How to enhance your creativity using white space

enhance-your-creativity

 

Have you ever noticed that all of your best ideas come to you in the most unusual places. Like when you are in the shower or just about to fall asleep or driving your car? 

 

So basically just about any place you are unlikely to have a pen and paper lying around, right?  

 

One theory for why that may be is that all of the above are examples of mental white spaces. 

 

I’ve been really fascinated to discover this idea of mental white spaces and how they can help you to enhance your creativity. 

 

Because ask any writer, the thing about creativity is that it needs space to breathe. It is near impossible to work our creative muscles when we feel overwhelmed or under pressure. 

 

For us to be at our creative best, we need freedom, a fresh mind and a willingness to let go.

 

increase-your-creativity

 

You may have heard of white space before. 

 

In page layout, illustration and design, white space is known as negative space. It is the portion of the page or canvas that is left unmarked. It is the space between any writing, pictures or diagrams. 

 

It is called negative space rather than blank space, because white space actually has a very important purpose. 

 

White space provides visual relief and allows our focus to be drawn to the other important elements in the design.

 

As I am beginning to learn with my wardrobe, a lot of colours and patterns mashed together can be overwhelming to look at and that is why white space is used, to create balance.

 

The idea of mental white space is much the same. 

 

There are certain activities and daily rhythms that provide balance and mental relief for us. It is these moments of repetition and calm where your mind is free to wander that your creativity can be unleashed. 

 

So how do you go about adding more white space into your life?

 

improve-your-creativity

 

Enhance your creativity by using mental white space:

 

Just consume less 

 

As tempting as it is to avoid being alone with our thoughts, it isn’t very helpful for our creativity if we spend all our time consuming masses of information. 

 

I know this is hard because I am a huge information junkie. I LOVE reading blog posts and news articles, listening to podcasts, and watching YouTube videos. I’d much rather scroll through the apps on my phone than sit quietly while waiting for the kettle to boil.

 

But one of the easiest ways you can bring more mental white space into your life is to simply consume less information. That means not filling up every quiet moment you have in the day by scrolling on your phone. 

 

Instead, make use of those mundane tasks like washing the dishes or putting the grocery shopping away to practice being present in the moment and allow your mind to wander. 

 

 

Go for a walk

 

Yes, I know this tip is on every single self help list ever, but I won’t apologise for putting it here. 

 

Going for a walk gets you out of your current space and into a new environment. Outside there are so many things to observe and take inspiration from.

 

Moving your body also has this magic effect of relieving stress and bringing mental clarity. So a simple walk can be all it takes to bring forth a brilliant idea that’s been hidden away underneath all your stress.

 

 

Try free writing

 

Elizabeth Gilbert talks about free writing in the form of ‘morning pages.’ The practice of just writing down whatever thoughts come to mind first thing in the morning. 

 

Free writing is great because it takes a lot of the pressure out of writing. I think part of the reason we get creative blocks is that often when we write, we have an agenda.

 

We want to get a blog post published, a caption crafted or an email sent. And even in my journal I can become unconsciously controlling about the words I write, steering clear of those tricky, uncomfortable emotions. 

 

So just taking the time to spill whatever thoughts are in our heads onto paper can enhance our creativity. 

 

Free writing can bring forth things that are keeping us stuck, as well as ideas that may later be useful for some project or other.

 

creativity

 

Get creative

 

Something I find so refreshing when I experience writer’s block or a dip in my creativity, is to work on something completely different. 

 

I like to branch out into some other creative discipline, to give myself a break while still using my imagination.

 

For me, that looks like taking to my sewing machine.

 

It is totally different to writing but it also requires thinking outside the box and coming up with new ideas. Also, the whirring of the machine as it casts stitches is somewhat hypnotic and thoroughly relaxing.

 

But you don’t need to be a whizz with a needle and thread. You could try painting, creating stop motion videos, pottery, needlepoint, the options are exciting and endless!

 

Stop rushing

 

I’m absolutely terrible at slowing down. I love having a plan and getting things done.

