Loading...

Having Less: Why & How It Has Changed Us

The decision to live our lives with less gradually occurred over years. Realising that buying things only lead to buying more got exhausting, expensive and stressful. The constant need to keep up with friends & family, comparing what we had with others would make anyone feel inadequate.

Constantly going around the same loop of needing-wanting-getting-feeling bad, I came to a realisation that buying things was not making me happy but creating stress, worry, sadness and loneliness. I hate shopping malls and really didn’t like spending time in them. So why was I going there to buy stuff, it didn’t make sense.

Wakening up to the fact that buying things did not make me happy or having lots of clutter in our home did not make me happy. I decided to make a change. This decision came about from certain events but I think the one real eye opener was being around people who had so much money and things. Soon I realised they were no happier than we were. In fact, all their stuff caused them so much stress. People were even hired to take care of their stuff; houses, cars, animals, bags, jewelry. Stuff needs taking care of, maintenance, up keep, constant surveillance. Owing more than one home creates so much stress, especially when they are not lived in all the time leaks, electrical issues, surveillance, security alarms, all of these extra stresses which start to control the lives of the people.

I saw first-hand how people who seem to have it all, were controlled by it all. Spending months working on their houses, renovating, painting, adding on thinking it would all end in a few months but then the upkeep of the homes began to take over weekends. The time spent having to clean the house, do jobs around the house, or paying people to do all that just didn’t appeal to me.

Living in a rented 1-bedroom apartment might not seem like a lot to most people but what it is freedom. Freedom from upkeeping a massive house, freedom from huge mortgage bills, freedom from having to hire staff to clean, freedom to live more simply. Is this going to be reality for the rest of our lives, no, we want to live in our own small place on our own land someday but for now this is perfect.

Living in a small space doesn’t mean that we are living simply, you can over complicate life very easily with extreme shopping habits. This is what we wanted to change. We wanted to eradicate the need to want things, we wanted to sit and relax in our home and not want or need. Be happy with what we had because everything we had was chosen with care & love and thought.

We want to live in a home with less noise, more space and beauty. That meant going through every room, drawer, cupboard, box, shelf, basket and storage area to get rid of all the things that did not spark joy or happiness. Marie Kondo book “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying” was the road map we used to help declutter our home. For me this process of getting rid of stuff is fun, I have no issue with giving unused, unwanted and no longer needed items away. In fact, when they find a great home it makes me feel so happy! We gave away and sold lots of stuff, no dumping required except we recycled a lot of bank statements, notes from courses we took, old notebooks and lots of other paper that was stored throughout the years. Now we just have 1 folder for our important paperwork and avoid bringing paperwork back to our home.

I like to look through each area of our place on a monthly basis to see if there are any other items we could donate or give away. We have come very close to a place now that we truly have just what we use & need.

I cannot explain how relaxing this is and how happy I am when I walk through our home door every evening after work and look around to a place where I want to relax, destress and be comfortable in. Not having a need to clean, improve or change anything. Its home. I swear I smile everything I come home, maybe because we worked so hard for it and spent a lot of time deciding how we want our place to look & feel. The constant need to buy is no longer there. We would rather spend time working on projects we want to complete, be out in nature & socializing with friends.

Having less is not easy in fact it is so much easier to have more, more stuff, more debt, more stress, more money, more drink, more credit cards, more cars, shoes……. it’s harder to limit, to say no and to realise that having more does not make you happy. Having been around people who have lots of money……. but still want more money & more stuff….it made me realise that the wanting never stops even when you become hugely successful.

Spending life taking care of your stuff is a horrid waste of time when you could be doing things that spark joy & happiness…don’t waste life accumulating things instead accumulate memoires, experiences, friends, love & relationships. Focus on what really matters, connection, community, health, wellbeing, friendships, family…. stuff will never make you happy…. It may make life easier sometimes but never happier.

Having less is the best decision we ever made. We Know having less is better for our environment, relationships, health and bank accounts. We choose having less clutter and more time to enjoy life. Yes, this lifestyle will not make sense to a lot of people but we are free to life exactly how we choose…. we choose less. Our possessions do not control our lives.

As always, we would love to hear your feedback and comments.

Have a great week,

Chat soon,

Theresa xx

How To Be Productive In The Evenings During The Work Week: A More Relaxed Approach

Before we get into our evening routine & how we stay productive, let’s start from the beginning.

