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.

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!

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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!

 

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!

Make second hand normal with Guido Verbist of The Bower

When I was growing up, we never really bought anything much second-hand (except a car). We would happily donate our unwanted or unneeded items to the charity shop every six months, happy that they were out of our hands and happy that maybe someone else would use them, but buying second hand wasn’t usually on our radar.

Not until I became interested in vintage clothes in my early 20s did I ever really consider shopping second hand, and even then it was an exception rather than the rule. I still somehow didn’t consider second hand shopping a viable option for most things, probably because it was less convenient than buying what I needed at a chain store or big department store, and in that, I know I wasn’t alone. In fact, I still think buying second hand is relatively uncommon. There’s still a bit of a stigma attached to buying pre-loved, and the convenience factor is still very much in play, particularly when you look at the ample opportunities for online shopping and almost immediate gratification.

Today’s guest, Guido Verbist from The Bower Reuse and Repair Centre is on a mission to turn this thinking on its head and make buying second hand normal.

If you watched War on Waste, the recent series on the ABC, you may have met Guido already. He’s the Co-op Manager of The Bower, and he’s been doing a huge amount of work over the past few years to reframe the way we think about second hand stuff, as well as empowering each of us to take control of repairing the things we do own.

I sat down to chat with Guido in the workshop room of The Bower’s new Reuse and Repair Centre in Parramatta, and we got to talking about convenience, the stigma of buying pre-owned things, and the lost art of repair.

The Bower aims to help minimise the amount of stuff going to landfill (and to date has stopped more than 1.3 million kilograms of stuff from ending up in the ground) and they do this by:

  • reselling unwanted goods to people who need them
  • fixing items and reselling them to people who need them
  • testing and tagging unwanted electrical items and reselling to people who need them
  • teaching people how to repair their own belongings at regular repair cafes and various workshops
  • working with local councils and encouraging residents to use their services
  • working with refugee and domestic violence services to help those in need establish a new home

This is an organisation making a huge difference across Sydney, and Guido talks openly and honestly about the benefits and challenges of being at the forefront of the reuse and repair movement in Australia, as well as his advice for people who want to set up similar services in their local community.

I personally love the idea of repair, but lack most of the skills needed to fix things. At The Bower, they run over 200 workshops every year teaching regular people the skills involved in repairing their own belongings. Under their guidance, you (and I) can learn to fix the table, reupholster the chair, rewire the DVD player, mend the bike or darn the clothes. I can’t tell you how excited this makes me. It feels kind of counter cultural and rebellious and I like it a lot.

Guido and I also talk about the issue of planned obsolescence and how to tell if an item you’re buying can be repaired, or if it’s been designed to be binned once the newer model is released. Attached to this idea is the notion of the circular economy (something I touched on in my recent conversation with Tim Silverwood) and why we need both the grass roots movements, like reuse and repair, AND the big corporations embracing circular design, in order to see large scale, global growth.

Guido is passionate and knowledgable and I walked away from our conversation feeling optimistic about the future. The second hand future, that is!

——

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 2.7 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 sharing economy in action with Justin Morrissey of Toolo

The sharing economy in action with Justin Morrissey of Toolo

Adam Sherez

Way back in the day I used to run a blog called The Lavender Experiment. It wasn’t very interesting and I think approximately 6 people read it, but it holds a special place in my heart nonetheless. I can’t remember if it was on The Lavender Experiment or somewhere else, but I wrote a post many years ago about creating a tool sharing co-op. A place where people donated their under-used tools and appliances and, as members, could borrow from all the items in the library whenever they needed to.

It was an idea I first tapped in to after listening to Rachel Botsman’s TED talk, where she spoke about the average life span of a power drill, and how, on average, that drill might be used for 10-12 minutes. Ever. I loved the idea of pooling and sharing resources, but I had no idea where to begin exploring it, let alone how it would be received. Plus, I had two babies and no time, so the idea stayed in my head. BUT, fast forward a few years and that future is now.

Today I speak to Justin Morrissey, the founder of Toolo, the Blue Mountains’ first tool library and co-op, and I couldn’t be more excited. A huge part of slow living is based in community and environmental stewardship, and tool libraries are a big step in the right direction.

In this episode Justin and I get really practical, as he explains to me how he began the library (and what drove him to do so in the first place) as well as his advice for people who may want to start a library in their own community. We also look at how the organisation is structured and the work that went in to it before launching, as well as the vital role that volunteers play in its ongoing success.

We also talk about the issue of convenience, and why our mindset needs to shift from one of immediacy to one of preparation (we can’t expect these resources to operate in the same way as the local Bunnings or big box store) and how learning to let go of the ego of ownership is a big part in the change too.

If you listen to today’s episode and want to know more about starting or running a tool library yourself, I’d really encourage you to get in touch with the team at Toolo, as they’re a wealth of expertise and are happy to work with other communities looking to make the change. And if you live in the Blue Mountains, sign up and support Toolo! They need to make it to 150 members by 2018 in order to keep running and that means it’s on us to support them.

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 2.7 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!