Tag Archives: no buy

Challenges and Lessons from our 20 Week No Buy Challenge

19 Apr 16
Megan
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We’ve reached the end of our 20 Week No Buy Challenge and over the weekend Rach and I caught up to celebrate our successes.

In keeping with the No Buy theme, we celebrated with a homemade lunch of soup and sourdough bread with a glass of sparkling wine followed by homegrown peppermint tea and homemade peanut butter cookies.

Celebrating the end of our 20 Week No Buy Challenge with homemade soup and sourdough and a glass of bubbles...

Celebrating the end of our 20 Week No Buy Challenge with homemade soup and sourdough and a glass of bubbles…

As we ate we discussed the challenges we faced during the 20 weeks and what we felt we’d learnt.

My biggest challenge was sticking to the rule of not eating out if I was alone. There were several days where I found myself out and about longer than I had planned to be and in a position where I was contemplating takeaway food. Luckily each time this happened I either made my way to my mum’s and ate there, or someone was available for me to eat out with so I didn’t actually break the rules.

My second biggest challenge was accepting that some things that at the beginning of the challenge I classified as non-essential became essential purchases during the 20 weeks. The t-shirt I’m wearing in the photo above was purchased during the 20 week challenge but it was an essential purchase as I lost at least 3 of my t-shirts and 2 dresses to old age (they became see-through or massive holes that weren’t worth repairing were made while carrying big loads of things into the house). I also gave away a couple of t-shirts because I wasn’t wearing them (they weren’t comfortable on me or they didn’t go with enough of my other clothes). Thus the new t-shirt in the photo above…

Having said that, none of the old clothing went into landfill, I have either cut them up for rags (the see through and holey ones) or I donated them to charity or someone I knew who would get more wear out of them than I was.

Lessons Learnt

I’ve struggled a bit with identifying the lessons I’ve learnt during this challenge, mainly because I didn’t find it all that difficult to comply with and because a lot of what I ‘learnt’ I already knew (the challenge just reinforced it).

The main things it reinforced for me were:

Always prepare for the unexpected.

I could have avoided the unexpected needs for eating out by always taking at least a small snack with me when I leave the house. I did do this most times and it saved me a few times from having to buy something. I also took my zero waste eat out kit (straw, cloth napkin, bamboo spork) everywhere with me and used it on several occasions to avoid using disposables and most trips I took my keep cup as well.

If you can identify your values, it’s easier to say ‘No’ to the things that don’t fit with them but it’s also important to be aware of other people’s values as well.

The No Buy Challenge fit well with my values of being conscious of the impact my actions have on the environment and the wider community. There were several purchases we made as a family (E wasn’t participating in the challenge) that, if it was just me, I would not have made but that were made because they fit with E’s values. There were other purchases we considered that I said No to because they didn’t fit well with my values and I couldn’t see any long term benefit for anyone in the family.

Each of us are individuals and we need to make compromises at times if we are to maintain healthy relationships. We need to set our own boundaries about what is acceptable and what isn’t.

Buying is the cultural norm and it’s difficult to move away from these habits.

Although I’ve never been a big spender, participating in this challenge made me more aware of the times where, in the past, I would’ve just made a purchase without really thinking about it. Even most of my few purchases during the challenge (the earrings early on, a duplo set and a few children’s books secondhand, and the t-shirt mentioned above) were made without much thought about them before hand. It was only after I bought them that I actually considered what they meant in terms of the challenge.

Rach had a lot more trouble with this than I did, there were several times during the challenge where she contacted me because she was considering a purchase and needed to discuss the options and whether they were actually essential. She also found that she enjoys shopping and for that reason alone it was difficult to stop.

Not buying new things makes you appreciate what you have.

Both Rach and I removed things from our houses during this challenge. Rach gave several bags of clothes to charity and took the time to assess what she has in her wardrobe. I, as mentioned above, lost several items of clothing to old age and gave away a few items that I didn’t wear.

We’ve both realised that we have enough, and for some things (clothes in particular) more than enough, in our lives. We are grateful that we live in a society where we have choices for clothing, shoes, kitchen appliances and other household items. We are not living below the poverty line and don’t need to struggle to meet our basic needs.

I like making conscious choices that align with my values.