Each year we create our annual goals just before New Year’s Day. We record our goals under categories; Personal, Health & Wellness, Fitness, Financial, Future Business, Work, Home & Travel. All goals are written in our journals so we can review them daily/weekly/monthly. An important step which we love to do is to review the goals from the previous year and mark off what was achieved & what we have to work on, if it’s still a goal for the New Year.

Once all our goals are listed, we work towards them every day.

Creating the bigger picture of how & where you want your life to go over the next year will determine what you want to achieve in your day.

IMG_0455 (1)

For example, under the heading of Health & Wellness, we have a goal to have less stress in our life. How do we work towards less stress in our life, every morning we meditate, we wake up early to sit together to have our breakfast, we give ourselves lots of time in the mornings to get ready before work. All of this creates a calmer more chill morning for us so we can arrive at work rested & energised for a new day. We plan time into each part of our day to relax, chill & enjoy life.

Under the heading of Fitness, we have the goal to exercise daily. Our goal each day is to move for a minimum of 60 min. This can come in the form of 2 half hour walks on our breaks, or workouts in the evenings.

IMG_0453

We have figured out through trial & error the activities & goals we like to work towards in the morning and what we like to tackle in the evenings. The evenings are a mixture of relaxation & energy. We like to plan a week in advance for our evening activities. In our journals we list 3 tasks that we would like to achieve each night. Each task should be no longer than an hour. Therefore, we spend about 3 hours each evening working on specific goals.

These goals can range from:

1. Prepare dinner for next 3 nights

2. Read 25 pages of book

3. Go for 40 min walk

1. Iron clothes

2. Write Blog

3. Read 25 pages of book

1. Eco night

2. Go for walk /Yoga class

3. Write Letter to niece

We only assign 3 goals per evening. This more relaxed approach to the evenings takes the pressure off having to get a whole pile of stuff done & feeling really bad when we don’t achieve all 10 items we had on our list.

Usually we get home between 5pm & 6pm, we eat dinner, read, write or do jobs and exercise. All of these things align with our bigger picture goals.

TV is avoided in the evenings from Monday to Thursday in our home so we can use our time wisely during the week.

By the time we finish our evening tasks it usually about 8:30-9:00pm. We use this last hour to really wind down, take a bath, read more, play a board game, read some of our favourite blogs, listen to podcasts or audiobooks or just have a chat.

IMG_0451

Bedtime for us is between 9:30pm and 10:00pm. Lights are out at either 9:45pm or 10:00pm (George likes to read a little later…..I usually fall asleep with book in hand or mid-sentence!…No issues with sleep here..lol)

That’s essentially our evenings and how we make use of our time to work on goals that are important to us one hour at a time. Goals can be daunting but broken down into hours they really are achievable. We aim for slow & steady change overtime. We are definitely the turtle in the race. We joke about my Father that he is the man who is walking while all the others are running……. that’s how we want to approach life too. Slow & steady wins the race, apply it to your goals.

We hope this was helpful.

As always, we would love to hear your comments & feedback.

Have a great week,

Chat soon,

Theresa

What Do You Do And Should It Define You?

How many times have you been asked “what do you do?”

What has you answer been? Do we really stop to think about the meaning of this question? There are in fact no limits to the answer, but what do we really mean when we ask this? Why are we asking?

Are we genuinely interested in what other people do for a living? Maybe we are and maybe we are not, but from my own perspective, my day job is the last thing I want to talk about when I am in a social situation.

Some people are genuinely interested in a discussion about your profession and finding common ground but it is more commonly a conversation starter to break the ice. In my opinion there are more effective ways to find common ground like asking “what do you do in your spare time.”

I recently watched a video on Youtube titled Never tell people what you do. The speaker encourages us to talk about what we want to do rather than what we do. I am far more interested in talking about my interests and hearing about other peoples interests rather than their profession.

What we do for a living does not define us. Many of us work our day jobs to finance what we truly love. It is only the luckiest people on Earth who can claim that they work in their dream job.

What defines us? That is subjective. It is also a matter of perspective. I think a more accurate question is what defines us in the eyes of those who matter.

Our achievements define us to a certain extent but I think it is more accurate to say that our actions define us. I have been lucky enough to meet many high achievers who are well educated and professionally successful but this achievement was arrived at through their actions.

One can only be judged on their actions. Who is to say the homeless man on the street is not a higher achiever than the suit, with fine clothes rushing about taking meetings on the fly?

