Friday, May 14, 2010

I'm not buying it ...

So since February I have been on a mission to not buy anything new. Kind of like 'the compact' well probably exactly like the compact in fact!

Some of you who have been reading my blog for a while might remember the 'Buy Nothing Challenge' of April 2008, which for me became mostly about not buying things made in China. Generally I have stuck to that, although during my horrid pregnancy I didn't.

This year I have really hopped back into the Buy Nothing Spirit - with the plan of doing it for the whole year. In fact, hopefully really I will do it for my whole life.

What it means is:

- where it is reasonable I will avoid buying anything. I will make do, borrow, or go without.
- what I need I will seek to buy second hand, unless for hygiene or practical reasons this is not possible.
- where I need to buy new I will buy either made in New Zealand or organic or fair trade certififed items.
- I will give presents that are consumable and organic or locally produced (preferably local to my suburb!)
- Overriding all of this is that while I can be as miserly for myself, I will try to balance this by being open and considerate of the views and wishes of my husband and children in what IS buy for them.

3 1/2 months into it and its been going really well. I have found some fantastic clothes in a designer recycle shop, have finally become an op shopper, and have even found a great local supplier of duvet inners, pillows and mattresses. So local that the guy who works in the factory lives around the corner and his wife dropped off my order!

Its been great fun researching and coming up with solutions that don't involve cluttering up my home and the homes of my friends and families.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Minimalist Cleaning

I'm feeling very minimalist lately as you might have noticed ... I always thought I was but recently I have realised there is a whole new level of anti-consumerism I can aspire too (eye-rolls from the mother in law no doubt).

If think we could even live in an RV I should at least be able to seriously declutter our wee house (its about 1200 square feet so perfectly sized for 4 of us).

One of the areas that is getting some of my attention these days is the cleaning cupboard. Actually cupboards, I have both a laundry one and a kitchen one, and they were embarassingly full. I have written before about using natural cleaners, and I do ... but every now and then I buy something when we are on holiday, or the mother in law buys something to help out, and ta-da, cleaning products start to take over the cupboards.

What would I take into the RV?

- baking soda and vinegar
- ecostore multipurpose cleaner
- ecostore dishwashing liquid
- ecostore washing machine powder
- napisan (because sometimes you need more grunt with kids!)
- essential oils (lavender, clove and tea-tree)
- a few spray bottles
- a copy of Shannon Lush's 'Spotless'
- a large pile of dishcloths and teatowels.

I am pretty sure I could clean everything with these ... baking soda and vinegar clean most things, lavendar repels insects and flies, clove repels mould, tea-tree is antiseptic, multipurpose cleaner in a spray bottle for most other things.

Now, I just have to be brave enough to bin the last of my 'extra' cleaning supplies ... wish me luck!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Our Simple Bathroom

Is it just me or do others find that bathroom 'stuff' seems to breed and multiply? I have been decluttering the bathroom for what seems like years, but I blink and it clutters up again! We are now blessed in our small-ish (1200 sq ft) home to have 2 bathrooms ... both very small but a luxury nonetheless. And yet, without constant vililance they both end up cluttered.

I know how it happens. Case in point - when I was pregnant I got an infected mozzie bite on my back. My attempts to fix it went on for days before I ended up at the dctors getting antibiotics ... to cut a long story short. 1 mozzie bite = 7 'pottles' of stuff.

Then there is the lure of the makeup counter. Before children I used to work near a very upmarket department store. Walking through all the cosmetics counters was a constant temptation. Usually I resisted, but it only took the odd splurge to add more lotions and potions to the bathroom cabinets. A trip to the hairdresser was another hazard ... the miracle creams to thicken and tame my flyaway locks.

Being a 'natural' sort of girl I tend to accumulate naturopathic stuff too ... homeopathic remedies, weleda creams, vitamins and supplements.

So constant vigilance is the only answer, and a tight rein on my credit card!

I've been applying my 'if I lived in an RV' test to the bathroom cabinets and streamlining my bathroom as a result. I plan to tape a list to the inside of the cabinets as a way to keep myself honest!

I have tried wherever possible to get rid of 'uni-taskers' - i.e. potions that only fill one purpose. So I don't need cleanser for my skin, eye make up remover, and bodywash. I can just use goatsmilk soap. I don't need eye cream, face cream, body lotion, hand cream and dry skin cream. I can just use shea butter. I don't need nappy cream, burn cream, zit cream, and bite cream ... I use pot of gold.

I haven't quite got the cupboards down to the list just yet. There are a few nearly finished bottles that I will finish up rather than send them to landfill.

I did send a few old half used lipsticks and eyeshadows to landfill though. Now that I am back at work part time, I need to wear make up again. But seriously - how much does one woman need? I have decided I only need one eyeliner, one mascara and one lipstick. Do you know how liberating this is?

I have put my list up, partly because I am so self absorbed I like to share the minute details of my life, and partly to keep my honest.

So, tell me, what do you need in your bathroom cupboard.

