Minimalism and How To Detach From ‘Things’

When I first became interested in minimalism, I thought that I needed to get rid of most of my possessions, and live out of a backpack.  And for a time, I did do this. But during my journey with minimalism, I’ve realised that is not about restrictions. It is about freedom.

Freedom from clutter.

Freedom of time.

Freedom from being overwhelmed.

Freedom of consumerism.

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Minimalism is a tool to rid yourself of life’s excess in favor of focusing on what’s important- so you can find happiness, fulfillment, and freedom.

– The Minimalists

Why are we so attached to ‘things’?

In my opinion, this attachment comes from our innate hunter-gatherer mindset, and the marketing industry uses this to its full potential.  We are bombarded by adverts, every day.  Companies want us to buy, buy, buy.

And. We. Don’t. Need. To.

I’ve bought things in sales, purely because it’s on sale.  50% off isn’t actually 50% off, if you don’t “need” the item.  It’s 50% more!  Because you probably would never of bought the item if it wasn’t on sale.

Now let’s talk about ‘needs’.

There are 6 basic things that humans ‘need’.  Air, water, food, shelter, sleep and clothing.  Companionship could be added here, but let’s focus on the very basics.

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Everything else could be classified into ‘wants’.  For example: a television; a car; a microwave; a guitar; the latest phone.  That’s not to say that these things aren’t important to certain people, but they aren’t necessary for basic human survival.

Have you ever heard of the hedonic treadmill?  Basically humans have a sort of happiness homeostasis.  When you buy something, your ‘happiness’ level might increase, but it very quickly returns to a standard level.  The hedonic treadmill theory suggests that the pursuit of happiness is like walking on a treadmill- you keep walking to stay in the same place.  I think this is really interesting, because it might explain why we feel like we need certain items, but then tire of them quickly.  We are always on the ‘hunt’ for more.

If we clear away all the things that we don’t use, or no longer serve us, it can be so freeing!  

I used to have a wardrobe of clothes and shoes full to bursting.  However, the same thing happened to me every morning…’I’ve got nothing to wear!’  I really struggled to let go of my clothes, I was so attached to them,  I didn’t understand why.

I began researching and came across a lady called Marie Kondo.  Her method is to empty your entire wardrobe onto your bed- this was an immense task for me!  You then gradually go through each item one by one, and hold it in your hands.  If the clothing does not ‘spark joy’ then get rid!  (Don’t be wasteful and chuck it in the bin- donate to your local charity shop/sell/give to someone that would truely love that piece of clothing).  This ‘spark joy’ notion can be used for all things in your house/garage.

When you par back your belongings to the essentials, you can begin you live a more meaningful life.  You are in control of what you bring into your home.  Don’t let your possessions own you.  Detaching from things will not happen overnight, it is a lifelong process, and I am loving the journey that it is taking me on.

I hope you have enjoyed reading this!

Sending you love and light,

Louise 🙂 x

33 Uses for Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is a super versatile product, so I’ve come up with a list of all the different ways that I have used it…

Cooking

  • †One of most obvious use for coconut oil is for cooking and baking. It is said to be better to cook with than other oils, as it can withstand higher temperatures without oxidation.
  • Add 1-2 tbsp to your morning coffee for a creamy taste to replace dairy-based lattes. (It is best to blend it in, but if this isn’t an option you can add it to your mug first, then add hot black coffee).
  • Whizz into your smoothies for a natural boost of medium chain triglycerides (MCT). MCT are easily absorbed by the body, compared to other fats and are believed to suppress hunger, increase energy levels and increase metabolism.
  • Use instead of butter in your mashed potatoes.
  • Melt coconut oil and dark chocolate together and then use as a topping to ice cream (my fave is Swedish Glace). The mixture will instantly solidify and taste awesome, as well as looking cool!

