Monthly Archives: October 2016

Decluttering #5

Decluttering #5 - The Slow Home Experiment

So last week felt a little…desperate as we tried to find more things to let go of in order to reach our #minsgame target. This week though, Ben and I are a lot more accepting of the reality.

The truth is, we’ve been at this simplification experiment for a lot longer than 31 days, so when we realised somewhere around Day 27 that we simply didn’t have anything else to let go of right now (more on that below) it was something of a relief. The last thing I ever wanted was for the idea of decluttering or letting go of the excess to become an obsession or a point of stress, and this experiment has shown me that it absolutely can be if we don’t focus on the why.

Why are we choosing to let go of another layer of things? Why are we spending our time sifting through our belongings? For us, it was in order to make room for more life. More fun, more time spent together, more adventure and play and space and energy and slowness. And that is absolutely what we’ve discovered under many layers of crap.

Yes there’s work involved to get to that point, but when you realise with every box of stuff you let go of that you’re getting closer to the kind of life you want, it is absolutely worth it. But when it changes to become something that takes us further away from those things we value – fun, time, adventure, play – then we know that it’s time to stop.

In terms of totals for the month, I ended up at 470, while Ben was about 350. And that felt like a lot. We worked through the first, easy layer of stuff and then had to dig a little deeper for the rest. Every week asked us to more closely examine our things and why we kept them, and I liked that I needed to look at our things with a more questioning eye, as it’s really easy to become complacent over time.

The other thing we learnt is that some decluttering takes more time than others. We’ve still got a big box of photos that need to be scanned and processed, as well as a lot of files to digitise in the office. Had we taken the time to do those tasks this month, we would have made the total by about 1.3 million. But that kind of clutter takes even more time to process and that’s time we simply didn’t have this month, which is OK.

So I would call the October Slow Home Experiment an absolute success. It wasn’t nearly as easy as I’d imagined, but that’s actually a good thing.

Here’s what we let go of in the last week of the experiment:

Slow Home Experiment - Week 5

The Slow Home Experiment - Week 5

After we wrap up this month, Ben and I also talk about the November experiment – daily play. After this month’s work-heavy experiment it’s going to be lovely to return to a lighter type of daily change and I’m really looking forward to it.

We talk about what daily play actually looks like and throw around some ideas for what we’re going to try each day. I honestly think that for me it will be much like the 8 Hours Sleep experiment, where not only did I enjoy the extra sleep, but found myself prioritising sleep more and making decisions that allowed me to do that.

We also talk about what we mean by ‘play’ – a non-task oriented activity – and why we think it’s going to be a good one as we head in to the pointy end of the year.

I’d love to know – how did you go with the #minsgame this month? I know a lot of you have been playing along so please feel free to tag your social media posts with both #minsgame and #slowhomeexperiment.

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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 1.2 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 importantly, thanks for being here!

Decluttering #4

Decluttering # 4 - The Slow Home Experiment

This month’s Slow Home Experiment is proving to be quite the emotional roller coaster.

Let’s recap so far, in gif form:

Week 1: We’ve GOT this.
(In fact, let’s not even count the kids’ stuff – that’s how confident we are.)

via GIPHY

Week 2: Slightly more difficult.

via GIPHY

Week 3: No, no. We’ve SO got this.

via GIPHY

Week 4: This is actually impossible.

via GIPHY

In today’s episode I try to talk Ben down from his decluttering-related tantrum while remaining stoically upbeat, but I’m not going to lie – this week has been tough. I’m not giving up yet, but there’s definitely been a shift over the past few days as the clutter that remains proves to be tougher than anything we’ve had to deal with before – mostly because in order to let it go, we first need to process it in some way.

It’s also important to me that this doesn’t become a different kind of obsession with stuff (the letting go as opposed to the holding on) and Ben tells me that he’s actually feeling unpleasantly obsessed with the idea at the moment.

We do have some bigger areas to tackle over the coming week (and Ben has some “Trump decluttering” to do) which might offer up clutter we haven’t considered yet, but it’s going to be an interesting time as we try to make the total of 500 items by October 31.

How are you finding the experiment? Have you been following along? Feel free to play along (it’s never too late to start!) and tag your social media posts with both #minsgame and #slowhomeexperiment.

——

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 1.2 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 importantly, thanks for being here!

Grow Just One Thing with Kyrstie Barcak

Grow Just One Thing with Kyrstie Barcak - Episode 112 of The Slow Home Podcast

Growing up I spent a lot of time in my paternal grandfather’s back garden, swinging on the Hills Hoist, exploring the forbidden zone behind the garden shed (turns out it was just a bunch of pots and tools) and splashing my sister when she walked past the bird bath.

In my mind’s eye it’s always summer, and there were always delicious tomatoes growing against the fence. I remember eating spearmint and parsley and lettuce right from the garden and was amazed to learn that plants – just straight from the ground, regular plants – were something we could eat. It sounds utterly dumb now, but when I realised that food was as simple as a plant in the ground, and not necessarily the fruit in buckets at the supermarket or the vegetables wrapped in plastic, there was a shift in the way I saw food and, in particular, gardening.

