Gifts, the dilemma of dilemmas for aspiring minimalists! Giving, receiving – it all becomes fraught.
Personally, I wouldn’t be without gifts at Christmas. I love watching my Dad trying to guess all his gifts before opening them, and seeing my Mum coming into the room late in the day having just found that gift she bought for me months ago and had stashed in a “safe place”.
But then there is the other side – the gag toilet seat golf set from Secret Santa or another hand cream. You do your best to keep things minimal all year, only to be defeated by Christmas clutter creep.
Christmas – you’ve probably noticed that it’s approaching fast. Here in New Zealand, we don’t have Thanksgiving and we don’t really have Halloween, so the shops have been waiting for Christmas since Fathers’ Day in September.
Warning: This post DOES NOT contain affiliate links. My holiday essentials aren’t something you can buy in a shop.
Some people love Christmas, some people hate it. I oscillate between the two. Generally, I enjoy Christmas day, but can’t stand all the hoopla of the whole holiday season. I’m not Christian (or religious at all), so it can be a challenge to find meaning in Christmas beyond consumerism – gifts and food, and lots of them. Not to knock gifts and food, but if you’re looking for real joy in Christmas, gifts and food alone isn’t going to do it.
Christmas is a challenge to my more minimalist and anti-consumerism values. But that’s not a bad thing, because preparing for Christmas prompts me to pause, reflect and clarify my intentions. That leads to my must haves for mindful and meaningful Christmas. Continue reading “My must haves this Christmas”
While my first go at playing The Minimalist Game got underway with a fair bit of angst and trepidation, this time around it’s fun!
It was only this week, when I started decluttering again on a daily basis, that the lesson of last year’s exercise really came home to me.
As I went through cupboards and drawers, I noticed I had a different mindset – stuff was just stuff. Letting go of stuff is so much easier than it was the first time around.
While doing the Minimalism Game again came about on the spur of the moment, on reflection having a year-long gap between rounds is beneficial. A whole year has gone by and I haven’t missed or regretted a thing I decluttered last June.
What’s more, I continue to notice the benefits of last years big purge. When I need something from my plastics shelf, linen closet or bathroom cupboard, I just go and find it – no searching through an overflowing mass of clutter, no sense of dread, no swearing as I try to shove everything back in with one hand while trying to slam the door shut with the other!
Energy spent < energy saved
The energy I expended on last years Minimalism Game has been eclipsed by the energy I’ve saved on a daily basis through reduce sighing, searching, stuffing and swearing!
It’s so worth it. In my head, in my heart – I know this. With this knowledge I am excited to get stuck into round 2.
Have you noticed lasting benefits from decluttering?
It is coming up a year since I completed The Minimalist Game. This was going to be a post about what I learnt from playing the game, and the enduring changes it led to. However, I was chatting to my husband and he suggested that I should do it again.
Turns out that he really like watching my mad decluttering, and this time he wants to join in too.
So watch this space – July 2016 we are playing The Minimalist Game (again)!
How many of your casual conversations start something like this:
“How are you?”
“Oh, you know, busy!”
It seems busy is the new fine.
Default answer, default setting What’s the big deal? It’s just a throw away response to a polite question, which probably doesn’t interest the asker that much anyway.
But it is a big deal – it’s accepting and reinforcing a social norm.
Busyness is no longer a blip, a short burst of extra activity, an exception– it’s the default. Being busy is not just socially acceptable, it’s almost expected.
Busy is not fine By operating with busyness as the default setting we are doing ourselves a disservice. We are sending out messages like:
if you’re not busy, you’re not successful or important
it’s not enough to be satisfied with what you have, you should always want to do more and have more
quantity is more valuable than quality.
Worse still busyness blinds us. When we’re busy, we’re more concerned with the what than the why. When we’re busy, there’s no room to think, reflect or question. In a world where we’re busy by default, in effect, we put our heads in the sand.