Author Archives:

Slow Holidays: Clutter-Free Gifts

Tim Mossholder
It’s the most wonderful (exhausting?) time of the year… and it’s almost upon us. Considering we’re now well in to November, Ben and I wanted to spend the next few weeks talking about how we may be able to reduce the stress, overwhelm, expense, clutter and expectations we all feel when the silly season arrives, and today we begin by going to the heart of the matter – gifts.

It kind of bugs me that this is the first question that comes to mind, because as far as I’m concerned, the holidays should be about spending time with people we love and having enough time to actually sit and enjoy their company. It shouldn’t be about stuff at all, and yet, that’s the overarching theme of the Christmas and holiday season.

So instead of just ranting about it, in today’s episode we offer you a few ways of changing your mindset regarding gifts and showing love, but also share a whole heap of (hopefully) practical and interesting gifts that won’t add to the endless clutter that comes with the seemingly endless gift giving.

Plus, we also talk about the benefit of experiences over things, homemade and consumable gifts and one of my favourites – giving the gift of our time and skills.

We also talk about the fact that, yes, Ben and I do give Christmas gifts to our kids, and that rather than get lost in the Toy of the Year craziness, buying whatever plastic piece of junk is on the Must Have List for all girls and boys, we stick to these guidelines. They usually serve us pretty well:

  • Something they want
  • Something they need
  • Something to wear
  • Something to read

We then also list some of my favourite clutter-free gift ideas for a variety of ages, including:

  • Young kids: movie, theatre, concert tickets, sporting event passes, annual pass to a local attraction
  • Older kids: movie or event tickets, art, music, dance or cooking classes,
  • Teenagers: classes or lessons, concert tickets, vouchers to Etsy, iTunes, Google Play etc
  • Adults: consumables, cooking lessons, online courses, charitable gifts, vouchers for babysitting, gardening, time spent together

You can also read my comprehensive Clutter-Free Gift Guide from a few years ago here.

The Ultimate Clutter-Free Gift Guide #christmas

Sometimes it takes a little creativity or a little deeper questioning on what the person would like, but these thoughtful gifts are so wonderful and you know they get to spend time doing something they enjoy as opposed to simply being given something they may or may not even need, use or want.

Undoubtedly, it’s a tricky time to make sweeping changes to the way you and your family do gifts, but even by introducing some of these ideas this year you can pave the way for simpler, slower, less cluttered Christmases in the years ahead.

Do you have a favourite clutter-free gift? What’s been the best you’ve ever received?

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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!

——

Things to Check Out After Today’s Episode:

Keep Listening:

Support the Show:

You may have heard that we recently hit 3 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!

 

Courtney Carver on heart-centred living and soulful simplicity

Oliver Cole

Today’s episode is such a treat. Courtney Carver was one of the first ever guests on the show (Episode 10 – it feels like a lifetime and five minutes ago at the same time!) and in today’s episode she returns to share her very personal story and get deep into the importance of love and honesty and vulnerability and rediscovering of ourselves on the way to a simpler life.

So often the idea of simplifying life is presented in a fairly dogmatic, unemotional way. Initially the focus is on stuff and the process of letting it go, then the focus moves to habit changes or health or food, and then it shifts to mental wellbeing or environmental awareness. Very rarely does it begin with soul, and hardly ever is it shaped (in the beginning at least) by love.

But in this conversation and in Courtney’s wonderful new book, Soulful Simplicity, love is absolutely everywhere. It’s sprinkled throughout each story and lesson learnt, and it’s love that Courtney returns to every time.

I loved every second of this conversation. Courtney is so open and warm and honest, and this chat, and Courtney’s book, reflect that wholly. We talk a lot about what it means to share fully and honestly some of the hardest lessons learnt throughout our simplifying processes, as well as the discovery of self throughout the process. We also talk about the headwork and heartwork required by the re-making of self, which is so often ignored while we pursue the physical work of removing the clutter and excess from our lives. But it’s that deep work that really requires prolonged effort, and Courtney talks specifically about her non-negotiables that provide her with the health, strength and presence of mind required t actually do the work.

This is such a love-filled, soul-centred conversation that I feel so grateful to have had. Be sure to check out the awesome pre-order bonuses for Courtney’s book, Soulful Simplicity, here.

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!

——

Things to Check Out After Today’s Episode:

Keep Listening:

Support the Show:

You may have heard that we recently hit 3 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!

The Age of Distraction and what to do about it

Simon Rae

Over the past few weeks Ben and I have been talking about social media and how we utilise it while still maintaining a slow(er) paced life.

We spoke about Instagram, Twitter and Facebook and finished last Monday’s episode with a challenge – to delete social media apps of our phones for the next month. I know there were a few people who really weren’t down with that idea, which is totally understandable (it can be annoying and inconvenient, for sure) but today’s episode might give you some additional food for thought.

We had planned to wrap up the social media series last week and move on to another topic, but a couple of weeks ago I read an article on The Guardian that was too fascinating, and perhaps a little too much like the dystopian fiction I love, to ignore. So we thought we’d spend today’s episode examining the article and the ideas it presents, because it’s a very timely conversation.

The article opens with a conversation between the journalist and a handful of Silicon Valley engineers and developers, who are among the small but growing number of tech employees who no longer use the platforms they helped create. For some, it’s purely the distraction and time impacts of these addictive platforms, but for others it goes deeper. The article examines the ways in which these platforms have been designed to maximise addictability, and the impact that’s having on our behaviour. It was this point that really made me mad, and gave me the motivation to delete the apps and completely reconsider the way I use them.

