Tagged: Minimalism

UK a packing sum up! 

About a month ago I had a trip to England with my friend B, where we were trying out the somewhat “minimalistic packing” routine. Yeah it wasn’t all that minimalistic, but we did each manage on hand luggage only, even including bringing stuff for my mum and brother (Norwegian chocolate is a big thing 😉 )

So how did I do with what I packed? Well, as I suspected I did over pack somewhat, but not as badly as I thought I had done. Since the weather was a mix of everything between one evening of lounging in shorts in the garden, to crashing rain and cold weather, I used almost everything in my bag with the exception of a couple of tops, and a scarf. I have however found a couple of ways to streamline, so that next time, I will bring even less for a short week in UK (except next time might be Christmas, and we all know that is dress up time in mums house… hmmm… that might put a dent into my light packing plans..).

Did I lean anything from my trip? Yes Actually that would be a resounding YES.

I found that I loved how easy it was to navigate with a small wheeled carry on, how easy it was to roll it through the streets to get to the London underground, how easy it was to lift and carry when there was no other options, how easy it was to find space for it on the train and on the plane. It was so easy I don’t think I’ll ever want to go back to big suitcases, it was that easy 😉

I did have one more revelation!

After having meandered around in London for a couple days, I came to the conclusion that the less you drag around with you, an easier time you have (yeah, big shocker, I know 🙂 )

Every time I’m out and about on travel, I carry stuff with me in a handbag or small backpack. Having issues with my shoulders, I made B drag the backpack around this time. And what a relief, not really having to carry ANYTHING!!!

I do realize that it’s futile to think that I will be able to continue to never carry stuff around, as I’m THAT person who always need a bottle of water at hand, a small bag with my medication (just in case) and when there is no safe at the hotel, have to keep my passport with me. But, having had a couple of days in London where I was not the designated backpack carrier this time around, I’ve realized I need to re-evaluate, how much I really NEED to lug around.

When we were out and about, I kept my wallet and phone in my jeans pockets. Passport, medication, water, rain jacket, small camera ++ was in the backpack B carried. I quickly started to feel like a nuisance when we were wandering the streets of London, as I was forever digging into the backpack.  To get a bottle of water, sunglasses, dig out the camera, and stuff all that crap back in, over and over again.

So I’ve realized that, for the times I wear clothing that don’t have “huge” pockets, I need a small (very small) cross body purse/bag, that is just big enough to hold on (temporary basis) things like water, wallet, phone, sunglasses and a small camera.

Even though I’m trying to only buy necessities this year, I think there might be a small purse purchase in my near future, if I can find the perfect bag that is. It needs to be light, have a good strap and I would prefer, good internal organization.  I would love if it was possible to clip to my belt loops so I wouldn’t really need to carry it cross body, to save my shoulders, but guess that might be a tall order (unless I find someone who can make it for me).

I love the look of this little Cath Kidston bag, and this one at Tom Bihn seem to have some nifty solutions, but since I tend to like to see/touch the product before I buy, I was hoping to find something a little closer to home.

If you have any suggestions on geat little bags to use for travel, oh, yeah, and what to carry in it. I sure could need a little help 😉

Conclusion! Never use a big bag again, if I can avoid it. Now goal! To downsize even more 😉

Minimalist packing!

After my experience of “lost” luggage on my trip to US last year (it took them 4 days to find it), I’ve decided to try a more minimalistic approach to my packing.

I’ve come across a lot of ultralight packing sites lately, where they travel with 20-32 litres bags, for months at a time. Now, there is no way I’ll ever be on their level of “small” luggage, but I should be able to travel for a week with hand luggage only, wouldn’t you think?

Here is the plan, one carry on and a purse of some sort! Now that can’t be too bad, I am after all only going to be gone for a week, so shouldn’t really need all that much stuff… right?

It all sounded fine, until I got mums shopping list, for Norwegian jam and mayonnaise, and then there is the chocolate I need to bring, a book or two for my mum…  What it boils down to, is that since the jam jar are bigger than the allowed 100 ml carry on bottles, the luggage have to go into the belly of the plane. As I’m travelling with a friend of mine (B), we’ve decided to send one of our carry ons as regular luggage and bring the other into the cabin. With only one carry on each, we still get to practice packing a “lighter” load.

So what am I bringing?

Well.. let’s see.