Gypsy's personal stuff

- eyeliner
- mascara
- lipstick
- moisturiser
- deoderant (not made in NZ but totally natural and it really works!)
- contact lenses stuff
- glasses

Combined stuff

- shampoo
- conditioner
- goats milk soap
- bodywash (hubby loves it)
- shea butter (miracle all purpose cream)
- pot of gold (the other miracle all purpose cream)
- toothbrushes, toothpaste, floss (no, we don't share toothbrushes)
- sunscreen
- insect repellent

First Aid

- a fully stocked first aid kit of bandages etc
- arnica cream and drops
- weleda levisticum for sore ears
- herbal throat spray
- rescue remedy spray
- weleda plantago chest rub
- braun ear themometer
- paracetamol and iboprofen
- antihistimine
- antiseptic cream

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Too many toys

My grandparent's have a wonderful 'toy bag' that they have kept for visiting children. It has entertained many many children of all ages .. and yet it is filled with things you might not recognise as toys. An old set of keys. A wallet filled with out dated money and cards. An old cell phone. Old ties. Old scarves. Some shells. A pair of goggles. Some ends of wool.

I looked at it today, watching my two children deeply absorbed in play with these 'toys'. I realised that, despite my best intentions, we have far too many toys.

Fortunately, we don't have a lot of junk toys ... being a 'Steiner' family our friends and relatives have been pretty respectful about not buying us $2 shop plastic junk. But even in the realm of 'quality toys' we have too many.

I have enjoyed challenging myself to think 'what would I take the in RV' (this is my fantasy alternative life where we follow the example of the Happy Janssens and live in a bus!). When it comes to toys, I think for my children the list would be:

- some lengths of rope that can be tied around trees to create swings and climbing frames

- some plain wooden blocks

- some small blankets (crocheted by Nana) and playsilks

- a doll

- a couple of small wooden cars

- some beeswax crayons and paper

- some stacking boxes

- balls - a cloth one for inside and a plastic one for outside

- a few favourite books

And that would be it!

Nature would provide the rest, twigs, leaves, shells, rocks ... stuff that can come and go. Also, the recycling bin is always a good source of play materials ... yoghurt pottles, milk lids etc.

So tell me (if any one is still reading this!!!) what would you take in your 'RV toybox'?

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Always too much stuff

Those of you who read my post on simplifying will know that I strive for a simple, uncluttered, unhurried life.

A big part of that is managing possessions. It is all too easy to accumulate stuff, even though we try very hard to avoid the 'mall trall' and anything made in China. But somehow, it creeps in ... gifts from our generous friends and family, hand-me-downs, stuff the kids have outgrown, and of course, sometimes we just buy 'stuff'. And if I am not constantly 'decluttering' it gets out of control so fast.

At the moment my kitchen is getting a purge when I struggled to fit the juicer, the food processor and the slow cooker all in the same cupboard. Of course I can justify all 3 items as 'essentials', along with my electric egg-beater, my immersion blender, the toaster, the jug, 2 frypans, a crepe pan, my potato ricer, my hand egg-beater, 3 white square platters, 2 milk jugs, .... the list goes on and on.

I have decided to apply the same rule in the kitchen that I do in my wardrobe - if it hasn't come out in a year, then I don't need it. So that means I can keep my oh-so-perfectly-seasoned crepe pan, but only 1 fry pan. I can have 2 square white platters, but number 3 is surplus. And really, the slow cooker is starting to look a bit questionable too. Of course, some things I will keep because I am a teeny bit sentimental ... my nana-in-law's silver cutlery, my beautiful cake stands, my husbands beloved but unused beer glasses.

But everything else can find a new home.

One blogger who is my role model here is Sara Janssen. (I've raved about her before)You can read her new blog 'The Happy Janssens' if you need inspiration. 2 adults, a five year old and a 9 month old baby living in an RV. Enough said.

A devoted Christian, Sara feels that she is following the path of Jesus by not owning too many things, and many other faiths share a similar view. Vietnamese Zen Monk Thich Nhat Hanh talks about the importance of simplicity as part of the spiritual path, and one of the precepts his followers seek to adopt is:

Simple, Healthy Living - Aware that true happiness is rooted in peace, solidity, freedom and compassion, and not in wealth or fame, I am determined not to take as the aim of my life fame, profit, wealth or sensual pleasure, nor to accumulate wealth while millions are hungry and dying. I am committed to living simply and sharing my time, energy and material resources with those in real need. I will practise mindful consuming, not using alcohol, drugs or any other products that bring toxins into my own and the collective body and consciousness.

There are so many areas in my life that can be further simplified ... and the gains are great. Perhaps a new thought for me should be 'what would I talk if we lived in an RV'.

What would you need?

Sunday, February 21, 2010

What's cooking ....

is my new blog.

I have had to admit to myself that I don't have the time to blog with the level of research and thought that I like to put into my posts at domestically blissed. One day I will again ... and I look forward to that.

But for now, I have been putting up my recipes as part of my vegetarian journey over at Gypsy's Kitchen ... come and say hi!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Where I've been ...

Sorry I have been so disturbingly quiet the last month or so! Thank you for your messages of concern and encouragement.

Things have been busy here, our darling Little Guy is now 9 months old but has been back to sleeping like a newborn ... in fact far worse than as a newborn. Teething and a cold seem to have completely taken him out of what little routine he had!

The way for me to stay sane until he starts to sleep better is to just accept it, know that this too will pass, and to accept (reluctantly) that blogging will have to wait until he starts to settle again.

I have lots of drafts and tonnes more ideas, so I really hope that one day soon I can start blogging with a vengeance!

In the meantime wishing you all a wonderful Christmas.

Gypsy xx