 

This has a negative effect, being that I tend to rush through my days hopping from task to task. Sometimes while I am working on one task I’ve got another five things I need to get done swirling around in my head, fighting for my attention.

 

Creating white space could be as simple as slowing down and giving your full attention and time to the task at hand. I think this is especially important for tasks that seem trivial, such as folding the laundry or vacuuming the floors. As I mentioned earlier, those mundane moments are often when our best ideas come to us.

 

Taking your time in those boring daily tasks could actually be exactly what you need to enhance your creativity.


 

I’m definitely going to be making more of an effort to decrease my consumption of information, so that my creativity has space to breathe.

 

And I think slowing down wouldn’t be the worst idea either!

 

Have you heard of mental white space before?

How embracing hygge can help you beat the winter blues

beat-the-winter-blues.jpg

 

When we made the decision to move back home we never really gave the difference in temperatures a thought, and then winter hit and we became very aware of that difference.

 

Both of us had grown accustomed to Auckland’s coastal humidity and frequent, unpredictable showers. Our home town is further south and inland, so the climate here is quite different to that of Auckland.

 

In winter, we often wake to find frost blanketing the backyard, and our breath swirling in clouds around us. It is rather chilly walking across the kitchen floor and condensation is constantly dripping down the windows. 

 

On the whole, I have found the obvious shift in the seasons to be refreshing.

 

There is something about that visible change that seems to make me more aware of time passing and therefore, I am more mindful as each day goes by.

 

However, I am still not immune to the blues that many face during the winter period.

 

I hate how a great deal of the day is lost in darkness. I hate how I feel sluggish, slower and less motivated to get things done. I hate that my fingers get so numb that I struggle to use my keyboard.

 

Winter is hard. 

 

But there are some people who know exactly how best to beat the winter blues because they have to endure much longer winters than the rest of us. 

 

You have probably heard of ‘hygge’ by now, the Danish secrets to embracing the winter season.

 

In Denmark, winter is cold, long and dark. Some days they only get 7 hours of daylight and therefore, they need to find ways to help keep their spirits up, which is where hygge comes in.

 

Last year, I read ‘The little book of hygge’ by Meik Wiking (which is really great by the way) and in it he describes hygge as,

an atmosphere and the experience, it is not about things. It is about being with the people we love. A feeling we are safe that we are shielded from the world…to be able to let our guard down”

 

In the book, Meik shares his hygge manifesto which is accompanied by lovely little drawings. I liked it so much that it is printed out and stuck on our fridge. 


 

Since this is the first proper winter I have experienced in the past five years, I have been trying to put hygge into practice.

 

To make the most of this season and to keep myself in good spirits until our side of the planet warms up again.

 

hygge-home.jpg

 

How embracing hygge can help you beat the winter blues:

 

Dressing for the season

 

Something I love about winter is that the temperature stays relatively consistent. I can bundle up in multiple layers without worrying that by midday I’ll be too hot/cold.

 

The key to being cheerful in winter is dressing for the season.

 

Alfred Wainwright said, “there is no such thing as bad weather, only unsuitable clothing.” I have to agree with him. I don’t mind muddy ground, icy winds or drippy rain if I am dressed for the occasion.

 

And the great thing about winter fashion is that simply flinging a coat and scarf on can make any outfit look stylish.

 

help-you-beat-the-winter-blues.jpg

 

Eating seasonal produce

 

I am passionate about eating with the seasons. As tempting as it may be to eat tomatoes, peaches or capsicum in the winter just because we can, I choose not to.

 

Winter fruits and vegetables are perfect right now. They are ripe, cheap to purchase and suited to the kind of meals I’ll probably eating.

 

Pumpkin whizzes up perfectly into soup that warms me from the inside out. Oranges are sweet and contain vitamin C to help me fight off colds. Potatoes, onions and carrots add bulk to stews that are comforting after being outside in the chilly wind.  

 

Eating seasonally just makes more sense.