Although it takes more time, during this challenge I’ve added several more homemade items to our lives. As well as the laundry liquid, cloth napkins, peppermint and fruit we already make or grow, I’ve been trying my hand at making my own sourdough bread (so far no reactions) and other ‘old fashioned’ recipes that are better for my health and the environment.

Although there are a few purchases I now need to consider making (new underwear and sandals to start with) I’m still going to be conscious of my purchases and my allocation of my time and resources. This No Buy Challenge has helped me to progress my larger challenge of living a simple, sustainable and meaningful life.

Did you participate in the challenge?

If so, what did you learn? If not, would you consider a challenge like this in the future?


Share Your World Week 15 + a No Buy Update

14 Apr 16
Megan
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I forgot to write about the No Buy Challenge in my last few posts and we’ve now got only one week left to go so before I do my Share Your World post, here’s a quick update…

This past week I did ‘buy’ one thing that isn’t in my usual purchases, but I don’t see it as being something against the guidelines of this challenge as it was more of a charitable donation than a purchase…

On Saturday night E and I went to a progressive dinner at Monarto Zoological Park (our local Open Range Zoo). The dinner was great fun with each course being at a different location around the zoo and unique keeper talks at the Chimpanzees and Carnivore (Hyena and Lion) Platforms.

As part of the dinner there was a raffle draw and silent auction. We didn’t win the raffle but we did win a unique painting (painted by one of the chimpanzees) as part of the silent auction. The painting is framed and came with two photos showing the chimpanzees painting.

The painting and the photos that accompany it.

The painting and the photos that accompany it.

A close up of the two photos...

A close up of the two photos…

The dinner itself was good. Hors d’oeuvres were served at the Chimpanzee platform. Being early evening they were just getting ready to sleep so while we drank wine and nibbled on dips and veggies (there were chicken nibblets as well but I mainly had the dips) we got to watch the chimpanzees make their nests and listen to the keeper telling us about each of the chimps and telling us (in very upsetting detail) about what happened with the recent births (one chimp and her baby died for various reasons, they have one living baby that was born a few weeks after the one that died). We were then taken to the carnivore platform for soup and listened to the keeper who gave out turkey necks as treats to the Hyenas and Lionesses that were out in their enclosures.

After entree, we were taken to the camp site for the main course. A sit down roast dinner during which the silent auction and raffle were concluded and then to the function centre near the giraffe’s for dessert, a wide selection of cakes, sweets, and fruit.

All the food was prepared by volunteers and they did a wonderful job of ensuring there was enough food for everyone and those of us with dietary requirements were catered for well.

Share Your World – Week 15

Name one thing not many people know about you.

I can’t think of what to say here, I’m sure there’s something but I’m so open and share most things that I’m really struggling to think of something…

If a distant uncle dies and you were always his favorite and leaves you $50,000 (any currency) in his will, what would you do?

I’d make sure E and I went on a nice holiday and then the rest would go towards paying our mortgage down sooner. The sooner we have no mortgage the sooner I’ll feel more comfortable with our current lifestyle. At the moment I can’t work that much so we’re pretty much a one income family.

Where do you hide junk when people come over?

I no longer need to hide junk when people come over thanks to my decluttering. In the past stuff tended to go into the spare room or in the shed.

Complete this sentence:  I want to learn more about …

Homemaking. As much as I enjoy working when I have the energy, I’m finding I enjoy being at home and having the time to spend on tasks and activities around the house as well. Having such limited energy means that I have to prioritise and most of the time I now prioritise time with family or house related tasks over any other tasks.

I’m currently learning about fermentation and making sourdough bread and look forward to adding more homemade and sustainable activities into our lives.

Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up? 

I’m grateful for the time spent with family and friends. As well as the progressive dinner, we had a friend’s housewarming last week and many of my friends have helped me collect material for the workshop I have coming up this week.

This week I’m looking forward to running the ‘wearable art hats’ workshop for children at the Sharefest this weekend. It should be fun seeing what creations the children can come up with from the bottle caps, cardboard, ribbons, buttons and other recycled materials we’ve managed to collect this week.

Pacing: How to add new activities

15 Mar 16
Megan
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Over the weekend, in between the many social events we had on, we picked up a secondhand electric bike for me to use. This means I can now add riding into my exercise regime, but it also means I need to be aware of how I’m coping and adjust my activity levels to fit this in.

