Archive for the ‘Minimalism’ Category

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Z: Zero Waste Lifestyle

May 1, 2017

This ( link) is a term I came across sometime last year, and I’m quite amazed by the idea of it. The very fact that there are people who actually manage to do this on an everyday basis is quite astounding to me.

Think about it, there’s so much trash that gets generated with each action we take. We wake up in the morning and brush our teeth. There’s waste in terms of the toothpaste tube we toss out after it’s empty, the carton it comes in, and then the toothbrush itself that we toss out when it’s past it’s time. Of course, there’s a good chance of all this getting recycled, but in a country like India, especially in cities like Bangalore and Hyderabad where Waste management is a disaster, I have no such hopes.

And, this is just the tip of the iceberg. Takeaway food in disposable containers, mineral water bottles, groceries, packaged food, milk packets/cartons, tissues and sanitary pads and tampons – there so many things that we just use and throw with barely a thought of what happens to it after we discard. My pet peeve is the not-so-new thing at Indian weddings – small mineral water bottles at EVERY meal for about 200-300 people, be it breakfast, lunch or dinner. We’re so Eco-friendly with the plantain leaves that we eat those meals on, but the bottles?! So much is sacrificed in the name of convenience.

I’m quite unlikely to implement the totally zero-waste lifestyle, mainly because I don’t see myself making my own soap or toothpaste any time soon, but I do hope I can make baby steps towards a reduced-waste lifestyle.

I do carry a bag every time I go grocery shopping, and refuse to put vegetables in those individual bags for weighing, as far as possible, but I’ll be conscious of the choices I make in the store to further this. When I do take those small plastic bags, I’ll make sure I reuse them till they fall apart.

I’ve mostly cloth-diapered A in her infancy, and I’m glad I was able to do that. But I’m still quite on the fence about menstrual cups, but I think will give it a shot this year. Worst case I’ll hate it and switch back. If not, imagine the amount of trash I’m saving each month with just that one change!

And I’ve discovered that someone sells bamboo toothbrushes in India, how utterly cool is that!

And finally, clothes. I’ve pretty much stopped buying stuff that’s cheaply made, or ‘Fast fashion’ brands (I avoid non-made in India stuff as far as I can, no Mango, Zara etc) but I’m yet to achieve success in having a really small wardrobe. I did some major culling once last year, but again it’s looking quite full. With a move of apartments around the corner, this is perhaps a good time to do this again and hopefully, sustain it.

A friend of mine told me she did  once went on a no-shopping experiment for a year. Unless it’s essentials. I think I can do this, at least with clothes. I think I’m set for a year already, but perhaps I’ll evaluate the wardrobe once more before I make that grand decision. Yes, it’s a plan 🙂

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J: Journal, the Five minute journal

April 12, 2017

(I really had to struggle with this, but finally, thought of something where I could type away, without having to struggle for words.)

About a month and a half back, when I was not in a very happy place mentally, I decided to attempt Gratitude journaling. But, that didn’t go too far because sometimes it felt like too much of an effort to write something, at others it felt repetitive or worse, like I was doing it for the sake of it. Around the same time, I had sort of decided to give Bullet journaling a try as well and was testing waters.

Luckily for me, I came across the 5-minute journal (thanks to The Tim Ferriss podcast) which is quick, easy and seemed to marry the two philosophies (at least for me). There are plenty of details about the book/app itself on the www, so look it up. But I don’t use either – I’ve made my own pared down version over the days.

This is what it looks like –

  • What would make today great? (I list three most important todos for the day here and fill this in the previous night. This is really helpful in instant focus)
  • Three amazing things that happened today
  • What could’ve made today better (I’ve been skipping this lately but I think I ought to resume)

The original one also has two more sections – I’m grateful for…and a Daily affirmation section. I should probably add in the Daily affirmations too.

But for now, the version I’m using is really helpful. Each night I tick whatever I’ve done on the list and then carryover the unfinished things if needed. This makes me evaluate the day, focus on the little things or the big things that made me happy through the day and then plan for the next day. In the mornings I wake up, meditate and look at my list and it already sort of puts my day in focus. It’s simple and for someone who overthinks and over plans and gets over-stressed, it’s helping me focus on the most important things and simplify. What’s not to love?

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M: Minimalism

April 15, 2015

Minimalism is an idea that fascinates me. If you know me well, you’re probably laughing right now. I’m the kind that embraces clutter a little too easily. That said, I’m also slowly beginning to enjoy the idea of consuming less (no, not food, of course). Or consuming consciously, at the very least. 

I wish I were one of those clean-as-you-go, put-things-where-they-belong at all times types, but heck no. That, and my inability to throw away things, (inherited from my Mom, I think) ensures that I have half a shelf filled with clothes I rarely wear, a drawer full of art supplies that I don’t have the heart to discard and a trunk full of odds and ends that I can’t decide what to do with. 

I recall a post by Leo Babuata, of Zenhabits, The True Cost of Stuff. He talks about how the true cost of owning something isn’t limited to what you pay to buy the item alone. You’ve to take into account the cost of making it, the cost of keeping it running (say a bike, or a car) and not to forget, the cost of maintaining it. You buy the most exquisitely carved sofa set, and then it gathers dust and you spend time simply keeping it clean. Or you run the risk of seeing the dust gather, and the guilt accumulate. 

Also, may I add, the guilt that comes from not doing enough justice to that thing you spent a bomb on? The worst of all costs, I think. 

While I’m nowhere close to being evolved enough to completely cut out unnecessary purchases (sarees and stoles I’ve been eyeing on itokri and Jaypore.com, bunch of baby clothes I added to the cart on hopscotch.in, yeah, don’t ask), I’m at least a bit more conscious. It helps that I’m more thrifty than extravagant, so I almost always think twice before I buy something, and rarely buy something because it appeals to me and I can afford to. Despite all this, my battle with clutter is neverending. Factor in a baby, with clothes and toys, and I’m doomed. 

But hey, being self-aware is great to start with. I’ve contemplated the idea of a minimalistic wardrobe, with maybe just 10-20 classic, good quality outfits that will last long. To do this, I need to first throw away a lot of stuff. And then spend more money to buy the said classic outfits. Instead, I will probably begin with my great shoe collection, of which I wear exactly four pairs – two on rotation for daily wear, one pair of travel shoes, and one pair of running/walking shoes. And yet, I have at least 4-5 more pairs which probably haven’t seen the light of the day in as many years. Yes, throwing those out, or giving them away maybe a good place to start. Once I’ve done away with them, I’m sure the guilt of not using them or doing justice will also go away.  

Just tell me how to silence the typically sensible, middle-class voices in my head first. “You cannot possibly giveaway those boots! So what if you wore them exactly once in the last six years, you paid $75 for those!!!! Money doesn’t grow on trees, you know.”

PS: I’ll keep you posted. Maybe before the A-Z challenge is over, I’ll make it a point to do away with those shoes?