 

Creating a cozy home

 

We have almost covered the entire perimeter of our flat in fairy lights at this point and I’m not at all sorry about it. I love the warm, soft lighting that they provide in contrast to the stark white light bulbs we currently have (that I refuse to get rid of until they blow.)

 

To make our home more cozy I have come to terms with the fact that there will always be a red blanket strewn haphazardly across our brown couch that clashes horrendously. You win some battles and others you must concede. 

 

One battle I do intend to win is against that musty, wintery smell that can linger when the house stays closed up for too long. I have several room sprays that I use on rotation that work like a charm.

 

hygge-lifestyle

 

Chasing the sunshine

 

The hardest part of winter for me is the lack of sunlight. After days and days of grey skies, I start to feel really off and so I am learning to chase the sunshine.

 

Whenever there is even the tiniest hint of sunshine, I will sit outside and eat my lunch. I find that even those few minutes over lunchtime or while I hang my washing out on the line make a world of difference to how I feel.  

 

There isn’t an awful lot of sunshine so you have to make the most of it while you can.

 

Bringing the outdoors, indoors

 

One of my favourite hygge ideas to adopt was including more natural elements in our home.

 

For me, that was just an excuse to fill our living room with plants, plants and more plants. 

 

Having an array of houseplants brings me such peace. I love watering them and misting the fussy ones and making sure they are getting enough sunlight.

 

But if you lack green fingers, then other natural elements you can bring into your home could be logs, wooden furniture, pine cones, dried flowers, grasses, seed pods and woolen rugs.

 

how-to-beat-the-winter-blues.jpg

 

Gathering with friends

 

Due to the bleak weather, going out in winter isn’t always possible or very enjoyable but that doesn’t mean your social life has to come to a grinding halt.

 

Having friends around for supper is such a nice way to spend a dreary winter night. It doesn’t have to be a big drama to host either, just get everyone to bring something to share and then you can enjoy the company without having to spend most of the evening in the kitchen.

 

I can’t think of a better way to raise your spirits than spending quality time with the people you love.

 


 

Hygge has taught me how to slow down and enjoy life without feeling guilty. Winter is a dormant season for many plants and animals and I think most of us need that change in pace too.

 

With just a smidgen of creativity, winter doesn’t have to be so dull and dreary. Try adding a little hygge and see if that helps you beat the winter blues.

 

If you want to print out your own hygge manifesto to stick on your fridge, you can download the graphic I made (because most of the ones I found online from the original book are awful quality.)

 

10 easy changes to create a simple, sustainable kitchen

 

My kitchen is my happy place. I spend hours pottering around in there, stirring pots on the stove, sweeping crumbs off the floor, waiting for the kettle to boil for my tea. 

 

Although my kitchen is tiny and the cupboards are so tall that I need a step stool to reach the top shelves, I love it. 

 

I’ve been doing quite a bit of house hunting with my mum (she’s buying, not me) and in every house we’ve seen, the kitchen is the thing that sells the house for me. 

 

I can live with a small bedroom. I can live without a bath tub or an en suite. I can live without a garage. But I cannot live without a decent kitchen.

 

Therefore, of all the areas in my home, it is the kitchen that I have tried to ensure is as simple and sustainable as possible. 

 

It is still a work in progress but I thought I would share some of the ways I have simplified my kitchen with you. 

 

10 easy changes to create a simple, sustainable kitchen:

 

Buy things in bulk 

 

For some reason, I really hate having multiples of things. I think it has something to do with the fact that growing up, my mother loved to stock up our pantry whenever things went on sale. Having more than I need has always made me feel stressed. 

 

However, I am a fan of buying things in bulk to save on money and unnecessary packaging. So a good compromise for me is visiting a bulk food store or buying the largest quantity of something I can.

 

Earlier this year, I read an article about Tesco’s trialing refilling stations in their supermarkets and I hope that went well because I would love that to become a widespread thing!

 

These are my favourite easy changes to make so that you can create a simple, sustainable kitchen. #ecofriendly #sustainability #simpleliving

 

Start meal planning 

 

If you are a long-time reader then you have definitely heard me mention this before, I love meal planning. 