The concept of Pacing is one of the key mechanisms I have in place for managing my chronic illnesses. It’s basically a technique of managing activity levels to maintain a balance of rest and activity that keeps you below your current threshold for exertion.

To date, my pacing has been focused quite strongly on my step count and time spent doing daily activities related to work, social life, and household chores. I have found a balance of mental and physical activity which has allowed me to avoid many potential crashes or increases in pain and fatigue levels.

Since starting the Nortriptyline, I’ve found that I’ve been able to do more physically without increasing my symptoms or crashing for multiple days at a time. My brain is slightly more foggy than it’s been in the past but not as bad as it was on the Cymbalta which caused multiple side effects that impacted my ability to work and participate in activities I wanted to do.

Some of the things I’m considering as I once again adjust my lifestyle to add in and modify my activity levels are:

  • What are my long term goals and priorities? As you’d be aware, my current focus is strongly on getting to the point where we can start a family. I’m mostly happy with my current levels of mental activity (work, reading, etc) but want to increase my physical capability and my social life. Many of the social activities I miss participating in had some physical aspect to them; things like participating in rogaine events with my husband and going for walks and rides together. To do these things I need to focus on my health more and increasing my ability to get around independently without relying on the car all the time.
  • What is my current baseline for each activity? The major thing about pacing is that it takes into account your current abilities and can lead to increases OR decreases in activity level over time. The first step in pacing is to set a baseline and aim for 10-20% lower than that as your initial target. When adding in new activities it is important to make room for them, so you would lower your targets for other activities to have the energy to do the new one.
  • What am I already doing and what can I adjust? Earlier this month I made the decision to drop all my volunteer work for at least the month of March. This has opened up space for me to consider new activities and adjust my other activities to better suit my current needs. To add in riding I’m also stopping any increases in step count and instead focussing on maintaining my current average, my yoga has dropped back to just basic stretches throughout the day, and I’m not taking on any additional work for at least the rest of this financial year.

Once you’ve considered your options and worked out if it’s feasible (and the best use of your limited energy) to add in the new activity, it’s time to create a plan. The plan should always be focused on your energy levels and how you’re coping. This is not a graded exercise program where you increase activity levels and do them at set intervals and in set amounts independent of how you’re feeling!

My plan for adding Bike Riding into my Pacing…

I had my first ride yesterday morning to test the waters. I rode my bike a total of just over 1 km (just around the deadend streets around my house). At the end of the ride I was very sore and quite exhausted but I was already improving by the end of the day and I haven’t had a major decrease in energy levels today (I normally get PEM the day after I overdo anything that lasts for 24-48 hours). To me this indicates that this is a good starting level.

Based on the outcomes of my test ride, my current plan is to do the same short ride every 2-3 days for 2-4 weeks. If this doesn’t lead to any PEM or major crashes, I will then increase the distance by no more than 10% and maintain that level for a further 2-4 weeks. This cycle will be continued until I reach a point that does cause PEM or a major crash, at which point I’ll decrease by 10% and maintain for at least a month before trying any further increases.

At the beginning of April I see my exercise physio and I’ll go through this plan with her. There may be adjustments based on her input.

A quick No Buy Challenge Update: We’ve reached week 15 and the 3/4 mark of the challenge. In the past week I’ve purchased my electric bike (on the approved purchases list) and a duplo set for when our friend’s children come to visit (also approved – not for me and something that has been considered for the last 2 years).

Taking Stock and a No Buy Challenge Update

01 Mar 16
Megan
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The No Buy Challenge is going reasonably well, there was one purchase this week which I’m unsure if it was breaking my own guidelines or not… It fits into being social but is something we could probably have held off on… New additions to one of our games (card based two player Lord of the Rings Game). It was a joint purchase by both E and me but E says it counts as my purchase because I made the final decision. Apart from that I’ve been going well. I’ve also decided to start a regular (maybe monthly or quarterly) series inspired by Pip at meet me at mikes… Taking Stock

Taking Stock – March 2016

The concept is really simple, a snapshot of where you are, who you are spending time with, how you are feeling and much more. To create it just add a sentence or two next to each category below…

Making : Napkins and placemats. My most recent, simple sewing projects have included napkins and placemats. I’ve been making sets as housewarming gifts and birthday presents and I’m also making some to hopefully sell at a local market.

