Dear reader,

in Solution Focused Approach, one of the essential principles is to keep things as simple as possible and to do more with less. This may sound nice, but it’s not at all easy to do, as simple doesn’t equal easy.

As your life gets filled up with more and more complex tasks, more and more obligations and responsibility, you need to develop strategies to cut down and keep things simple, if you want to avoid chaos or a burnout. And this should reflect not only on your working desk and habits, but also in your kitchen, bathroom, closet, phone storage and especially, your mind.

I’ve always been a minimalist. Guess I learned that from my grandmother (see a blog post about her here). She taught me that I don’t buy any stuff that has a comercial during tv news and I don’t buy any stuff that comes wraped in more than two packages. Other things she taught me is that I don’t eat any food that doesn’t have an expiration rate, doesn’t rotten or comes from another continent (well to be honest I struggle with this latter one sometimes!).

I strongly believe her lessons were invaluable, because they made me sensitive and sympathetic towards the nature and living beings. Another important trait of hers is, that she never kept any extra supplies, whether it be clothes, food or things (except money, she saved a lot and always gave it to us for our birthdays, though her pension was adjacent to poverty). The irony in that is, that she always has and had enough of everything.

Human greed is infinite and has to be consciously controlled. The idea of constant growth, expansion, progress, isn’t sustainable and fortunately there are more and more studies and civil movements on the rise to support this. Why not taking just as much as you need? This might however be very different to taking as much as you want … 

This post has been inspired by recent Leo Babauta’s blog about a simplicity manifesto. It made me rethink my carbon footprint and I was quite happy to commit more to my current values and to keep in line with low waste behaviour. So here are collected a few of my ideas that might be useful for you, if you consider reducing the carbon and rubish footprint you are leaving on this planet and also if you want to simplify your life. I’ve practiced them ever since (many times with failures) and they work splendidly for me when I need to remind myself that less is more:

  • I own less than 250 things (including all the socks, knickers, cups, books). If I go above that, I donate it to charity or give it away.
  • Being a woman, my beauty accessories consist of one kajal, one face cream, soap, hair brush, dental floss, brush, paste and shampoo. I make my own DIY deodorant and use oil for body and hair nourishment. I don’t use powder, mascara or any lipstick, any hair, nail or skin products. I’ve got some jewerly that are all my husband’s presents. I don’t use hairdryer or facial masks. And I’m doing fine.
  • My closet has a summer and winter edition. I hardly go above 5 items of each clothing item and certainly not above 10 (except underwear and socks of course). And I’m doing fine.
  • I own 10 pairs of shoes, including flip flops and winter boots. And I’m doing fine.
  • What is a bit of a mess, is my working desk, which is full of notes, printed articles I’ve read but still think might need them sometimes in the future, half read books, endless small cartons and papers with drawings or ideas. I need to work on that one day. But not today. Anyway I never work at that desk, but sit on the floor and only have a laptop (here’s what my “office” looks like, but now with only one laptop as we’re not working on any international project currently).
  • Minimalism is useful also with several non-material matters, for example relationships. If you want to call somebody, call them. If you disagree with somebody, tell them. If somebody hurts you, talk to them or close that chapter. If you are scared what others might say, none of your business. Etc. And I’m doing fine.
  • I try to grow my own food and am very careful not to throw any food away. I don’t mind eating old bread or leftovers.
  • I don’t use chemical cleaning products. WIndows can be easily washed with newspapers and stain removed by soda. And we’re doing fine.

However there are some things that I’m not proud of and haven’t found an alternative yet:

  • I do buy the best of shoes (if that includes original uggs, then uggs it is), because I want to have good quality for my feet. But I would buy one pair and wear it dead. Not buy 5 pairs because they’re last season.
  • I need to travel a lot, meaning car fuel and airplane carbon footprints.
  • I can’t give up on fruit in winter. Even if it came from far 🙁
  • Still, there are moments when I catch myself thinking too much (or ruminating), even though I know I can revert this. But I do get better and better.
  • I write too long blog posts 🙂 🙂

Happy today, dear reader. Here’s a toast to minimalism, keeping things simple, yet authentic, compassionate and sustainable! If you get inspired by this post and want to try some things out, do come back to me with your experience!