A year or so ago I watched the ‘Minimalism‘ documentary. And from that point on I have become increasingly more aware of my consumption habits. To be honest, after watching the film I felt terribly ashamed and embarrassed about the way I had been carelessly allowing clutter to fill up my home and life.
I was in this continuous cycle of purchasing and discarding. Searching for newer and better things to replace the perfectly good items I already owned.
It is really easy to make shopping into a sport. A social activity. An outlet for stress. A way of taking control.
But it is that mindset which left my bookshelves overflowing, my closet heaving and myself still feeling empty.
A part of me wished I could do it better. If only I could make my life a little simpler. I wished I could find contentment with what I already had.
Then I came across another documentary, “Before the Flood.” In which Leonardo DiCaprio urges us to become aware of the impact we are having on the planet and to take action to prevent further harm.
With any emotive film, book or TV series, I am quick to jump on board their crusade. I want to do my bit. I want to take charge of my destiny. I want to feel like I have a teensy tiny bit of control or a say in how these things pan out.
So I felt the crushing weight of responsibility for my actions. I recognised my bad habits were impacting more than just myself but also the planet I called home and I couldn’t just sit back and do nothing about it.
I am not one who subscribes to the ‘this job is too big for me so I won’t do anything at all’ philosophy. No way. If I can make a change, no matter how small, you bet I will.
So first of all I got thinking about what is most important to me. These things would be the focus for my simple living goals, the hooks I would prop my coat on.
The things I value:
People. The relationships I have in my own life but also the indirect ones I am a part of as a consumer.
I wanted to be more intentional about who I spent time with, who I bought products from and who I followed on social media.
The planet. I love nature and being outdoors. I love that the country I live in is so beautiful and that we have the opportunity to appreciate forests, lakes and mountains that people travel from all around the world to see.
I wanted to be mindful of the products I purchased and the way they were processed so that I could help prevent further damage to our precious planet.
My health. I have spent a long time fighting against my body and I finally am in a place where I appreciate it for all of the marvelous ways it enables me to live.
I wanted to do more of what makes me feel good. I wanted to take care of myself so that I could live life to the fullest.
With those things in mind I decided I needed to take action and make some changes. Thus my new philosophy for life was formed.
My simple living philosophy…
“To be intentional about the way I live in order to minimise my impact on the planet and others. To sacrifice convenience for the benefit of quality time, compassion and overall well-being. To live in a way that makes me so excited about the now that I forget about the not yet.”
Making tiny changes to my lifestyle has had a huge impact on the way I feel. I believe that when we live authentically, in a way that remains true to our core beliefs, we can stop fighting ourselves and find contentment.
So these are a few super easy things I have done to incorporate my simple living philosophy into my everyday life. Perhaps these are things you might like to try also…
How to make your life a little bit simpler:
I just started gathering food scraps and heaping them in a pile in our backyard. Then I would take that compost and return the nutrients to the soil in my garden. From nature to nature.
A lot of people think that food will decompose in the landfill but that isn’t actually true. Food scraps are trapped among the rubbish and unable to get enough oxygen to biodegrade.
Buy sustainable beauty products-
I’ve been working on buying products without palm oil and that come in recyclable packaging. I already have a strong appreciation for bar soap and I am keen to try out solid shampoo and conditioner bars.
Unfollow people who make you feel icky-
Stop comparing yourself to others. Only follow people who uplift you, inspire you or bring you joy.
Eat less meat-
The agricultural industry is a huge contributor to global pollution and there is some speculation as to whether we should be eating as much animal protein as we currently do. I’m trying to include at least one vegetarian meal per week and when I do eat meat, I want it to be better quality.
Try growing your own vegetables-
I started this in order to better appreciate the effort required to get food onto my plate. I also wanted to become reacquainted with the lost art of preparing all elements of a meal by hand.
Buy secondhand first-
I absolutely love a bargain. But I also love that shopping secondhand first means less waste is created. We simply use what already exists.
Spend less time online-
Find joy in being present wherever you are. Take less photos and spend more time actually enjoying the moment.
Buy quality products-
If I do purchase something new then I usually will spend a little more in order to get something of better quality. Because in the long run, quality products tend to last longer.
Reduce your plastic use-
The amount of plastic we produce is insane. Especially for products that get used once and then thrown away. So anything that can be used in place of plastic and reused is brilliant.
De-clutter your physical spaces-
Clear out your closet, your pantry or the backseat of your car. Make space so that you can actually breathe. This means you will also know what you have/what you need and can avoid over purchasing.
Be intentional with relationships-
Put down your phone when you are with someone. Make time to see old friends. Call or message often. Be the one who makes the first move.
Learn what foods are in season then shop around for the best deals. Eating seasonally saves you money and means less environmental cost due to shipping from the other side of the world.
Support decent brands-
If possible, make purchases from smaller, local businesses. Support brands that do good, and care about their workers and their environmental impact.
And this is just the start of it. There are so many more things we can do to make our lives simpler and more intentional. If you want a little help getting started then check out the 7 days to mindful living challenge I released just last week.
Basically, it all comes back to awareness. Being aware of the impact, positive and negative, that you have on everyone and everything around you.
What little things do you do to make your life simpler?