This episode is all about minimalism. Join Bonnie + Lily to bust the minimalism myths and discover what minimalism REALLY is, and how you can apply these principles to your life. Perfect for the minimalist and maximalist alike, this conversation will provide food for thought and may even change the way you view your stuff. If living more simply is one of your goals, don’t miss this episode!
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BONNIE: Hello and welcome! I am Bonnie
LILY: and I am Lily, and this is Little Home Organised, the podcast dedicated to helping you declutter, get organised and reclaim time for the things you love.
BONNIE: Hello and welcome! This week we are talking about minimalism, we will uncover what minimalism really is, take a dive into living simply and talk about practical ways that you can apply minimalism principles in your life.
LILY: Now if this is your first time listening to the Podcast, I am Lily and
BONNIE: I am Bonnie
LILY: And we are two sisters who are passionate about organising and Bonnie in fact, she is a Professional Organiser and Bon you have been doing that for nearly 10 years.
BONNIE: Yes when you love what you do you will never work another day in your life, and I truly do love it. It is amazing.
LILY: So, one of the things that has come out of all of your experience as a professional organiser is our brand-new course.
BONNIE: Yes, The Essentials Guide. It is a great guide that helps you organise every room in your house from head to toe with simple steps, short video tutorials, it is really designed for the time poor parent, which we are.
LILY: Oh I feel you, but we wanted to mention the course for those of you who aren’t aware because there is currently EARLY BIRD PRICING to celebrate its launch but that pricing ends on the 31st October. So if you are interested in checking out the course head to littlehomeorganised.com.au and check it out.
BONNIE: Ok, so this week we are talking about minimalism and this is one of my favourite topics to talk about because I am a bit of a minimalist
LILY: Well on that note I think we should make this episode only about 5 minutes long because we are just going to have the key points in there with extra fluffy fluff floof…
BONNIE: Yes, that’s true. Ok so lucky for you guys this is only going to be a 5 minute episode, we are done now, see ya. No so I really
LILY: We couldn’t keep to 5 minutes if we tried the hardest.
BONNIE: I’m pretty sure the intro and the outro are 5 minutes on their own. So no
LILY: Sisters just love to have a chat
BONNIE: Yes we do. So minimalism. I love talking about it and one of the things I love to do when I present a workshop on minimalism is the very first slide I put up, okay so here are all the things that you need to do or have to be a minimalist and everybody is waiting with baited breath because there is a bit of a competition going on about who can be like the best minimalist and stuff it is subconscious no one actually says it directly but you can feel the vibe in the room that like people are competing, so I will put up, okay you have to have less than 100 items. You have to ride a bike to walk, you have to only have one set of cutlery, you have to only have one jacket, you have to be plastic free
LILY: Only wooden toys
BONNIE: Only wooden toys, you can’t give birthday or Christmas presents that are jokes and I put all this stuff up and everybody’s jaws drop a little bit more with every point that I put up and by the end of the slide their jaws are on the floor and then I go to the next slide and I say I am just joking… and they are all like phew because
LILY: I thought I was a minimalist
BONNIE: Yeah and that is one of the things that I wanted to chat about today is those myths that people have about minimalism and what is actually means to be a minimalist.
LILY: And what would you say is the misconception out there to what a minimalist actually is.
BONNIE: Well it definitely is the number of items that you own, because when you look at other people who do blogs and do videos and I am thinking about people like the minimalist or Joshua Becker who does Becoming Minimalist or even Courtney Carver there is often blog posts about how many items they own and how they have reduced from I think the average house has something like 300,000 items in it. Like it is crazy amount that you never would have imagined but when you think about like each sock or each pen or you know that counts as one item well then yeah you can see how you can get to such a high number but that misconception of I have got to have less than 100 items or I have got to have less than 500 items can really get people stuck, because I think it is like this level of perfectionism that they are trying to get to.
LILY: And it also doesn’t necessarily apply to your circumstances just because that person’s idea of their minimalist living has gotten them down to that point of having that many items doesn’t mean that is what is appropriate for you and that doesn’t mean that without reaching that goal you can’t be a minimalist.