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Cooking : Stuffed Chicken Breast… This simple meal has been a regular addition to our dinner rotation over the last few months. Chicken stuffed with mushroom, baby spinach and hummus served with mashed potato and steamed greens.
Drinking : Water. My regular go to drink.
Reading: Dr Seuss.
Wanting: A simple, sustainable and meaningful lifestyle. I’m definitely on the path towards it but life is starting to get complicated again so it’s time to step back again and reassess my priorities.
Looking: Watching nature as the seasons change.
Playing: Lord of the Rings the card game with E.
Deciding: To slow down and add more white space in my life.
Wishing: My health would improve enough to consider starting a family.
Enjoying: Sewing and creating.
Waiting: To meet the newest addition to our friendship group. Our friend’s second child is due 10 March, so any day now.
Liking: The wonderful weather at the moment. It is heating up again but still quite nice outside right now.
Wondering: When we should plan our next weekend getaway for.
Loving: Having enough energy to spend time with family and friends.
Pondering: How long to give new drugs to settle before making a decision about the balance of side effects vs benefits.
Considering: How lucky I am to have E in my life.
Buying: Nothing much, I’ve got 7 weeks left of my No Buy Challenge so purchases at the moment are mainly groceries, and purchases for E or social activities.
Watching: The West Wing. E and I have only recently started watching it and we’re thoroughly enjoying it.
Hoping: 
That I can maintain my current progress in regards to health. I’ve been slowly increasing my step count and adding in more social activities.
Marvelling: At the generosity of our friends, family and neighbours.
Cringing: At how self absorbed people can be.
Needing: A clearer head.
Questioning: My current workload.
Smelling: Freshly cut grass.
Wearing: Maternity Jeans and a loose fitting top (comfort clothes).
Following: Rach’s progress with the No Buy Challenge.
Noticing: The benefits of saying NO.
Knowing: That life is good at the moment.
Thinking: I need to move.
Admiring: The simplicity of a cats life.
Sorting: The spare room. It’s now set up to be my sewing room as well.

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Getting: Tea? I’ve been slowly using up our tea bags so that I can move to loose tea (less waste)
Bookmarking: The Down To Earth blog. A reasonably local source of inspiration (Australian) for simple, sustainable and meaningful living.
Coveting: This white linen smock from Bohemian Traders.
Disliking: My current inability to focus clearly, an exacerbation of my usual brain fog thanks to drug side effects.
Opening: The worm farm to check on our worms (We inherited/adopted a worm farm from some friends moving interstate).
Giggling: At DeadPool, we saw it last night in the movies. Not my normal choice of movie, and quite a rude sense of humour, but I enjoyed it.
Feeling: Exhausted! I’ve been struggling to sleep on top of my normal symptoms lately.
Snacking: On dried apricots and almonds.
Helping: Out friends who are moving interstate. As well as adopting the worm farm from one set of friends, we’re looking after another friend’s fish while he sets himself up.
Hearing: The cats fighting for position in their comfy chair behind me.

Share Your World – Week 8

25 Feb 16
Megan
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This week is going to be a one post week so just Share Your World. Tuesday ended up being a full day with appointments and work, and the last few weeks have finally caught up with me and I’m going through a bit of a crash, so I didn’t manage to write my usual post then.

A quick update on the No Buy Challenge…. I’m still going well. I have been doing some online browsing but the only things I’ve bought outside of groceries was a set of Dr Seuss books through our local newspaper and a copy of Peepo secondhand from the markets.

And now for my answers to…

Share Your World – Week 8

What household chore do you absolutely hate doing?

I don’t think I can say I absolutely hate any of the chores I do around the house. There are some I’m not able to do but even those I don’t think I’d claim to hate. I actually enjoy doing the washing, putting on Mr Vacuum, making the bed and looking after the animals. Others I don’t so much ‘enjoy’ but I don’t hate, like loading/unloading the dishwasher and cleaning the toilet.

What was the last URL that you bookmarked?

The last URL I bookmarked was my local library website (and that was quite a while ago). I don’t actually use bookmarks that often.

Close your eyes. Listen to your body. What part of your body is seeking attention? What is it telling you?

My body is telling me that it needs more attention and I need to slow down more. The tightness and general aches and pains are telling me I’ve done too much over the last few weeks and I need to remember to continue pacing.

