Between day 23 and 24

So far I have got rid of 276 things in this house. I’ve got 7 more days to go until I finish my 30-day challenge. Sometimes it’s good to stop and look back to see what you have achieved before moving on. I have realised that I don’t actually own many things, I’m already living quite a minimalistic lifestyle. Yes, I probably have a few more items of clothes that I could get rid of and I probably have a few more books I could throw away but in terms of furniture, kitchen utilities, ornaments, cars and technical devices, I actually don’t own much. In this world today, assets in terms of properties, cars and the luxurious extras are signs of financial success and security. If I would start comparing myself with people who value material possessions the most, and with those who own two properties, two cars and the latest gadgets, I would feel very unsuccessful compared to those people. However, when I look at my life, which is a life rich in adventures and experiences and when I realise that the things I value in life has nothing to do with material possessions, then I would consider myself as very rich and successful.

Between my partner and I we share one car. We don’t own any properties. We have one outdoor table and one indoor table and between those two tables we share four chairs (we never got around buying another set of chairs for the kitchen table, then we realised that we don’t actually need another set of chairs). The living room has a couch, a rug, a living room table, a bookshelf full of books and a TV. The only room in this house which is cluttered and needs a clean up is the office, which is my partner’s territory…thank God there is a plant in that office that keeps bringing some good energy into that room!

So, what’s next? I’m still waiting for day 24 to come, the day when I will enter that cluttered territory and start clearing some space.

Day 23 – Bits and pieces

I wish I had all my other stuff back in Sweden right here right now so that I had more stuff to choose from in next last seven days of my 30-day challenge…I should have made it a 20-day challenge. This is getting really difficult…

So difficult that I’ve even started clearing up my partner’s office..and wow – that is a challenge of its own!

I’ve put together a pile of stuff (mainly folders and old documents) on the floor so that he can tell me if I’m allowed to throw it all away…I think he got too much stuff and that he needs a bit of help cleaning up! However, I’m also doing it for my own mental wellbeing – it’s painful walking into that office and to see all the mess..it makes me want to run out again and close the door behind me so that I don’t accidentally turn my gaze towards the mess. There is some serious blockages of “QI” in there…

If I had free reign in that room I would do a sweeping movement with my arm on the desk and then use a massive broom to swipe it all out of the house!

The picture below displays a few different odd things that I’ve managed to put together into a new pile. The question is, how many “odd” things do I have left in the house that I can get rid of???

 

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Day 22 – “Should you bamboo?”

I found an interesting video about the story of microfibres. It’s about the dark side of synthetic fabrics (and plastic). It made me wonder what the majority of my clothes consist of? Probably cotton..and polyester – or in other words: synthetics.

This made me wonder what other types of clothing material can we use that is more environmentally friendly?

I heard that bamboo textiles are supposed to be environmentally friendly and biodegradable. After doing a little bit of research myself and after watching this youtube clip about the positives and negatives of bamboo, I think I must agree that clothes made from bamboo (the natural fibre) is one of the more sustainable textiles out there.

Some of the positive traits of bamboo fibre include:

  • positive impact on greenhouse gases
  • sustainable harvesting methods
  • low water consumption
  • naturally pest resistant
  • does not require chemicals for growth
  • biodegradable

Also, from own experience of bamboo: It’s really comfortable to wear!

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Day 21 – only 9 days and 204 things left to go…

My 30-day challenge is almost over, in less then 10 days. However, whilst I’ m getting closer to the end, the number of things that I have to get rid of is increasing, which makes each day more difficult. Although, so far I have somehow managed to put together a new pile of stuff every day, always adding one more thing. Only nine days to go…but in these nine days I need to find another 204 things to get rid of…

In the pile that I have put together today there is a pillow, a couple of towels, several documents and an ALDI-bag. This bag is supposed to represent a bunch of other shopping bags (12 in total) that I’ve recently packed away. I forgot to take a photograph of them all, but they still count!

Don’t worry, I’m not going back to plastic bags, I still have a bunch of other bags that I can use of when I go shopping. Why keep so many when I only use a few???

 

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Day 20 – Urban tumbleweeds

Plastic bags may be useful in the supermarket land,

To carry our groceries,

When we lack a free hand,

 

But what happens next, after their purpose is fulfilled?

They end up polluting the oceans,

And crowding our landfills,

 

Wouldn’t it be nice,

If the earth didn’t have to pay such a high price,

For our consumer habits in our daily life?

 

These urban tumbleweeds make their way out to sea,

And can easily get carried away,

Left flapping from a tree,

 

Whales washed up on our coasts,

Their bellies full of plastic,

Isn’t there a better way to treat our water hosts?

 

Wouldn’t it be fantastic,

If sea turtles would no longer gag,

On a mass-produced supermarket bag?