 

It will honestly simplify your life and kitchen so much. 

 

You will always have what you need, when you need it and you won’t have excess food withering in your fridge or getting lost at the back of your pantry. 

 

I must confess, I’m not always the best at sticking to what my meal plan says but I like that if I’m feeling lazy, at least I don’t have to think about what to cook for dinner.

 

 

Take reusable shopping bags

 

From the 1st of July this year, New Zealand brought in a ban on plastic bags which meant retailers no longer provided shopping bags and this, in turn, has made reusable shopping bags mainstream. 

 

I am delighted to see other people adopting such a simple change to help reduce plastic waste.

 

I keep a bunch of bags in my car and one that folds up tightly in my purse so that I always have something to carry my shopping in.

 

 

Store your food correctly 

 

There are some life lessons that I really wish they had taught us in school and how to store your food properly is one of them. 

 

There is nothing worse than opening the crisper drawer at the bottom of the fridge to discover a vegetable slurry has formed without you realising it. 

 

The fix is simple however, just learn how to store your fruits and vegetables correctly. For example, I recently learned that celery lasts much longer if you keep the stalks standing in a glass jar like you would with fresh flowers. 

 

To learn the best way to store your favourite fruits and vegetables, I found this great post which explains it all perfectly.  

 

simple-kitchen.jpg

 

Try composting  

 

For my birthday last year, my mum got me this gorgeous compost bin. The fact that I was over-joyed by this gift probably says a lot about me. 

 

Truly, my compost bin is one of my favourite possessions. We used an old ice cream tub for a long time but it was far too small and was always overflowing. I love my new bin because it’s 5L and stainless steel so it won’t get all rusty from the wet food scraps. 

 

As far as the actual composting is concerned, all I do is throw it in a heap in the backyard. Then I add sticks, newspaper and dead leaves, and I try to turn it every week or so. That’s it!

 

Start recycling your soft plastic  

 

I have always been the stickler for recycling in my family. I have been known to take things out of the bin, wash them and then recycle them. I hate waste and if I can avoid it, then I will. 

 

I know that recycling isn’t the answer to our waste problem but it is a start.

 

Something you might not know you can recycle is the soft plastic that foods such as pasta and bread come in. 

 

In my city you can’t add this type of plastic to the kerbside recycling bin but there are collection points at several supermarkets where you can drop it off.

 

 

Do a freezer stock take 

 

It doesn’t matter how small your freezer is, it will always manage to accumulate an insane amount of stuff. 

 

Things tend to get lost in the depths of your freezer so it pays to do a little stock take every now and then. 

 

I keep a list stuck to the outside with everything that’s in there. It’s not a perfect system but at least it means I take a good look inside my freezer every month or so. 

 

 

Use loose leaf teas 

 

It is official, I have become a tea snob! I bought a strainer and a box of loose leaf tea and I’m never looking back. I had no idea it tasted so much better. 

 

But besides that, I always felt frustrated having to dump my used teabags in the bin because they contain plastic so can’t be composted like my coffee grounds. 

 

Before you rush out and buy a tea strainer, can I recommend you get one like you see in the picture, not one of those ball and chain type ones? This strainer is so easy to use and remove the used leaves from.

 

I’ve tried those other cute, animal-shaped strainers and while they may look fun, they are the biggest pain to clean out. Simple is best.

 

sustainable-kitchen.jpg

 

Shop at a fruit/veggie store or farmers market 

 

I love going to the fruit and veggie store because it is often much cheaper and I can throw everything in a basket without needing to use plastic bags.

 

It feels good to support a small business too.

 

I’ve learned to go to the supermarket first however, because they tend to have specials on a particular fruit or vegetable each week.

 

 

 

Try natural cleaning products

 

I’m a little iffy on using the word ‘natural’ to describe any product. What I mean by natural cleaning products is using items you already have that work wonders for cleaning.

 

I found some brilliant ideas in the book: Forgotten ways for modern days. Our grandparents had some really great ways of using egg shells, lemon juice and baking soda to clean their homes ‘naturally.’


