget and analysing your expenditure to check in with your finance goals and to be more in control of your finances.

It can also free up time that might otherwise have been wasted. This could allow you to take up a side hustle to bring in extra income to further contribute to your financial stability.

  1. My debt appetite has been re-routed.

Minimalism has helped me to become more aware of how intrinsic debt is in our society. People will pay out their car loan and not long after they are going out to buy another car with another hefty loan. They are so accustomed to having a debt repayment they haven’t even considered what else they could be doing with their money if they were just willing to hold onto a slightly older vehicle. I am now even more unwilling to go into debt than ever before and focused on reducing my current debt as quickly as possible.

Having less credit card debt, or any other kind frees up your cash to invest in your savings account and allows you more financial freedom to plan for the future. If we don’t have cash for something we don’t buy it. Our emergency fund also helps ensure we never have to rely on a credit card for unexpected costs.  

  1. Minimalism encourages living within your means.

If you are not living within your means, your income is less than your expenses and you are going to end up going into debt to fund your lifestyle. Minimalism has shown me that it is possible to save and have financial stability despite the level of income, if I choose to live within my means.

Just because you earn six figures doesn’t give you the ability to be financially naïve and ignore your incomings and outgoings. Nor does it mean someone on $40000 can’t have a savings balance. By working out your income and expenses for the pay period and planning your budget, you can ensure that you aren’t spending more than you earn.

  1. Always asking is this the best use of my money?

Minimalism has taught me the importance of re-evaluating where my money is spent and asking whether that is the best use of my savings and income. It has shown me the importance of acting in the best interest of my goals.

Maybe you want to go on a trip to Europe next year but your friends want to go on regular shopping days. Or your friends asked you to go out for an expensive night of bar hopping that is going to blow your entire weeks spending budget. Minimalism reinforces how important it is to make intentional decisions each day to reach your goals.

Being more intentional about how I spend my money has helped me reach financial stability. Don’t be afraid to say no to an event or suggest alternate budget-friendly plans if something is going to put you in a financial pickle. Being open honest with friends and family can make this easier. If they understand your goals and why you are savings I’m sure they will be happy to make more budget friendly plans that can involve you.

Have you discovered financial stability through Minimalism? Please comment below and share your experiences!

If you loved this you may also enjoy reading 10 Benefits of a Minimalist Inspired Lifestyle.

Minimalism

How to Reduce Your Waste Footprint

This week I finally caught up with watching the ABC’s #WarOnWaste program hosted by Craig Reucassel and was completely shocked at the level of waste in Australia. And not just the unwanted stuff, but the perfectly good food that is going to waste.

I do try and be mindful of our waste and try to be conscious of waste in my home. Whether that be by only buying what is on our list, trying to use up as much of our fresh produce as we can and by recycling everything that we can. I wasn’t aware of the true situation of Australia’s waste and couldn’t be more grateful to this show for helping me realise that. If you are yet to see it please do. You will not regret it and living in ignorance is a big part of the problem. Let’s be educated! You can watch all three episodes of War on Waste on ABC’s iView.

I’m hoping to share some information I got from the show as well as tips you can try at home to reduce your waste and impact on the environment.

SOME QUICK WAR ON WASTE FACTS

  • Every year the waste we generate in Australia is growing twice the rate of our population.
  • As a nation we use over 2 million shopping bags a day.
  • In Australian households 20% of food is binned.
  • The average family throws out $3500 worth of food each year.
  • 40% of bananas along with other fruits and vegies are binned due to strict cosmetic standards. Often these are just because a banana is too long or short or curved, or a potato has an irregular shape – the freshness of the item is not taken into account.
  • Australian’s throw out a tram-full of coffee cups every half hour.
  • the greenhouse gases produced by food waste in Australian landfill each year is equivalent to the emissions of Australia’s steel and iron ore industries combined