Ben and I also talk about the specific tools we’ve started using since reading the article, including website and app blockers, as well as the mindset shifts we’ve made that seems to have made these changes easier than they’ve been before.

If you haven’t had a chance to read the article I’ve linked to it below and definitely recommend you take the time to have a read this week. You may just find yourself a little pissed off, like me, and use that anger to make some long-term changes.

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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!

——

Things to Check Out After Today’s Episode:

  • ‘Our minds can be hijacked’ by Paul Lewis, The Guardian
  • Stay Focusd – the website restricting extension for Chrome – I use this to keep non-work social media time to 10 minutes a day
  • Freedom – the app and website blocking app that stops you from being able to access apps and specific websites on your phone (I use this in conjunction with Stay Focusd so there’s fewer opportunities to find work arounds)
  • SLOW, my brand new book is now available in Australia and New Zealand! (US and Canada, Spring 2018) Head over here for details.
  • Destination Simple is now available in North America! Grab a copy here.

Keep Listening:

Support the Show:

You may have heard that we recently hit 3 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!

 

Slow Living and Social Media: Facebook

Adam Jang

Ah, Facebook. The social media platform I have the biggest love/hate relationship with of all. I love it because it affords us a way of communicating with our people and a relatively simple way of building a community of rad folk like you.

But UGH. I really really dislike using it personally, and post to my private, non-work profile pretty infrequently. It just grates on me, and the hours of time I’ve wasted over the years of looking at holiday photos of people I went to high school with just makes me a bit mad, you know?

It’s undeniable that I do use it frequently for work, though, which means I need to monitor my use of it pretty closely so that I don’t tip in to the mindless scrolling mode that made me dislike Facebook in the first place. So in today’s episode Ben and I discuss the different measures we’ve put in place over the past couple of years to ensure Facebook stays in its box and doesn’t impose on parts of work or life that it doesn’t need to.

Ben’s only just gotten back on to Facebook after many years away, solely to assist me in the running of the Slow Your Home page and the online retreat group. He has zero friends (me included) and has no problem in keeping it at arm’s length and keeping his personal life off the internet.

A few years ago I made the decision to no longer accept friend requests from people I didn’t know personally, and that, paired with our decision to keep our kids and personal lives off Facebook means that it’s largely not a privacy issue any more. It’s just a time issue. So I’ve also been happily reducing the number of people I follow, and feel completely free to unfriend or mute those who’s posts are troubling. We might be on these social media platforms because we feel like it’s a requirement (it’s not, but I get it) but that’s not to say we don’t have a certain level of power over what gets in front of our faces when we log on.

When it comes to work, Facebook is by far the biggest consideration for us. It’s where the majority of our audience spends time, so it’s important that we show up. The key is doing so in a way that works for us too. In order to maintain control on our time, over the past couple of years I’ve been instigating the following strategies. Like anything we’re not perfect at it (far from it actually) but generally they allow us to strike a balance between being available and being offline:

  • schedule new podcast posts ahead of time
  • schedule occasional articles from other sites 
  • I’ve created an auto-response for anyone who writes to us on Facebook, explaining that we can’t always reply to every message
  • I try to log in at least once a day and respond to as many as I can but it doesn’t always happen.

I believe we’re all still trying to find a way of balancing social media and mindful living, but what I’ve learnt over the last couple of years is that doing things just because we’re told they’re the “right thing to do” isn’t a good enough reason to stress ourselves out with constant connection. Like anything, the more mindful and intentional we are about our choices and actions the more likely we’ll be to strike a balance that works for us personally.

How do you use Facebook? Do you find it overwhelming or comforting? Do you have any boundaries on it, or dip in and out as needed?

——

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!

——

Things to Check Out After Today’s Episode:

  • If you’re not already following Slow Your Home on Facebook you can find us here.
  • SLOW, my brand new book is now available in Australia and New Zealand! (US and Canada, Spring 2018) Head over here for details.
  • Destination Simple is now available in North America! Grab a copy here.

Keep Listening:

Support the Show:

You may have heard that we recently hit 3 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!

 

Community with Dr Monty Badami

Slava Bowman

Ben and I are always on the look-out for fascinating people to chat with for the poggie, and today’s guest is no exception. In fact, I think he’s probably got one of the most varied careers of anyone we’ve spoken with so far.

He is an:

  • Anthropolgist
  • Civil Marriage Celebrant
  • Justice of the Peace
  • Jazz Singer
  • English Teacher
  • Tai Chi Instructor
  • Youth Worker
  • Bouncer…
  • and is training to become an officer in the Australia Reserve!

To say that Dr Sumant Badami (Dr Monty as he is known to most) leads a busy life is an understatement. Ben first met Monty at Dr Arne Rubenstein’s leadership camp back in July, in fact this conversation is a great extension to Episode 91 when Ben spoke to Arne about Rights of Passage and the importance of strong role models in Western society.

In yet another Ben ‘takeover’ episode, Monty talks about the importance of community and what it means on a very fundamental level to be part of a community. Monty shares a beautiful story about his research travels in South India where he visited the Paniya, a marginalised indigenous ethnic group, who were slaves until quite recently and what that taught him about being accepted and valued in a community.

In a very articulate way, Monty challenges the concept of the ‘broken community’ in Western culture and what he believes we need to do to better connect with like-minded people (*hint: it’s pretty simple!)

This is an extremely enlightening conversation that is designed to spark conversation (and many more questions!) rather than provide the answers. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

Also, if you enjoy the chat be sure to check out Monty’s new podcast over at “The meaning of…”

——

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!

——

Things to Check Out After Today’s Episode:

Keep Listening:

Support the Show:

You may have heard that we recently hit 3 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!