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The Problem with Minimalism

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After a delightful few weeks off, Ben and I are back in the podcasting chair. In today’s episode we talk about our break (the good, the bad, the unexpected) and a little of what we’ve been up to in July.

Despite best intentions, July has still been a full on month in terms of work projects, one of which inspired today’s episode.

A few weeks ago I was part of a TV show called Insight, and the episode I was (a small) part of dealt with stuff – and more specifically, hoarding. In this poggie I talk a lot about my misgivings of taking part in the show (judgement! privacy! comparison!) and also the bigger issue of presenting minimalism and hoarding as opposite sides of the same coin.

If you’ve seen the show you’ll understand that the guests who shared their stories of hoarding had a vastly different experience of stuff than I did back in my pre-simplicity days, so I felt more than a little uncomfortable about any comparisons that might have been made.

One of the best things to come out of the experience, however, was an even greater clarity on ‘minimalism’ and why I really really don’t love it as a label. Ben and I go in deep on this topic, but essentially there are two reasons I struggle to identify as a minimalist:

  1. It breeds comparisons (“Do I not have enough?” “Do I have too much?” “Why doesn’t my house look like that?”)
  2. It can encourage an obsession with our things which takes us away from living life.

The stories we tell ourselves absolutely have an impact on our happiness and while the distinction between ‘minimalism’ and ‘simplicity’ might seem like semantics to some, I don’t want to add to the pressure and expectation to measure up that so many of us already feel.

So that’s what you can expect in today’s show, and I’d love to hear your thoughts both on the episode of Insight, and the label of minimalism.

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Head over to iTunes to subscribe to the show and play the episode.

Or you can listen to the show directly, simply by hitting the Play button above. Enjoy!

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Show Notes:

Keep Listening:

Support the Show:

You may have heard that we recently hit 1 million downloads of The Slow Home Podcast! Not only does that fact blow my mind, it’s also thanks to your lovely self and the community of people who listen to the show every week, send in your questions and offer your feedback. I’m so grateful you’re here and part of this, and for anyone who has supported the show in any way over the past year – thank you so much.

If you do love the show and would like to show your support by becoming a patron, head over here to make a small monthly donation (as little as $1 a month) and know that any amount makes a huge difference to us being able to cover costs.

Most important of all, thanks for being here!

 

Plastic Free July

Plastic Free July - The Slow Home Podcast

Did you know that every single piece of plastic ever produced still remains somewhere on earth today? I mean, if I thought about it logically I would recognise that fact, but there’s such a disconnect between the things we use every day and where they end up, that we simply don’t think about it at all.

Before Ben and I decided to walk the slow living walk and take some time away from our Slow Home Experiments, we had considered making July our month of living plastic free, to coincide with Plastic Free July. And while we’re not running an official experiment this month, in today’s episode we decide to take the Plastic Free July challenge anyway. After all, it’s an area both of us can afford to improve on, and there’s nothing like an outside challenge to motivate.

We talk about the challenge itself, as well as the areas we think we’ll do OK in, the areas that will challenge us (cheese: I am looking at you) and some of the changes we’ve already made over the past year.

The crew at Plastic Free July ask that we commit to reducing plastic for a day, a week or the entire month of July, and if going completely plastic free straight up makes you anxious (the reason I’ve not done it before) then all they ask is that we commit to avoiding these four single-use plastic items for a period of time:

  • shopping bags
  • water bottles
  • takeaway coffee cups and lids
  • drinking straws

Ben and I have already made a lot of changes over the past year or two, including:

  • purchasing reusable fabric produce bags
  • using fabric grocery bags
  • keeping a canvas bag in my handbag
  • using KeepCups when we buy takeaway coffee
  • paper straws at home
  • stainless steel water bottles for the family
  • reusable food wraps instead of plastic wrap, waxed paper and aluminium foil
  • heavy duty glass containers and jars for leftovers, bulk cooking, freezing and food storage

But there are some additional changes we’re going to make this month to see how much we can reduce our plastic load:

  • buy some stainless steel straws to use both at home and while we’re out
  • buy a KeepCup or similar for both the kids
  • talk to the butcher and deli owner about using our own glass containers when purchasing meat, cheese etc
  • get our bread from the local bakehouse and use our own fabric bags instead of plastic or paper
  • investigate nearby bulk food stores, or the option of buying online

Maybe it’s because the pressure to Do It All and Do It Right has been removed, but I don’t feel as overwhelmed by the prospect of Plastic Free July now. Granted, I am sure there will be failures and obstacles, but a big part of slow living is doing away with the idea of ‘perfect’ anyway, so this is a good opportunity for growth!

Do you want to join us in our efforts to go Plastic Free? Feel free to use the official #plasticfreejuly as well as our #slowhomeexperiment and we can help keep each other motivated.

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Head over to iTunes to subscribe to the show and play the episode.

Or you can listen to the show directly, simply by hitting the Play button above. Enjoy!

——

Show Notes:

Keep Listening:

Support the Show:

You may have heard that we recently hit 1 million downloads of The Slow Home Podcast! Not only does that fact blow my mind, it’s also thanks to your lovely self and the community of people who listen to the show every week, send in your questions and offer your feedback. I’m so grateful you’re here and part of this, and for anyone who has supported the show in any way over the past year – thank you so much.

If you do love the show and would like to show your support by becoming a patron, head over here to make a small monthly donation (as little as $1 a month) and know that any amount makes a huge difference to us being able to cover costs.

Most important of all, thanks for being here!