Beside all the goodies for my mum and my brother, this is pretty much my packing list for a week in England:

  • 1 blue jeans (wearing on the plane)
  • 1 white jeans (for dressing up)
  • 1 blue top (for dressing up)
  • 4 t-shirts (1 for the plane)
  • 1 thin long sleeved shirt
  • 1 tank tops
  • 1 hooded top (wearing)
  • 1 very thin sweater (for dressing up)
  • 1 short
  • 1 belt for shorts
  • 1 belt for jeans (wearing)
  • flip plops
  • jogging shoes (wearing)
  • thin rain jacket
  • thin down packable jacked (wearing)
  • 2 sleep shorts
  • 1 lounge pant
  • underwear/bra
  • 3 pair of socks (wearing 1)
  • thin neck scarf (to protect me from getting cold on the plane)
  • toiletries – the regular stuff like toothbrush/paste, face and body oil, shampoo, contact lenses, medication ++
  • 2 iPads + chargers (my mini, and mums Christmas present (yes, the one she hasn’t gotten yet))
  • small camera
  • phone + charger + ear buds
  • book to read on the trip
  • passport, money and e-ticket
  • sunglasses
  • regular glasses for the evenings
  • travel adapter
  • 1 box of Nescafe Cafe au Chocolate – gotta have my choca mocha fix, you know;-)

My gosh.. that is one awful long list of things.. doesn’t seem very minimalistic now, does it?

I’m sure I’ve packed more than I’ll need, but never mind. It’s not like I’ll be trekking this luggage all over the world now, is it? It’s only a quick trip to hang out with family. Still, it’s a good way to test how little I can get away with for a weeks trip.

So is all this stuff going to fit into my small carry on?

2015-07-20 19.23.36

Well… take a look, and see for yourself 🙂

IMG_4374

It all fit!

Thankfully, half of the stuff is not coming back home with me. Which means, when it comes down to it, I packed with space to spare 😉

So, off I go, tomorrow morning… See you in London!

My 2014 goals – how did I do?

In 2009, after having lived in the US for two years, I came home with enough stuff to fill up a entire house (after having furnished an empty condo in Houston), and I already had a house full. Since then I have slowly but surely gotten rid of stuff, and I’ve dwindled it down to one household again. But as good as I had been at it, I felt that there was still more that could go out of the house. Which is why I decided a year ago that I would make 2014 a year to declutter and living with less.

And to be accountable – I started this blog 🙂

I decided my main goal, would be to get rid of an average of at least one item a day, all through 2014 – yepp, 365 items!

I also made a second goal, a promise in my post I want. I want – I want it now!!! – to make an effort to buy only necessities, needs rather than wants.

Have I managed what I set out to do? The short answer – YES!

So here it is – my MAIN goal;

2014 tally of items out-the-door  – 634 items, 2200 bookmarks and 14485 emails 🙂

Curious about what items I shed? Check it out;

  1. January tally – 63 items
  2. February tally – 45 items, 2200 bookmarks and 2450 emails
  3. March tally – 12 items and 7535 emails
  4. April tally – 58 items and about 4500 emails
  5. May tally – 126 items
  6. June tally – 22 items
  7. July tally – 22 items
  8. August tally – 45 items
  9. September tally – 103 items
  10. October tally – 7 items
  11. November tally – 23 items
  12. December tally – 108 items

My second goal – only buying necessities; 

I did better on this during 2014 than I did in 2013 (which was the first time I tried this). I replaced broken items, only if I had too. I used up before replacing or even did not replaced at all.

I did really good at not buying anything but necessities, until my trip to US in September, when I ended up buying some clothing I didn’t really strictly “need”. I do however have an excuse as my luggage was lost for several days, and I got sick of walking around in oversized men’s clothing that I had borrowed. So I caved and bought some ladies things 😉 And it’s not like the clothing won’t come in handy, when I wear out my older stuff…

Other than that, as far as I know, there are only a few other items I got, that were strictly not a necessity. 1 small box set I thought was really cute, that I really haven’t found a use for, yet! And then I got a a few cheap IKEA wine glasses for my birthday grill party, as I did not have enough glasses for the champagne toast! (thinking about it, I believe this could be considered a necessity 😉 )

I did have some allowances for the year! Things I could do and things I could get that aren’t really necessities;

Books – I could buy up to 10 books/magazines – I bought one physical book, and two or three e-books

Eating out – the goal was to cut down to half the amount of times we (a friend and I) eat out compared to 2013 – we didn’t quite manage, as we only cut 39% on times. But what we did manage was to cut the amount we spent, with more than 50%, which was ultimately the goal.