Would you rather have a two-bedroom apartment in a big city of your choosing or a mansion in the country side in the state or country where you currently live?

I’d rather live in the country side than in a big city but I’d also prefer a smaller house, not necessarily an apartment but a house that is just the right size to fill our needs and that doesn’t have room to accumulate lots of clutter and dust gathering items.

Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?

I’m grateful for the opportunity to slow right down again and focus on my health. Although I still have a lot of work to do, I’m grateful that I feel ok with slowing down when I need to and I don’t feel like I have to push myself too hard to get things done.

In the week coming up I’m looking forward to reading more Dr Seuss books.

Zero Waste Purchases: No Buy Challenge Update Week 11

16 Feb 16
Megan
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I did some shopping this week…

There, I got that off my chest. I didn’t break my rules for the 20 week no buy challenge, but I did buy things I wouldn’t normally buy (they were on my to-buy list a long time.

If you’re a regular reader you’d be aware that I’ve yet again been trialling new drugs and suffering from very frustrating side effects that are impacting on my quality of life.

In particular, the brain fog (which I had got to manageable levels) has been so bad I’ve pretty much been unable to do any work for the last few weeks apart from attending meetings (listening but not contributing as much as I usually would) and writing here on the blog.

Yesterday, when I came onto the computer to do some work (I didn’t manage to actually do any work in the end)* I got completely distracted. Don’t ask me what distracted me because I honestly don’t know but somehow I ended up looking at sustainable living/baby related sites.

Our kitchen has several plastic and glass (pyrex) storage containers but as part of my journey towards zero waste I’ve been wanting to get my hands on some leak proof stainless steel containers for getting meat from the butcher. I also wanted to get my own spork to go into my zero waste eating out kit instead of transporting a cutlery set (i.e. cut my kit back to a spork, straw and napkin, along with my sandwich wrap, jar of snacks and stainless steel drink bottle for longer trips out and about.

My original zero waste eat out kit... spoon, chopsticks, straw and napkin. I want to replace the normal sized spoon and chopsticks with a reasonable sized spork (a more flexible tool with less to carry around)

My original zero waste eat out kit… spoon, chopsticks, straw and napkin. I want to replace the normal sized spoon and chopsticks with a reasonable sized spork (a more flexible tool with less to carry around)

On one of the sites I ended up on I found a good special on both of these items so jumped in and bought myself 2 stainless steel containers (with BPA free lids that seal and a removable divider inside) and a bamboo spork.

My zero waste purchases

My zero waste purchases

I also bought my supplements online for the first time (calcium and folate), so now I’m waiting excitedly for my packages to arrive!

I’ve also started a list of things that I will need to consider buying in the near future. Because my wardrobe is now so minimal and I wear my favourite things most days, I’ve reached the point where things are starting to wear out.

Some of these things won’t be replaced, like the 2 dresses that reached the “I can see my undies through them” point in the last few weeks, because I have already decided I had more than I actually needed of these items.

I’m now down to 7 dresses. I wear dresses almost every day, all year round. Seven is probably still more than I need but as things wear out I consider whether I need to replace it or if something else I already own fills the same niche. I’m getting closer to the magical 33 Items recommended by Courtney Carver from Be More with Less in her Project 333 (I’m down to 36 items, excluding underwear, shoes, and accessories – scarves, jewellery, hats, etc).

Other things will need to be replaced, like undies. I bought 4 new pairs of undies from the local shops in July last year (bonds brand). These are already reaching the point where they’re starting to go see-through or holey. They’re also not very comfortable to wear anymore, riding up or falling down regularly.

My other 3 pairs of undies I bought online in March (2 months earlier) and they’re still going strong with no sign of being even close to worn out. They’re extremely comfy and actually function as pads (just add inserts) by themselves if you want them to. Last time I bought 3 pairs of the charcoal grey colour.

I want to keep some colour in my collection so I’m considering replacing the most uncomfortable ones I’ve got with more of the Maia Hipster Lunapanties but in other colours (one pair each of aquamarine, festival pink, and royal stripe).

The more uncomfortable ones are still ok at the moment, and the ones I want are reasonably expensive for underwear, so I’m going to hold off as long as I can (hopefully until the end of the challenge in 9 weeks).

