Monday, 20 January 2014

Reductionist Thinking

I have often seen, in the blogosphere, posts on reducing one's wardrobe, makeup, skincare, jewellery collection, or using it better (30 for 30).

These often occur at change of seasons, or New Year.  The general premise, so far as I can see, is that we have so much stuff, we don't appreciate it, and so accumulate more.  This is something I am very familiar with, having had to do a massive reduction in recent times.

Sheldon and I moved from a 3 bedroom house, with a shed, to a 21 foot caravan.  Let me tell you, there is nothing like a dramatic reduction in space to make you reassess your attachment to 'stuff'.  If we are honest, I personally didn't get rid of a lot, I am a fan of regular purges, so it was mainly household items, or items our sons had asked us to store, that I had to deal with.  Sheldon had (and has) far more to sort and decide on.

I have a 53 litre tub which contains my 'treasures', my great-grandmother's blanket, some books of family members, the cake plate and server that Nan got on her wedding day, and a display book of cards/pictures my kids made me.  Also a doona cover my mum made for B when he was a toddler, which served N as well, the shawl all 4 of us came home from hospital in - stuff like that.  These things I will never part from.

As for the rest, it's pretty minimal.  I have very little make-up (6 eyeliners, 1 mascara, a palette of 12 eyeshadows, 1 blush, 3 or 4 brushes, and 1 nailpolish), which I am making the effort to use (I bought it, so to not use it is a waste of money), 5 pairs of shoes (2 pairs of flats, 1 black, 1 leopard print, 1 pair of totalled sneakers for gardening/cycling,  my 'camp' shoes and a pair of flip-flops for errands), 8 sarongs for summer wear, 3 skirts (1 doubles as a strapless dress) 6 tshirts (2 for gardening/cycling/grotty work), 1 pair of shorts, 1 pair of trackies, 1 hoodie (as for the 2 tshirts), 1 pair of dress pants, 2 long sleeved tops for grott work on cooler days, 4 turtlenecks, 2 pairs of leggings, 2 long tops to wear with leggings, 2 short-sleeved tops, 2 button-down shirts, 2 belts (black & tan), 2 handbags (black & tan).  And a backpack for cycling.  Oh, and a bathrobe, and a pair of slippers.  That's it.

My skincare routine is equally minimalist, although I am leaning towards getting a Clarisonic (or the cheaper Olay version); Coles unscented baby wipes, and homemade moisturiser of an evening.  Exfoliation is with a flannel.  Mornings is a wipe and sunscreen.  We make our own soap, toothpowder, laundry powder, mouthwash and deodorant.

I also own a laptop (5 years old) a mobile phone ($99 on prepaid): my jewellery collection is a watch, my silver earrings, wedding and engagement bands, and on special occassions, Nan's pearls.  We make our own muesli, and a bean mix (think McKenzies soup mix, but better).  We rearely eat meat, and dine out (Thai, $12.50 per person) once a month.  We see Sheldon's parents every 3 or 4 months, and have lunch and a bought coffee.  Our big luxuries are Jarrah white chocolate latte (him) and hot chocolate (pure cocoa powder, no sugar) for me.

I have found, particularly since we moved from the caravan to the converted bus that, even though I have less *stuff* than a lot of other people, I am happier, healthier and far better off - in many ways I am richer.  I sometimes find myself wishing I could justify a random splurge (hello Strandbags sale), but I usually get over it quickly.  I am heading into my 2nd degree, and just the other day, I read that Australian houses will grow by something like 150% by 2020 - that's 1.5 times more house than in 2010 - WHY??  Think of the crap that you can accumulate, and the cleaning you have to do!

 I think I will stick with my 'miserable' (someone actually called it that) life, with little space, little stuff, and send them a picture of something like this on a regular basis, as Sheldon and I wander the country, stopping where we please, and taking in the views.


  1. A miserable life- what a load of cacka.The life you lead is exemplary because it shows you don't need 'stuff' to validate yourself,or to distract you. You are someone I aspire to be like! Neither you, nor I lead a miserable life!!! We are not having to look outside ourself anymore.

    1. Hi :) Thanks for stopping by.

      I'm a bit flabbergasted you aspire to be like me - I've never thought of myself as someone to aspire to.

      I really don't care what people think of me, I got over that a long time ago. I just don't understand the need to have so much waste. Food wastage in particular irks me (my ex-DIL is a shocker for that - makes me want to scream) - for as long as I can remember, leftovers were used up in a thrown-together meal (we still do that, and so do our boys), or, if they were not safe for people, fed to the dog/chooks/ducks. If we didn't have pets, they were tossed out for the wild birds. In fact, I still do that - I literally just chopped up a horrible, bruisy apple and tossed it on the lawn for the birds, and every day, I use 1/2 a cup of water to rinse the breakfast bowls, and tip that out for the birds.

      What can I say, I am a sad case, and I don't care!

  2. You aren't a sad case! I love the idea of reducing my stuff, it's something I used to do regularly but it all stopped when I got crohn's. I really need to get in and have a huge clean out, it's such a good feeling.

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