BONNIE: That is true and I think sometimes we can look at the blogs on minimalism and think oh you can fit all of your earthly processions into a backpack or a suitcase and wow wouldn’t that be amazing if I could do that, I have got 3 kids and a husband, that is never going to happen
LILY: You are never going to fit them in there
BONNIE: NO and I have got a dog, like there is just no way that that is attainable for me, that would be kind of like insanity for me to even try.
LILY: And yet you still love minimalism
BONNIE: I do and so that is why I think it is really important to firstly bust that myth that is not about the number of items that you own and in fact minimalism is really instead of it being a destination it is actually more about the vehicle that gets you to your destination whatever that might be.
LILY: I would definitely say it is a mindset in how you approach the stuff in your house and definitely the flow of things coming in and out
BONNIE: Yes most definitely I think it is more about how you feel and act about your things and that sort of intentionality rather than cool I have arrived and I am a minimalist, it is a bit like when you diet, we use dieting as a good comparison because so many people have tried it in their life, it is a bit like when you do a diet or you do a body challenge and you get to a certain goal weight and you go yeah cool I have reached it, does that mean that you are never going to backslide or does that mean life is never going to be imperfect again and kind of upset the applecart well no and so that is why when we have this level of perfectionism that is not very realistic it is really hard to maintain it and stay at that level and we are just setting ourselves up for failure really
LILY: So hopefully we can bust that myth for you because minimalism doesn’t have to be I can fit my life into a backpack, you can still be a minimalist by being intentional about the goods that do come into your life and there are so many benefits to minimalism and I think like the big one that I identify with is if you have got less stuff your house is likely to be easier to clean.
BONNIE: Oh it is actually so all about cleaning and right now my husband and I are looking for our dream property on the Sunshine Coast and a couple have come up recently and the land is perfect and the position is lovely but they have got these old houses on them that are huge like there is one that has a 6 bedroom and it has got 4 living spaces and it needs a lot of work anyway and we have just said, no way hose aye, like we do not want to convert that into a bar area and a patio and a this and a that and yeah it has got such great potential, but we just don’t want a house that big.
LILY: Yeah because there is so much to clean and you can imagine the difference of walking into a spare bedroom right, that has a bed in it and a desk, lets say that is your spare bedroom, the amount of time it would take to clean that room compared to that room being filled with all of your extra sporting equipment, that random treadmill that you are convinced you are going to use
BONNIE: The memorabilia
LILY: Your memorabilia, boxes, things that you don’t know where their home is going to be, if that room suddenly starts filling up and up and up I mean that is so much harder to clean, not even jumping into the obvious issue there that
BONNIE: its cluttered
LILY: There is clutter in there but it is harder to clean. If there is less stuff it is going to be easier to clean and I think one of the ideas around minimalism as well I kind of think of it in like 2 ways, I like see people who a minimalist in one sense they live in like tiny houses or caravans
BONNIE: I love tiny houses, they are so cool
LILY: I just know how much you adore tiny houses and then I also see like people who actually have reasonably large homes but are very particular about having only just the essentials in their homes and they almost look like show homes.
BONNIE: And this is the big key to minimalism, it is all about intentionality so when you bring something into the home you are intentional about it, it is not the oh I might just wait and see if it looks right or if it is okay, or I will just give it a go, but it is actually, I have really thought through the process of bringing this item in and the pros and cons and yes I am definite about it, it is a good quality item, it is a good investment, it is going to last me a long time, it is going to fit perfectly with what my house needs and what my family needs, yep I am doing it and that is I think where minimalism can be a tool that actually gives us a lot of freedom.
LILY: On of the things that the minimalist talk about is when we start to be intentional with our stuff and get rid of the excess that we are emotionally investing in, we start to actually have to deal with the inner emotions and the inner things that are going on with us, which some people might be like oh what no I need that toaster, I need that whatever but what they are saying is when you start to be really intentional with your thoughts and think about the things that you actually need you start to see how you almost like wrap yourself up in some layers so you don’t have to necessarily deal with certain things
BONNIE: And I think that is where we talk a lot about the psychology behind our clutter and why we keep things and how to let go in our work with our clients and I think it is that same sort of principle, it is actually not about the stuff at all, when we go in an work with a person it is not about the stuff.
BONNIE: It is about the person, it is about their past experiences, maybe it is trauma, maybe it is not, it is just their world view and right then when you are asking about letting go of a toaster, it is not about letting go of a toaster, it is about letting go of something that maybe represents
LILY: What is the toaster actually mean.