Flowers and plants – The goal for 2014 was to cut down to procuring less than half of what I normally wouldDone 🙂 I did even better than half as I cut my procurement of plants for the garden closer to 70% compared to any other years.

So all in all, I would say that I passed my goals for 2014!

Did I pass with flying colours? Hmmm, probably not, I’m sure I could have done better, but I’m pretty happy 🙂

 

My 100th…

I can’t believe this is my 100th post!

Little did I know when I started out, how much having a blog would mean to me, and I never thought about all the milestones I would go through having a blog.

My first post – The start of my journey!

Suddenly I had my first like and my first follower, woohoo… But how on earth did they find me?

And thank you Jen over at Me woman you man for making the first comment on my blog – oh my I was excited. The cool thing! She is still with me 🙂

Soon followed the 10th post Taking a stab at my bookshelves, my 10th like, the 10th comment and my 10th follower – Ed my dearest friend 🙂

Fast forward and I’m hitting my 100 likes, my 100 comments and after a while my 100th follow by My botanical garden.

And not to forget! My first award, a Liebster award, quickly followed by a second Liebster award I sadly never wrote about, which was given to me by My Light Bag who got it from Laura at The next 50 years who got it from me 🙂  My third award was a Sunshine award and I believe I have a fourth award waiting for me (from Heather at Simply Save) whenever I get my act together to write about it 😉

And here I am; 170 followers, 3956 views, 735 comments (I believe the stats are counting mine as well, so half maybe?), 63 countries later, doing my 100th post!

It never dawn on me, starting out, that I would find kindred spirits, make blog friends, and feel like I belong to a community. Or how I would miss people when they stopped blogging (hopefully only for a while). Or how bad I would feel when I don’t have the time or energy to keep up with my community (I guess it’s just like with regular friends).

I never thought about how much pleasure I would get out of having a blog. How my mind is forever making post in my head, even though sometimes they never make it down on “paper”.

Or how I would be changing during the course of blogging and moving along my minimalistic path. How other bloggers have made me think about all sorts of things from taking better care of the environment, become more thrifty, eat healthier, travel more, single living (nice to know I’m not alone) and take better care of my health. I even believe the blogging community helped with my decision of taking a time-out!

I just want to thank you, my faithful followers, commentators, bloggers, for making my days more cheerful, mindful, reflective and sometime just plain happy 😉

Thank you!

Thriftiness getting in the way of decluttering?

I’m having a hard time…

Being that I have decided to only buy necessities this year, I’m trying to use up stuff I already have in my house.

As an example, let talk about… say…. toiletries!

I have all sorts of creams, hair products, facial stuff, make-up and so on. And it makes perfect sense to use up the items I have before I buy new!

Now, anybody that knows me, knows that, I have the shortest hair ever (by choice). I’d be hard pressed to use up one bottle of shampoo a year. I don’t really use hair products much. And I think I have a bottle of hairspray I’d be lucky to use up within the next 10 years.

If I manage to slap on some moisturiser in the morning, I’ve been good. Never mind facial cleanser, night cream, eye cream and other stuff.

I never really use make-up. If you see me dolled up in make-up even once a year, that’s a stretch 😉

But, and that’s the kicker, being a girl and all 😉 I do like pretty make-up and cool bottles of creams that smell nice, and my hairdresser always manage to convince me I need some products 😉

I have gotten really good the last couple years, only buying the creams/shampoo I actually use. BUT I still have cabinets full of things given to me, and items bought and not used up (or ever used). I’m not kidding you, when I tell you, that I use so little of everything, that it’s going to take years to use it all up.

So what’s the problem you might ask!

Well the challenge is that, while it makes perfect sense to use up the stuff, I really, and I mean really want to declutter my place, I just want the “crap” out of here!

In a way I’m letting my “thriftiness” get in the way of my decluttering . There are times I just want to let a “tornado” (yes, that would be me) loose and get the stuff out of my house.