TIPS ON REDUCING YOUR HOUSEHOLD WASTE

  1. Meal plan and shop from a list to avoid buying excess food. You can always buy more but you often can’t take the excess back. Only buy what you need. If you only plan to use two tomatoes don’t buy a pack just because they are cheaper. When you bin four of them they won’t be. See here for more tips on how you can save on groceries and reduce the food waste in your home.
  2. Buy a reusable coffee cup. I got one from Keep Cup and have seen many others in Kmart, Typo and other stores.
  3. Bring your reusable bags. Shopping bags are the worst thing that an end up in landfill and are very hard to recycle. Bring your own reusable bags instead and help reduce the number of bags ending up in landfill.
  4. Bring in any spare bags to your supermarkets bag recycling bin.
  5. Extend the life of your herbs by putting them in a glass of water as soon as you bring them home.
  6. Test eggs by dropping them into a glass of water. If they sink they are okay to eat.
  7. Avoid taking bags for fresh produce. Put them in your trolley, basket or reusable bag.
  8. Check your fridge regularly to see what leftovers you need to eat or groceries to use up.
  9. Rotate your new food to the back, and older food move to the front so you can use up the food items that will expire sooner.
  10. Put your food in a container as soon as you open it can help minimise waste and keep it fresher for longer.

RECYCLING TIPS

  • Remove the lids from your plastic bottles and make sure they are empty before you place them in your recycling bin. In the sorting areas of recycling plant paper and plastics are separated. If bottles still contain liquid it will stop them being blown up into the plastics sorting area in the chain line so be sure to empty them out before you put them in your recycling bin.
  • Any recycling items left in plastic bags are not recycled. This slows down the sorting process so those bagged items do not go on to be recycled. Keep all your recyclables bag free.
  • If you have broken glass or ceramics like ovenproof dishes, drinking glasses or mugs, creatively reuse or place in your rubbish bin, because just 15g of ovenproof glass can contaminate one tonne of normal glass, making it useless for recycling.
  • Consider composting your food scraps to reduce the wood waste in land fill and the emissions that creates.
  • When recycling containers give them a quick rinse, they do not have to be spotless. Remove stuck on food from paper and cardboard before recycling.
  • Recycle your Printer Cartridges via the ‘Cartridges 4 Planet Ark‘ recycling boxes in participating Australia Post, Officeworks, Harvey Norman, and Dick Smith Electronics stores.
  • Mobile Phones can be recycled through MobileMuster.
  • Batteries, CDs and light globes can be taken to your nearest library. Check with them in advance to make sure they accept these things.
For more tips on recycling check out the Planet Ark website.

REUSING ITEMS AROUND YOUR HOME

  1. Another way to reduce what your household sends to landfill is to find creative ways to reuse what you do have. This is a great way to get crafty, save some money and help the environment. Try these handy tips:
  2. Reuse old candle and condiment jars. They can holds spare buttons, screws in your garage, 100s and 1000s, tea bags etc.
  3. Wash out takeaway containers and re-use as much as possible before they break. Smaller ones for gravy can be used to bring small snacks in such as lollies or nuts.
  4. Wash old shampoo and conditioner and other bottles to use when travelling. I also use these to store our current soap in a smaller container that doesn’t take up as much space as the bulk 1kg containers.
  5. Use an old baby formula tin to make a home-made wet wipe dispenser
  6. Cut up old towels into cleaning rags instead of using sponges or paper towel.
  7. Re-purpose gift containers or things that come with boxes such as perfume or a watch to organise junk drawer items.
  8. Give an old pot plant some new paint to give it a new lease of life.
  9. Up-cycle old cereal boxes or cardboard boxes into storage boxes for your drawers. Cut the bottoms off and wrap with your favourite coloured wrapping paper.
  10. Repair old clothes if possible rather than binning them. Sew on a new button, or take it to the alterer for repair if it is something out of your skill level.
  11. Use toilet rolls to wrap and identify your spare cables. They can also be used for arts and crafts projects with the kids.
  12. Use old sauce jars for decorative pieces. We put musical craft paper in ours with a candle and some yarn as a wedding ornament.
  13. If you have excess frames get a picture or make an artwork for a gift for a family or friend.
  14. Use an old t-shirt to make a bag. I cut up old t-shirts of my husbands that were perfectly good, but that he didn’t wear and made two laundry bags for travelling.
  15. Decorate old tin cans and use for planting herbs or storing stationery.
  16. Use old CDs to create a shiny mosaic artwork or mirror.
  17. Donate an old bed sheets and some pegs and a torch for your kids own fort kit.
  18. Drilling into an old dinosaur toy can make a cool toothbrush holder for your kids.