BONNIE: Yeah it is maybe great memories with a spouse who is no longer here or you know something like that. So it is not about the stuff and that’s where that quote from minimalist I think is really poignant
LILY: Absolutely. So there are plenty of benefits to minimalism and another one is that you are likely to spend less money and we are all about saving money,
BONNIE: another great benefit is less stress when there is less stuff in your house there are less things that you need to clean, there are less things that you need to worry about and look a house that is easier to clean, sign me up for that baby because I am not a real fan of cleaning I have to admit
LILY: And whose got the time.
BONNIE: No really, I mean, yeah it is tough, the other reason that it is really good to I guess embrace the principles of minimalism is that it is good for the environment.
BONNIE: Less consumerism, less purchasing $3 shirts that only last 2 washes
LILY: Or until your daughter sticks her finger through and makes a big hole
BONNIE: Oh I couldn’t believe she did that, oh my goodness, I mean when I bought that shirt I knew I should not have bought it, I went against my better judgement and I bought it anyway and I took it back 2 days later
LILY: I think one the biggest things about it though if I was to try and surmise what minimalism can do for someone is I really do believe it gives you a big sense of freedom, because in our culture in this consumeristic life that we are encouraged to lead, you are constantly looking over your shoulder at what your neighbour has got and your social circle has and so you want to like you know the whole idea of keeping up with the Joneses and having the bigger house and oh once I have the bigger car I am going to upgrade to this car and then I have to put this feature on my car and I am going to buy this device for my kitchen or my children have to have the best toys or whatever it is the idea about getting intentional with what we are purchasing, it is like a sense of freedom where you can say hang on a minute I don’t need to do what everybody else is doing, I don’t need to fill my house with clutter and stuff to try and feel like I am okay to feel good, to feel like I am okay to feel that I am worthy, like I can be my true self and I don’t have to have a one hundred thousand 4 wheel drive to do that
BONNIE: So it is about being content and being happy within yourself you think
BONNIE: And not letting the stuff fill the happiness gap
LILY: Yeah you really are you know connecting with yourself
BONNIE: Mmmm and that is what I notice a lot about of the people who blog about minimalism is that they really don’t want to people please, they don’t give a hoot about what other people think, they are just living their truest selves and I really respect and admire that because I think too often I get caught up in oh what’s this person doing and what is that person posting on social media and how does my life or my family or my home compare to theirs
LILY: It is exhausting isn’t it
BONNIE: It is really exhausting and while social media has a lot of pros one of the very big cons is that we are constantly looking at what other people have got and then feeling discontent with what we have got.
LILY: And it is just no way to live is it because you will never be satisfied
BONNIE: No that’s right
LILY: Oh my gosh have you seen the musical yet? Hamilton
LILY: On Disney plus
BONNIE: No I haven’t
LILY: Oh there are certain works that have always been in my vocabulary but now when I hear them my brain triggers a pathway and it wants me to try and start singing, because I have that problem anyway I hear like certain words and I just like want to bust out a song but there are certain words from that musical, it is amazing for anyone who hasn’t watched it yet, you absolutely have to and satisfied is one of them
BONNIE: Oh, I was wondering where that thought train was going, I have to admit
LILY: Yeah Choo choo, it has arrived, but yeah that for anyone out there PM me, DM me how amazing Hamilton is, totally digressing. In fact lets digress and jump over to a clutter confession
WACKY CONFESSIONS ANONYMOUS CALLER 1: Hi guys love the Podcast, I want to tell you about my clutter confession though, I have a massive problem with hoarding trophies, I cant seem to let go, I have got 78 trophies and 308 medals, um not that I am counting, I don’t know what’s going on, I kind of want to melt it down into a table I am just not ready to let it go yet
BONNIE: that’s a lot
LILY: That’s a high achiever right there
BONNIE: Yeah I am thinking are you an athlete? Should we know your name, um a trophy table what a cool idea
LILY: Yeah I guess like melting it down, you know like in um Game of Thrones they melted down all those swords and made
BONNIE: Made the throne
LILY: Yeah you could have like a table like that is a trophy table
BONNIE: Yeah a trophy table
LILY: A celebration of your victories in grade 3 high jump all the way up to, you know I wonder how many of them are participation, no I am sure ouch
BONNIE: No, they only give ribbons out for participation
LILY: Oh that’s true, that’s true
BONNIE: Yeah, they don’t waste the trophies.
