Five things I've picked up from slow living books

03 September 2018

I've read a bunch of slow living and minimalism books over the last few years. Some came highly recommended by Insta friends, others had beautiful covers or grew out of blogs I read regularly. I've loved the ideas they've explored, and on a practical level, how they've influenced my spending habits. Out of the books I've read, here's what stuck:

Try going without

There's a section of Erin Boyle's Simple Matters book that's about... baby stuff. And while we don't have kids, her advice on acquiring new things makes sense. She writes, "At the very last, you can stall the onslaught (of baby gear) by deciding to wait and see what you might end up needing rather than making many purchases in advance."

It's helped me see that even though a fancy bag for yoga clothes (and the very substantial amount of food I take to work everyday) would be lovely, a green bag actually does just fine.

Some habits are worth breaking

Reading The Year of Less helped me see that I had a handful of habits that I'd continued without much thought. Like... buying the latest issue of an indie magazine because I owned all of the other issues to date (and their spines collectively made a rainbow!).

What you paid for an item isn't a reason to keep it

Of all the books I've read, Goodbye Things is probably the most extreme when it comes to decluttering. The most useful tip I took from it was not to get hung up on what you originally paid for something you'd like to get rid of. It's a privilege to be able to take this approach. But it helped me sell boxes of books to the second hand store in Canberra.

There's no need to stock up

Another tip from the book that mainly applies to my pantry: There's no need to stock up. Our pantry used to be so full that I'd accidentally buy things we already had that were stashed away in hard to see places. This has also applied to my greeting card collection, which used to be huge!

Find free 'third' spaces

I loved the concept of a 'third space' from The Art of Frugal Hedonism. Basically it's anywhere that's not your home or your work, where you feel at ease and part of the world. That space is easily cafes for us!

Now that it's warming up, Tony and I can return to a favourite third space - our balcony. It looks onto a busy-ish street and it's lovely for people and bird watching, morning sun, and lazy breakfasts. We also live close to the lake, and sometimes take snacks, tea or even a pizza down to the foreshore for more people and dog-watching and a change of scenery. 

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