I’m also going to need to replace my sandals at the end of summer. The inner lining tore the other week and although we have attempted to fix it the patch is already tearing as well so they’ll need to be replaced. I have worn them pretty much every hot day since October 2014 so I guess they’ve done their stint (probably equivalent to almost a year of daily wear).

I’m considering Birkenstock sandals like this or this because they’re meant to be long lasting, and sustainably and ethically made.

How do you decide when it’s time to let go of your favourite items?

*I have managed to do some work today which is great! I’ve been really stressed about how bad my ability to get things done has been, especially given I have commitments to meet.

10 great things and a half way update…

09 Feb 16
Megan
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I had a wonderfully full weekend and got to catch up with several friends I hadn’t seen in a while and I’m doing well with the No Buy Challenge.

It was fairly hot here over the weekend which (although impacting on energy levels) made for great weather for a trip to the beach and time spent outside.

Mid-way No Buy Challenge Update – Week 10

On Saturday E and I had a wonderful afternoon tea with Rach and her husband as a mid-way catch up for our 20 week No Buy Challenge (Yes, we’re already 10 weeks in!). We took the time to reflect on how the first half of the challenge had gone, my small discretions and temptations early on and Rach’s temptation that she managed to avoid in week 6.

We also considered the future, discussing whether this is something that would be ongoing for us or if we’d repeat the challenge in the future. For me the challenge has been relatively easy (I really don’t do that much shopping) where as it’s much more of a change for Rach. I’d probably continue (but more as a being mindful and intentional about things I buy then saying NO to all buying) and Rach straight out said no to continuing but would consider doing it again when they’re back from their trip (the reason she’s doing it this time).

10 Great Things about Me

Last week, while reading other blogs (something I try to do daily now) I came across a wonderful post on Chronic Rants that discussed how those of us with chronic illnesses can tend to focus on the negative impacts of our illnesses on our lives which impacts on our self esteem. She recommended that we should make a list of 10 great things about ourselves to counter the lowering of our self esteem…

Here’s mine:

  1. I’m optimistic. I always (or almost always) see the positive side of things and don’t let the negatives overwhelm me too much.
  2. I always have time for friends and family. Even if it’s just to listen to them and support them that way. This weekend was full of time for my friends. Afternoon tea with Rach on Saturday, lunch with another friend Sunday down the beach, and helping other friends with getting their house ready for rewiring in the evening (I sat and chat with V who’s expecting their second child in just over 4 weeks while E helped her husband with sealing everything they didn’t want dust to get into).
  3. I adapt well. Life has thrown me quite a few curve balls (chronic illness being a major one) and I’ve able to adapt my lifestyle so that it hasn’t impacted too badly on my mental health.
  4. I’m passionate.
  5. I live by my values. Over the years I’ve learnt to identify what’s important to me and (partially thanks to being able to slow my life due to my chronic illnesses) I do my best to prioritise these values, my family and friends, living sustainably and looking after my health being the most prominent of these.
  6. I love to learn.
  7. I love to help others.
  8. My friends and family love and support me in everything I do.
  9. I’m (mainly) a positive person.
  10. I’m unique!

I challenge you to make your own list of 10 Great Things about You. It does wonders for your self esteem.

Share Your World – Week 5

04 Feb 16
Megan
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The questions this week have been very thought provoking and I’ve struggled with a few of them but here we go… Let’s Share Your World!

If you had a shelf for your three most special possessions (not including photos, electronic devices and things stored on them, people or animals), what would you put on it?

I don’t really focus much on ‘stuff’ and ‘possessions’ any more so I’ve struggled to think of 3 things that would go on the shelf.

I would definitely include my childhood teddy. He’s been through everything with me and he’s not going anywhere…

2014-12-16 18.55.58

The second thing I’d put on it is the old cigar box that currently holds my yearly letters to E. Starting from our wedding day I’ve written a letter to him each year as part of his anniversary gift.

The third thing I’d add would be my special jewellery… My engagement ring (was my great grandmothers) and wedding ring, my heart necklace (6-month dating anniversary gift from E) and my crystal necklace (also a family heirloom).

If you had a box labelled ‘happiness’, what would you put in it?

NOTHING, or a note that just says ‘Be Present’. I would use it as a reminder that happiness comes from within, not from external sources.

What do you want more of in your life?