>>If you want more information on how you can reduce your excess consumption check out
10 Benefits of a Minimalist Inspired Life

LET’S GET CREATIVE

Other creative ways to help reduce your household waste:

TOY LIBRARIES

Old toys are donated here and can be borrowed, just like library books for kids to use and return in a few weeks. This is a great way to reduce unwanted toys ending up in landfill, having excess permanent clutter in your home and to save money. Kids can outgrow toys fast so this sounds like an amazing solution. Click here for more information from War on Waste and here to locate your closest toy library.

CLOTHES SWAPS

Thanks to fast fashion clothing is ending up in landfill in larger numbers than ever before. With the current price of clothing and often lack of quality materials, it’s no wonder we are binning more clothes than ever. In order to combat this clothes swap meets are a great option. You  can bring some unwanted clothes to swap for someone else’s unwanted items and go home with something new that you love all the while avoiding adding to landfill. For more info on Clothes swaps click here. The Clothes Exchange holds occasional clothes swap meets that are free of charge when you register.  Or you can hold your own clothes swap parties with friends or family. Ask everyone to bring in a few pieces they would like to swap and a plate of food and get swapping!

REUSING YOUR OLD MOBILE PHONES

If you have a spare (or multiple) old phones lying around consider these options to reuse them:

1. Make a kid friendly phone for your kids (no more dropping your phone ;))
2. Use your phone as a dedicated MP3 player and save all your memory on your current phone.
3. Use your phone as a digital radio.
4. Turn your old phone into a hand-held gamin device
5. Use it as a security monitor for your home.
6. Use your old phone without a sim for storing encrypted data.

Click here for more information on how you can reuse your old phones from War on Waste. Alternatively take your phone to be recycled at your nearest Mobile Muster recycling box.

Share the Dignity

Share the dignity is an Aussie charity that aims to provide assistance to homeless women. Each year they do a collection called “It’s In The Bag” in the weeks leading up to Christmas where they ask you to donate a handbag in good condition to someone less fortunate and fill it up with useful things such as sanitary items, toothbrushes and toothpaste, a book you no longer need, pajamas, tissues, lotions -anything to make a women facing hard times feel special. I did this last year and look forward to doing it again this November. If you have any jewellery you no longer want, or can spare some extra cash with your weekly shop add a few things to your trolley that you can put into your handbag for the next collection. This is a great way to dispose of some unwanted items thoughtfully and make someone in needs day 🙂

WHAT ELSE YOU CAN DO

If you want to do more, War On Waste have provided some more information and the contact details for each State that is yet to Ban The Bag. If we all Ban(d) together and take action by emailing our State’s Premier we might have a chance of making a much needed change!

Do you have any tips to reduce food and other waste in your home? Have you found creative ways to up-cycle items around your home to help limit things ending up in landfill? Share your tips below 🙂

Minimalism

101 Things to Declutter in Your Home Right Now!

It can be hard to know where to start when decluttering. There are so many rooms and areas you could begin with and it can seem overwhelming when starting out. When we are so focused on bringing new things into our home we can forget the importance of removing the items that are no longer useful to us and could be taking up valuable space in our home.

