Category Archives: Stuff

Learn to let go of the excess and declutter the things that are weighing you down. Read more about sharing, de-owning and how to live with less.

Rob Greenfield on the enormous power of small changes

“Radical transformation doesn’t happen overnight. It starts with one small change, and then another one, and then another one.” — Rob Greenfield

Over the years I’ve found that one of the biggest obstacles to making positive change is a sense of hopelessness. What can I do? What difference will I make? Why does it matter? Who cares what one person does?

I’ve asked myself those exact questions countless times as I’m faced with the impotency of my own efforts. Whether it’s reducing plastic consumption and waste, making ethical clothing and food choices, supporting organisations trying to make a difference or showing kindness in the face of anger or aggression, I so often falter when I realise that me and my changes are merely a single drop in a very large ocean. I may pat myself on the back for avoiding plastic for an entire day, only to walk home and see hundreds of straws and cigarette butts littering the street. Boom. Demoralised.

In today’s episode I explore this issue with my guest, the inspiring and change-making Rob Greenfield, a self-described ‘dude making a difference’, and someone with a fascinating perspective on what is required in order to have a positive impact on the world.

Rob is an activist, environmentalist and legend, and is very good at raising people’s awareness of an issue by doing big, bold things to grab our attention. In 2016 he collected the amount of rubbish the average American creates in a month, strapped it to his body and wore it around New York City like a big old swollen trash suit. It’s a sight to behold and certainly succeeded in gaining attention to the massive issue of plastic waste.

But on the flip side, he’s also been the person making small, consistent change in his own life and in today’s conversation we talk about why that’s such an important lesson to learn, and one which will often lead to bigger changes down the line.

10 years ago Rob was living what he calls a “typical American life”. He was driven by money and ideas of success, obsessed with his car and didn’t consider the impact of his choices on the planet or the people around him. As he began to travel and broaden his horizons Rob began reading books and watching documentaries about the state of the world, and the more he learned, the more he realised he had to change.

So he did. Slowly, one step at a time. Rob talks about the fact that making positive changes in your life is a has a snowball effect, and we both agree that while this slow steady approach might seem frustrating or overwhelming at first, it really is the only way to go.  He breaks down the changes he made, and how these eventually fed into the big, bold experiments and projects he’s become known for.

We also talk about how he communicates these changes to the people around him, the idea of comfort zones, change and societal norms, as well as the need to practice compassion and get good it at, just like building any other muscle or skill. He shares an amazing story about a man named Guitar Johnny, that has stuck with me for many months and is such a simple and beautiful example of what it looks like to live with compassion and forgiveness.

It’s incredibly inspiring to hear Rob share so honestly about his life, and is a much-needed reminder that we can all make choices in our daily lives to have a more positive impact on the world.

I’m also really excited to see how Rob goes with his next project – growing or foraging 100% of his food for a whole year, and I’ve linked to this project in the show notes below.

In the meantime, I hope you enjoy this episode and take solace in the knowledge that every single change matters. No matter how big or small.

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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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Things to Check Out After Today’s Episode:

Keep Listening:

Support the Show:

Recently we hit the mind-blowing number of 4.5 million downloads of The Slow Home Podcast! This is all 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 Secrets of Professional Organisers with Kirsty Farrugia

Brooke Lark

“Life’s messy, humans are messy. And that’s my job, to actually sit in the mess with them. To be OK with their mess, to be OK with them, and to help them see that it is possible to move forward.”

— Kirsty Farrugia

I have a confession to make. I’ve always had a bit of a complex about professional organisers, assuming that their super-human organisational skills would put me and my fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants personality to shame. They’d highlight my failure to stick to routines and systems, revealing the fact that I was making it all up as I went along.

Over the past few years I’ve found my own way of making things work – simplifying, establishing rhythms, reprioritising and recalibrating what ‘enough’ looked like – but I still held on to this notion that professional organisers were going to make me feel inadequate and not quite organised enough.

That is, at least, until I met my guest today. Kirsty Farrugia is the founder of Feels Like Home professional organising, co-host of the podcast The Art of Decluttering, and she’s gracious and warm and kind – the perfect companion to accompany people on the vulnerable work of enlisting a professional organiser. In other words, she is perfect for her job!

This conversation really does put to bed a few misconceptions I had about professional organisers, as Kirsty really radiates both grace and vulnerability when talking about her job, and the full spectrum of relationships between stuff and people that she deals with in her daily work.

We talk about the misconception of decluttering being the solution to every problem, when really it’s often just the first step in a long process of creating change in your life. Kirsty also talks about how she gets started with her clients, and the questions she invites them to ask as they sit in the mess and start to deal with it. Just like I often talk about the importance of knowing your ‘why’, when it comes to decluttering, having a vision for your home and your life in it makes the process much easier.