I’m very happy (or as happy as I can be) with my life at the moment but I’d be happy if I was able to have more family time and less pain/health issues.

Daily Life List: What do you do on an average day? Make a list of your usual activities you do each day.

An average day… I was planning to do a day in my life style post like my friend Joy and Toni Bernhard anyway so I guess I’ll describe it here.

Wake Up time… Generally between 8 and 9 am (although the last few days I’ve woken earlier then fallen back to sleep). At this time I take a moment to scan my body and see what parts are hurting the most and the least (there’s never no pain so it’s more an assessment of how well the day is going to start).

While still lying in bed I do at least a 5 minute meditation before stretching and slowly sitting up. Most days I’ll take a shower (sitting on the floor to avoid falling over or making pains worse) and get dressed.

Breakfast is the next task to address. I make a cup of tea and see how much energy I have. Most days I just have a piece of fruit or something premade that’s easy to eat. When I have the energy I’ll make a cooked breakfast with veggies and eggs.

While the kettles boiling (and breakfast is cooking) I’ll do a short sun salutation. Just 5 minutes is enough to stretch out my muscles but it also wears me out again.

After eating breakfast it’s time for another rest so I’ll sit on the couch drinking my tea. I may browse Facebook on my phone.

After 10-15 minutes rest, I’ll read through some blogs for up to 30 minutes (usually closer to 15 minutes) then push the button that sends the robot vacuum on a round of the kitchen/family room and laundry.

I’ll clean the litter trays and then assess how I’m feeling.

If it’s a good day I’ll do an hour or two of work (writing blogs, working on consulting jobs) or spend some time cleaning up around the house with regular short rest breaks in between. If it’s a bad day I’ll put the tv on or listen to an audio book.

At around 11:30 I’ll start thinking about lunch. Generally this will either be left overs or a sweet potato which I throw in the oven with salt, pepper and oil and leave to bake for an hour.

After lunch I have a nap before either doing a bit more work/housework or putting the tv/audiobook back on.

Around 5 I start considering dinner. I slowly make dinner taking lots of rests and by the time E is home (generally between 6 and 7pm) dinner is ready to eat.

We eat and watch tv until around 9-9:30 when I take my medicines, floss and brush my teeth, shower and bed.

Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?

I’m grateful that I’m able to live a slow life. Over the weekend E and I were able to slow down and just relax. I spent a whole morning listening to audiobooks while E was on the computer and doing things around the house, we visited family and we went for a slow walk in the local national park.

This week I’m looking forward to continue living slowly. Taking the time to enjoy the simple things like the warmth of the sun and the sound of the rain. I’m also looking forward to afternoon tea with Rach as a special mid-challenge catch up as part of our 20 week no-buy challenge.

A simple wardrobe with chronic illness

02 Feb 16
Megan
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Another week down in the No Buy Challenge and another week of sticking to the goals. I’ve decided that instead of focusing my posts on the challenge each week (I will if there’s anything to update you on) I’d start doing some of the other posts I’ve been planning with just a short update at the beginning for the challenge. So, as promised in earlier posts, today I’m focusing on my simple wardrobe.

Over the last few years I’ve become increasingly interested in reducing ‘clutter’ in our house. With limited energy, my ability to maintain the house to an ‘acceptable’ standard of cleanliness had dropped. All too often there were items lying over every conceivable surface in the house, washing piling up (dirty and clean) and dishes in the sink.

As part of my year of ‘Enough‘ last year, I spent a considerable amount of time removing a lot of the things and stuff that had built up but wasn’t actually needed, useful or loved. I have focused mainly on my own things, hoping to lead by example for E so my wardrobe was one area that got regular attention and I’m quite happy with the result.

There are many, many posts out there about how to create your own minimalist wardrobe, check out:

This is how I’ve modified the guidelines I read to suit my lifestyle and preferences.

An initial culling

When I first began my wardrobe clean out I pulled everything out of the cupboard and tried it all on with Janelle (my trusted friend) to assess what I liked and actually fit well and looked good. Anything that didn’t meet any of these criteria either got donated or thrown out depending on the state they were in.

Chose a colour scheme

I chose two main neutral colours – black and grey (I do still have a few white and brown items but mostly black and grey) – and two spectrums of accent colours blue/green and pink/purple. Anything that didn’t fit these colour schemes were donated, apart from my orange coat (A honeymoon purchase and my favourite winter coat).