Do you open your kitchen utensil drawer only to become flustered trying to find the one thing you actually need? Have you accumulated twenty mugs in the cups cupboard and seem to forever have endless ones to wash? Is your linen closet overflowing so closing it is a struggle and you often end up shoving the clean stuff in closing the door and just think to yourself I will deal with this later? Downsizing our excess stuff can allow us to reduce stress in our lives and make some of our chores less bothersome. We are limited to the space we have in our homes so if your cupboards and shelves are overflowing with stuff if might be time to start clearing some of it out.

Here is a list of 101 things to declutter in your home right now that will give you a place to start your decluttering journey by area and hopefully a new leaf to a less cluttered, more simplified life.

Kitchen
1. Duplicate utensils.
2. Excess kitchen knives
3. Excess cleaning supplies. Use up what you have before buying any new ones.
4. Cutlery. Limit it to a reasonable number for your regular needs.
5. Plates. How many plates do you need? Limit to 2 per person per type as a guide.
6. Cups and mugs. Empty out that cupboard filled with overflowing cups piled on top of each other and only keep your favourites.
7. Bake-ware. Ask yourself how often do you bake and if you really need everything you have.
8. Single purpose appliances such as doughnut makers, popcorn makers etc. Keep only the items you use regularly.
9. Restaurant menus. These can all be located online put them into the recycling.
10. Excess vases.
11. Pots and Pans.
12. Tupperware with missing lids.
13. Expired medicine.
14. Unwanted cookbooks.

Fridge/Freezer 
15. Expired condiments in your fridge.
16. Uneaten leftovers.
17. Unwanted drinks.
18. Frozen meats with freezer burn.
19. Food that you don’t plan on eating due to change of diet etc.

Pantry
20. Expired food in your pantry.
21. Unwanted alcohol.
22. Expired spices or any you don’t use.
23. Any food you don’t plan on eating.

Bathroom
24. Shampoos and conditioners. Avoid buying seperate ones for each person unless necessary. Try and stick to the same brand so you don’t end up with multiple bottles going unused cluttering up your cupboard.
25. Old or unused Makeup. What makeup do you currently use, is there something you haven’t touched in the past year? Do you have ten different eye shadow pallets when a few would be enough? Make up has a limited shelf life and should be used up in 1-2 years for most products. See this link for details on expiration dates of makeup.
26. Beauty products. Limit beauty products to what you need and avoid buying more until you’ve used up what you have.
27. Lotions and leave in conditioners. If you don’t plan to use it give it to someone who will or bin it.
28. Decor. Remove excess decor from the bathroom and counter tops. The less you have the less you have to move when cleaning. Have a few nice decorative pieces and clear the rest.
29. Hair accessories keep only what your use regularly.
30. Old razors.

Manchester 
31. Towels, face washers and hand towels – Keep two towels per person for your home. Hang it up after use and wash the ones in the hamper regularly. Think of the time you’ll save on laundry when you only have 8 towels instead of 16?! These can be donated to animal shelters.
32. Quilt covers. How many quilt covers do you have? Assess what ones you still love and donate the rest. Ideally you need one to use and one spare for when the other one is in the wash.
33. Blankets. Limit blankets to two sets per bed.
34. Pillows. Keep the number of pillows required for your bed and bin the rest.
35. Bath mats. I’m certainly one that finds it hard to resist the allure of a new soft bath mat. Stick to 2-3 on rotation and donate the others to an animal shelter.
36. Spare curtains that are no longer in fashion or have been sitting in the linen closet for years.

Bedroom
37. Perfumes or fragrances you don’t like. Old unwanted perfumes or colognes can be binned or donated to friends or family. I’ve sold a few on eBay as well so that’s always an option to make some extra cash.
38. Bedroom decor you no longer love.
39. The stuff under your bed. It is a lot easier to clean your bedroom when there is nothing under the bed.
40. The bedroom TV. Do you really need that eyesore in your bedroom sanctuary?
41. Books on your night stand that you aren’t currently reading. Keep one or two on your bedside table and put the rest back on the bookshelf.
42. Anything that doesn’t belong in your bedroom (for us more often than not it’s guitars :p).