 

8 Hours Sleep #4 – The Slow Home Experiment

8 Hours Sleep #4 - The Slow Home Experiment

It’s well documented that Ben is a Big Fan of sleep, so this past weekend when he took part in a 24-hour walking challenge, the lack of sleep had some pretty crazy side-effects. Turns out things gets a little… hallucinogenic when he goes without sleep for more than a full day, and it was the perfect opportunity for us to wrap up this month’s Slow Home Experiment.

I’ve struggled to find the time for the full 8 hours, and while I have managed it for the past month I don’t necessarily think I’ll be sticking to it. I feel like 7 hours is a good amount for me, but like most things I’m open to changing that if I feel the need.

It’s been interesting to put sleep at the forefront for the month though because it’s easy to see just how swiftly sleep is sacrificed, and one thing I’ve learnt is that we’re much better off sacrificing other activities before giving up our sleep.

We also talk about quality vs quantity, whether we think we actually can regain a sleep debt and what’s in store for the podcast moving forward, as we take a break from the experiments for a little while.

How did you go with your attempts to get 8 hours sleep a night? Did you notice any difference? Or did you find it difficult to find time for the full 8 hours while also doing everything that needs to happen? 

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Head over to iTunes to subscribe to the show and play the episode.

Or you can listen to the show directly, simply by hitting the Play button above. Enjoy!

——

Show Notes:

Keep Listening:

Support the Show:

If you love the show and would like to show your support by becoming a patron, head over here to make a small monthly donation (as little as $1 a month) and know that any amount makes a huge difference to us being able to cover costs.

Most important of all, thanks for being here!

 

Day in the Life

A Day in the Life - Episode 84 of The Slow Home Podcast

I have to be honest, I’ve been super hesitant to record this episode as I thought it would be too boring for pretty much everyone on the planet. But I’ve been asked countless times for more detail into how we structure our days, so this show looks at how a typical day unfolds at our house. 

Well, at least that was the plan…

When Ben and I sat down to talk about what a typical day actually looks like, it took about 3.7 seconds to realise there is no such thing for us anymore. So instead what you have is a wide-ranging look at how we manage our time on a day-to-day basis (we’re unsurprisingly quite different) and how the change in our work situations has impacted the rhythm of our home.

While things don’t necessarily look the same from day to day, during the week I’m a big fan of time-chunking and break my time into different functions:

  • Early Morning: Quiet time. This sometimes means meditation, yoga, going for a walk or writing. Other mornings it means getting some uninterrupted work done and being dressed and ready before everyone else is up (this gives me a ridiculous sense of satisfaction!)
  • 7am-ish: Getting everyone else ready for the day. Breakfasts, lunches, do homework, get the kids dressed and ready, do a load of laundry, clean something, sometimes walk with the kids to school.
  • 9:30-10:30am-ish: Doing stuff. That might be helping out at school, going for a coffee or doing some housework.
  • 10:30am-2:30pm: Work time. I spend these hours recording, editing, writing, creating, working with podcast clients, planning new shows, responding to emails etc.
  • 2:30pm – School Pick Up: Dinner prep, tidy up.
  • School Pick-Up – Dinner: Homework, play, dinner prep, etc. If Ben’s home and I need to work he takes on this time and vice versa.
  • Dinner, Bath, Books, Bed
  • Ben and I Chill: TV, reading, work, bed.

I think this approach comes from having to be across a lot of different areas of life (home, kids, work, personal, family) and knowing I simply cannot give 100% of my energy to all areas at any one given time – or any one given week for that matter.

Ben, on the other hand, simply gets done what needs to be done at that moment and doesn’t need to play too many mind games in order to do so. Which sounds a hell of a lot simpler to me, but I’m pretty happy with the system I’ve worked out for myself, regardless!

We also talk about the idea of tilting, whether we’re more or less stressed than we were a year ago, and whether our life is busy, or merely full.

I actually really enjoyed this conversation, despite my initial misgivings, and hope you do too. That being said, I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below: how do you manage to find a sense of peace in your days? Or what areas are you still working on?

——

Head over to iTunes to subscribe to the show and play the episode.

Or you can listen to the show directly, simply by hitting the Play button above. Enjoy!

——

Show Notes:

Keep Listening:

Support the Show:

If you love the show and would like to show your support by becoming a patron, head over here to make a small monthly donation (as little as $1 a month) and know that any amount makes a huge difference to us being able to cover costs.

Most important of all, thanks for being here!

 

8 Hours Sleep #3 – The Slow Home Experiment

8 Hours Sleep #3 - The Slow Home Experiment

After a very chilly camping trip we’re back to regular sleep patterns, and in today’s episode Ben and I talk about pre-sleep rituals, whether it’s possible to gain back sleep debt and how our camping experience impacted on our night’s rest.

Ben’s noticed that he and I have very different needs when it comes to pre-sleep rituals so today I talk a little about what I do before bed, as opposed to what he does. HINT: Ben’s process is much simpler and shorter than mine!

In general though I’m really enjoying the re-prioritisation of sleep, though I’m not entirely convinced I need the full 8 hours I’ve been trying for. Plus, I’ve been told I look tired more than any other recent period of time, so I’m not sure it’s even having a positive impact!

I’d love to hear how your experiment is going, so don’t forget to tag your social media posts with #slowhomeexperiment and share your experiences.

Enjoy!

——

Head over to iTunes to subscribe to the show and play the episode.

Or you can listen to the show directly, simply by hitting the Play button above. Enjoy!

——

Show Notes:

Keep Listening:

Support the Show:

If you love the show and would like to show your support by becoming a patron, head over here to make a small monthly donation (as little as $1 a month) and know that any amount makes a huge difference to us being able to cover costs.

Most important of all, thanks for being here!