LILY: That’s amazing and it is a hard one with things like trophies and the stuff that you earn, I think it is one of those things that gets easier in time to let go of and you go back and just keep the key ones that really meant a lot.
BONNIE: Yeah it is funny because I had a lot of swimming trophies, I mean we were a swimming family and as I kind of got a bit older they became less and less important to me and they took so much space in a box and it was never something that I loved displaying because it is not like I was actually all that great at it, it was just swimming club trophies and so I think it got to the point where I you know took photos of some and then I think I have kept one, like a really small one just as a memento of like hey yeah you actually did get a trophy and here is the proof just in case my kids ever ask
LILY: You did good Bonnie
BONNIE: I did do good; I was alright back then.
LILY So if you have a clutter confession anything weird wacky or wonderful, send it in we would love to hear from you, just head to our Facebook page Little Home Organised Podcast
BONNIE: Now there is quote I really love from the minimalist and this just really highlights what we were saying earlier about minimalism being a tool, a vehicle, not a destination and the quote is “Minimalism simply allows you to make decisions more consciously, more deliberately” and that is a bit like the intentionality thing that we were talking about before.
LILY: Yes like you were saying when I go to buy a shirt be intentional about the shirt that I choose to bring in, am I going to buy the cheap shirt that I know that I am going to have to replace or do I say instead of buying 5 cheap shirts I am going to buy 2 high quality shirts.
BONNIE: Yes and I remember a few months ago spending some time with friends of ours who live in Toowoomba and we were talking about clothing for some reason because I am not a shopper so it is not something I talk about a lot and I think we were talking about how it was difficult to find good quality shirts for my husband and my girlfriend was saying oh we buy this particular brand and they cost you know however much but I know he is going to have that shirt for 10 years and I thought yeah you are absolutely right, like I have
LILY: It is a good point isn’t it
BONNIE: It really is like I keep buying these shirts that look good and I think they are good quality and I kind of do a bit of research and then they still only give you know a year or two and I think well
LILY: It is hard to spend that money isn’t it
BONNIE: It is and it is super frustrating cause sometimes I am buying brands that I think oh yeah this will be a good quality and then they just stretch or they fade or you know the collar goes a bit funny on blokes shirts and it is just like oh man
LILY: But you are getting one part right of that which is that you have got the minimalist thinking of being really intentional with the purchase
BONNIE: I am trying but I tell you what it is not working
LILY: Yeah you just have to do a bit better Bonnie, what can I say
BONNIE: I know that level of perfection just isn’t there, um but I wanted to talk abut what the practical steps are that we can take to use this minimalism or these minimalism principles in our lives and one of the first things that we have kind of already alluded too but buying less
LILY: Yep, bring less into your house, like if you want to be living a minimalist life, don’t continue on the mindless purchasing machine of just buy, buy, buy, buy
LILY: From today it is that simple, from today every time you go to swipe that card, do that online purchase, really start to think through is this something that I need to be bringing into my home, and we also have the stop before you shop steps and we have talked about that in a previous episode and we will chuck it in the show notes for you that you can have like little mantras going in your head to really think about things before you purchase them and that can help you bring in less stuff.
BONNIE: Yeah it is really important to actually think about those stop before you shop questions because it is only when you actually go to buy that thing and you stop yourself and say okay can I came back in a week and see if I still need it and you go away and a few days later you realise I cant even remember what that thing was
LILY: Unless I feel, I could be wrong but I feel like unless you actively practice that type of thinking we are so accustomed to feeling in that moment that we absolutely need it
LILY: Right then and there
BONNIE: That is that chemical release in your brain that is the dopamine him of you’re about to purchase and your brain goes oh yeah, oh yeah and then you buy it and you get this massive dopamine release, I know
LILY: That was very unusual
BONNIE: I did watch when Harry met Sally the other week so that might have something to do with it. Or it could be yesterdays surgery sedation, who knows, I mean there is so much going on right now
LILY: You are a loose unit today Bonnie what can we say
BONNIE: I am just a loose cannon please forgive me I am sorry everybody, um back on track, um another thing that is really important when we are talking about buying and bringing things into the house is making sure that we obviously get rid of the stuff that we are not using around the house, so everything has got a purpose and if it’s purpose is not being fulfilled at your house let it go to someone else’s house where its purpose can be fulfilled.