How is success measured? By what we do to earn a living? By how much we earn? By the clothes we wear? By the fact that one person smells of cologne and another smells of the street?

Do we judge these people on their actions or their achievements? We judge how we judge, but we can only see what is on the surface. To dig deeper we need to look deeper. We need to really see.

I gave some cans to a homeless man and he told me this would help him reach his quota for donations to the children’s hospital. The cynical side of me doubts him but who am I to judge? I can only see the surface. Who is to say that man is not working tirelessly to save money for others.

“There are no perfect people in the world, only perfect intentions.”

(Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves)

My point is that what we do on a daily basis to earn money does not scratch the surface of who we are. We should look deeper. Ask deeper. Dig deeper. Find the real people.

Thanks for reading,

Peace,

George

P. S. If you like the blog could you share it? It helps a lot and huge thanks to those of you who have shared.

How We Reduced Our Waste in 2018: What’s Next?

Over the past year, especially the last 8 months we have become more aware of how much waste we create. This awareness was aided by many external influences like, Netflix documentaries, books & Instagram feeds.

It slowly became apparent that we spent money without thinking.

We didn’t think beyond the reward itself; for example, a plastic carton of tomatoes, the tomatoes were the reward, no thought was given to the life cycle of the plastic carton. The thought ended with getting really nice tomatoes, not where is that recyclable plastic carton going to end up? Or was it necessary to purchase tomatoes in a plastic carton in the first place?

IMG_0244

We have become people who question each purchase, is it worth it? will it have a negative effect on the environment?, can we buy it second hand?, how long do we want it to last to get value for money?, will this make me happy next year?, will I wear this in 5 years’ time?, could I resell this?, would someone else like to use this when we are finished with it? Can I purchase this package free in this store or another store?

Shopping now is a lot more meaningful and true value is associated with each purchase we make. For the majority of time we like to buy consciously, however there are always moments where a purchase just has to be made for convenience. Like when the store doesn’t have your toilet roll that comes wrapped in paper instead of plastic, you have to buy the plastic wrapped paper. Sometime these things happen.

IMG_0245

As we continue on our journey of reducing our waste and living with the items that we truly love, we pause for a moment to reflect on how well we have done to reduce our waste. We are hoping this reflection will inspire us for 2019.

See the list below on the items we no longer buy and what we use instead to reduce our waste:

Things we no longer buy Replacements
Dry goods that come wrapped in plastic Dry goods from bulk using reusable bags
Shower gels, hand soaps, Shampoo’s, Conditioners in bottles Refills at bulk store with castile soap, shampoo & conditioner bars
Toilet roll wrapped in plastic Toilet roll wrapped in paper
Laundry detergent in plastic containers Borax refilled in glass jar at bulk store
Produce wrapped in plastic or plastic produce bags Produce not wrapped in plastic and use reusable produce bags
Plastic or paper shopping bags Reusable shopping bags
Paper cups from coffee/tea stores Ceramic or glass reusable cups/mugs
Paper towel Reusable cloth dark napkins
Paper napkins Reusable cloth napkins
Plastic toothbrush (Theresa) Bamboo toothbrush
Plastic dental floss Silk refillable floss in a glass container
Boxes of tea bags Loose leaf tea in reusable tin
Cartons of plant-based milk Homemade hemp milk in glass bottles
Yogurt in plastic containers No longer eat yogurt as we cannot find affordable plant-based yogurt in glass jars
Brand new clothes Shop second hand first

Looking at the above list we are so happy with all these very simple changes we made, nothing has been a sacrifice or difficult to do. Trust me if it was too difficult, we would not have done so well! Lol!

There are still so many other simple changes we can make for example this year we would like to replace:

Our plastic toothpaste with a regular supply of toothpaste in glass jars (one store in Vancouver has it, just takes effort to go there….my aim to buy a few jars at a time)

Our cotton cleaning pads with cotton reusable cleansing pads (need to buy online)

Overall, we are happy with our progress, we hope we can inspire others just to make one small change this year. Reusable bags and reusable take-out mugs are a great way to start, these small changes make a huge difference.

Have a great week,

As always, we would love to hear your feedback.

Chat soon,

Theresa xxx

Winter Camping: Pemberton BC

I have camped in winter before but never in a tent. Always in a cabin. Not sure that counts as camping but anyway.

