14 May 2012

Life Editing: Small Concrete Examples

By Wiedmaier Source: Flickr

I have written about my questioning around simplicity, owning and buying less stuff, minimalism etc. a lot on this blog lately as you may have noticed. I have taken inspiration on sites and blogs such as Life Edited, Zen Habits or becoming minimalist, and I have also discussed about the whole thing with my friends and family.  On that last part, I noticed during these real life discussions that there is one common reaction: "these are great ideas, but how do you put them in action in real life? Are these really more than just words?"

This is a very good question, because putting an idea into concrete action usually is a difficult step to take. Thinking about it, here are a few illustrations on how I edited my life recently towards owning and buying less stuff, with small but concrete examples. This is modest, but no matter how long the journey is, there is always a first step.

The broken sunglasses

Last year, I have broken my sunglasses because they were not protected in my purse. Nothing big really, one of the glasses just got unscrewed. I had planned to buy another pair for this year to replace these broken ones. In the end, I borrowed a tiny screwdriver that we use for 3DS cartridges at work to try and re-screw the glass properly on the frames, and it worked! Money saved: at least 150 to 200 €. Instead, I will buy a small protective case to avoid breaking them again this year...

The storing boxes

I have started sorting out my cupboards and drawers at home, throwing/giving away what I didn't need, and sorting more conveniently what I do need - which is another small concrete action maybe. I had planned to go on a big Ikea trip for that, buying new storing boxes for my new great cupbard organization. In the end, I stopped and thought: what if I throw away engough stuff to be able to actually re-use the boxes I already own instead of buying some new ones? So I have started sorting out the cellar and ended up freeing enough boxes for my needs.  Savings: over 30€ (these boxes are so expensive...)

The coffee machine

This third and last example illustrates how I managed to fight against a fabricated "need". We own a coffe machine, a Dolce Gusto that my companion's parents gave us when they bought a Nespresso a few years ago. As I started enjoying unsweetened coffee a few months back, I thought I needed to buy a Nespresso as well, after all, isn't it for real expresso coffee lovers? On top of that, I wanted to buy some small expresso size cups to go along with it.

In the end, I stopped and thought: what is this, changing the coffee machine as ours still functions properly? That sounds awfully like perceived obsolescence... So instead, I decided to give another chance to our current coffee machine and go buy different types of expresso coffee capsules. And these capsules' coffee really is delicious, so I finally abandoned my project to buy a Nespresso coffee machine. Regarding the cups, I remembered my uncle offered me a beautiful coffee set with small cups, hand-made and decorated with a japanese painting. I had totally forgotten about these, and decided to get them up from the cellar into the kitchen below the coffee machine...   Money saved: 170€ for the machine, 50€ for the cups, plus the extra price of the Nespresso capsules which are more expensive than the Dolce Gusto's.

I am of course, only at the beginning of the journey, and I still have a lot of habits to change, a lot of editing to do, and a lot of questions to investigate and try to understand. But I am quite motivated by these first steps to keep turning ideas into concrete actions at my level. What do you think about these small actions? Any suggestions on how to go further in that direction?

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