LILY: Yeah starting to get into the psychology of it and the thinking of why you are struggling to let go of it, we have got an episode The art of letting go, you can go and check that one out but this attachment that we have to our stuff so really start to challenge yourself on the thoughts that you are having and the mantras that you are having about why that item needs to stay
BONNIE: Yeah that self talk is really important, it is a bit like when you have impulsive thoughts, it is really good to kind of take a step back and go oh that is an interesting thought I am just going to let that one sit there and not act on it. You know like eating chocolate, you have this impulse and this temptation to give in and eat chocolate but it is good to step back and go oh I have got an impulse to eat chocolate, why is that, oh because I am really stressed and I am really tired and I am feeling rather overwhelmed today so lets step back and go okay well is that actually a good thought to follow through on or should I just go and have a cup of tea and go to bed early instead.
LILY: Or should I eat the whole block…. Guilty. So another thing and Bonnie and I talk about this all the time is no melon ballers
BONNIE: No melon ballers
LILY: Or alternatively oh that is so funny though someone actually messaged me the other day and they were like I listened to your episode, I got rid of my melon baller I never used it and then like a week later I had a purpose for using my melon baller
BONNIE: Ah what a shame
LILY: And that is so incredibly rare but I still stick to my guns on melon ballers
BONNIE: OH 100% and you know what it is murphy’s law, but the art of making do you just find something else that will do the job.
LILY: Absolutely. So the idea of the obsession with the melon baller guys is it is a uni-tasker so it is something that takes up a bit of space in your house but only has one purpose and so if you are trying to be a bit more minimalistic when you are purchasing things or when you are looking at what you have in your draws you are wanting to try and think about keeping the multi purpose things that are really functional for taking up space in your house compared to those uni-tasker items that you might have a bunch of them when you could make do with something else, do you really need that melon baller, do you really need that zoodler, yes you do, you know
BONNIE: Zoodler’s are amazing don’t get rid of that
LILY: If you love to zoodle away but yeah you get the idea, so thinking about the uni-taskers you might have in your home, is there something else you have in your kitchen already that can do that function reasonably well and that could be a good reason to get rid of that uni-tasker, have a bit more space for the things that you actually want to be using.
BONNIE: And another little thought process that is really good to keep in mind is the 5 R’s. So they are refuse, reduce, reuse, repurpose and recycle and you probably remember from the 80’s and 90’s the reduced, reuse, recycle but that has been expanded now to include these other 2 so:
Step 1: Is to refuse, so what is refusing mean
LILY: So an example of refusing would be if you are at the grocery store and they want to give you a plastic bag and it is like two items that you could clearly just carry, you would be like no thanks I don’t need to bring that plastic bag into my house.
LILY: And also contribute to land fill, the disaster that is our planet environment right now
BONNIE: Yes and it is a bit like the freebees that come with magazines or if you get a bonus
LILY: Or if you earn ooshies, if you are in Australia and you shop at Woolworths
BONNIE: What did you call them
LILY: ooshies, oshies
BONNIE: Oh, oh my goodness seriously
LILY: That’s how little I care about oshies. I don’t even know how to say it. The whole idea of these little, for anyone that doesn’t know they are these tiny little plastic figurines and
BONNIE: They are kind of like a rubber aren’t they?
LILY: Yeah they are like soft
BONNIE: Soft plastic
LILY: They are part of a collection so each time you shop you spend a certain amount, you earn them but then of course there is a collection and so kids get really invested in the idea of having the whole collection
BONNIE: It is obsessive
LILY: And then there is the fear of missing out and blah blah blah but the whole point is, you can buy into that and bring that stuff into your house sure, or but you can also say no.