 

Do you have any tips for creating a simple, sustainable kitchen?

5 ways to practice being present in the moment

being-present-in-the-moment.jpg

 

There are some people in our lives who are so totally our opposite, it can feel as though the two of us come from different planets. 

 

We have our similarities of course – or we would never have become friends – but I often find it is our differences that bring us together.

 

Just like the old saying goes…Opposites attract. 

 

My boyfriend, Dom, and I are exactly like that.

 

I am a flurry of activity, prepared for every eventuality, constantly thinking about the next step. He is content to remain in the same place, isn’t worried about what’s next, isn’t in a hurry to get anywhere.

 

I am in a hundred places at the same time, whereas he is always present, living in the moment, inherently mindful.

 

These facets of our personalities clash spectacularly as you can imagine. 

 

I am tapping my foot, ready to go, waiting beside the front door. He is simultaneously putting on his shoes, checking the oil in his car and sweeping the kitchen floor. 

 

I am carefully writing out and sticking to a shopping list. He is excitedly stuffing things into the supermarket trolley like a kid in a candy store. 

 

I am making everyone dizzy with all of my plans. He is happily pouring his cereal and opening up the next chapter of his book.

 

How can he be so content just living from moment to moment? Isn’t he worried about the future? Isn’t he concerned about how much milk we have left or whether he remembered to turn the oven off or what he said to that person last week?


 

My frustration is pointing out what I need to fix, not with Dom, but within myself.

 

This desperate need to rush, this constant feeling of needing to get something done, the way I resist being still and captivated in the wonder of moments. 

 

Dom doesn’t need to speed up, I need to slow down. 

 

My laser-focus on tasks, productivity and organisation is causing me to miss the big picture or perhaps, the small picture. All those sweet, silly moments that I’m always bulldozing through in my hurry to stick to my rigid plans.

 

I can feel the time slipping through my fingers like grains of sand in a hourglass. If only I knew how to pause it for a second, to open my eyes to what is right in front of me. 

 

The precious hugs that I hold so briefly before I strain to get back to the vegetables I was chopping.

 

The satiny, morning sun in the living room that I glance over while I’m rushing to make the house perfect before our friends arrive for breakfast. 

 

That warm, cozy feeling of being snuggled in bed that I jump from so that I can tackle my to-do list immediately. 


 

And this constant rushing feeds my anxiety.

 

I am always afraid of what is coming next because I am always thinking about, and living in, tomorrow.

 

What I need, is to start living right here, in today. I need to practice being present in the moment. 

 

being-present.jpg

 

So these are my tips for those of you who come from the same planet as me (the hyper-focused, super-organised, stressed-out one). Let’s try to slow down.

 

5 ways to practice being present in the moment

 

Stop worrying about tomorrow

 

I really need to schedule an appointment to get my wisdom teeth taken out and I have been worrying about it for months.

Almost every day I have been worrying about making the call, paying for the procedure, getting the teeth out and the inevitable pain I will feel afterwards. 

 

But the other day I realised something – I am not getting my wisdom teeth out today – and therefore I do not need to worry about all those things today.

 

Each day has plenty of worries without me adding tomorrows worries too!

 

So this is my question for you: Is the thing you are worrying about happening today?

 

If yes, then it is perfectly acceptable to feel concerned about it.

If not, then remind yourself that today you are safe. You have nothing to worry about today

 

 

Rest in gratitude

 

When something makes me feel especially happy, I enjoy it for approximately one second and then I feel terribly afraid that this thing is going to be taken away from me.

 

I call this self-sabotage, Brene Brown calls it ‘foreboding joy.

A way of protecting ourselves from the worse-case-scenario by playing it out in our heads. And according to Brene, the antidote to this miserable way of thinking, is gratitude. Daring to be vulnerable and choosing to feel the joy over the fear.

 

When you feel that rising panic about something going horribly wrong- give thanks. 

