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.

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!

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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 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!

Advice to my 18-year-old self…

Advice to my 18-year-old self - Episode 161 of The Slow Home Podcast

Hey, hey, it’s hostful time again! And (as always) the questions you’ve asked are excellent.

Things have been a little weird over here the past few weeks as I’ve been finishing the final edits on my second book so it was a lot of fun to sit down and chat through our thoughts on these questions:

  • I’d love to hear your thoughts on how you think the role of your job/career fits into ones life, if it doesn’t link specifically with your ‘why’.
  • What are some strategies to manage the paper that builds up so that it does not become overwhelming clutter? How do you manage filing things that need to be kept, and dealing with the rest?
  • What advice would you give your 18 year old self?
  • How do I throw away gifts without the giftee noticing next time they visit?!

I have some fun lamenting my hair choice as an 18-year-old, and we also take a minute to acknowledge the paper volcano that is our desk right now.

We do also have some genuinely helpful advice though (thankfully) as well as a request: if you have a few spare minutes today could you please answer our new listener survey? We’re trying to work out our next steps and want nothing more than to be able to help more people discover what it means to live a simpler, slower life. To do that we need to know what you’re struggling with the most and how you’d like us to help. The survey can be found over here and thank you in advance for taking it!

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 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!

Creating Empty Space

Creating Empty Space - Episode 160 of The Slow Home Podcast

We’re back with another simple experiment for you this week, and it’s all about empty space.

Emptiness gets a pretty bad reputation. Seen as a negative trait, a lack of personality, a boring experience for a boring person. But I personally am a big fan of emptiness and this week Ben and I talk about the fact that there is something wonderful to be gained by embracing a little empty space in your home, your days, your head…

At the end of the episode we encourage you to live with one completely empty space in your home – one shelf, a drawer, one wall or your coffee table – for a week. But the reality is that you can choose to create a little emptiness in a lot more places than your physical environment.

Emptiness allows your eyes or mind somewhere quiet to rest, somewhere that isn’t completely overwhelmed by options and stimulus, and when we notice that emptiness and the feelings it brings up (maybe we’re a little unnerved or twitchy?) it actually encourages us to go a little deeper:

  • Why do we feel that way?
  • What stories are we telling ourself because of it?
  • Are we holding on to things simply out of habit?
  • What if we fought through that feeling of discomfort?
  • What is on the other side?

This week isn’t about convincing you that emptiness is something you should like. In fact, you may discover that you really miss the photos, the books, the cushion or the vases that you pack away, which is great. Because what this very simple experiment is doing is asking you to pay attention, to be intentional, to tap back in to your reasons for having things, rather than operating on auto-pilot. So while it might look like an experiment about stuff or space, it’s actually a reminder to notice more.

Of course you may also realise (much like we did when we removed all the artwork from our walls) that you enjoy the emptiness, and that’s awesome too.

So this week, simply try living with one empty space. Pack up everything on the coffee table, the bedside table or the dining table for example, and just see how you feel about it over the coming days. See what you miss, see what you don’t miss. Notice what you do or don’t like about the emptiness and use that noticing to propel you towards a little more intention in your days.

Let us know which space you’ve chosen to empty and how you find the following week. What did you struggle with? What did you enjoy about it? What did you keep or let go of or forget about completely?

And if you have two minutes to spare, we would be so grateful if you could complete this super short survey for us. Thank you!

——

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!

——

Keep Listening:

Support the Show:

You may have heard that we recently hit 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!