Wardrobe
43. Shoes that you don’t enjoy wearing.
44. Worn belts.
45. Ties that you no longer like.
46. Handbags that are no longer your style or worn.
47. Jewellery/Accessories that you no longer like or wear.
48. Clothing that you haven’t worn in the past 6-12 months. Use the backwards hanger method to establish what you do and don’t wear.
49. Socks that are missing a pair or have holes in them.
50. Underwear that is uncomfortable or has seen better days.
51. Old pyjamas that have had their time.

Laundry
52. Reduce your wardrobe. This will mean you reduce your washing by default and limit the laundry piles to manageable amounts.
53. Excess laundry baskets or hampers (once your laundry is reduced).
54. That random stuff that you find in pockets. Have a catch all container or box to collate items found in pockets. Empty this regularly.
55. Cleaning supplies you no longer need.
56. Laundry products you tried and didn’t use again.

Kids play rooms/bedrooms
57. Books. Donate unwanted books to schools, childcare centers or the library.
58. Unwanted Toys. Sell toys in good condition on eBay or donate to local charities.
59. Stuffed Animals.
60. Games or puzzles with missing pieces.
61. Kids art. To make room for new artworks to be displayed scan the image or take a photo of it and create into scrapbooks or store them digitally.
62. Old unwanted electronic games.
63. Dried out texters and pens.

Garage/Shed 
64. Old paint cans or other chemicals you no longer need.
65. Car oil or parts for cars you no longer have.
66. Cardboard boxes that have past their warranty period.
67. Any broken gardening tools that you haven’t got around to fixing.
68. Old tiles if you are renovating and no longer need them.
69. Scrap building supplies you won’t need.

Living Areas 
70. Excess decor cluttering up your living spaces.
71. Excess furniture that is being unused.
72. Extra lounges when they are mostly empty.
73. Artwork or photos you no longer love.
74. Excess or drab cushions.
75. Rugs that don’t go with your colour scheme.
76. Excessive photo frames. Keep a few on display but don’t go overboard.

Entertainment/Media 
77. CD’s you no longer listen to.
78. DVD’s you won’t watch again.
79. VHS’s.
80. Excess TVs.
81. Unused Gaming Consoles.
82. Games you haven’t played since finishing.
83. Old mobile phones and phone chargers. These can be dropped off at local library or Mobile Muster collection points. See this link for your local recycling options.
84. Old cameras.
85. Your DVD or VCR if you don’t use them.
86. Old laptops you no longer use.

Sentimental Items 
87. Old cards. Scan them and save them digitally.
88. Bad quality or blurry photos or people that you no longer want in your life.
89. Other photos taking up space in large bulky photo albums. Consider making your prints into a photo book or displaying them in a digital photo frame and backing them up digitally.
90. Sentimental items that you have no connection to. Take a photo of the item if that makes it easier to let go.
91. Jewellery you don’t love. Find someone in your family who will love it or get is melted down into something special.

Home Office/Paper
92. Books you no longer read or reference.
93. Magazines. Cut out what you need and put them in a folder and recycle the rest.
94. Old bank or credit card statements. These can all be accessed online.
95. Utility bills. Get these emailed to you and reduce some of the paper coming into your home each month.
96. Old receipts. Scan them as they come in on your phone and recycle them or keep them in one file.
97. Excess notebooks/pads. Keep a few or put them in areas where they will be useful like your handbag or car.
98. Stationery from your uni days that you no longer need.
99. Your printer (if you don’t use it).
100. Excess pens. Test what works and bin the rest or any you don’t like using.
101. Manuals for electrical goods.

What things have your decluttered in your home? Please leave a comment below!