There’s nothing like living in a country where the postal service has been suspended until further notice to curb the temptation to click “buy now – free shipping”. Free is great, shipping is…irrelevant?
Yes, that’s right. Even if I wanted to buy that thing, whatever it may be, I can’t. That has to be, for me, one of the biggest downsides of not having access to a postal service.
It’s also a great blessing. Because I can’t make any purchases online, I’m more likely to stretch the life of the things I already own, all while lowering my contribution to humankind’s growing pile of garbage.
(I compensate in other ways, though – so many things here are packaged in tiny portions and wrapped in cellophane. No one, nowhere is perfect, am I right?).
I have a bit of a dysfunctional relationship with stuff. I like to be surrounded by the basics, and I don’t like to have too much stuff in the house. But the other day I found myself craving a pencil holder. A pencil holder? You’ll say. To which I can only reply: Yes. I know.
We can talk about our society’s tendency to buy too much stuff until the cows come home, but I think it’s equally important to provide solutions that can bring about change. In other words, how can we as homemakers and caretakers and people who don’t own cows approach our home in a way that is simple, practical and sustainable? I know that buying things is necessary, and I know that not buying things is about a hundred times more difficult for people who live in the first world.
Still, there is something to be said about walking on this earth with a gentle step, no matter where we live. For me, this means using my sheets until the elastic goes out and, yes, stacking pens in a Mason jar instead of buying a pencil holder.
In the spirit of making things last, I thought it’d be fun to shine the light on a few simple favorites that I’ve bought over the last few years, things that have been well-used and well-loved in our home.
1. EAT & DRINK
I read a ton of reviews before deciding to buy this water bottle. I bought it when I was pregnant with my second child, nearly two years ago, because I needed to increase my water consumption. I was worried about amniotic liquid levels, and I also wanted to get into the habit of drinking more water.
I was looking for something sturdy (think: kids pitching it across the living room), transparent, BPA-free, light, spill-proof and relatively inexpensive. This one fit the bill. Although other water bottles have made their way into our home since then, this one is still my favorite.
Adventures in making yoghurt without a yoghurt maker:
1) Set your yoghurt outside, in the sun. Don’t forget about it.
2) Combine milk and yoghurt starter it in the slow cooker. Don’t forget about it.
Results: Sure, it was edible, but was it good? Meh.
Obviously, I just couldn’t get the timing right.
When a friend offered to sell me this electric yoghurt maker, I went for it, and I haven’t looked back since. We eat a lot of yoghurt in our house, and making it myself takes a bit of effort, but it’s way cheaper in the long run. Plus it’s delicious.
2. LISTEN & READ
This interview dates back 4 years now, but the message is timeless: live brave! “I’ve realized that one of the most unkind things I can do to somebody is to put them on a pedestal because very soon, inevitably, they’re going to do something that’s going to knock them off it”. – Elizabeth Gilbert.
I’ll be honest. I’ve never used these headphones in an airplane. I know that’s what they were designed for, and I’d love to try them on an airplane, but traveling with kids means forgoing these magical headphones. I know they’re magical because I’ve used them in a setting that is arguably louder than an airplane: on a main road in a Guatemalan town where deafening buses, transports, tuc-tucs and pickups armed with loudspeakers go by at neck-breaking speed. There’s only one thing you need to know about these headphones: they work.
Minimalism has gained a considerable amount of interest over the last few years, and at the forefront of the movement, there is Erin Loechner. Erin – known as “the nicest girl online” – wrote this delight of a book. It’s about slowing down, but it’s also about ditching the all-or-nothing approach to slowing down (or anything else, really) and recognizing that we are all striving, that our life is a process. Her book reads like a blog post and feels like a box of candy, full of pictures and tips and journal-like musings. A succulent treat for the soul.
Related: How To Create More Space
Related: Simplicity Now