BONNIE: You can say no
LILY: Yeah you can refuse
BONNIE: No judgement either way because
LILY: I mean you guys did the oshie’s this time didn’t you
BONNIE: Yeah because a family member starting collecting for us and then of course my kids were like oh oshies, oshies and now that I have a preppie and they talk about oshies and stuff at school
LILY: Well they would talk about it at school
BONNIE: It was one of those things where I was like well I don’t want you guys to miss out and so I didn’t actively go and seek them out but we just shop at that shop anyway and so they just kind of naturally came into the house and the kids do love them and they do play with them and you know they play oshie treasure hunt a lot, they go and hide them
LILY: I love that they actually using them, that’s great
BONNIE: That is probably where the intentionality side of things comes in
LILY: Yeah and like I just think it is a good point to highlight is that even though you are a minimalist and that you are really intentional with stuff constantly intentional with things that need to leave the house and come into the house. You can still have a life.
BONNIE: Yeah that’s right, it is that whole progress not perfection thing really
LILY: What a good mantra to have, we should add that to our show
BONNIE: We totally should. So the 2nd step is reduce, so this is um resisting that impulse buying, so similar to refuse but it is actually more a self talk sort of thing, so when you are out and you are looking at stuff, do I really need 5 pairs of black pants, well probably not because the other 4 work perfectly fine, so just do the reducing side of things, reduce the amount of stuff you buy, when you do buy, buy once, buy right
LILY: Next we want to think about reuse, so ditch the disposables, try and go for the reusable stuff, minimise your impact on the planet and go for like the reusable straws, good quality items when you are purchasing, trying to think about things that aren’t going to end up just getting ditched,
BONNIE: Yeah so make sure
LILY: Replace every couple of years
BONNIE: When you buy yourself or your kids water bottles that they are really good quality, that they are easily recyclable, that you can replace little parts in them because I find that I have got two kids that are quite chewy and the rubber spouts get kind of shredded pretty easily so I can replace those instead of having to replace the whole new bottle, so that is that kind of
LILY: That is a good way to go
BONNIE: Yeah it is, its that intentionality thing once again. Step number 4 is about repurposing so last year I actually decided to switch from plastic to glass, there were these tomato paste jars that our local grocery store that I just loved and they were clear with a white top and they looked really awesome with vinyl circuit labels on them and so I just got my friends and family to gather them up and give them to me over a six month period and now I have a great glass jar collection in my pantry with beautiful vinyl labels on them that I didn’t have pay any6 extra money for.
LILY: And for those who love things to look aesthetically pleasing obviously they all match which is really nice but the great thing that you have done there is people have bought tomato paste for cooking and then instead of just recycling it you have given that glass jar a second purpose but recycling is actually um the 5th step so anything that you can recycle be intentional about the things that go into your bin, so I think about, I am really trying hard at this at the moment to think about everything that I put in the bin, could it be recycled, composted, worm farmed, soft plastic, like what separated category can I do to keep everything going out of the general bin and that is a really good way to try and minimise your impact.
BONNIE: The important thing to remember about recycling is this is step 5 for a reason, you need to try and do steps 1-4 before you get to the recycling because I think too often in our society there is this thought of oh I will just buy it because it is recyclable, well actually everything that is recyclable does have an end date of recycling there is only so many times it can be recycled before it is actually no longer usable so that is why refusing, reducing, reusing, repurposing are the steps that come before hand because recycling is actually our last step before land fill
LILY: And tragically some places throughout the world when you recycle you cant guarantee that is actually not going to end up in land filled
BONNIE: Getting recycled.
LILY: So from the outset if we are being really intentional with bringing stuff into our home in the first place we can reduce the amount of stuff that we are going to have and then be putting into land fill as well.
BONNIE: And I think we need to have a tidy task before we wrap up and I want to make this weeks tidy task pretty simple because that’s what minimalism is all about living simply and what I would like you to do is to go to our show notes on our website and look up those stop before you shop questions and for the next week every time you go to purchase something I want you to stop and ask yourself all of those questions and then see if you still want to purchase that item or if you want to wait and give yourself a week and let us know how you go, we love to hear about your progress and we love your feed back, we love it when you message us and it just brings a smile to our face everyday to hear from you guys
LILY: It sure does
BONNIE: So thank you so much for listening and drop us a line this week.
LILY: And that’s it for this week’s episode, thank you so much for choosing to listen to the Little Home Organised Podcast
BONNIE: And remember PROGRESS NOT PERFECTION.
LILY: See you later
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