But then my sensible (or we could argue, not so sensible) mind takes over.
“I should use this up, it makes perfect sense, since I’m not really buying much this year”
“I should give this away or sell this stuff, rather than recycle/toss is”
“I need to put it away, so that my sister, mother, friend, neighbour…(please feel free to add any others..)  gets a look at it, before I give to charity/recycle/toss”

All these arguments makes perfect sense – but they are getting in my way of getting the stuff out of here, and achieving the uncluttered space I’m working hard to get to. And it’s starting to frustrate the heck out of me.

Well, why don’t you just “toss” it all?

I don’t know, it’s what I want to do, but is feels sacrilegious to just “toss” things that are worth something to other people, and that might even generate some money for me. But right now holding on to stuff, just so that I can give it away, to family or friends, or make half a dollar on it, are starting to become a hassle, that just seem to stop me cold in my progress.

So what is a girl to do?

When I sat down to write today, I wasn’t really planing on writing this. I suppose this post took a turn of its own;-) It seems my frustration is bigger that I realised.  But, while writing this, I’ve come to realise what I need to do, to get a little closer, to achieving my goal of a somewhat more decluttered space.

I will keep stuff that I know I will manage to use up within a year.
Just take the toiletries mentioned above, I will keep hair products that I actually will use, but that darn hairspray is going. I’ll keep items I use, but (even if its a gift) I will get rid of things that I don’t see I will ever really get around to using or even start using within a year.

I will, when I declutter, ask friends and family if they want it (when it makes sense to ask) but, I won’t hold on to it longer than a few days, before they go out-the-door.

I will try to sell stuff that has enough value to make sense to sell (furniture or expensive items), everything else I won’t stress with. I understand that I might be able to make a buck or two, and total by the time this is all said and done I might have lost out on a 100-200 dollars or so, but that’s OK! I’d rather not having all the frustration and stress. And I think my bank account will survive 😉

But I will no longer, let the “rules” above get in my way. I’d rather just; not ask, not sell, not give away, if that makes my declutter process less frustrating and easier.

There is such a thing as, peace of mind, and right now, I think a decluttered space takes precedence over trying to be so darn “sensible”!

What about you?
How do you handle the balance between being sensible and “thrifty” and the need for a less cluttered space?  I would love any advice you might have, on finding a good balance.

I want, I want – I want it now!!!!

I think it’s time to move out of this consumerism mindset. First of all it’s expensive, and second it tends to generate stuff… and since my goal for this year is to reduce stuff…out the door the shopping sprees goes 😉

Today I’m taking a stab at decluttering my life in 2014 with a promise – to make an effort to buy only necessities. You know, needs rather than wants.

Now, this doesn’t mean I’m going to live on oats, walk around with my toe sticking out my socks, only shower once a week, never use the car, use next to no electricity and so on…. you get the picture 😉

Nope, I have every intention of still living good. In my world, I believe necessities are what you need to survive, and live a happy life.

This definition, might include items in addition to the basics of food, clothing, and shelters. But the key is; what do you really need? And even more so, do you need it all the time? or can it be an occasional treat?

Since we are all have different life’s and interests, needs will differ from person to person. Have you ever thought about what your absolute needs are?

I know, this might not be for everybody, but if you have been thinking about the same lately. You know: buying less, saving money, less impact on the environment and so forth. And if you like me, just starting out, why don’t you make a list of your own, like I’m doing below 🙂

My overall general rules

Only buy necessities. Replace an item that is broken/ used up only if I really, really need to.
I will use up the stuff I have before I consider replacing.
I will try to find creative ways to meet my needs, and make do with the things I already have before I consider buying more.

Some of my allowances

Yes, allowances, I gotta live a little 😉

Books – I can buy up to 10 books/magazines for the whole year – you might say this is not a necessity, but I love books, and house/garden magazine and believe me a total of 10 books or magazine is quite a limit for me. And I will preferable get them as e-books since I don’t want to add to my already overflowing bookshelves.

Eating out – I eat out a lot, and the goal for 2014 is to cut down to at least half the amount of times I eat out. Yes I know, eating out is not an necessity either, but it’s an enjoyment I’m not quite willing to let go of yet.

Flowers and plants – I love my garden, I might even be a little bit obsessive about it – just ask anybody that know me 🙂 And I love having plants and flowers in my house, so I will allow myself to get some summer plant for the garden and the occasional orchid or cut flowers for indoors. But I do promises to not go totally overboard like I have a tendency to do. The goal for 2014 it to cut down to procuring less than half of what I normally would.