Wonderfully, and much to my barely-disguised relief, Kirsty reveals that she is in fact not a naturally organised person and that it was only after she married an “uber-organised” man that she started to change her ways. This means that she can really connect and empathise with her clients, as she too has felt overwhelmed in her own home and has done the hard work to make changes. She talks about the idea of grace, and of the benefits of letting go and giving yourself permission to live the life you want to live, not a life dictated by the things around you. It’s a big, honest, vulnerable chat that definitely peels back a couple of onion layers around decluttering and professional organising, and I owe a big thanks to Kirsty for sharing so openly.

Excitingly, we also announce the first Slow Experiment of 2018 and I’d love to encourage you to join in. You can find out more about why we’re spending 60 minutes a day in nature by heading over here, and be sure to listen to next week’s episode when we kick things off.

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:

Recently we hit the mind-blowing number of 4 million downloads of The Slow Home Podcast! This is all 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!

 

Cait Flanders on her year of less, and why consumption isn’t just about stuff

Photo by Kelsey Johnsen on Unsplash

In today’s episode I chat with the awesome Cait Flanders, mindful money extraordinaire, author and slow living advocate. The last time Cait was on the show was way back in episode 22 in 2015, so we had a bit to catch up on!

Excitingly, Cait’s first book The Year Of Less is about to be released (on 16th January 2018). I’ve had the pleasure of reading it, and can only describe it as life-changing. At first glance it might seem to be about a woman who stopped shopping for a year, but it’s actually about so much more. Cait did complete a year-long shopping ban from 2014-2015, and while the book is about that, the ban also provides a framework for her to talk about a lot of other things – drinking, relationships, money (of course) and more. The book is deeply personal and honest, so a lot of excavation was involved in the writing. In today’s poggie Cait speaks about the writing process (including self-imposed isolation and extended Airbnb stays) as well as the feeling of finishing her biggest creative project to date.

As a huge fan of experimentation myself, I also asked Cait about her own year of slow experiments, undertaken throughout 2017. Cait explained the motivation behind them – that she felt overwhelmed by the classic #newyearnewme self-improvement messages, knowing she’d have a lot of work to do in the new year with her book. But at the same time there were some small changes she wanted to make – things she wanted more or less of in her life. And so the year-long project was born, featuring all the fun of trying something new without the pressure of a challenge. Every month (bar two) had a theme, and rather than setting goals she created intentions, which meant more room for fluidity and flexibility and less feeling bad for not ticking a certain box every day.

She kicked off with slow mornings in January, and in a beautiful act of synchronicity, is finishing in December with experimenting with slow evenings. Her favourite experiments were the slow travel and slow food (delightful and delicious!). Throughout the year Cait realised that anything that makes you stop and think about what it is that you’re doing, in whatever aspect of your life, is a good thing. She and I talk more about that in terms of being overwhelmed with choice, feelings of FOMO, changing slowly, being compassionate and asking for help when we need it.

Cait’s overall goal with her book was to encourage people to pause and think about what’s going on when they feel the need to consume more or binge on whatever it is – shopping, drinking, eating, social media etc. And this mindfulness really permeates throughout all her work, and the way she lives her life. I think Cait is awesome and am so incredibly proud of her and her beautiful book.

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!

 

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!

 

De-own. Don’t just declutter.

Chris Lawton

Joshua Becker was the first person to introduce me to the idea of de-owning, and initially I found it quite challenging to understand. Surely isn’t decluttering the same as de-owning? I’ve let go of these things, I no longer own them, therefore I’ve de-owned, right?

Not quite.

In SLOW I write about this realisation:

When Ben and I first decluttered, we did a fantastic job of recluttering almost immediately. We’ve made space! Great! Let’s fill it with better stuff. Stuff we need. Stuff we’ve always wanted. Stuff we deserve. Stuff that will identify us as successful and thoughtful. Stuff that will tell others we’re creative, mindful and intelligent.

Why did we do this? Why did we declutter, only to spend the next few months slowly recluttering? Why were we convinced that we deserved shiny, fancy new things? Why did we find it difficult to maintain the space we worked so hard to create? For us it was a combination of:

  • convenience
  • ego
  • expectation
  • habit
  • boredom
  • discontent
  • comparison
  • advertising
  • status
  • aspirations
  • identity
  • insecurity

Honestly, it doesn’t feel great telling you that. It feels shallow. But it’s also the truth. And until we were able to wrap our heads around de-owning, not just decluttering, it was going to remain our truth.

We spent time slowly letting go of our need to own things, and throughout the rest of today’s episode we walk through different ways you can gradually de-own, as well as declutter.

It includes sharing, hiring and borrowing things, and thinking outside the box when it comes to our needs versus our convenience.

Tell me, do you have a crew of friends or family who you share things with? Perhaps you’ve got a local tool library or a library of things that you use? I love this idea of the sharing economy and would love to know how you’ve learnt to de-own too. Let me know.

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 2.9 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. You’ll also be able to join our monthly live video calls where we answer questions and give a behind the scenes look at life.

Most importantly, thanks for being here!