Of course, then I became a teenager and didn’t think about it for a decade.

But when Ben and I moved to the mountains and I had two young kids at home and a raging case of overwhelm, I planted a little native garden in our bare backyard. I didn’t know it at the time, but that garden was an integral part of my recovery from post natal depression – watering it, checking its progress every day, discovering the swell of a blossom about to burst and the joy of seeing a flower where yesterday there was none – was actually an act of mindfulness, even if I didn’t realise it at the time.

Now, after many false starts and failed gardens, we’ve got two big veggie beds in our backyard that have kept us in kale, spinach, herbs, silver beet, broccoli, carrots, beans and peas for months. We’re just about to plant out our first crop of tomatoes (my pop would be proud) and my passion for gardening has – if you’ll excuse the pun – really blossomed.

In today’s episode I have the absolute pleasure of chatting with Kyrstie Barcak – a passionate gardener and educator, whose goal is to see every home grow at least one edible plant. She’s written a beautiful book called Grow Just One Thing, and today she and I talk about why she encourages people to start with just one plant.

We talk about information overwhelm, garden comparisons, time constraints, the steep learning curve of growing your own food, and why starting small is the best way to slowly find a level that works for you.

Kyrstie has some great advice for people who want to grow just one thing but don’t know where to start – including some suggestions for hard-to-kill starter plants and her never fail tips on caring for your plant once you’ve got it in the ground.

Enjoy! And let me know – do you have a garden? Some herbs in a pot near the back door? A lemon tree in the backyard?

——

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 1.2 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 importantly, thanks for being here!

Decluttering #3

Decluttering #3 - The Slow Home Experiment

In last week’s episode Ben and I spoke about how tough we were finding this month’s decluttering experiment, and how I’d gone from confident to concerned in the space of a few days. I’m happy to say that I’m back to feeling confident about our ability to each declutter 500 things by the end of the month… Maybe even over-confident.

In today’s pogpast we talk about the reasons this week has felt easier – having to move the contents of a few rooms in order to have them painted certainly helped – but I also think we’ve made a significant shift in our attitude towards our stuff.

I’d been making a lot of assumptions about the things we’d held on to over the years – that simply because we have them, they must be important/useful/meaningful – and this week, as I started viewing our stuff with a more dispassionate eye, it became clear to me that they were simply assumptions.

It’s been amazing to see how things that were ‘must keep’ only months ago have now transitioned into being just stuff, and how the idea of letting go has gone from emotionally taxing to a complete relief. What a ride this month is proving to be!

We also talk about the area of our home we decluttered this week – including my realisation that the jewellery I’d held on to for years now holds no special value at all, and my fear of letting it go had completely disappeared. Ben talks about his trump card for the last few days, and the absolute glut of clutter we uncovered in the office.

Here’s a snapshot of the stuff we let go of this week:

Decluttering #3 - The Slow Home Experiment

Decluttering #3 - The Slow Home Experiment

I’m really excited to see all the #slowhomeexperiment posts popping up on Instagram every day! If you haven’t joined in yet but are keen, you can jump in any time. Tag your social media posts with both #minsgame and #slowhomeexperiment and get decluttering!

In the meantime, have a beautiful week.

——

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 1.2 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 importantly, thanks for being here!

How slow living can save you… in a zombie apocalypse

via Zombie Victory Gardens
via Zombie Victory Gardens


Let me start by saying that this is an… unusual episode.

A slot unexpectedly opened up in our publishing schedule early this week and rather than scrambling to fill it, Ben and I decided to take the opportunity to go a little deeper on a topic that has (somewhat unexpectedly) resonated with a lot of people.

In last week’s hostful, we answered some excellent listener questions about birthday presents, advice for our 20-year-old selves, and how we manage to balance home duties while also working from home. But the question that got the most feedback was one about zombies.

Ben and I are massive fans of The Walking Dead so having an opportunity to briefly discuss our chances of survival in a post-apocalyptic zombie-filled world was super fun. Possibly even more fun was working out what our weapons would be – a golf club for Ben (natch) and long-handled secateurs for me (gardening forever!) – and what our fate might actually look like.

But it also got us thinking about the different ways slow living could actually impact our ability to survive (and perhaps even thrive?) in the apocalypse, and in a discussion over on Facebook earlier this week, a lot of people weighed in on the question:

“What is it about slow living that would prepare you for a zombie apocalypse?”

So here it is – a possibly-slightly-ridiculous but-very-well-researched episode that addresses the incredibly serious issue of how slow living could save your life if ever you find yourself living through a zombie apocalypse.

Enjoy! (And rest assured, it will be back to regular slow living talk – with an emphasis on the living – next episode.)

——

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 1.2 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 importantly, thanks for being here!