Skincare

  • †Use as a complete body moisturiser. It is 100% natural and usually comes in a glass jar (which can be reused or recycled). In cooler environments it will have a solid consistency, but as soon as it is worked into skin it will melt away and create a lovely sheen.
  • Add to your reusable/washable makeup pads to easily and gently remove makeup. It is probably one of the safest makeup removers, as it contains NO nasty chemicals.
  • Replace your shaving foams with coconut oil. (Tip: best used with a safety razor, as the blades won’t clog up as easily as crappy disposable razors. Safety razors are awesome as they contain no plastic and the metal blades can be recycled).
  • Use to soothe dry lips. Decant into a small container for on the go.
  • Mix with arrowroot powder and your favourite essential oil, for a natural deodorant.
  • Add to your used coffee grounds to create a body scrub. I like adding a few drops of peppermint oil to my homemade body scrub.
  • Add a dollop of coconut oil to use as a bath soak.
  • Work coconut oil into your hair before shampooing, for a deep hair conditioning treatment.

Baby

  • Create a bum spray to compliment reusable baby wipes. Simply combine 6oz water, 2 tbsp coconut oil and 1/2 cup witch hazel and voila: a natural, zero waste, cheap bum spray for baby’s sensitive skin.
  • Use to soothe nappy rash. Not only will it relieve the pain, it will fight infection and promote healing, as coconut oil has antibacterial qualities.
  • Apply coconut oil to cradle cap and leave for 20 minutes before washing off, by gently rubbing with a warm, wet flannel.
  • Use coconut oil for baby massage. Baby massage has numerous benefits, from alleviating colic, promoting better sleep and bonding with your baby. Using coconut oil will provide a natural massage lubricant and also moisturise baby’s skin.
  • There is evidence that coconut oil is 30% more effective at reducing the severity of eczema in children compared to other mineral oils.
  • I used coconut oil on my stomach during and after pregnancy to reduce the likelihood of stretch marks– it worked for me, I wouldn’t use anything else and many other mothers swear by it too!
  • Coconut oil is said to stimulate milk supply during breastfeeding, as it contains lauric acid.
  • It works great to soothe sore or cracked nipples, due to the early weeks of your newborn breastfeeding like a demon.
  • A little coconut oil can relieve heartburn, as it said that it cleans the bacteria out of your oesophagus to relieve acid reflux.

Health

  • Apply a little coconut oil to nostrils to help relieve hay-fever/allergic rhinitis/pet and dust allergy symptoms. This is much cheaper than buying the shop-bought barrier balms.
  • Add coconut oil and baking soda together to create a natural teeth whitener.
  • Coconut oil has antimicrobial qualities, which make it great for mild ear infections. Just melt a blob of oil and decant into a dropper bottle and leave to cool to room temperature, before adding a few drops to the affected ear.
  • As coconut oil is a natural analgesic (pain-reliever), it can be used on chicken pox, insect bites and poison ivy stings to help with the pain.
  • Coconut oil can be used for the ancient practice of ‘oil-pulling,’ which is ever-increasing in popularity. Take a tablespoon of coconut oil into your mouth and swish it round for at least 10 minutes (ideally 20 minutes)! I know this may seem like ages, but it is scientifically proven to effectively combat bad breath and plaque by drawing out impurities and moisturising oral tissue. Best done when you don’t have a toddler asking you a million questions!

Household

  • Combine 3/4 cup coconut oil with 1/4 cup lemon juice, as a natural furniture polish.
  • Create a non-toxic insect repellent by mixing 1/4 cup melted coconut oil with 20-30 drops citronella essential oil. Pour into a jar and then leave to set in the fridge. Rub into the skin to keep pesky bugs at bay.
  • Condition your chopping boards and wooden/bamboo dinnerware by rubbing coconut oil onto the surface to restore the wood, as well as removing bacteria.
  • Make non-toxic play dough! Over a low heat, melt 1 tbsp coconut oil and then add 1 cup water, 1 cup flour, 1/2 cup salt, 2 tsp cream of tartar and gel food colouring of your choice.
  • Mix coconut oil and baking soda to form a paste, which works great to scrub away soap scum and mildew from the bath.
  • Remove sticky residue from jars by wiping coconut oil to the sticky part and leave for at least 5 minutes, then wipe away with a cloth.