 

Plastic is made from fossil fuel sources,

Such as petroleum,

And other non-renewable resources,

 

So let’s think twice before we order,

A cheap, plastic bottle,

That bleeds chemicals into the water,

 

And when we go shopping, let’s bring our own bag,

To carry our groceries,

When we lack a free hand.

 

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Day 19 – Go Green, ditch the plastics!

Lids. Why do I keep lids with missing containers lying around at home? They have no use, they only serve to confuse when I’m looking for the other half…

Plastic tapas plates from a party two years back. Yes, I saved them because I thought they would be useful at some point, but have I used them? No, I haven’t. Not at all, and there is more to come! You wait and see. Plastic serving platters, plastic cutlery, plastic cups and other plastic dishes. How much plastics does one person consume in a lifetime? I’ve consumed enough and so has the environment. Yes, plastics are light-weight and cost-effective and are perfect material for parties as they are disposable and can be thrown away immediately after having used it once. However, there are many problems associated with plastics. For example, a lot of it (and I mean A LOT of it) end up in landfills and in natural habitats; it creates physical problems for wildlife resulting from ingestion or entanglement in plastic; plastic products cause leaching of chemicals and there is a potential for plastics to transfer chemicals to wildlife and humans.

So what can we as responsible consumers do about this? I’m not perfect and I can’t undo learned behaviour and I can’t return previous purchases of plastic material, but it is not too late to start and I’ve already started. We can take small steps towards making the world a better place to live.

These are examples of things that we can do to reduce our environmentally destructive consumer behaviour regarding plastics and plastic bags:

  • Do you get your coffee on the run? Use keep-cups!
  • Take your own bags with you when you go shopping.
  • Always keep a small bag with you wherever you go – you never know when you need it.
  • Throwing a party? Be kind to the environment, ditch the plastics and use wooden cutlery and plates.
  • Be a responsible consumer – inform others!
  • Don’t buy bottled water if you don’t need to – in Australia (and other countries) we are lucky that we can top up our own bottles with drinkable water.

 

 

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Day 18 -Bird people

I found another pile of brochures from different places around Australia and Sri Lanka. I think the biggest collection I have is travel magazines, brochures and books. They say that someone’s personality can be determined by what they’ve got in the bookshelf. I think these three things really do tell a lot about myself.

Books:

I love to read, although the amount of books I read varies form time to time and from book to book. When I find a really good book I usually finish it within  2-4 days, depending on how long it is. Shantaram is one of those books. But I have also read books that take me ages to read. These books are usually books with no stories, such as”self-help” books. Not to say that they are bad in any way, they are often quite good, filled with practical advise and tips on how to deal with life’s many challenges – so definitely well worth a read, but I usually need a story should I find it interesting enough to immerse myself in the book.

Half of the books I’m giving away today are crime fiction, written in Swedish. I know that Swedish people love crime series, both to watch and to read, but I’m not the typical Swede who loves to read about murder…no, I prefer to read something else, for example: books written by the Japanese author Haruki Murakami.

Brochures and travel magazines:

These two go hand in hand. This massive collection of brochures (referring also to previous blog posts with photos of brochures and magazines stocked up in piles) from so many different places is perhaps evidence enough to say that I LOVE to travel. Perhaps also that’s why I love the idea of minimalism. The feeling of freedom of having only one backpack with only a few belongings – it’s amazing. When we carry less stuff on our shoulders, the more freely we can move, the lighter we feel and the less things we have to worry about. This can also be interpreted metaphysically: The less clutter we carry with us in our minds, the more present we become and we feel lighter in both out bodies and our minds.

Travelling, for me, awakens the curiosity inside. When I travel I am curious about everything around me; the people, the culture, the environment. I feel alive and awake, it’s like I’ve been sleeping and suddenly I wake up and start noticing things around me. Normally in our daily lives we shut off our travelling mindset and we don’t notice things as much as when we travel. However, when we meet a traveller or when someone comes for a visit, then we are reminded. Those who comes to visit us are perhaps more open than we are at that point in time, because they are travelling, but they can help us to open our eyes again and then suddenly we see what they see: Adventure, the ugly and the beautiful, cultural customs and behaviour, people, the flower on your door step, the spider web in the windowsill, the friendly nod from your neighbour, the rainbow behind the clouds and so on.

There is a word in Swedish called hemmablind. Literally it means home blind, which means that we are blind to the environment around us. For example, we don’t often see the beauty (or the mess) of our own home until someone points it out for us.

When I lived in Sweden I didn’t really appreciate all the good things and all the beautiful things that surrounded me, but now every time I go back to my home country I see a lot of things that I didn’t appreciate before.

A friend of mine told me a story once about the two different types of people: the bird people and the tree people. The tree people have their roots firmly in the ground, they spread their branches and their leaves move gently in the wind. The bird people, they come and go. They like to explore different trees, they can choose to come back home to their nest anytime, but they need to fly, the wind is what makes them soar. I believe I’m one of the bird people, but the bird nor the tree is better than the other, they make the world go round as they live in symbiosis.

 

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