 

 

Notice your joy

 

So often, we don’t allow ourselves to fully enjoy a moment. We cloud our happiness with our pent up anger, sadness and fear.

 

When a moment strikes you as being absolutely delightful, when your chest swells and your laughter rings out, take a second to soak in that joy.

 

Notice how it makes you feel. Stay here awhile instead of rushing off to do the next thing. 

 

5 ways to practice mindfulness and being present in the moment. As someone who tends to rush from one thing to the next I need to consciously choose to slow down and rest. Being present has helped me feel less anxious and much happier. I hope these 5 tips will help you too!

 

Be intentional on social media

 

It can be all too easy to use social media as an escape. A chance to numb ourselves and avoid whatever is going on in our real lives.

 

We can sometimes let hours slip by as we scroll mindlessly through our newsfeed, without even stopping to notice or connect with anyone else.

 

Try to be intentional when you are online. Use those apps to actually connect with people. Leave thoughtful comments, share something you found valuable, add to the community rather than skimming over the posts you see. 

 

 

Focus on one thing at a time

 

We like to think that if we do two things at once we are being more efficient but in reality, we are more likely just doing a bad job of two things instead of a good job of one.

 

I am not a fan of multi-tasking. I say focus on one thing and give it your full attention.

 

When I am driving, I can’t also be texting (mostly because that’s illegal but also because it is distracting.)

When I am talking to someone, I can’t also be editing a photo for Instagram.

When I am studying, I can’t also be on Facebook (although, if I am honest, I never really adhere to this.)

 

You just can’t be in two places at once. Be all here.


 

You know I am glad that we aren’t all the same. The world needs both of us. People to make things happen, to plan ahead, to get the job done today. And people to encourage us to rest, to keep us grounded, to remind us of the importance of being present in the moment.

13 tiny changes you can make to simplify your life

simplify-your-life

 

We all have those topics that get us all fired up. The ones that once we start talking about, we find it hard to stop. The ones that seem to ignite some sort of fire within us which spur us into action. 

 

Well, simple living is one of those topics for me. 

 

Hence the blog and the newsletter and the Instagram page. I’m an unstoppable force when it comes to inspiring others to look for the beauty in the small and ordinary things. 

 

I find myself constantly scouring the internet for whatever posts I can find on ways to simplify your life. I’m always buzzing to tell someone about a brilliant new product I have found which has made life just a little bit easier for me. 

 

I am passionate about finding ways to simplify your life because it often combines two of my other favourite things – saving money and looking after the planet. 

 

Earlier this year I shared 13 super easy ways to make life simpler and in this post I want to share a few more ideas I have discovered since then. 

 

ways-to-simplify-your-life.jpg

 

13 tiny changes you can make to simplify your life: 

 

Use a to-do list app 

 

I am a fan of both paper and digital planners. I know digital is the way of the future but paper planners are cuter (shoot me.)

 

That being said, to-do ist app is my best friend. It syncs your list between devices. You can plan days ahead but keep the tasks out of sight for simplicity sake. You can set the priority of tasks and reminders to get them done on time.

 

Plus you get the satisfaction of ticking tasks off and seeing them vanish from the list which is really the only reason anyone makes a to-do list in the first place.

 

 

Start creating a weekly meal plan 

 

If there is one thing I hate, it is not having the ingredients I need to make a meal. But I also equally hate trying to decide what to make for dinner when I am already hungry and cranky

 

Cue meal planning. 

 

You shop for exactly what you need. You save money by avoiding unnecessary purchases (and you can plan for budget friendly meals.) And you avoid wasting food that you buy but forget to cook with. 

 

You can take this one step further by prepping your meals beforehand, but planning is as far as I’ve got.

 

 

Try out period underwear

 

It is a well known fact that there is a huge amount of waste created with traditional feminine hygiene products. But besides that, they are also uncomfortable and can be pretty pricey. 

 

So when I first heard about period underwear I was really keen to make the switch. However, I had two main concerns a) the price (at the time the only brand available cost over $100 a pair) and b) how effective they would be. 