Tip: Keep one jar of coconut oil for the kitchen and one for the bathroom, to avoid any cross contamination.

Kale and Ginger Smoothie

Ingredients 

🌍 1 cup unsweetened nut milk (almond/hazelnut/coconut)

🌍 2 cups frozen or fresh kale (stalks removed)

🌍 1 frozen banana

🌍 2 tsp fresh ginger (finely grated)

🌍 Handful of blueberries

🌍 2 tbsp chia seeds

🌍 1 tbsp agave nectar

🌍 2 tbsp hemp protein powder

🌍 Sprinkle of cacao nibs (optional).

Method

1) Whizz all ingredients in a high speed blender (I use a NutriBullet)

2) Pour into a glass

3) Top with a sprinkle of cacao nibs

4) Enjoy through a stainless steel straw.

Getting Started – 5 R’s of Zero Waste

Firstly, what is Zero Waste?

Adopting a Zero Waste lifestyle, means that you essentially aim to send nothing to landfill.  For our family, of course, we do send items to landfill- we are not a perfect zero waste family, but we strive to be the best we can be.  Sometimes it’s called Low Waste, but for the purpose of this blog I will stick with the term, Zero Waste.

According to Bea Johnson (a Zero Waste influencer), there are 5 R’s of Zero Waste:

Refuse what you do not need.

Reduce what you do need.

Reuse by using reusables.

Recycle what you cannot refuse, reduce or reuse.

Rot the rest (compost).

The order of these 5 R’s is of particular importance…notice that recycle is near the end?

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So, let’s look at the 5 R’s in a bit more depth:

Refuse

  • Turn down freebies– don’t accept leaflets etc. (by all means talk to the people handing them out).  Leaflets are a waste of resources, and by refusing them you can help reduce the demand.
  • Opt for paperless bills– most companies are paperless now, which is great!  You can also turn off your postal marketing for other accounts, e.g. catalogues.

Reduce

  • Declutter your home.  Donate and sell unwanted items (please don’t just throw them out).  One person’s trash is another person’s treasure, right?
  • Reduce shopping trips.  By reducing the trips to the shops and by keeping a shopping list, you are automatically less likely to buy things you do not need.  I love keeping a list (on my phone) of items that I think I ‘need’ – I usually realise that it was just a passing ‘want’ and many of the items get deleted off the list.

Reuse

  • Switch disposable items to reusable items.  Here are just a few ideas:  stainless steel water bottle like a Klean Kanteen; shopping bags; cloth nappies; cloth wipes; reusable make-up cloths.
  • Avoid food shopping waste.  Take your reusable bags for your shopping and use cloth bags for loose fruit and veggies.  You can also take jars for bulk items and wet items like olives from the deli.

Recycle

  • Have you refused, reduced and reused?  If so, it is important to know your area’s recycling policies.  Think of recycling as a last resort…it is not the answer.  Much of our plastic waste, unfortunately, gets exported to other countries.
  • Buy second-hand or in bulk.  If you have to buy new, opt for items made out of glass, metal, wood or cardboard, avoid plastic.

Rot

  • Find a compost system that works for your household.  Fruit and veggie peelings, hair, coffee grounds and nail clippings are all compostable.  Compostable waste does not breakdown properly when sent to landfill, as air cannot get to the organic waste properly.  Instead, it produces harmful methane into the environment and contributes to climate change (this is something I didn’t know until recently).

 

“Composting at home for just one year can save global warming gases equivalent to all the CO2 your kettle produces annually, or your washing machine produces in three months.” www.recyclenow.com

 

If you try and stick with these guidelines, it will really help you to adopt a greener lifestyle.

Remember that everything that every person does to help the planet DOES make a difference.  Zero Waste is not about being perfect, it is about making conscious decisions about what you buy and consume and about doing the best that you can.

 

Thank you for reading this Zero Waste blog post.

Sending you love and light,

Louise 🙂

 

 

 

 

Photo Credits:

Featured photo by Byron Mctaggart from FreeImages

Recycling photo by jaylopez from FreeImages