None negational items

I have several projects inside and outside the house, that have been in the making for quite some time and are planned for this year. These I will have to spend a little money on. And even thought doing the projects might not be strictly necessities (well, some of them are starting to be), I am still sticking to my my original plan 🙂 So what are these projects you may ask? Well… I’ll let you know as I move along with them…

That is it, so far!

If I think of something else for the list I can always add it later.

But if I can do this, I’ll say it’s a good start on living with less.

Real estate value

My neighbor just sold their place, a small three bedroom town home. The other day I was talking to a friend of mine, and I mentioned that my neighbor had finally gotten their place sold. This news sparked a conversation about the price difference of a small place vs. a bigger place, and the cost associated with needing a larger home.

Now, I know some families are big and need a big place to fit everyone inn, but there are also families out there that have a big home just to have room to store their stuff.

How many times have you heard – “well, I need a big home so that I have room for all my stuff”, ok….!!! sure, it makes sense to need a bigger mortgage that will keep you in debt for longer, just to fit in stuff…!! (Yeah, that’s me being sarcastic) “What about getting rid of some of the stuff instead, so that a smaller cheaper home is big enough?”

Have you ever thought about how storing stuff, you don’t need, can be a massive drain on your finances?

In the region of Norway where I live, the difference in purchase price between a small two or three bedroom home is easily a minimum of 500 000 NOK (about 85 000 US dollars). That’s a lot of money to dish out just so that I can store some stuff that is probably not worth even close to 40 000 (7000). And just think of places like for example London and New York, where it’s way more expensive to go bigger.

Would it maybe make more sense to have a smaller and cheaper place, and then buy the items as you need them, rather than store a bunch of items just in case….?

With the extra mortgage, interest and years of debt a bigger home most likely will generate (unless you just won the lottery), your should at least be sure your stuff is worth it, either financial or emotional.

I think a good exercise while decluttering would be to look hard at the item and decide; is it really worth the money it wold cost to keep it? Is this an item I can let go off? and should I ever need such an item, would it just be easier to buy it then?

And you might say… Well I got this place and as long as I have room…. well yes… But you started this journey because you found yourself in need of a little more space and room to breathe.

And just image, with less stuff, you might be able to downsize to a smaller space one day. With less mortgage and therefor more freedom to afford to do the things you really love….

And me? My item for the day is to realize I’d rather declutter and stay put.

I love my little house 😉

The start of my journey

2014 – a year to declutter and living with less

You know how you sometimes come across information that resonates with you. That’s what happened to me a couple of weeks ago. I was looking at a web site with travel accessories, which brought me to a link about packing on YouTube. Next thing you know I’ve gotten myself entangled in links after links on owning next to nothing, declutter and minimalism. And that’s when it hits me smack in the head, this is where I’m at right now, feeling the need to clean up my life and move towards a simpler life.

Who am I? My name is Anne Lene and I live on the west coast of Norway. And where is Norway you might ask? Well have a look here. My interest are traveling, house and gardens (especially my garden) and I’m a pretty good handy”man” 😉

I live in a small house (about 75m2 or 807 ft2), and I love the idea of a clean uncluttered space and not owning more than I need.

I’ve always been somewhat decent at getting rid of things, and most people would say I keep a tidy house (that’s just because they don’t see all the stuff tucked away everywhere). But lately it seems like stuff is creeping up on me and before I know it I’m sitting in the middle of a whole lot of mess.

So why a blog? And what’s with the name Minimalist Sometimes? 

Well, you know how you can feel like a “minimalist at heart” (yeah I know, wishful thinking), but your life do not quite seem to reflect this. Actually it’s starting to look pretty messy, like I mentioned above, and you swear it wasn’t that long ago that you were in full control of your house and your life.

This is me in a nutshell – a Minimalist sometimes🙂 and this is a blog about my personal journey towards becoming what I call a moderate minimalist. I thought that if I’m going to give this a proper try, I might as well write about it.

So going forward i have decided that:
2014 will be a year to declutter and living with less.

And if I’m lucky, some of the stuff I will be writing about on this blog might inspire others on their journey.

So here we go… my journey starts. Will you be joining me?

Anne Lene