 

I finally found ModiBodi which were affordable and I was excited to discover, super effective as well. 

 

Seriously, these are game changers. Money saving, eco-friendly, comfortable and no more fear of leaking!

 

 

Wear colours that suit you

 

You are probably aware that there are certain colours that suit you best. You probably even naturally gravitate towards these colours.

 

One way to make your wardrobe a whole lot simpler is by buying clothes in these colours and finding accessories/other clothes that match.

 

For items you plan on wearing every day (eg. a winter coat) try to stick to a plain or neutral colour that will go with everything. It isn’t as cute as the red one I’m sure but at least it won’t clash with your pink dress!

 

 

Unsubscribe from mailing lists 

 

Usually bloggers try to get you to SIGN UP to their mailing lists (you can join mine if you like) but I’m a big fan of unsubscribing too.

 

For some reason, I never seem to learn and I always give out my email address to win competitions/make purchases/get freebies. So my inbox is a huge mess and it makes me stressed.

 

I know it seems easier just to delete their emails but I really do think it is better to unsubscribe altogether. Your inbox is an important space and only those who you truly want to hear from should be allowed to send stuff there. 

 

 

De-clutter for five minutes before bed 

 

This is one of Gretchen Rubin’s tips from her book ‘The Happiness Project‘ and it is so clever.

 

Just a few minutes each night can really help to tackle some of your chaos. A quick wipe over with a cloth, picking up your shoes off the floor, stacking the dishwasher, it isn’t much but it makes a big difference to how you feel in the morning. 

 

 

Learn to say ‘NO’

 

Learning how to set boundaries in your relationships is so freeing.

 

But you have to be okay with letting people down. You have to know that their disappointment won’t last. You have to remember that you can’t be everything for everybody. 

 

Life can be busy, hectic and exhausting at times. In this post I share 13 small changes you can make to simplify your life and make it less stressful. #simpleliving #minimalism

 

Put your clothes away at the end of the day 

 

I’m guilty of throwing whatever I was wearing onto the floor and hopping straight into bed. But that just means I end up having to spend half an hour folding all the clothes that pile up later on in the week. 

 

It only takes a couple of minutes to fold the clothes you were wearing and put them away. That is so much better than having piles of laundry on a chair in your room or littering the floor. 

 

 

Budget & track your spending

 

This is essential regardless of the state of your finances.

 

Keeping track of your spending can make you aware of some bad habits you may have that could be leaching money (for example, eating out all the time.) 

 

It also means less stress and worry as you can set aside the money you need to pay important bills before they are due. 

 

 

Write in a journal  

 

I tend to think that working through my problems can be done just by thinking about them. But that’s actually called over-thinking, not problem solving. All it does is make you more stressed. 

 

To work things out, you need to spill the problems out from your head. That may look like talking to someone or perhaps like me, writing it out in your journal. 

 

 

Create a seasonal wardrobe  

 

All those winter coats and scarves you aren’t wearing take up space and clutter your wardrobe making the decision of what to wear each day even more difficult. 

 

Put your out-of-season clothes away in a box in your garage. Keep the things you really need in your wardrobe. 

 

 

Let go of worn-out relationships

 

Forget about having tonnes of friends. Forget about having a best friend that you call up every single day.  Forget about having a huge group of friends that always hangs out together. 

 

You don’t have to feel bad for letting old, worn-out friendships fizzle out. You also don’t have to feel bad for being a twenty-something who only has a couple of friends (one of which is your mum.)

 

It is about quality over quantity.


 

What small changes have you made to simplify your life? 

Minimalism: how to be content with what you already have

content-with-what-you-have

 

Most days, scrolling through my Facebook feed feels like stumbling through an inferiority minefield. I have to work really hard at being a good person and being happy for my friends that they have such wonderful lives. 

 

The other day, one of my friends shared a picture of himself at the airport, backpack on, passport in hand, a big smile on his face as he was about to board his plane to Greece.

 

I kept scrolling and saw another friend sharing a #bumpdate, she’s twenty weeks pregnant and the bump is really starting to show now.