Winter camping (in a tent) has been on our list for a long time. We had a few different locations in mind:

  1. Golden Ears Provincial Park. Golden Ears has both walk in and drive in sites available throughout the winter.
  2. Joffre Lakes. We met some people before who hiked a little way in past the first lake and set up camp there. I have also heard of people camping in the parking lot in winter.
  3. The Red Heather hut on the way to Elfin Lakes. Apparently, it is permitted to tent camp outside the Red Heather hut in winter because it doesnt damage any of the plant life. The hut is for short stop offs only and over night use is not allowed but there is a stove if it got too cold.
  4. Nairn Falls. Nairn Falls is about a five minute drive from Pemberton and is available for camping all year, though you do have to carry your stuff in from the road as the parking lot is closed.

We decided on Nairn Falls because we would be close to the car and close to the town in case all did not work out.

We packed the essentials:

  1. Sleeping bag rated minus 18 degrees. This is MECs own brand and costs $189. It’s very warm but very bulky. It is a bit big for hike in camping but you get what you pay for. Light weight winter sleeping bags are expensive.
  2. Emergancy blanket. These are really cheap in MEC ($1.70) but they would only last for 2-3 uses. I bought a reusable one for $18. This is great for keeping the cold from the ground creeping up through the tent floor.
  3. Tarp for the underside of the tent.
  4. Burner. Our burner is run on gas and is one of the cheapest available in MEC but it is very dependable.
  5. Cooking utensils. Don’t want to get hungry. We usually bring food that just needs to be heated in the pan.
  6. Firewood. Because we were camping close to the car we brought fire wood. Enough to last the evening and morning. 6 bails was overkill but we used it all. 4 would have been enough.
  7. Fire log. Usually I dont use this, but I couldnt get the fire going so I’m not ashamed to admit that I cheated by nipping into Pemberton to grab a fire log. We did NOT want to be out there without a fire. If I am camping near the car in winter again I would bring one for emergency. We would have managed without a fire it would have just meant bed at 5pm and no hanging around in the morning.
  8. Tent. Our tent is a 3-4 man (cant remember) all season and was fine. We just layered up at night and had very warm sleeping bagss.
  9. Clothes. Thermals (top and bottom). Hiking pants. T shirt. Heavy sweater. Heavy parka. Gloves. Buff. 2 pairs of heavy socks. Wooly hat. Balaclava. Outer vest.
  10. Showshoes. Check out sportsjunkies for second hand gear.
  11. Shovel. I learned this lesson when somone forced me into the ditch on the way from Mount Baker to Sumas. We ended up digging the car out with snowboards so now I always keep a shovel in the car.
  12. Axe. Cant have a fire without an axe.



The weather was giving a chance of rain so we packed up and headed out regardless, hoping it wouldn’t be bad.

We were planning on hiking Joffre Lakes and spending the night back at Nairn but didn’t end up hitting Joffre.

It rained quite heavy during the day. We have camped enough in the rain to know it isn’t fun. We try to avoid it unless absolutely necessary. We decided to give it until 3 pm and had some food in Blackbird Bakery while we waited. Great place if you are ever in Pemberton.

The rain stopped and we headed for our campsite. There were quite a few cars parked on the road. I was worried about parking because the parking lot is closed in winter. It turned out these cars belonged to people visiting the falls. They weren’t spending the night. There was only one other camping group there overnight.

We got our gear into the site. The disadvantage of Nairn is the you have to walk in from the road in winter. The advantage is that it’s free, the road is relatively close and it’s quiet.

After struggling for an hour with the fire I went for a fire log. Another advantage – its a five min drive from the town. We didn’t drive for three hours to go without a fire. As mentioned above the fire log is a great emergency fire starter but if your hiking into the bush its too heavy. In that case I’d reccomend magnesium, cotton balls soaked in vaseline, kerosene or there are loads of other emergency starters. The hard core folk may call this cheating. No worries there probably right, but I like a fire and wasn’t freezing my ass off in the dark trying to get it started 😊

Another note on the fire. Snow is absorbant, so you dont need to worry about it melting to water and quenching the fire. It will end up sinking into a hole as the snow melts so you might lose heat when it gets too deep.

It stayed dry for the night and our new sleeping bags were amazing. We went to bed early and got up early to get the fire going again, had breakfast and went for a snowshoe hike around the campground.

I haven’t hiked much around Pemberton / Whistler but there are lots of trails if you wanted to try something more adventurous.

All in all it was a success. Especially considering Theresa is 5 months pregnant. Hopefully we’ll get one more trip in before she pops but well see.

Peace

George

PS. If you liked it – please share.