Turned my coat hangers backwards

Last year I turned all my coat hangers around and only flipped them when I wore an item, anything not worn at the end of the year was donated. I found that all my short sleeved shirts are now gone, I tend to wear blouse style tops if I wear my suits, and I only have one long sleeved shirt.

Thanks to this process I now have room to hang everything, including jumpers, t-shirts and bottoms (were folded last year) so I’ve turned them all around again this year so I can assess how many of these items are actually worn throughout the year.

Pay attention to how I feel in each item

Throughout the year I donated several more dresses because they just weren’t comfortable, either they were too tight or they had zippers/buttons on them that were just not comfortable against my overly sensitive skin (a symptom of my Fibromyalgia).

Pay attention to what I wear most

A lot of the guides for minimalist wardrobes recommend X number of tops, X pants, X dresses, etc. This idea didn’t work for me.

I’ve found that because my tummy can (and does) bloat daily – going from almost flat to looking 5 months pregnant by the end of the day – I tend to wear dresses more often than any other item of clothing. I hardly ever wear skirts, jeans or pants any more – anything with a waist band that isn’t stretchy really.

As a result I only have one skirt, one pair of jeans (maternity jeans), two pairs of shorts (one stretch cotton), a pair of maternity leggings (worn almost daily in winter). In comparison, I have 9 dresses.

I also get really cold quickly so I have more items that I can layer such as cardigans, jackets, etc.

From 2 drawers + hanging to just hanging...

From 2 drawers + hanging to one row of hanging (shirts in foreground are E’s)

 

This wardrobe suits my life with chronic pain, limited energy, and daily fluctuations in body shape (bloating).

Maintain

To avoid a recurrence of wardrobe ‘clutter’ I’ve established some guidelines to maintain my wardrobe:

  • One in one out (for every new item that comes in an old item needs to leave the wardrobe)
  • Stick to colour scheme (any new items need to fit with my colour scheme)
  • Natural fibres (no wool) – my preference is for cotton or bamboo, I’m allergic to wool so none of that
  • Pockets! (Over half my dresses now have pockets and I’ve made a decision that any new dresses need to have them, this helps dramatically with reducing what comes in because there aren’t that many out there that do)

What items of clothing do you find yourself drawn to most days? Do you think you could live with a minimalist wardrobe?

Week 8 No Buy Challenge: swaps and give aways

26 Jan 16
Megan
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We’re quickly approaching the half way point in our 20 Week No Buy Challenge and so far there haven’t been too many difficult decisions I’ve needed to make.

Over the last week in fact, I’ve given away a lot more items then we’ve had come into the house which feels great. On the weekend Rach (who’s doing this challenge with me) brought over a top she no longer needed/wanted. It fits with my colour scheme (greens and pinks) and is made of cotton so we traded. In exchange for the top I gave her some material to use in her conversion of one of her dresses to a skirt.

On the same day I also had one of my other friends over and let her go through the big bag of clothes I had taken out of my wardrobe over the last few months. Most of the clothes were things I’d either not worn in over 12 months or I’d gotten something that does the same job (little black dress for example) but fit better with my wardrobe guidelines (the new little black dress is cotton and has pockets). From this process, Janelle (my friend), received a few short sleeved shirts for work and a couple of dresses and a beautiful leather bag with matching belt. She described it as:

“shopping without actually spending money”

E has mentioned that he thinks I’m getting a bit obsessive with the decluttering but I don’t see it that way. Yes, the process seems to have some level of inbuilt momentum… the more I do it, the more I want to reduce… but I’m not thinking about it 24/7 like I tend to do when I get obsessed with a topic.

I’ve seen so many great benefits from reducing the amount of stuff I own. I have always struggled with keeping the house clean and often became overwhelmed by tasks that need doing but lately that’s started to change. Now that most things have a home, and one that isn’t stuffed so full it’s difficult to fit everything in, it’s generally very easy for me to put things away as soon as they’ve been used. This means keeping the house clean is much easier. I find that my stress levels are much lower now that there are generally clear shelves and counter tops. I know what I own and I’m not tempted as often by impulse purchases.

Have you been on a decluttering journey? What benefits have you found?

Have you ever swapped items with friends instead of buying new?