 

As I scrolled down further, I saw another friend’s cute little coffee date from her weekend away down south. 

 

I breathed out a deep sigh as I gazed down at my sweatpants, the slippers on my feet and the cat on my lap. It is in these moments that my life feels too small and simple. So small it is claustrophobic. 

 

Green is one of my colours, but envy still doesn’t look pretty on me. 


 

As a society, we tend to focus on what we lack. We are constantly receiving these messages that we need MORE to be happy. That what have can’t possibly be enough for us. Marketers play at our weakness, they know how much we love the new and novel

 

They tell us that if we truly want to be happy, what we need is another sweater, a bigger TV, and a week-long holiday somewhere exotic.

 

They are in the business of selling, so they sell us a fairy-tale that MORE STUFF will make our lives better.

 

However, I’m beginning to realise that if I don’t make a change in my attitude, if I can’t learn how to be happier with a life that is small and simple, I will spend my entire life discontent. 

 

I’ll always be chasing after these things that are supposed to make me happy, only to find out I’m not satisfied once I have them.

 

The new and the novel don’t satisfy us for very long. Pretty soon the excitement wears off and once again we are left aching for more. 

 

minimalism, how to be content with what you have, decluttering, finding contentment, buy less stuff, own less, keep what sparks joy

 

Last week I went on a lovely day trip. We went shopping and walking and soaked in the hot pools. It was a full, busy, wonderful day. I came home feeling tired and content

 

And yet, a week later I feel the same itchy, desperate desire to get out and do something interesting. Our outing last week didn’t cure me of my need for adventure and excitement. 

 

Because the truth is, no matter how many countries we travel to, there will always be another we are dying to see. No matter how many books we read, there will always be a new one we just have to read. No matter how many pairs of shoes we own, there will always be THE pair that we believe will finally complete our wardrobe. 


 

There are times when contentment is a necessity and for me, this is one of those times. 

 

Right now I am studying and we are living off one income so we can’t afford much new. No new shoes, no new books, no trips to exotic destinations or flashy electronics. 

 

What I have has to be enough. 

 

being-content-with-what-you-have

 

But instead of feeling sorry for myself, I am taking this as an opportunity to be content with what I HAVE instead of giving into that endless craving for MORE

 

We have a roof over our heads. We have groceries in the fridge and pantry. I have an entire wardrobe stuffed full of clothes and shoes for every imaginable occasion. And I live close to a library with hundreds of books that I am still yet to read. 

 

I have enough. I have plenty. I do not need more. 

 

This is the mantra I am repeating to myself as I avert my eyes walking past sales racks and unsubscribe from shop mailing lists. And when I start to feel that claustrophobic fear that my life is too small, I am reminding myself that I have enough time as well.

 

There are plenty of years ahead for me to get to live out my dreams. I don’t need to pressure myself to cram it all into this year. I don’t need to accomplish all of my goals right now. There is enough time. 

 

Maybe this won’t be the year that I travel around Europe, but perhaps I’ll get to explore my hometown and finally conquer some of those more advanced mountain biking trails. 

 

Maybe this won’t be the year… I live in my dream home, but perhaps I’ll get to live in my very own flat for the first time. 

 

Maybe this won’t be the year… I make an 80k salary, but perhaps I’ll finally get to do a job I really enjoy. 

 


 

Minimalism is teaching me that what I have is enough.

 

I don’t need more space, I need less stuff.

 

Less stuff that I picked up at an op shop because it was super cheap and kinda cute. Less stuff that I was given and feel too guilty to give away. Less stuff that I bought trying to be someone that I’m not. 

 

Less stuff distracting me from the beauty and joy that is hidden in the ordinary, dull, normal moments of every day.

 

I’ll leave you with this quote I found which sums up why I am a fan of the minimalist lifestyle. A simple and small life is enough if it contains more of the things we love and less of the things we don’t.

 

“Minimalism is the intentional promotion of the things that we most value and the removal of anything that distracts us from it.” – Joshua Becker