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.
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?
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:
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.
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.)