Inside Thoughts

Minimalism – A passing Trend or a Much Needed Social Reform?

I have been inspired a lot by Sarah Wilson lately. I bought two of her books on I quit sugar, borrowed ‘Simplicity’ one of her recipe books and have listened to two of her podcasts on her passion for Minimal consumption. I have been particularly inspired by her latest Project Simplicity Flow.

Now bear in mind I can tend to be a bit (lot) of an extremist, and have an incredibly curious mind. Having immersed myself in Sarah Wilson’s world for 10 days straight I felt fired up to

Think about how much I buy and how much I waste.


I have discovered I buy and waste A LOT.

This epiphany began as I listened to Sarah tell the story of how she travelled for 4 months, with a backpack of only 8 kg. She had one pair of undies which she washed every night.

She spoke about only having one shirt while travelling. She pointed out that even when we have more, we tend to use the same clothes over and over anyway. The other clothes would sit there…… unused. She spoke about our impulsive, addictive consumerism culture and it’s catastrophic effects on our health, society and our culture.

By the time I finished this podcast, I came home. I looked at my ridiculous wardrobe that overflowed into Mark’s closet. Looking through I realised that I wore probably 25% of them. The others sat in my cupboard (some for years) because I loved them and couldn’t bear to give it away.

Despite the overflow of clothes in my cupboard, I literally look at clothes on line every day. Is it because I am a creative and love fashion? Am I too a slave to the consumer culture that she is talking about?

I decided (in the space of an hour) that I did not want to be a consumer.

I too would be a minimalist! Yes. I would. Christine Greenwood the minimalist.  I would be simple and profound just like Sarah Wilson. I decided to give away almost all my clothes. And stop buying more. Just like Sarah. My new hero. Now we were on first term basis.


The culling of my wardrobe

The very next day, I attacked my wardrobe with vigour. I culled. All the clothes I rarely wore and tore them out of my closet and into the give-away pile. Than I had a dilemma. What do you do with the “fancy outfits” The items you wear once a year (if that) when you have a ‘special occasion.’ In reality I would never wear these items but instead would buy yet another ‘special occasion’ outfit.  

After a quick SOS text to a fellow capsule closet loving friend, I decided to ‘hide’ them from myself in a separate area. The plan, if I don’t miss them in 3 months, CULL!

It was very liberating. Even though I culled 25 items of clothes, I still couldn’t bear to part with everything.

I told myself this was phase one, and in phase two, my aim would be to get down to 25 items of clothes. That includes jeans, shirts, dresses AND hats. (It does not include the clothes I ‘hid’ from myself.

Phase one completed. I had hundreds of dollars’ worth of clothes sitting in Woolworths bags to be gifted to my little clothes loving friends.


The Epiphany continues….

The next day, I listened to another podcast where Sarah (my hero and new bestie) was talking about food wastage, another of her huge passions. In fact her recipe book on Simplicious Flow is the world’s 1st zero waste cookbook.

Gosh if I was convicted about my clothes, I felt HUGELY challenged when it came to wastage. Sarah gave all sorts of tips into incorporating sustainable practices in cooking, preparation and living. I realise I did none of these in my life. And in fact rarely give a thought to what my contribution to waste is doing to the environment.  I have been all about convenience.


Greenwood waste

Each day we drink 1-2 bottles of mineral water. This is a minimum of 7-14 bottles a week.

Here is an example of some of my current practices:

  • I never reuse my glass bottles. Waste
  • I buy five disposable plastic containers (for Mark’s lunch). He (Greenie) never brings them home.
  • I never use coffee Keep Safe cups.
  • We use packaged cauliflower rice in plastic (it is easy and quick).
  • I often throw old gross vegies from the bottom of the fridge away.
  • Throw food scraps.
  • Oh and we don’t have a recycling bin so all our waste recycling and general went into the same bin.

Needless to say. I am utterly convicted. Some changes need to be made in my life. But what?

What does it mean to reign in live and live in a sustainable way.

Consuming

I am not the kind of person who can have 1-2 pairs of undies and only 2 shirts. I can’t pack an 8kg bag for 4 months. I love clothes and fashion. I want the pleasure of buying, savouring and wearing a new outfit. On the other hand, I don’t want to be caught in a consumer rat race, buying more and not valuing what I have in front of me.

Wasting

I don’t have the time or money to go to farmers markets, source local eggs, and buy everything organic. However I do want to live sustainably, and in balance. But I don’t want a compost in my tiny 2 bedroom apartment that has no yard. And I hate gardening anyway.


Small changes

Craig Grochel says it brilliantly. He says it is the little changes made consistently that lead to big changes in the long run.

I asked myself this week. What changes can I make in my life that would incorporate sustainable, mindful practices that I could keep yet still be myself and enjoy what I love?

So here is what I’ve come up with and done so far.

  1. I gave away 1/3 of my clothes. In two weeks, I will aim to cull another 1/3.
  2. I have decided to stop my fortnightly habit of buying another item and only buy something very intentionally, after great thought if I will genuinely wear it enough to justify purchase it. I will give myself a 2 week minimum thinking period. I am still allowed to ‘window shop.’ That is half the fun anyway.
  3. I started to drink from a bottle and gave up mineral water (Greenie has not come to the party on that one). I have discovered that normal cold water is actually delicious and mineral water was giving me gas anyway. The environment wins in double portions!
  4. This week Greenie and I did all our fresh produce shopping at the fruit shop near our house! Not the markets but one step closer. AND it was AWESOME! So fresh and cheap. And plus the Middle Eastern family that own it are endearing. It was nice to know who we were supporting.
  5. I bought expensive Pyrex containers (three only) and will cut down on disposable plastic! Slowly I will build up my Pyrex collection.
  6. I also have a recycling bin under the sink now. For our recyclable waste.
  7. Next time I buy a coffee I will use my Keep cup! Which you too can buy from here
All of this was absolutely so doable!

In fact I cannot believe how blindly and selfishly I have been living.

For convenience as I “am so busy.” I really was not. I was lazy and ill informed.


Question for you

What does it look like to Reign in life and incorporate sustainable living and practices?

What if it is about being more intentional about what we buy? Not restricting ourselves, but waiting till we are sure we need it or really want it? If after careful thought and consideration that we genuinely do need it, then we can buy it. But commit to buying quality. Then we take care of it.

What if there are small things we can do. Things like shopping at a local fruit shop, and supporting local business people, rather getting everything from Woolworths.  

What about other changes like using a reusable coffee cup, and glass containers rather than plastic.

What if it is about using the leftovers in our vegetable draw to make a stir fry or a soup, rather than getting more items for a trendier recipe?


What does it look like for me going forward?

I can’t pretend to be minimal. Sarah is outstanding and an inspiration, however I cannot even pretend to have her passion or her practices. But I sure can adopt some. And I am eager to learn and do more more.

Surely to ‘reign in life’ includes to do everything in our power to create, sustain, and leave an environment that we want for our children and our children’s children to flourish in for generations to come.

What does it look like for you to reign in life in regards to living more simplistically and focussing on the things that actually bring genuine joy?

What small changes can you make to incorporate more sustainable practices in your life?

I would love to know your ideas and comments.

Until next time,

You are dearly loved and richly cherished,

Christine Greenwood

Reign in Life

Wink: The day after I threw my clothes out I wanted and nearly bought a new adidas hat.

Then on the weekend I realised I gave away all my singlets and had nothing to wear under my see-through dress. Dilemma: do I give away my brand new birthday dress, or buy a singlet to replace the one I just gave away?

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